Manchester City Library

Manchester, NH's Online Library

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Family Search Basic Primer

September 8th, 2015 · No Comments · Books, City Library, Main Branch, NH Room

Have you ever wondered who your ancestors were and what they did in their lifetimes? Would you like to go on a journey to see what you can discover about them?

I started my search of my family’s history about 12 years ago. I have run into dead ends on some family lines, but found really neat stories on other family lines. Searching your family history is like being a detective trying to solve mysteries. It is both exhilarating and frustrating

So you want to know how to get started on your adventure?

To begin, have a system to record information and then start asking questions. There are forms called Family Group Record and Pedigree Charts / Family Trees to help keep the information you find in order. You can find examples of these forms and other possible record forms at It is very important that you document your sources, especially if you want to join a family group or organizations such as the Daughters or Sons of the American Revolution.

The Manchester City Library has two subscription databases to assist with your exploration. (Library Edition) can only be accessed in the Library. I call it a database of databases. HeritageQuest can be accessed from the library computers and from home or on your mobile device if you have a valid Manchester City Library card. HeritageQuest includes informatiom from census records, phone directories, and copies of many family histories and geographical histories, which can have genealogical information about families in the area.

Vital Records are an important tool to establishing the leaves of your family tree, as you work backwards from your parents, to your grandparents, great grandparents, great-great grandparents and so on. The three types of vital records are birth records, marriage records and death records. They can help establish geographical locations, dates in the life of an ancestor and who the parents are; including the surname of the mother. However, there is one word of caution! Two people with the same name can be born in the same year and in the same county or town; and have no relation to each other. The Family Group Record that you build as you research can help you double check which person is the correct person; by knowing who the parents are, who brothers and sisters are and the locations of key events in a person’s life.

The New Hampshire Room at the Manchester City Library is a place where you can do research about your family ancestry, especially if they are connected to Manchester NH, or find books about how to research your ancestry, using different research tools and databases. The NH Room is open during the following hours:

Monday         9:30 AM – 12:30 PM and 5:30 – 8:30 PM

Wednesday   9:30 AM – 12:30 Pm

Thursday       1:30 – 4:30 PM

Saturday       9:30 AM – 2:30 PM

Tuesday and Friday           By appointment only

The New Hampshire Room collection includes Manchester telephone directories, microfilm on older Manchester newspapers, older Manchester vital records, New Hampshire town histories which include genealogical information, some Manchester church records, census microfilm for New Hampshire, New England Historical & Genealogical Record, books on family histories and more. The materials in the New Hampshire can only be used in the New Hampshire Room. For more information about the New Hampshire Room call 624-6550 ext. 320 (Information Desk).

The following books are part of the library’s non-fiction collection and can be checked out:

Allen, Desmond Walls.   First Steps in Genealogy: A Beginner’s Guide to Research Your Family History

Croom, Emily Anne.   Unpuzzling Your Past: The Best Selling Basic Guide to Genealogy

Crowe, Elizabeth Powell.   Genealogy Online

Hendrickson, Nancy.   Discover Your Family History Online: A Step-by-step guide to Starting Guide to Starting Your Genealogy Search

Each person’s journey of discovery will be different, depending on the time period and the geographical location of their ancestors. Different research tools / databases will be needed, depending on the information you develop over time. Warning, once you get into the search you will be hooked. Enjoy the journey.

Check future programming schedules for an introductory class on using our two genealogical databases and some aspects of basic genealogy. The class will most likely take place in October.

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