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by Cindy Steinhoff Drake, Library Curator, Nebraska State Historical Society, October 2001


Genealogy and family history are concerned with tracing one's ancestors in order to compile a lineage or "family tree." This can be an extremely time-consuming process and because of that, it is one that patrons must undertake for themselves. We don't have the time to compile a genealogy for a patron, but we are able to give references to good guidebooks, to suggest logical approaches, to help find local sources of help, and to provide interlibrary loan services and referrals.


Patrons doing genealogical research for the first time should be asked the following reference questions:

What family names are you researching?

Where did the family live and during what time-period?

Do you have family documents such as obituaries, family bibles, photographs, or letters which give dates, locations, etc. about your family?

Once this is established, it may be helpful to have copies of ancestry charts (also known as lineage charts, pedigree charts) available to give the patron the basis of collecting information on his family (See "Genealogy Charts and Forms" in next section). An address list is available from the Nebraska State Historical Society which provides genealogical resource suppliers locally and nationwide. It also includes the addresses for companies that supply preservation supplies.

A good point to make to a patron is that in genealogical research, he/she is number one and they must start with themselves and work back through the generations. Patrons must work from the known to the unknown. Prominent individuals with the same surname may not necessarily be an ancestor.

Compiled Family Histories

Computers and the Internet

Genealogy and Librarians

Genealogy Guidebooks

Nebraska History

Newspapers and Periodicals

Passenger Lists and Naturalization Records

Research Facilities

US Local History, Vital Records and Census Records

US Maps, Cemetery and Court Records

For more information, contact Lisa Kelly.