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genealogy_quickstepsThis new, full-color book, Genealogy QuickSteps,  by Marty Matthews and Bobbi Sandberg is meant for those just beginning their genealogy research as well as a nice review for the more experienced researcher.  There is a great chapter on how to organize your documents, photos and other papers - and then how to analyze each item to see what kind of information may be found in them.  Online resources are examined and tips for generally searching the Internet for family history is given.

While none of these topics are examined in great detail, this is a easy-to-understand overview of researching genealogy that won't overwhelm those new to the hobby!

Find this book in the Genealogy section on the Upper Level with with call number 929.1 M.

W. Daniel Quillen has written an entire series of handbooks called Quillen's Essentials of Genealogy Tracing Your European Roots istracing_european_roots Volume 5 of this set. The author starts with the basics of research common to all countries but then moves on to the various individual countries in the British Isles and continental Europe.  Chapters are dedicated to research in Great Britain, Italy, Poland, Ireland, Germany, France, Portugal and Spain.  There is a chapter combined for Czech and Slovak research. Find this book in the Genealogy Collection on the Upper Level with the call number of 929.107 Q.




family_history_detectiveFamily History Detective: a step-by-step guide to investigating your family tree by Desmond Walls Allen is a basic "how to" beginning genealogy book.  Although brief, it includes hints for planning a family reunion, how to cite your sources in papers, and some smaller examples of commonly used forms. Find this book in the Genealogy Collection on the Upper Level with the call number of 929.1 A.






discover_your_family_history_onlineThere are quite a few books published on finding your ancestors on the Internet.  Nancy Hendrickson has written a new one called Discover Your Family History Online.  Although she covers all of the standard topics such as census records, military & land records, births & deaths, and the ever-popular subscription databases, I especially enjoyed her coverage of how to use Google, especially Google Earth in conjunction with other maps, to research your family history.  At the end of her book, she devotes a chapter on using social media sites to connect with distant relatives.  Included in the appendix are examples of various forms used to organize genealogy data.  This book is located in the Genealogy Collection on the Upper Level - 929.102 H.

Several new genealogy books have recently been added to our circulating collection on the Upper Level.

censuspocketreferenceThe Genealogist's Census Pocket Reference from Allison Dolan and the Editors of Family Tree Magazine is a small, fact-filled book that covers all Federal Censuses, including the newly-released 1940 Census.  It includes chapters on Census Maps; questions asked on each census; the instructions given to the enumerators; census abbreviations; state and territory censuses and special schedules.  It also gives information on various censuses from Canada and several European countries along with web links to those available online.  Find this handy guide in the Genealogy Collection with the call number of 929.2 D.





Mastering Online Genealogy by W. Daniel Quillen is one in a series called Quillen's Essentials of Genealogy.  As the title indicates, this book introduces the reader to the various tools researchers use when finding their ancestors online.  Recommendations for computers are given and there are chapters on fee-based subscription services as well as free ones.  There is an entire section of the book set aside for online government records, and the final chapter is a review of various genealogy software programs.  This book is on the Upper Level in the Genealogy Collection with the call number of 929.102 Q.

I am reposting this article from the Site.  It was created by Paul Rawlins on August 3, 2012.

1940 U.S. Census: 50 States, 134 Million Names, 1 Index

"Today is all about numbers.

The first is 100, as in 100 percent of the 1940 U.S. Federal Census is now indexed. That means all 50 states are available to search to your heart’s content.

Our indexing came up with 134,395,545 people counted. Most reports on the 1940 census give the U.S. population as 132 million and change, so you may be wondering where the extra 2 million people came from. Two words: Puerto Rico. OK, and Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Panama Canal Zone. They were all included in the 1940 U.S. census and add another 2.1 million or so records to the final count."

When the 1940 Census of the United States was released this past April, researchers had to browse the various locations to find their relatives' names.  However, indexers were already at work to make searchable indexes for all states.  Right now, there are two distinct searchable indexes for genealogists to use.  The first one is a joint effort by The National Archives, Proquest, FamilySearch,, and  Volunteers are used for this project and have already completed 96% of the country.  You may see the progress and search the census on their web pages - or

The second index is being done by  So far, approximately 50% of the states have been indexed and are searchable through their site -

What is interesting for researchers is that different states have been completed for each index.  For example, Michigan may be searched online at Ancestry, but is only 69% done on the National Archives Joint Project.  Thus, if you can't find the state you need on one product, please try the other index.  Also, if both indexes have completed the state you need, be sure to check both of them for your ancestor.  I already found several mistakes in name transcription on one index that were not present on the other one.


This past Friday, July 13th, Ancestry added an additional fifteen states to their database of 1940 U.S. Census indexed states.  Happily, Michigan is included in this latest group!  Other states recently  indexed for 1940 include: 

  • California
  • Washington
  • Kansas
  • Nebraska
  • Oregon
  • Alabama
  • Indiana
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Arizona
  • New Hampshire
  • Wisconsin
  • Montana
  • Hawaii

This now brings the total of states indexed to 25.  View Ancestry's site for the 1940 Federal Census at free of charge.


I found a great resource on Dick Eastman's Genealogy Blog today.  It is a new list of Genealogy Book Links put together by Mollie Lynch, a librarian from Clarkston, Michigan.  Here is a portion of the announcement from Mr. Eastman:

The following article is from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter and is copyright by Richard W. Eastman. It is re-published here with the permission of the author. Information about the newsletter is available at

"This is a great new online tool! Mollie Lynch of Clarkston, Michigan, is a retired librarian who decided to assist people wishing to find genealogy books. She knew that thousands of American biographies, genealogies and history books have been digitized and made available on the Internet, usually free of charge. However, there was no single resource of "what is available and where." Mollie decided to create that resource.

Mollie's new web site,, provides links to freely available digital books, focusing on American biographies, genealogies, and history books. The site now contains more than 30,000 links from more than 35 sources (only the top sources are listed on the site). New books are bing added to the list daily. The current focus is on surnames, directories, vital records, and identifying smaller sites with local area-specific books."

Click on the newletter link above to read the entire article - and then try Mollie's great site!

Dick Eastman announced in his blog posting today (May 12, 2012) that the Genealogical Collection at the Library of Michigan will be moving to the Archives of Michigan.  This move will take place in mid-July, according to his sources.  To read his complete article, please see this posting.  State Librarian, Nancy Robinson is quoted as saying "The library’s Michigan materials will remain available to all interested in using them. Both library and archives materials will continue to be available to researchers through a common catalogue."


Volunteers as well as paid employees are making great progress in indexing the 1940 Census on a state-by-state basis. Here is the progress as of May 31st:

 Ancestry Library Edition: (In-Library use only!) You can search name indexes for Delaware, Maine, Nevada and Washington, DC.  You can search 14 states/territories by your ancestor's name: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Nevada, New Hampshire, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Kansas, Utah and Wyoming.

To help index the census at Family Search, visit their special website - and sign up today!



Henry_Louis_GatesWith the continuing popularity of the NBC show, Who Do You Think You Are, another series of interest for those researching their family history is due to start this Sunday evening, March 25 at 8:00 pm on PBS (Detroit DPTV.)  This ten-part program is called Finding Your Roots and is hosted by Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., prominent American genealogist .  He will be tracing the ancestry of 25 notables, including Samuel L. Jackson, Linda Chavez, John Legend, Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, Cory Booker, Barbara Walters and Condoleezza Rice.  Sunday's premier episode studies the family history of Branford Marsalis and Harry Connick, Jr.

On Monday morning, April 2nd, at 9:00 am (Eastern Daylight Savings Time) the 1940 Census of the United States will be released online.  The web address for this 16th Official Census is .  Experts predict that so many genealogists will be clicking on this URL simultaneously that the servers will crash, but my hope is that with new cloud computing, this won't happen.  If you can't access the site the first time you try, revisit it in a few minutes.  You will be just part of the millions of folks worldwide who want their first peek at this important resource!

1940_census_map_usaThis article was posted on Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Blog this morning.  He was re-posting it from -

"Today and the National Archives are revealing the website that will host the 1940 Census beginning April 2, 2012: We encourage you to bookmark the website, and watch the informational video providing behind-the-scenes look at the preparations made to publish the 1940 Census."

View the questions asked of individuals by census takers in 1940 as well as the 1940 Enumeration District Maps.

For those of you who order film from the Family History Library in Westland, this notice on the FamilySearch site applies to you.

Due to the increase in the price of raw microfilm stock and the decreasing availability of this product on the market, it has become necessary for FamilySearch to increase the price of film loans in family history centers. As of 15 February 2012 the following prices will be in effect for film loans in the United States and Canada:            

Short-term Film Loan   $7.50
Short-term Film Loan Extension $7.50
Extended Film Loan   $18.75
Microfiche Loan   $4.75

 FamilySearch’s Microfilm Ordering service is your gateway to a vast collection of genealogical and historical records. The service allows you to reserve and loan films to family history centers and affiliate libraries. The loan is free, but there is a small shipping and handling charge for each film.

I know we all love to search databases such as Ancestry and HeritageQuest, but the Library is still adding to valuable reference print resources as well.  We recently purchased Volumes VI (R-S) and VII (T-Y) of the series The Great Migration; Immigrants to New England 1634-1635 by Robert Charles Anderson.  Entries in this series include such personal details as origin, migration, church membership, occupation, education, listing of estate and much more!  Find the new volumes right next to the rest of the set on the Upper Level in Ref. 929.2A.

Another long-awaited addition is Volume X (Paine to Rogers) in The Settlers of the Beekman Patent series by Frank J. Doherty.  This reference work centers on Dutchess County, New York, and all of the 18th century settlers who lived there.  If you have ancestors from that county, this is an essential research tool!  All volumes in this set are on the Upper Level in our Genealogy Section with the call number of Ref. 929.374 D.

kerry_ancestorsIf you have ancestors from Ireland, we have a new set of books that are county-specific to help you in your research.  These brief paperbacks cover the following counties:

Find them on the Upper Level of the Library in the Genealogy Collection under the call number of 929.1.  They may be checked out for three weeks at a time.  Good luck with your research !!

1940_censusIn less than six months (April 2, 2012 to be exact) the National Archives will release the U.S. Census for 1940.  Those of us who are avid genealogists have been waiting for this event for the past ten years - the day after the 1930 Census was released.  The good news is that researchers will be able to view the entire census online for free.  The bad news is that there is no index and we'll have to wade through screen after screen of names, just like we did before the computerized indexes were produced. is gathering a team of volunteers to create an online index for this new census.  The work can be done from the comfort of your home computer.  All that is needed is time and patience!!  Visit their special site - to read more about this important project.  The more indexers who volunteer, the faster the work will get done.  You even get to specify your favorite state to index.  (I selected Georgia since my grandmother was a census taker in 1940 and I'm hoping to read her handwriting as she listed the people in her hometown.)

When I was a small child, my grandmother used to recite the Longfellow poem, Evangeline: A Tale of Acadie. This epic poem told the tale of the French settlers of the region now known as Nova Scotia.  TheyStatue of Evangeline standing in Nova Scotia today. arrived in the far eastern part of Canada somewhere around 1604 and settled in as farmers until 1755 when the British wanted them to take up arms against the French during the French and Indian War.  When they refused, they were exiled from their homes and sent to a number of other areas, including Louisiana.  This is the start of the Cajun culture in that state.

Last week, Ancestry Library Edition released ten new databases relating to this sad tale in the history of North America.  Some of these entries are in French and some in English.  If you have Acadian ancestors, or are just curious about the tragic story of the Acadians, please be sure to take a look at some of the great information contained online at Ancestry.  

According to an article posted recently in Dick Eastman's wonderful genealogy blog, the Social Security Administration has changed its policies about which records they will use in their Death Index.  They will no longer allow state death records to be used in compiling their Index.  In fact, they have removed 4.2 million records already in the index because the information had been obtained using state records.  These changes took effect on November 1, so you might want to check and see if a loved one has disappeared from this valuable resource.

Ceil Jensen, a native of Detroit and lead developer of the Polonica Americana Research Institute, has written an excellent book on how to research Polish Genealogy.  She covers traditional topics such as stolatimmigration and naturalization records, U.S. military records, and maps & geographical tools in an easy-to-understand manner.  She then gives added value to her product by discussing archival problems like curling documents, preserving your photographs and negatives, and even safegarding digital media.  Ceil offers a number of case studies to illustrate possible difficulties if your Polish ancestors were Jewish, sent to Concentration Camps, or were Displaced Persons following World War II.  This is a "must read" for anyone who is researching ancestors who came from Poland, Galicia, or the Borderlands.  Find it in our Genealogy Collection with the call number 929.34 J.

The popular history and genealogy database, Footnote, has not only changed its name but also fold3 its focus.  Always a leader in making military resources available online, Fold3 will now focus on presenting US Military Records and stories.  Since Footnote is owned by, the thought seems to be to suggest users  subscribe to Ancestry for general genealogical information and then have a second subscription to Fold3 for anything to do with historic military research. 

In case you are wondering about the name Fold3, the official press release from Ancestry states: "The Fold3 name is derived from the third fold in a traditional military flag folding ceremony which "is made in honor and remembrance of the veteran departing our ranks who gave a portion of his or her life for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world."

Both Ancestry Library Edition and Fold3 are available here at the Plymouth District Library!

I am posting a link to an excellent paper on the Tech Tips Blog from called Preserving Your Family History Records Digitally.  Although this is a very long article, it's an excellent resource as well as a refresher course for those of us documenting our family history.  Since I started gathering various papers, photographs and documents over fifty years ago, I've progressed from strictly paper files to floppy discs to CD-ROMs and then to flash or thumb drives.  Currently I have an external hard drive, but I'm also saving photos and special items on remote servers "in the cloud."  Gary Wright discusses many of these options in his paper and goes on to talk about the challenges involved with the various storage options.  Whether you are a genealogy novice or an experienced researcher, you'll find this article very worthwhile!

mocavoI'd be willing to bet that not many of you use a search engine with the strange name of Mocavo.  Yet, for genealogists, it's a wonderful tool and one highly praised by those in the profession.  Mocavo is strictly a genealogy search engine.  Unlike Google, which brings results from everywhere, Mocavo hones in on sites such as Find-a-Grave, the free pages from RootsWeb at, war records that have been posted online, state genealogy sites, and even the Ellis Island Search site.  You end up with fewer results than you'd get with Googling your name, but they tend to be quality results relating to family research.  Give this research tool a try by clicking on the image in this article or by going to !

familysearchIf you have been doing genealogy for any number of years, I'm sure you are used to using the web site from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) called Family Search.  For the past few years, there has been another version of this great product called Record Search Pilot which contained records indexed by volunteers throughout the world.  The information from this Pilot site is now part of the NEW site which boasts having over 2.1 billion records either indexed or available online.  The tradional familysearch page is still up and running at, while the new one is just slightly different - .  If you are doing a thorough search, especially for someone NOT in the United States, I suggest that you try both of this searches.


Who Do You Think You Are?: the essential guide to tracing your family history by Megan Smolenyak.

This book is a companion guide to the popular television series now in its second season.  In addition to containing basic information for those just beginning research into family history, this work also features "Full-color profiles of celebrities' surprising revelations."  Although this may not appeal to everyone's interests, those who have avidly followed the TV program might appreciate this content. 
Other books on beginning your research include Unpuzzling your Past: the best-selling basic guide to genealogy by Emily Ann Croom (2010) and First Steps in Genealogy: a beginner's guide to researching your family history by Desmond Walls Allen. 
Find these and other books on beginning genealogy in the Genealogy Collection on the Upper Level.