Wednesday, March 28, 2018

FamilySearch Tips

Did you know that 77% of the records on FamilySearch can't be found through a basic "Historical Records" search? If this is the only place you search on FamilySearch, you're missing most of their collections!

Under the "Search" tab, click on "Catalog" or "Books" to find record collections that are usually not searchable under "Records."

The catalog searches FamilySearch's entire collection of genealogical materials. Search for items by title, record type, family name, or geographic location. Some of these collections are not available online but others are digitized and browsable. You can find lots of European records here.

Find and read digitized books from FamilySearch and other genealogical institutions. Many of these items are local histories, family histories, or surname studies.

Don't ignore the "Find a Collection" section at the bottom of the "Search Historical Records" page. Search by collection title or click on "Browse all published collections." Narrow down your search by geographic location and see all collections for a specific area.

Explore these 'hidden' collections and soon you'll be breaking down your brick walls!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Illinois Maps

Celebrate Illinois' 200th birthday with some very interesting maps! See how the state has changed with Illinois: Mapping the Prairie State Through History

This book includes maps from the 1670s to the present as well as essays about different aspects of Illinois history. The maps record boundary changes, detail the growth of towns (both large and small), and chart railroad and industrial expansion in the state.

Maps make great resources for family historians too. Trace your ancestors with Family Maps of Cook County, Illinois compiled by Gregory A. Boyd.

If you family was an early settler in the area, they may have received a land patent. Boyd gives you three maps: a land patent map, a current (ca 2006) road map, and a historical map which lists cemeteries, railroads, and waterways. Look for you family in the surname index or search the map of your ancestors town and neighborhood to find family names.

While land patent maps sound confusing, they're easy to use. For example, here you see a road map of Glenview. The library would be located in box 35.

And here is the land patent map. You can see that Edwin Clark received a patent for the land the library currently sits on in 1840. 

Find your ancestors' original homestead or see who originally owned your current property. Maps can add lots of context to our family histories.

And for more historical maps, check out the map case in the Genealogy & Local History Room.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Irish Research

Find your Irish ancestors this weekend and search Irish records for free on in honor of St. Patrick's Day!

Don't know where to start? Ancestry's Irish research guide can help you get started finding records in both the US and in Ireland. The guide also highlights their major Irish collections.

You can also visit the Irish American Heritage Center on Saturday for their St. Patrick's Day Festival. Celebrate Irish culture and visit the IAHC Library for genealogy workshops throughout the day.