Manchester City Library

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Starting a Genealogy Quest

May 1st, 2020 · No Comments · City Library, Library Databases, Main Branch, NH Room, West Branch

My name is Eileen Reddy, and I’m a librarian in the Information & Technology division of the Manchester City Library. For about the last fifteen years, I have been working on my family’s history and have discovered a lot of stories.

With the present stay-at-home situation, now is a good time to start your own family history search. The library has two genealogy research tools: HeritageQuest Genealogy Online and Ancestry.com (Library Edition) you can use to get started.

How to begin

The best way to start your research is by talking with members of your family. While you can’t get out during the pandemic, you can Skype, talk on the phone, e-mail, write letters or look through old correspondence, etc. Try to gather as much information from your family as you can, about the relationships between present and past members, birth dates and locations, marriage dates and locations and for passed family members dates and locations of their passing.

Next steps

Births, marriages and deaths records are known as vital records, and provide valuable information about parentage, important dates and locations.

A good way to organize the information is Family Group Record and Family Tree forms. You can find blank forms doing searches on the Internet, or create your own format. Family Group Record organizes the information for one family per sheet. The information included on each sheet:

Husband (Head of Household)

  • Names of parents
  • Birth date and location
  • Marriage date and location
  • Death date and location

     Wife – same information as above

     Each child – same information as above, except names of parents

These sheets help you double check to make sure that you are looking at the correct person. During my search, I found out that two people were born in the same New York county with the same name and in the same year. However, I could never find a family connection between the two.

Once you have your information organized, you can more easily see what’s missing. From here, you’ll need to figure out where to look for additional information. Depending on your ancestor’s background or occupation, there may be special websites you can use: some free, some not. You may need to plan a trip to an out-of-state library, historical society or cemetery. For New Hampshire ancestors, don’t forget the New Hampshire Room at Manchester City Library (once we reopen), where we have the Union Leader and microfilm (chronological order) and other resources.

Watch this blog for future posts on genealogy research. Next up will be information on the United States census (1790 – 1940), as well as HeritageQuest and Ancestery.com.

If you have questions, I can be reached at ereddy@manchesternh.gov. At this time, I don’t have access to the NH Room itself, but I can provide general information and advice to help you get started.

Let the quest begin!

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