October is Family History Month and genealogy is the study of family ancestries or histories from generation to generation. Genealogists gather family information and compile it so that they, and others, can enjoy the family historical information. Some of the tools used in the searching for info are census sheets, birth and death records, church archives and family bibles and papers. In case you missed the recent Genealogy Lock-In at the Peter White Public Library, here's a list of resources available on the second floor of the PWPL.
Long-distance genealogy by Christine Crawford-Oppenheimer is a good resource for nearly everyone today because families have moved away from original roots. Gathering information from sources that can't be visited personally is a problem for all genealogists. Long-Distance Genealogy is designed to help armchair researchers overcome this unavoidable problem. Readers will begin by addressing the basics of starting a long-distance search.
Sharon DeBartolo Carmack wrote The Family Free Guide to Finding Your Ellis Island Ancestors. This book describes what it was like for those who traveled across the ocean by steamship, how they processed through Ellis Island, and where to find information and photographs of your ancestor's ship. It goes on to give tips and strategies for successfully finding your Ellis Island ancestors online. Once you learn how passenger lists were created, you can use their information to find where your ancestors went from New York Harbor. And for those who had ancestors who arrived before the Ellis Island years (1890), a special chapter is devoted to Castle Garden and its arrivals with information from 1820 -1892.
Have you come up against a brick wall and cannot find that elusive relative or date? Family Tree Problem Solver: proven methods for scaling the inevitable brick wall by Marsha Hoffman Rising can maybe help. Her book teaches how to break through those brick walls and dissect common problems in case studies with straightforward solutions. A second book by her, The Family Tree Problem Solver : tried-and-true tactics for tracing elusive ancestors, serves as a companion to the first and offers more assistance in tracking ancestors.
Passenger and immigration lists index: a guide to published arrival records is a four volume set plus additional supplements that contain more the 1 million records on the people who arrived in America in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Using these lists, the genealogist can find what country a person came from, at what port he/she arrived, the name of the transporting ship, as well as the person's age, sex and where they were going.
A genealogist's guide to discovering your female ancestors: special strategies for uncovering hard-to-find information about your female lineage by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack is a guide to reveal strategies for overcoming the somewhat difficult challenges of tracing female genealogy. Readers will be able to uncover historical facts, personal accounts and recorded events to form an intriguing narrative biography of the women in their ancestries.
Genetic or DNA typing is the newest tool for amateur genealogists. How does it work? Professionals trace one's DNA "heirlooms" or markers from generation to generation on the Y chromosome, passed on by fathers, and mitochondrial DNA, passed on by mothers. Trace Your Roots with DNA: using genetic tests to explore your family tree by Megan Smolenyak and Ann Turner provide a brief introduction to genealogy and genetics fundamentals to begin their discussion. Later is a list of the types of available testing, what kind of information the tests can learn, how to interpret the results, and how the tests work. No, it doesn't involve digging up your dead relatives. But the testing is expensive and the results are accurate. It's as simple as swabbing the inside of your cheek and popping the sample in the mail.
In addition to these and many more genealogy books found in the library, PWPL also offers access to several databases that will help in a genealogist's search for family history and ancestral data. HeritageQuestOnline is a genealogical database provided to all citizens of Michigan through the Library of Michigan and its Michigan electronic Library at www.mel.org. The PWPL subscribes to AncestryLibraryEdition which is the sister of Ancestry.com, the primary database for genealogists. Users of the ALE database must be inside the library to use it.
Many other books and websites are available to patrons of Peter White Public Library for genealogy purposes. There is a vast collection of city directories dating back to 1874. Yearbooks from area high schools are a growing collection, too, that support residency in the area at a specific time. PWPL also houses books belonging to the Marquette County Genealogy Society. Their collection includes specific family studies, readings of several local cemeteries, an Index to Marquette County Naturalization Papers and some early records of Morgan Heights residents. If staffing allows, there is genealogy assistance, by appointment, on most Wednesday evenings, and on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons when the MCGS volunteers are available.
- Vicki Mann