Family history research resources at WCCLS libraries
Find more for your genealogy research at the public library!
Washington County and other regional libraries offer a lot to the genealogist, including:
- library book collections
- local history holdings - primary documents, locally-created indexes and materials
- magazines, general and genealogy research databases
- maps and geographic reference materials
- interlibrary loan services (access to library collections across the USA)
How to Get Started
It’s good to know that when doing your family history research, the Internet has both great and terrible information; it is important to learn which is which. As you work through your research plan, remember that the objective is to find original, authoritative records and materials that illuminate the stories behind the cold hard numbers of vital statistics. Your public library offers many options for your genealogy research.
There are many good tutorials on the web for using the library for your research: here's one from a local library, including the basic things to do before coming to the library:
Your Family History - from Multnomah County Library.
Follow librarian Janet Irwin through her own research process using library materials.
Be prepared before you come to the library! Start out right:
- Do your "home" work: Gather what you already know
- Organize your facts: Use tools to make information handling easy
- Be ready to gather information: have your tools ready, whether they are digital or analog (laptop, notes, et al.)
Or check in with the How-To Center at: http://www.genealogy.com/backissu.html
Library book collections In Print and Online
Find how-to books on family history both in print and online:
- How-To Tools and Resources at WCCLS libraries
- History Research and Primary Sources at WCCLS libraries
Find more in the catalog – search Subject > Genealogy + your specific interest, or
browse Reference and Local History collections at the library in call numbers 929
This and more at the library – see catalog at: http://catalog.wccls.org/polaris/view.aspx?brs=98321
Online - Ebook collections
- Library2go ebooks - Immigrants to America Series ed. by Glazier - Downloadable PDFs; 108 volumes, covering German, Italian, and United Kingdom arrivals 1840-1904).
- Gale Virtual Reference Library > History, U.S. and World
- HeritageQuest Online > Search Publications by keyword, subject, location and more
List of books indexed with many fully digitized: Subject > Oregon
Local History @ the Library
- Obituary Index of the Hillsboro Argus
(Card file at Hillsboro Main Library; digitization in progress) online at: http://evanced.info/hillsboro/obit/obitview.asp)
Local history books of neighborhoods and towns, like
“Garden Home: The Way It Was”, “Cedar Mill History”, Beaverton, “Genealogy of Tigard”
- Search our library catalog for local history materials
Or Use Advanced Search > Search Options > Collections: Local History
Magazines & Newspapers @ The Library
Magazines - Circulating
- Family Tree Magazine
- American Heritage
- Oregon Historical Quarterly Back issues available online via JSTOR.
- Portland Monthly - Oregon history issue (1 x year), useful for local history.
- The American Genealogist - At Hillsboro Main Library
Historic Oregon Newspapers: http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/ -- hosted by the University Of Oregon Libraries
Historical Newspapers Online: http://gethelp.library.upenn.edu/guides/hist/onlinenewspapers.html:
extensive list including links and directions about how you can get access to the papers.
Microfilm of local papers: search library catalog for "newspaper" and "microfilm" - Hillsboro and Beaverton maintain collections.
- Ancestry Library Edition (Available only from within WCCLS libraries)
- HeritageQuest - Library card required: now has more fully digitized local history books, fully searchable. (25,000 titles and growing).
- Footnote.com - Free (and for fee) digitized newspapers
Maps And Other Geographic Information
- Multnomah County Library > Sanborn Maps Digital: Oregon, Washington, California
http://0-sanborn.umi.com.catalog.multcolib.org/ (library card necessary for access)
- Portland house history research (great for ideas for elsewhere in the Metro area)
- Washington County house research ideas:
- Using Maps for Genealogy Research: USGS (2002) - http://egsc.usgs.gov/isb/pubs/factsheets/fs09902.html
- On Genealogy: Using Maps for Genealogical Research (Bloomfield Enterprise, March 13, 2011):
- A to Z Maps Online: AtoZMapsOnline.com is the worlds largest subscription-based database of proprietary, royalty-free world, continent, country, and state maps.
Available from any computer only at Cedar Mill libraries.
Interlibrary Loan - Reaching out across the country
Interlibrary Loan services at WCCLS Libraries: http://www.wccls.org/library_services/interlibrary_loan
- Genealogy Tutorial Using OCLC FirstSearch / WorldCAT: http://www.oclc.org/us/en/worldcat/genealogy/worldcat_tutorial_genealogy.pdf
Things to know about interlibrary loan requests:
- Some materials cannot be loaned in their entirety so be specific in your citations (names you are looking for, full journal title/article title, page, issue, year)
- Some libraries lack microfilm readers or other needed media equipment - Be sure to make alternate plans for using your microfilm if your local library does not have equipment on hand.
- Some special requests may incur additional fees - Example: at Cedar Mill, Canadian Requests are $5. Libraries generally confirm additional fees with the user before placing the order.
For More Information
- Multnomah County Library Genealogy Resources: http://www.multcolib.org/ref/gene.html
- Genealogy Resources @ Oregon State Library: http://www.oregon.gov/OSL/GRES/genealogy.shtml#Resources_at_the_State_Library
- US Immigration Service Genealogy Research Program: http://www.uscis.gov/genealogy
- Library of Congress Local History and Genealogy: http://www.loc.gov/rr/genealogy/
[Presentation based on materials created by Michele McKinnon Fricke for a seminar series in 2010 offered at CMCL.]