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Welcome to our brief guide intended to get your started on your genealogy research. Below you can find helpful tips as well as links to great sources of information.
A Brief Guide to Beginning Genealogy
Researching a family history can be very complicated and time consuming. Some people work on their Family Trees for decades! It is helpful to read or skim a "how-to" book to get a general idea of the processes involved. Way Library has many of these in the general collection and in Local History under the call numbers 929 and 929.1. There are also free forms, checklists, and informational flyers in the local history room. Our own collection includes records for Perrysburg and Wood County. However, other records are available on the internet at other local facilities, or by e-mail and surface mail.
Before anything else, gather things you may already have at home. Diaries, wills, marriage, birth, and death certificates, obituaries, and family Bibles contain more information than expected. Simply interviewing relatives will save a lot of guessing and footwork later. Someone in your family may have written a book or started gathering things, so be sure to ask around among cousins and other relations. Check the local library in the "home town" in case an ancestor left a copy there. Then, while you're at the library, you can begin your search through city directories, indexes to county and city history books, atlases which show land ownership, and best of all, those "how-to" books.
Filling in the blank spaces on a family tree is one final goal. Each event should be backed up by certificates and records of what sources where checked, even the ones where nothing was found. Some people also keep records on computer software. Be sure to stay on one family line for awhile and you can always go back and follow branches later. Pick a generation to end with, or complete one scrapbook. Later you can always go further.
There are many genealogy sites on the internet; however, only a few have actual names, records, data or indexes. One place to start is www.Cyndislist.com. It categorizes many of the best sites including special sources for Civil War, pilgrim ships, free forms, and many other topics.
Way Library subscribes to two genealogy databases that may be helpful to you:
- Ancestry Library (limited to in-library use only) - http://ancestrylibrary.proquest.com/
- HeritageQuest (use this link for in-library access) - http://www.heritagequestonline.com/
There are also two local genealogy databases:
Finding clues and pieces of the puzzle is very satisfying. Deciding on a final goal may never happen, but if you want to publish a book or write an article, we have how-to books on those too! Local genealogical societies are wonderful for helping you when you're stuck. They usually have a monthly meeting and publish great indexes for local sources. They usually have some ties with the library so you can get in touch with members.
Working on your family history can be a lifelong hobby or a quick project you finish in a few months. Either way, it is an exciting activity bringing your extended family closer together.
Local History Room Genealogy Sources
- Obituary file
- Local Cemetery records
- Perrysburg Messenger Journal on microfilm, 1848-present
- Wood County Census, 1850-1930, on microfilm
- Federal Census Index of Ohio, 1820, 1830, 1940, 1950, 1960
- Perrysburg High School yearbooks
- Various military indexes
- Family Histories
- City Directories
- Local Church Records