Research Genealogy

Old Photo

Use library resources to start your own research. 

Online Learning  

Databases and Classes
Ancestry, Library Edition (in library use only)
HeritageQuest Online
Universal Class, Genealogy 101



Family Search

Google Maps
History at Home: A Guide to Genealogy
Illinois State Archives
National Archives
RootsWeb Boards


Immigration Sites

Canadian Border Crossings 
Ellis Island 
Castle Garden 
Immigrant Ships 


Books, DVDs and Other Resources

Search "Genealogy" at HPL
Search "Genealogy" at all SWAN libraries
Golden Rules of Genealogy 
ProQuest Research Tips



A Few Things to Remember

  • Spelling names correctly or consistently was not overly important to our ancestors. Think of every possible way that a name could be spelled, and check them all.  Sometimes spellings were changed from one generation to the next.  Also try searching last name first AND first name first.
  • Research siblings, too. You never know when you’ll find a record for one of them that connects to more information on the whole family.
  • Interview your living relatives ASAP! Even younger cousins – they may have some family stories or photos that you don’t have.
  • Remember that borders changed frequently. Think great-great grandpa was born in Germany? Some areas of Germany changed hands with Poland and back again a number of times.  Check Google historical timelines and histories of your ancestors’ countries.
  •  Document your sources – this will not only help prove your information, but keep you from searching the same place more than once.
  • Just because it’s on the Internet, doesn’t mean it’s true. It’s best to find more than one resource for your “facts”. But, DO record approximate dates, i.e. “ab. 1904” or “May 1905” until you have a solid, real date.
  • Printable forms can be downloaded from Ancestry and Cyndi’s List.
  • Genealogy is an adventure!