Uncover facts and mysteries of your ancestors--a clear approach to genealogy
The pursuit of family history tends to be shaped by several motives, including finding a larger familial historical picture, preserving the past for future generations, and storytelling. Practical Genealogy provides a method for investigating your family history by establishing an understanding of genealogy and the factors, tasks, and obstacles involved in the research. The end goal: find the information necessary to piece together your heritage.
Follow 50 steps that will fill in the puzzle of your lineage. Learn how to perform your own investigation through the lens of real-world obstacles like tracing ancestry through adoptions and orphanages. Practical Genealogy simplifies and breaks down the complex research process into actionable tips that can be conducted over a period of time. And most importantly, no blood test is necessary.
Inside Practical Genealogy you'll find:
- Break through barriers--Learn how to negotiate common "brick wall" issues like missing chunks of family history or multiple names found for the same person.
- Case studies--Examples of actual genealogy research are provided to support the comprehension of each step of your exploration.
- See the BIG picture--Large fonts and easy-to-read images make learning easy for older adults.
When you take genealogy research into your own hands, your potential for discovery is limitless.
A Guide to Chicago and Midwestern Polish-American Genealogy
Chicago has been the historic stronghold of Polish-Americans. Poles came to Chicago for the opportunities it offered, and then scattered across the Midwest and the United States. Learn to access the records, whether using paper records or the wealth of information available on websites.
Wilmette at 150
Wilmette at 150 is a collection of illuminating stories that feature and celebrate the people, places, and events that have shaped the village and created its unique character over the last century and a half. These stories present the grandeur of the lakefront, the turmoil of No Man's Land, the devastation wrought by a Palm Sunday tornado, the beauty of a tree memorial built for blind Judge Kolman, the final moments of notorious gangster Baby Face Nelson, the inspirational visit by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to promote racial justice and unity, and much more.
John Jacoby, a long-time Wilmette resident and former Village President (1989-1997), weaves all these stories into a fabric of village history-a history that includes success and failure, joy and tragedy, principle and pragmatism, unity and division. Wilmette at 150 is a tapestry that both honors the past and welcomes the future with insight, energy, and confidence.
Preserving Family Recipes
Heirloom dishes and family food traditions are rich sources of nostalgia and provide vivid ways to learn about our families’ past, yet they can be problematic. Many family recipes and food traditions are never documented in written or photographic form, existing only as unwritten know-how and lore that vanishes when a cook dies. Even when recipes are written down, they often fail to give the tricks and tips that would allow another cook to accurately replicate the dish. Unfortunately, recipes are also often damaged as we plunk Grandma’s handwritten cards on the countertop next to a steaming pot or a spattering mixer, shortening their lives.
This book is a guide for gathering, adjusting, supplementing, and safely preserving family recipes and for interviewing relatives, collecting oral histories, and conducting kitchen visits to document family food traditions from the everyday to special occasions. It blends commonsense tips with sound archival principles, helping you achieve effective results while avoiding unnecessary pitfalls. Chapters are also dedicated to unfamiliar regional or ethnic cooking challenges, as well as to working with recipes that are “orphans,” surrogates, or terribly outdated. Whether you simply want to save a few accurate recipes, help yesterday’s foodways evolve so they are relevant for today’s table, or create an extensive family cookbook, this guidebook will help you to savor your memories.
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 1957 - 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.
Heritage Quest Online
New York Times Historical 1851-2017
Newspapers.com provides access to historical newspapers from locations across the U.S. and worldwide.