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Genealogical/Family Research  

Resources for genealogy and family history.
Last Updated: Jul 15, 2016 URL: http://libguides.bls.org/genealogyresearch Print Guide RSS Updates
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Genealogy & Family Research

Important Tips for Searching a Family Member

Family Member Names

  • Are there different spellings of the last name?
  • Is there an new American spelling of your ancestor's name?
  • Have you searched on female family members by their original family or maiden name?
  • Do you know the names of other family members? (mother, father, grandparents, inlaws, children, siblings, etc.)

When AND Where Did They Live?

  • Work backwards. Start with the last place they lived.
  • Do you know approximately the years the person lived? Where did they live? 
  • What happened in each place (births, deaths, marriages, military service, education, work)

General Genealogy Resources

FamilySearch - Great place to start! 

  • Requires setting up a free account. Allowed for ages 13 and up.
  • Comprehensive and broad.
  • Easy to search and offers digtial copies of many original primary sources and records.
  • The Church of Latter Day Saints has compiled and organized one of the largest genealogical free resources.

NARA Genealogy

  • The National Archives and Records Administration Web site for family historians. Because the records at the National Archives come from every branch of the Federal government, almost all Americans can find themselves, their ancestors, or their community in the archives.

The USGenWeb Project

  • Search by state for birth, death, cemetery, city and many other directories. This Project is non-commercial and fully committed to free genealogy access for everyone.

Heritage Quest Online  (requires BPL card and PIN)

  • U.S. Federal Censuses (1790-1930)
  • Revolutionary war pension and bounty land warrant applications
  • Freedman’s Bank Records - Vital African-American records, 1864-1874
  • Genealogy and local history books

 

 

History Behind a Name

 

Genealogy Sites for More Specific Research

African American Online Genealogy Records from Family Search

  • Online collections of African American records for family history or finding ancestry, includingvital recordsslavery or freedman's recordsslave narratives, and genealogy.

Access Genealogy - For African American and Native American resources

Yad Vashem  - Jewish family database that includes Shoah victim names and photo archive.

Ellis Island European immigrant resource. Conduct a passenger search

The Ships List - Search  for a relative's name on the ships coming the America.


More Specific Directories

Find a Grave - Search by location or name for a relative's grave site information.

NARA Veterans - The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the official repository for records of military personnel who have been discharged from the Revolutionary to the Persian Gulf War. .

Obituary Database (Boston area) (Requires BPL Card and PIN)

The Obituary Database is an index of obituaries that appeared in the Boston Evening Transcript (BET)Boston Globe (BG), and the Boston Herald/Herald American (BH). Currently, this database includes obituaries published between 1932 and 1941 and between 1953 and 2010.

Biography & Genealogy Master Index (Requires BPL Card and PIN)

Find professional directories that list your family member.

 

Search for Books

Search for information in historical digital books that might include narratives such as diaries, memoirs, descriptions and other personal material. Search includes Google Books, Project Gutenberg, WorldCat, Internet Archive and Digital Public Library of America.

TIP: Put quotes around the name for an exact match.

 

Search Newspapers

Boston Globe (1872-1984) (Requires BPL Card and PIN)

  • Articles on local news, issues, events, and people.
  • Obituaries
  • Birth, marriage and death announcements
Chronicling America (Library of Congress)
  • Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1836-1922 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present.
19th Century U.S. Newspapers (InfoTrac)
  • Featuring full-text content and images from numerous newspapers from a range of urban and rural regions throughout the U.S. Encompasses the entire 19th century, with an emphasis on such topics as the American Civil War, African-American culture and history, Western migration and Antebellum-era life, among other subjects.
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