Need a Loan? Go to the Library! Interlibrary Loan

Book Stack On Wood Shelf  by vorakorn/Courtesy of

Book Stack On Wood Shelf by vorakorn/Courtesy of

When is the last time you asked your local reference librarian for an interlibrary loan? Interlibrary loan is an important tool for the genealogist. Through interlibrary loan, a whole world of resources opens up that you would otherwise not have access to.

Simply put, the way interlibrary loan works is that it allows you to borrow a book or items from a library that is either some distance from your home, or where you do not have borrower’s privileges. You request the item/s from your local library and pay a small fee that is determined by your library (in some cases there may not be a fee). After you submit the request, your library contacts the lending library. Within a short amount of time, the item you’ve requested is sent to your library where you will either be allowed to check it out or use it at the library.

What can you request through interlibrary loan? Interlibrary loan is not just for books. You may also borrow materials like microfilmed newspapers and journal articles. What is not available via interlibrary loan? Archival materials, rare books, reference materials or other items that do not circulate. You will need to talk to your local librarian to find out what restrictions may exist and whether they are able to obtain items from a particular library.

Whenever you start a new research project, search through your local library’s catalog, as well as the library that serves the area where your ancestor lived as well as  local university/college libraries. Then identify books and other materials that you would like to request via interlibrary loan. Don’t forget that you can search multiple library catalogs at once using the worldwide library catalog WorldCat.  To learn more about using WorldCat, consult the web page,  What is WorldCat.


RootsTech 2016 Announces Opening Day Keynotes, Bruce Feiler and Paula Williams Madison

For Immediate Release


SALT LAKE CITY, October 27, 2015—RootsTech, the largest family history conference in the world, announced today the first three keynote speakers in its all-star lineup for RootsTech 2016. The first general session (Thursday, February 4, 2016) will feature three inspiring speakers, which include New York Times bestselling author Bruce Feiler, award-winning journalist Paula Williams Madison, and the president and CEO of FamilySearch International, Stephen Rockwood.

Bruce Feiler is a bestselling author and columnist for The New York Times, where he writes the “This Life” column about today’s families. He is also the writer and presenter of the PBS Series Walking the Bible and Sacred Journeys with Bruce Feiler.

His latest book, The Secrets of Happy Families, reviews best practices for modern-day parents from some of the country’s most creative minds, including top designers in Silicon Valley, elite peace negotiators, and the Green Berets.

“RootsTech is the premier event for people who care about family history,” Feiler said. “I’ve become a passionate believer in the importance of telling your family history as a foundational tool for having a happy family. I can’t think of a better audience to share my own story with.”

Paula Williams Madison is an award-winning journalist who is a former NBC executive. Currently, Madison serves as chairman and CEO of Madison Media Management LLC, a media consultancy company based in Los Angeles with global reach. She’s been named one of the “75 Most Powerful African Americans in Corporate America” by Black Enterprise Magazine and was recently honored by the East West Players and AARP with their Visionary Award.

After a successful career in news journalism, Madison retired in 2011 and embarked on a search for her grandfather Samuel Lowe, who returned to his native China after living in Jamaica. Madison produced a documentary film on the topic, Finding Samuel Lowe: From Harlem to China. In April of this year, HarperCollins published a memoir of the journey Finding Samuel Lowe: China, Jamaica, Harlem.

Attendees can expect to hear about Madison’s compelling journey, including the resources that helped her. “I used to research and try to locate my family in China. This system will help people like me find their families,” said Madison. “Family to me means bloodline—past, present, and future. You have to honor the past as you live in the present so that you can guarantee a future for your family.”


Stephen Rockwood is the new president and CEO of FamilySearch International and managing director for the Family History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Prior to joining FamilySearch, Rockwood was a successful entrepreneur, creating unique service offerings for worldwide customers and building several businesses from the ground up.

“We look forward to another great RootsTech conference as we invite attendees to discover their families in a world-class setting. We are thrilled to welcome Bruce Feiler and Paula Williams Madison,” Rockwood said. “Their personal experiences will be highly inspiring for many as we kick off this exciting conference.

Visit to reserve your seat now to hear Bruce Feiler, Paula Williams Madison, and Stephen Rockwood at the Thursday morning general session on February 4, 2016. Passes start at just $29.


RootsTech 2016 will be held on February 3–6 in Salt Lake City, Utah.





About RootsTech

RootsTech, hosted by FamilySearch International, is a global conference celebrating families across generations, where people of all ages are inspired to discover and share their memories and connections. This annual event has become the largest of its kind in the world, attracting tens of thousands of participants worldwide.


Learn More Genealogy At A Glance

Short on time? Need help with your research but don’t have the time to read a book or take a class? Check out Genealogy at a Glance. These 4 page laminated short guides provide you with what you need to find your ancestors. We have 29 of these guides available in GenMall  to help you including:


African American Genealogy Research 

American Cemetery Research

US Federal Census Records

Cherokee Genealogy Research 

Court Records Research

Ellis Island Research


Family History Library Research

Finding Female Ancestors

Immigration Research

Scots-Irish Genealogy Research


Priced at just $8.95, Genealogy at a Glance titles are affordable and  available at the GenMall.

Where Are They? Searching For Names

You’ve probably had this happen to you. You enter your ancestor’s name in a search engine and hit the search button. But instead of a hit, you receive a “sorry no results” message. You know they should be listed in that census/newspaper/vital record index, so how can there be no results? Well, aside from the problems that can occur with information that is transcribed and indexed incorrectly, your ancestor may be listed differently than you are expecting. Variations of their name, whether or not they themselves used them, may be the reason you can’t find what you are looking for. For example, if you are looking for your grandfather, John Allen Green, he might be listed as:


  • John Allen Green
  • John A. Green
  • John Green
  • Green
  • A. Green
  • Allen Green
  • Allen Green
  • Jno Green
  • Green


In addition to the name variations there are also other ways that Green could have been spelled/misspelled (Gren, Greene).

The above example only considers a man’s name. When researching women, consider the possible name variations and misspellings for her name, as well as variations based on her husband’s or husbands’ names. Consider that Mary Ann Green becomes Mrs. John Green or Mrs. J. A. Green but started out in life as Miss Babcock.

Create a list with your ancestor’s name variations. Use that list every time you search a database like the 1940 census.

Remember that depending on the search engine, additional search tools might be available that can help you. The RootsPoint search engine includes additional features under the box labeled Match Type. Search options include wildcard searching. In our wildcard search, if you put a ‘*’ at the end of ‘Smi*’, it will match any number of characters after those three letters ‘Smi.’ Results would include the surnames, Smith, Smithson, Smithsonian etc. If you want to just replace one letter you could add a question mark (?) instead of the letter. So for example, ‘S?ith’ could result in Smith, Swith, Stith etc.

Start Searching NOW!

How are you searching for your ancestor? If you are just using one way to spell their name, there’s a good chance you’re missing records. Start writing down variations and misspellings, and utilize search engine tools to find all your ancestor’s records.


What’s On Your Genealogy Bucket List?

Blue Bucket With Opened Cover On White Background by Keerati/Courtesy of

Blue Bucket With Opened Cover On White Background by Keerati/Courtesy of

The other day I overheard a conversation between two friends regarding one’s recent vacation. In response to where the person went, the friend replied, “that’s on my bucket list.”

Do you have a bucket list? A bucket list is a to-do list of activities you want to experience or places you want to visit prior to dying. You may have a bucket list for your life in general, but what about your genealogy? Do you have a genealogical bucket list? What do you personally want to accomplish with your family history research before you shake off this mortal coil?

If you haven’t thought of your own genealogy bucket list, here are a few ideas to get you started:


Research at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah

Considered a mecca for genealogists, the Family History Library has long been a must-see trip for many genealogists. It’s no wonder, since taking a trip to the Library allows you the opportunity to conduct a large amount of research in a small amount of time. Instead of ordering films at a cost to be delivered to your local FamilySearch Center, visiting the Family History Library allows you to view as many films as you want for free. Plus, you can take advantage of the books, map collections, and online databases available only at the Library.

Not sure when you are going to be able to get to Salt Lake City? Start planning now. Talk to members of your genealogy society to get tips on how to tackle research at the Family History Library, as well as the practical details such as where to eat and where to stay.  As you plan your trip, make sure to also plan what research you would like to conduct.

Is the Family History Library the only genealogy library worthy of a place on your bucket list? Definitely not. Other genealogy libraries include Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana; Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence Missouri; The DAR Library in Washington, D.C.; and the Clayton Library in Houston, Texas. Don’t forget to add to your list libraries and archives in the places your ancestors lived.


Visit an Ancestor’s Homeland

Whether you are interested in your ancestor’s hometown in the United States or their homeland in a distant country, walking where your ancestors walked is the best way to get a sense of their lives, as well as to find original source materials for research.

Planning this type of once-in-a-lifetime trip takes more than just securing the travel arrangements. You will also need to identify libraries, archives, cemeteries, and other places to visit. Start now by identifying which resources are not available online or through interlibrary loan. Then start compiling a list of places you will need to visit and what you will need to see while there. Keep in mind that other opportunities might arise while you are onsite, so don’t overschedule your time. You may want to consider paying a professional genealogist for some consulting time or to help you navigate repositories while there.  is a service that can connect your with researchers working in the area you are visiting.


Attend a National Conference

There’s nothing like a national genealogical conference to help you learn more about research, and provide a great opportunity to network with other genealogists. Two of the largest conferences are The National Genealogical Society (NGS)  and Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS). RootsTech , a genealogy conference focused on technology,  is held in Salt Lake City, just down the street from the Family History Library. Attending this conference is a good way to also spend some research time at the Library.

If you would rather start small, consider a regional conference, workshop, or seminar sponsored by a  nearby library, Family History Center, archive or society. These often feature expert presentations at a much lower registration price than a national conference.

What’s on your bucket list?

Take some time to think about what you want to accomplish with your genealogy. A bucket list is a great way to set some goals and have something to work towards.


Graves In Your Family Tree

Do you have Graves in your family tree? We have family histories and cemetery transcription books to help with your genealogy research. Check them out in the GenMall.

Genealogy of the Graves Family in America

John Graves and His Descendants 1703-1804

Know Your Relatives: The Sharps, Gibbs, Graves, Efland, Albright, Loy, Miller, Snodderly


A Guide to Irish Churches and Graveyards

A Record of Interments at the Friends Burial Ground, Baltimore, Maryland

Cemeteries Of Carter County, Tennessee: An Index [DVD]

Colonial Gravestone Inscriptions in the State of New Hampshire

Genealogy At A Glance: American Cemetery Research

Gravestones of Plainfield New Hampshire 1767-1946

Henry County [Kentucky] Cemeteries: Parts I, II, and III

Inscriptions on the Grave Stones in the Grave Yards Of Northampton

Irish Famine Immigrants in the State Of Vermont. Gravestone Inscriptions

Old Grave-Yards of Northampton and Adjacent Counties

5 Places To Find Your Ancestor’s Death

Granite Cross On Christian Cemetery by Serge Bertasius/ Courtesy of

Granite Cross On Christian Cemetery by Serge Bertasius/ Courtesy of

As new family history researchers  we are taught that the place to find information about a death is a death certificate. But what happens when there is no death certificate? Is a vital record the only document that tells the story of your ancestor’s death? Here are five other resources to consider .

Church Records
When a government does not record deaths, the next step is to consider the religion of the deceased. It’s possible that their death may have been recorded in some type of church record. The type of record is going to differ according to the church. In some cases the deceased might be buried in a church cemetery, or their obituary may be published in a church newspaper. Keep in mind that church records can be found at an individual congregational level, a regional level, a church-sponsored museum, archive or university, or even a state archive.


Family Bibles

The holy grail of genealogy must be the elusive family Bible. You may not be in possession of this family treasure, but there may be someone else out there that has either the original family Bible, or at least a copy of those all-important handwritten entries of family milestones. Start by asking any and all family members if they know if or where one may exist. Keep an eye out on auction websites like eBay, and search portal websites like  Cyndi’s List  or Linkpendium for links to family bibles online.


Court Records

Even if you don’t have an exact date of  death for your ancestor, start looking at court records for possible probates of their estate. Even if  they didn’t leave a will, their estate may still have been probated. In some cases these indexes may be available on microfilm through FamilySearch. To learn more about courthouse research consult the Genealogy at a Glance guide, Court Records Research .


For genealogists, newspapers provide much more than just obituaries. Newspapers provide legal notices, funeral notices, death notices, and articles. Newspapers can be found on genealogy subscription websites like GenealogyBank and state digitization projects like Utah Digital Newspapers  and Colorado Historic Newspapers. Search  state archive websites for any newspaper collections they may have either online, or on microfilm. Microfilm is often available to request through your local public library’s Interlibrary loan program. Check with your local librarian.


Gravestone and Cemetery Records

The dates listed on a gravestone provide clues to the birth and death of an ancestor, but remember, these could be incorrect. Contrary to popular belief, names and dates carved in stone are not necessarily set in stone, so to speak. In some cases, gravestones hold much more information than a birth and death.  I’ve seen the names of children, marriage information and photos included on a headstone.

Depending on the type of cemetery your ancestor is buried in, you may find records that provide a lot of information including cause of death and next of kin, you may find records that simply state where the person is buried, or there may not be any records at all. Check with the owner or caretaker of the cemetery – in some cases a city, county, church or private institution – for what information they have on your ancestor’s burial.

Cemetery transcriptions have been a project for many groups such as genealogy societies, membership organizations, Boy Scout Eagle projects and church groups. These can be found online and on microfilm via FamilySearch. If there are several cemetery transcriptions available, check out all of them. In some cases what one transcription misses, another will find. To learn more about cemetery research see the Genealogy at a Glance guide, American Cemetery Research .

3 MORE Genealogy Tasks To Accomplish In 30 Minutes

Clock by africa/Courtesy of

Clock by africa/Courtesy of

Last week we discussed 3 genealogy tasks you could accomplish in 30 minutes or less. But because there’s so much that can be done in a short amount of time we decided to give you 3 more ideas to work on this weekend.


  1. Search Digitized Books

Consider searching digitized book websites for histories of the place your ancestor was from, city directories, and even surname books.

Digitized book websites include Google Books and Internet Archive. FamilySearch has digitized books available throughout the FamilySearch Catalog as well as through their Books link on their homepage. Digitized books on FamilySearch include collections from Allen County Public Library, Brigham Young University, Houston Public Library, and the Mid-Continent Public Library.

  1. Find Family Members in the 1940 Census

Sometimes as we search we concentrate on one individual ancestor. While there is nothing wrong with that type of searching, you may also want to consider searching a database for all family living during that time period. Take some time to find everyone in your family in the 1940 census. Record where they are living and their occupations. Use the clues you find in the census to follow-up in city directories and other records. RootsPoint includes the 1940 US census and provides you with sharing tools to make it easier to share your finds with family via social media channels Facebook and Twitter.

  1. Search eBay

You might be thinking, “search eBay? I thought this was about genealogy?”  eBay should be part of your genealogy research plan. Why? Think of eBay as a temporary archive of ephemera, heirlooms, books, photos, and periodicals that have been found or purchased by others and are being offered for sale. Searching eBay for the surname of an ancestor or the place an ancestor lived can be an important part of your research.

To find items pertinent to your family, try searching on some specific keywords such as a surname and/or a location, and checking on that search term often. You might even create an alert for that search. Additionally, consider searching on phrases that describe your ancestor’s occupation, membership group, or religion.


Your Time Starts Now…

Limited on time? No problem, we’re all busy, but much can be accomplished in small increments of time. Take 30 minutes this weekend and start adding to your family history.


Before The King’s Daughters: The Filles À Marier

Available from GenMall: Before The King’s Daughters: The Filles À Marier 1634-1662.

From Peter Gagné, the author of King’s Daughters and Founding Mothers, the Filles du Roi, 1663-1673 comes the untold story of female immigration to New France.

Before the state-sponsored immigration program that sent nearly 800 women known as Filles du Roi to Québec, 262 brave and adventurous women made the journey to New France on their own. Sent by relatives and religious organizations or enlisting on their own account, these women did not benefit from a paid passage and dowry drawn from the King’s treasury, but they did face the same if not worse hardships and dangers. Known as the Filles à Marier or “marriageable girls,” they were the first single women to set foot in the colony since its return from the English in 1632. True pioneers and heroines, they left their homes in France to found new ones in the New World.

This book – the first work dedicated solely to this group of pioneer women – tells their story, collectively and individually. It first examines the much-misunderstood early immigration of women to New France, explaining the need for women in the colony, the difficulties in increasing the population and the unfounded assertions that these women were prostitutes, not pioneers. The book then includes individual biographies of each of these 262 single women and concludes with a table of arrivals per year, an appendix of supporting documentation (marriage and enlistment contracts and inventories), a glossary, index of husbands and a comprehensive index to the book.

Among the biographies of these courageous pioneer women, you will find:

  • Gillette Banne, who was executed with husband Jacques Bertault for poisoning their son-in-law.
  • Marguerite Boileau, who was captured by the English in Acadia, brought to Boston as a prisoner and ransomed by her husband, who had escaped earlier.
  • Françoise Capel, who may be responsible for the fire that destroyed the Ursuline convent in 1650.
  • Louis Guimont (husband of Jeanne Bitouset), the first person miraculously healed at Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré.
  • Marguerite Pontonnier, who had a spell cast on her marriage by a jilted lover so they wouldn’t have any children.
  • Jacquette Vivran, who was killed by lightning.

Purchase  Before The King’s Daughters: The Filles À Marier 1634-1662 for only $4.99. This eBook is downloaded as  a PDF from GenMall.

Genealogy For The Price Of Lunch

Coffee by amenic181/Courtesy of

Coffee by amenic181/Courtesy of

How much money do you spend each day on the little things? Maybe you enjoy coffee at your neighborhood coffee shop. Do you go out to lunch or brown bag it? Maybe you splurge on the occasional dinner out after a long day at work.

How much would you splurge on your family history research? Would $29.99 a year be too much? What about $24.99 or even $6.99?

Consider this: A subscription to RootsPoint starts at just $6.99 a year.  A subscription plan with 3 levels to choose from,  RootsPoint provides you with the databases you need to find your ancestors. Each level also includes extras like a free eBook ($4.99 value).

Just imagine subscribing for $6.99/year and getting a $4.99 eBook for FREE. Subscribe for $24.99/year and receive 4 FREE eBooks.


RP subscription

So what are you waiting for? Check out RootsPoint today.