Jumpstart Your Genealogy Research

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According to recent polls, genealogy is a popular pastime, second only to gardening. While many people want to find out more about their ancestors, getting started can be a daunting task.

The Fauquier County Public Library, with numerous online and print resources, plus knowledgeable reference staff to help navigate the wide range of research options, is a good place to start.  To learn about resources available at the library, join us for Getting Started in Genealogy – an overview of how to conduct genealogy research using the library’s resources.

  • Bealeton branch library: Saturday, April 27, 10 a.m.
  • Warrenton central library:  Monday, April 29, 7 p.m.

Getting Started in Genealogy is part of the 2019 Fauquier Community Read program. This year’s book – Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate – is the riveting story of two families, generations apart, that are forever changed by a heartbreaking injustice.  It’s exploration of family ties is a natural impetus for exploring our own family history.

Although some genealogy research can be done electronically, not everything is available online. At some point in genealogy research, printed materials and primary documents such as birth and death records, deeds, wills and land records will need to be consulted. It is also necessary to determine where your ancestors lived and what records are available for that area.

The following books – all available at Fauquier County Public Library locations – are good tools for beginning genealogists:

Online tools also play an important role in genealogy research, but personal subscriptions can be expensive.  Patrons can use these subscription databases, free through the library:

  • AncestryLibrary is the library version of the popular and extensive genealogy database, Ancestry.com. It is available for in-library use only at any Fauquier County Library branch and includes:
    • US Census records
    • Vital records such as birth, death, and marriage records
    • Land records
    • Military records and much more.
  • HeritageQuest includes U.S. census records, the full text of over 28,000 family and local history books, and selected Revolutionary War records. This database can be accessed from home with your valid Fauquier County Library card.
  • Genealogy Connect is a collection of full-text genealogy books on the American Revolution, the Atlantic States, New England and much more. It is also available from home with your library card.
  • Historical Washington Post provides full-text articles dating back to 1877 and is available from home with your library card.

To learn more about other Fauquier Community Read programs, including “An Evening with the Author,” visit the Fauquier Community Read webpage.  You can also reserve your seat to hear Lisa Wingate read from Before We Were Yours, discuss her work and her process for researching and writing at 7 p.m., Thursday, May 16 at the Rice Theater, Highland School.

Vicky Ginther, Reference Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library

*This article first appeared in the April 17 edition of The Fauquier Times.


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