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Family History and Genealogy Project  

Use this guide to discover resources available in the Green Library and from the library's databases as you research your family's history.
Last Updated: Mar 20, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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How do I begin???

Where do I begin with this daunting task?  


to find a history of genealogy, an introduction to genealogy research, and how to get started.


The United States government has a rich collection of information on genealogy

The Library of Congress publishes guides to all of its genealogy collections, compiled by reference librarians and available in full text.  Click here to see this extensive record of information regaring genealogical research, telephone and city directories, international lists, U. S. ethnic groups, military records, and more.

Searching for Information on the Internet
There is a good deal of information on daily life in America to be found on the Internet. However, using standard Internet search engines such to find this information can sometimes be difficult, because search engines use keywords instead of standardized subject headings to locate relevant websites. There are many additional avenues for locating information on these topics:
1.    Full-text archives: American Memory (from the Library of Congress; and The Making of America (two separate online archives from the University of Michigan and Cornell University; and provide digitized primary source materials related to American history. American Memory includes both published and non-book materials (such as photographs and sound recordings) from the colonial period to the present, while the Making of America sites consist of full-text reproductions of American books and periodicals from the 19th century. Both have site-specific keyword search engines. There are other digital archives with information organized by region, state, or topic. Some examples are given below:
a.    Region: Documenting the American South ( ); Library of Western Fur Trade Historical Source Documents ( )
b.    State: The Kansas Collection ( )
c.    Topic: American Journeys (materials on early American exploration from the Wisconsin Historical Society; ); Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1660-2000 (resource from SUNY Binghamtom which includes both free and fee-based resources; ); Banknotes of the United States of America ( ).
2.    American history site directories and virtual reference shelves: The Humanities and Social Sciences Division of the Library of Congress maintains an annotated virtual reference shelf dubbed "Alcove 9"; the U.S. History section of Alcove 9 ( ) includes links to many of the websites described in here. Public and academic libraries also maintain virtual reference shelves with an emphasis on American history, e.g. Multnomah County Library ( ).
3.    Online exhibits: Offered by museums, libraries, and academic institutions, online exhibits often include images, narrative descriptions, and bibliographic references to materials on American daily life and culture. For example, the Smithsonian Institution maintains a list of links to online exhibits and other resources on American social and cultural history available on its website at . The Balch Institute of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania has a number of online exhibits, including Freedom for Some: The Japanese American Internment Experience ( ) An online exhibit on Pioneer Asian Indian Immigration to the Pacific Coast ( ) offers historical photographs, bibliography, and numerous external links.
4.    Genealogy websites: Genealogy site directories such as Cyndi's List ( ) can often be "mined" for links to digitized books, diaries, letters, and other first-person accounts of daily life in America. Examples of such sites include Tracing Mormon Pioneers (from genealogical researcher Bill Nelson; ), with online transcriptions of various published emigration narratives; and the Mardos Memorial Library of On-Line Books and Maps (transcriptions of books from the library of genealogical researcher Pam Reitsch; ).


Green Library Genealogy Titles

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The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy - Kimberly Powell
ISBN: 1440511683
Publication Date: 2011-01-18

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The Great Ancestor Hunt - Lila Perl; Erika Weihs (Drawings by)
ISBN: 0899197450
Publication Date: 1989-09-01

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The Official Guide to Ancestry. Com - Susan Sherwood Parr; George G. Morgan
ISBN: 9781593313197
Publication Date: 2008-10-01

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Who Do You Think You Are? - Wall to Wall Media; Megan Smolenyak
ISBN: 9780670021635
Publication Date: 2010-03-04

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Scottish Genealogy - Bruce Durie
ISBN: 9780752463728
Publication Date: 2012-05-01

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How to Do Everything Genealogy - George G. Morgan
ISBN: 9780071780841
Publication Date: 2012-01-11

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Genealogist's Computer Companion - Rhonda McClure
ISBN: 1558705910
Publication Date: 2001-11-30

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Genealogist's Question and Answer Book - Marcia Yannizze Melnyk
ISBN: 1558705902
Publication Date: 2002-02-12

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Genealogy Online for Dummies - Matthew L. Helm; April Leigh Helm
ISBN: 9780470916513
Publication Date: 2011-01-11

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Collecting Dead Relatives - Laverne Galeener-Moore
ISBN: 0806311819
Publication Date: 1998-01-01


Coming to America

To get you started thinking about your family history and when and why they came to this country, click on this link to a short video entitled "Coming to America."


How Do Historians Do Research?

The study of history offers students an opportunity to investigate the past, gain perspective on the present, and develop their critical faculties and their imaginations. History provides an integrating principle for the entire learning process, and students gain a sense of human development and interrelatedness and an understanding of social processes. History demands a confrontation with the mythologies and achievements of our own society and with the reality of "otherness," both at home and in the larger world.

The study of family history includes the study of not only the life of your parents, grandparents and other ancestors, but of the times in which they lived.  Use the Green Library databases which are most appropriate for a link to historical context by clicking here.


Additional Genealogy Titles

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The Secret Universe of Names - Roy Feinson
ISBN: 1585675946
Publication Date: 2004-10-21

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Genealogy Via the Internet - Ralph Roberts
ISBN: 1570900094
Publication Date: 1997-08-01

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Cherokee Proud - Tony Mack McClure
ISBN: 0965572226
Publication Date: 1999-01-01

The Facts on File Dictionary of First Names - Leslie Dunkling; William Gosling
ISBN: 0871962748
Publication Date: 1984-01-01

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A Dictionary of Surnames - Patrick Hanks; Flavia Hodges
ISBN: 0192115928
Publication Date: 1989-02-23

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The Chinese American Family Album - Dorothy Hoobler; Thomas Hoobler; Bette Bao Lord (Introduction by)
ISBN: 0195081307
Publication Date: 1994-04-14

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Atlas of the Great Irish Famine - John Crowley (Editor); William J. Smyth (Editor); Mike Murphy (Editor)
ISBN: 9780814771488
Publication Date: 2012-08-01

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Japanese American History - Japanese-American National Museum Staff; Daniel K. Inouye (Foreword by); Brian Niiya (Editor)
ISBN: 0816026807
Publication Date: 1993-08-01

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Born Fighting - James Webb
ISBN: 0767916883
Publication Date: 2004-10-05

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The Great American History Fact-Finder - Ted Yanak; Pam Cornelison; Norman Y. Mineta (Foreword by)
ISBN: 0395617154
Publication Date: 1993-03-15

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Leadership - Time-Life Books Editors
ISBN: 0783522541
Publication Date: 1999-06-01

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Irish Americans - Tom Diegnan; Barry Moreno (Editor)
ISBN: 0764156276
Publication Date: 2003-04-01

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Jewish Americans - Robert Stein; Barry Moreno (Editor)
ISBN: 0764156268
Publication Date: 2003-04-01

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The Irish American Family Album - Dorothy Hoobler; Thomas Hoobler; Joseph P. Kennedy (Introduction by)
ISBN: 0195081277
Publication Date: 1995-01-26


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