Genealogy

Your FIRST step in recording the facts about your ancestors is to interview older relatives, and their friends and acquaintances. The oldest relatives should be interviewed first. Family reunions and holiday get togethers are excellent opportunities, but consider a personal visit also. Not only will elderly Aunt Sue welcome a visit, she will probably give you a lot of info to explore. Take notes, or tape record if possible. Imagine how thrilled your descendants will feel to hear the voice of an ancestor they didn't have a chance to meet in person. We all have relatives we wish we had talked with about family while they were still with us, or paid closer attention and taken notes. Take pictures, too. Friends and neighbors of your relatives can provide insight sometimes, and are happy to reminisce. These friends and relatives will probably have pictures and correspondence you can explore. Ask if you can borrow the pictures to scan, thus saving them in event of a fire or flood. If you present the idea to them that way, they will be more willing to lend them. Offer to make a scrapbook of the scanned material, and also to give them a copy of your research, at Christmas. If you publish the family genealogy as a book, be sure to remember to reserve copies for all these relatives who have been so helpful in getting you started.

Many people are familiar with websurfing in genealogy, but few know of the many sites that are available free. Right here on the library's page, we have a database called iConn, to your left, which you can click to find HeritageQuest. You can search the censuses and more, all without a fee. That's just a start! Also to the left is the Catalog of the State Library in Hartford. This library has a Genealogy room, which is available to anyone. There are microfiche readers, extensive Archives and maps, as well as access to the stacks where you will find books and newspapers for New England, New York, and New Jersey, as well as materials for research in other states and Canada. Computers are also set up with a subscription to Ancestry, which can be accessed without charge. Friendly staff are available to help and answer questions. Searching the catalog before you go is a good idea, so you aren't wasting time looking for materials. Monitors connected to the catalog are also located in each room to inform you if the material is available, and where to locate it. Telephone books dating back decades are also a great resource, as well as tax and probate records. Taking your laptop is a good idea, as you can plug in right there & save your research. If you don't have a laptop, take along a disk to save your research for later. Most materials can be copied on the copiers that are available, but some, because of their age, are forbidden to use on the copier. Flattening them on the copier table damages the spine of the book. In that case, notes are a must. Another idea is to take along a digital camera, and ask permission to photograph the page.
 

Locally, the Killingly Historical Society, located on Main Street in Danielson, has much information, including French-Canadian resources, records from local funeral homes and more. Research staff are available for hire. Microfilms can be ordered from the LDS and viewed when they arrive. A small fee is charge to nonmembers.


If your family was located in the Quiet Corner, consider going to the Town Hall of each town and asking to peruse their public records. Much can be learned from Real Estate transactions recorded there. Churches often kept records of birth, death, ands marriages, as well as cemetery records. An offer of a donation can expedite your inquiry, although many will open their resources if someone is available to meet you at the church.

An out-of-town trip by train to Boston, to the New England Historical & Genealogical Society, (NEHGS), is a pleasant way to spend a day. An easy way to get there from here is to pick up the Amtrack in Worcester. Census books from many states are available, as well as public access to Ancestry, and online census records. Again, this catalog is accessible online so you may make a list of materials you wish to search when you get there. There is a small daily fee charged to nonmembers.

 

Most libraries that have genealogy materials and archives frown on taking in pens. This, of course, is to prevent defacing of resources. Pencils and pads are allowed, but no food or drink is allowed on the premises, for obvious reasons. The State library has a lunchroom where you can eat a bag lunch, which must be stored in a locker available outside the Genealogy Room, .and the other libraries are located in areas where you can to to a restaurant or diner for lunch.

Cyndi's list puts genealogy into categories for easy research
 
HeritageQuest- a free database at Aldrich Library. Search U.S. federal censuses, family and local histories, and primary-source documents such as tax lists, city directories, and probate records. Materials date back to the 1700s.

Don't overlook the cemeteries for a day of research. Especially while on vacation! Cemetery records have only been kept sporadically in many areas. A walk through the rows of gravestones can reveal more relatives than you thought you had, leading to more exciting research! If you find a name that you hadn't known of, ask at the cemetery office. Again, an offer of a sum for upkeep of the plot can expedite cooperation of office personnel in the research of the cemetery's records. Take along a friend, as cemeteries are lonely places, and it is best for safety. Bring sunscreen and insect repellant, gloves, a flashlight, hat and an umbrella, cell phone, jacket, and lunch and a drink. Don't forget the camera! A mirror can make tombstone inscriptions more legible. Do not use ANY chemical on the stone itself, as seemingly harmless substances such as shaving cream or chalk can cause deterioration of the stone. Ask permission to do rubbings. If you have the time, taking pictures of several other plots and the inscriptions, as well as noting the location of the stones, can be extremely helpful to genealogical societies and websites which can post them online to help others in their research.
 
Links
Italian Genealogical Group
Roots Web.com
Ancestry.com (pay site with some free things)
FamilySearch.org---a free service of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
 
 
This information was put together by Marge Hawley, Library Assistant, who has been doing genealogy for the past 10 years.
 
Phone 860-564-8760 | FAX 860-564-8491 | Email : info@aldrichlibrary.org