Thursday, October 29, 2015

Surname Meanings and History

Understanding the history of your ancestors' surnames may help you with your genealogy research and can give you a clue as to your ancestors' lives.

Most surnames fall into four categories:
  • Descendants/Given names -- prefixes or suffixes are added to a given name to establish a relationship. e.g. Anderson, O'Connor, Fitzgerald, MacDonald.
  • Occupational names -- indicates a person's career. e.g. Baker, Brewer, Miller, Smith.
  • Geographic or location names -- derived from where a person lived. This could be a place name, e.g. London, or describe the landscape, e.g. Hill, Pond.  
  • Nicknames or descriptive names -- suggest a person's distinguishing characteristic, e.g. Short, Brown, Long, Fairchild.
Name dictionaries use historical documents to trace a name throughout history. Several of the dictionaries in the Genealogy & Local History Room can tell you a name's meaning and etymology and may help you place the name in historical and geographical context.

Some of the best dictionaries for American name research include:

Also look for dictionaries for your specific ethnic group. For example: 

Look for more name dictionaries in the Genealogy & Local History Room.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair

The National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair is happening today and tomorrow.

Check out the session schedule and download class handouts and you can watch the live stream on YouTube.

If you can't follow the live stream, the sessions will be archived and available for you to watch whenever you like. Follow NARA's YouTube page for more genealogy videos!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Getting Started with Ancestry

Learn the basics of on Tuesday, October 27 at 10 AM.  Discover how to easily navigate our most popular genealogy database.

Register online or call the Reference Desk at 847-729-7500.

Monday, October 12, 2015

How to Research Hispanic Ancestors When You Don't Speak Spanish

Do you want to research your Hispanic ancestors but do not speak Spanish? There's an article on the
GenealogyBank Blog about how to get started doing research in Spanish.

You will also want to consult the Spanish Genealogical Word List on the FamilySearch Wiki. And don't forget to take advantage of Google Translate.

Buena suerte!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Family History Research Day

Celebrate Family History Month with us this Saturday!

Need help getting started with genealogy? Have you hit a “brick wall” in your research? Join us for a Family History Research Day. Our genealogy experts can help you with your research in the technology lab or visit the Genealogy Room to use our print collections. Drop in any time between 1-4 PM to get individualized help, learn new tricks, and utilize our resources.