Written by Legal Record Webmaster
Wednesday, 20 March 2013 00:00
- Contributed by Amy Roth
Aurora, other local libraries are your first source to research family history
My mother-in-law, who passed away in early December, loved “doing” genealogy.
She filled up many, many notebooks and binders with information on her family and her husband’s clan. She loved to talk about her research. The most memorable piece of information that I came away with after 30 years was that my father-in-law was related to Ulysses S. Grant. Hence, my husband and children share that lineage as well.
As her life stretched into her “golden” years, she became less and less able to work on her genealogy. Her mind, once so meticulous about dates and places and names, became unable to process even the simplest of tasks.
The notebooks became dusty and the papers within yellowed. And, save for a few relatives who also had been bitten by the genealogy bug, nobody really cared much about the years and years of work that went into those books.
In my younger years, I had little interest in genealogy, perhaps other than the fact that I was adding to my own family history as my children came into the world.
Maybe it was not so much a lack of interest on my part as a reticence to become engrossed in genealogical research.
I know how easy it is to get bogged down in research. For example, when I was doing research at the library on a piece on the turn of the century (1899-1900) for The Beacon-News in 1999, I became so engrossed in the newspaper’s microfilm that I lost all track of time, got a parking ticket, and almost missed picking up my children from school!
But the other day, as I scrolled through the library’s Events Calendar on our website, I noticed an “Online Genealogy Adventure” class at the main library, taught by Librarian and Computer Education Trainer Claudia Race, and decided to check it out.
As usual, I was stunned by the many, many ways the library can help one who is seeking information. Claudia, a 35-year library employee, is a real expert on the subject, having done much research on her own family and helped many others with their research. When I walked into the library’s multipurpose room, I noticed that there were laptops set up around the room so participants could follow along as Claudia’s work on her computer was projected onto the whiteboard at the front of the room.
For those who will be reading this and want to know how to get started, go to the library’s website (www.aurorapubliclibrary.org), and click on the red tab titled “Research.” Then click on the “Genealogy Research” section and a whole world of ways to research your ancestors will open before your eyes.
“Free Web Resources” is a great place to start. If you click on this tab, a number of excellent web links come up.
During the class, Claudia handed each participant a pamphlet with numerous resources, including Cyndi’s List, a compilation of genealogy sites in the United States and around the world that includes city directories, wills, marriage certificates, and church, military and adoption records. It also lists FamilySearch.org and Ellisisland.org as helpful sites.
Probably the most widely-known of the genealogy websites, Ancestry.com, is a subscription-based service that searches six billion records worldwide. The Aurora Public Library offers a library edition that can be accessed from the library only.
There is an area on the second floor of the main library that is reserved for genealogy research. It is near the DVDs to the left of the circulation desk. Ask for Robb Winder, local history and genealogy librarian, for more specifics on using the microfilm and other in-house research tools.
Claudia was nice enough to tell the class participants that if they had any questions at all about how to use the resources the library offers, they may call her for one-on-one help.
The library also offers Book A Librarian, through which you can reserve a free 30-minute session with a reference librarian. Call 630-264-4107 for the main library or 630-264-3420 for the Eola Road Branch.
Article by Amy Roth, a long-time area reporter and editor and now public information manager for the Aurora Public Library. She can be reached at (630) 264-4125.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 March 2013 14:03