World War I Genealogy Research Guide
Gathering information on your World War I ancestors is easier than you think! This guide outlines a straightforward strategy to find military service information from a variety of online resources and physical depositories. Special topics include women's records, a state specific resource guide, naturalization records, alien registration files, and a quick guide to Canadian military World War I resources!
2nd edition, newly expanded!
Genealogist's Handbook for New England Research
"This new full-color edition is an extensive update of an indispensable resource for those researching in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Research basics, unique resources, repository locations, and extensive county and town information (maps, dates established, parent counties, parent and daughter towns, other names, and more) are now uniformly presented for each state. This user-friendly redesign also restores useful information from the 4th edition such as earlier probate districts in Connecticut."
“Extraordinary and wide-ranging . . . a literary feat that simultaneously builds and excavates identity.”—The New York Times Book Review (Editors’ Choice)
Roxane Gay’s Audacious Book Club Pick • An acclaimed writer goes searching for the truth about her wildly unconventional Southern family—and finds that our obsession with ancestors opens up new ways of seeing ourselves—in this “brilliant mix of personal memoir and cultural observation” (The Boston Globe).
Maud Newton’s ancestors have vexed and fascinated her since she was a girl. Her mother’s father, who came of age in Texas during the Great Depression, was said to have married thirteen times and been shot by one of his wives. Her mother’s grandfather killed a man with a hay hook and died in an institution. Mental illness and religious fanaticism percolated through Maud’s maternal lines back to an ancestor accused of being a witch in Puritan-era Massachusetts. Maud’s father, an aerospace engineer turned lawyer, was an educated man who extolled the virtues of slavery and obsessed over the “purity” of his family bloodline, which he traced back to the Revolutionary War. He tried in vain to control Maud’s mother, a whirlwind of charisma and passion given to feverish projects: thirty rescue cats, and a church in the family’s living room where she performed exorcisms.
Her parents’ divorce, when it came, was a relief. Still, her position at the intersection of her family bloodlines inspired in Newton inspired an anxiety that she could not shake, a fear that she would replicate their damage. She saw similar anxieties in the lives of friends, in the works of writers and artists she admired. As obsessive in her own way as her parents, Newton researched her genealogy—her grandfather’s marriages, the accused witch, her ancestors’ roles in slavery and genocide—and sought family secrets through her DNA. But immersed in census archives and cousin matches, she yearned for deeper truths. Her journey took her into the realms of genetics, epigenetics, and the debates over intergenerational trauma. She mulled over modernity’s dismissal of ancestors along with psychoanalytic and spiritual traditions that center them.
Searching, moving, and inspiring, Ancestor Trouble is one writer’s attempt to use genealogy—a once-niche hobby that has grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry—to expose the secrets and contradictions of her own ancestors, and to argue for the transformational possibilities that reckoning with our ancestors offers all of us.
The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy
Unlock the family secrets in your DNA! Discover the answers to your family history mysteries using the most cutting edge tool available. This plain-English guide (newly updated and expanded to include the latest DNA developments) will teach you what DNA tests are available; the pros and cons of the major testing companies; and how to choose the right test to answer your specific genealogy questions. And once you've taken a DNA test, this guide will help you use your often-overwhelming results, with tips for understanding ethnicity estimates, navigating suggested cousin matches, and using third-party tools like GEDmatch to further analyze your data.
Researcher's Guide to the Pre-fire Records of Chicago and Cook County
The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 destroyed the courthouse and city hall and most of the records. But many records survived or were later able to be legally proven. In 1938, the Work Projects Administration's Historical Records Survey inventoried Cook County and Chicago records. But the inventory went unpublished when the WPA ended, and the records languished in the Illinois State Archives. Wesley Johnston spent 2 years going through the records and 4 more to publish them in 1982. Now he has updated his 1982 book.
Planning a Future for Your Family's Past
Keep your family's history safe for the future! Old photos, ancestor stories, genealogical documents, and heirlooms reflect your family's past--and they should be safeguarded for tomorrow's descendants and researchers. Even if you have no obvious heirs for your genealogy collection, you can take steps today to protect and share information and items from your family history.
Follow the step-by-step PASS process outlined in this book: Prepare by organizing/analyzing your materials, Allocate ownership by curating your collection, Set up a genealogical "will" to designate heirs, and Share family history now. Includes sample forms, online resources, and practical advice for keeping genealogy safe, with future generations and future researchers in mind.
One-on-one Genealogy Help
Need help with a genealogy database, a research question, or to getting started on your family tree? Contact the Genealogy and Local History Librarian to schedule a free one-hour appointment.
Wilmette & Kenilworth Genealogy Guide
Consult our in-depth guide for researching your Wilmette or Kenilworth ancestors.
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Materials in the Local History Room
Biography files, photographs, city directories, local business files, oral histories, yearbooks, and more. Learn more about the Local History Room’s resources. Most Local History materials, with the exception of yearbooks, require an appointment to view. Contact EvaAnne Johnson to schedule an appointment.
Local History Digital Collection
Some materials from our Local History Room are available online. See our digital collection, as well as search the index of our newspapers and vertical files, on our Local History website.
Including the Wilmette Life, Wilmette Beacon, Lake Shore News, and Local News. Learn more about our local newspapers.
Obituaries from the local newspapers are indexed for the years 1898 - 1939 (many early issues are missing) and 1955 - present on the library’s Local History website.
Reference books and research guides
Available in the Nonfiction section at 929.1, and in the genealogy reference section.
Magazines such as Family Tree Magazine and Internet Genealogy, as well as Illinois Heritage, the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, and The quarterly : journal of the Illinois State Genealogical Society. Look for current issues in the Periodicals Room.
Access genealogy databases that may help you with your research, including Ancestry.com, HeritageQuest, and FindMyPast. Use the links below to access them.
The Library's Technology Center has scanners that you may use if you want to digitize your old family photos or documents. Visit the Printing & Copying page to learn more.
Access these databases within the library, or remotely with a Wilmette library card.
Chicago Tribune Historical 1849-1986
The Chicago Tribune offers full page and article images with searchable full text back to the first issue (April 23, 1849).
Find My Past
Find My Past hosts billions of searchable genealogical records, drawing from census, directory, and historical information.
Provides convenient access to military records, including the stories, photos, and personal documents of the men and women who served. Offers a wealth of searchable original documents for genealogists.
Heritage Quest Online
Explore your family history with the premier collection of U.S. obituaries and death notices for in-depth genealogical research from 1704 – today.
New York Times Historical 1851-2017
Full-text content including articles and obituaries from the New York Times archive, covering 1851-2017.
NewspaperARCHIVE.com is a historical newspaper database that contains tens of millions of newspaper pages from 1607 to present.
Newspapers.com provides access to historical newspapers from locations across the U.S. and worldwide.