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9 Ways to Discover Your Family History at the Chelmsford Public Library

   Monday, February 7th, 2011 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

Brian Herzog, Head of Reference, Chelmsford Public LibraryThere's help, information and vast resources available for those who wish to climb the branches of their family trees at the Chelmsford Public Library.

By Paula McCarron, Chelmsford Patch (reprinted with permission)

Are you curious about your family history? Or have you hit a "brick wall" in your research?

Compiled with the help of Brian Herzog, Chelmsford's Reference Librarian, these nine tips will help you climb the branches of your family tree.

1. Hit the stacks to find books such as The Sleuth Book for Genealogists by Emily A. Croom or Genealogy Online for Dummies by Matthew and April Helm. They'll help you better understand ways to trace your family history.

2. Visit the Local History Room. Pore over records of the births, marriages and deaths for many towns in Massachusetts up through 1849, Chelmsford High yearbooks, maps and more.

3. Try your luck. Type a surname into the library catalog database to see if someone has published a history about your family.

4. Tap into databases such as Ancestry, Heritage Quest and ProQuest. Go to the library homepage and click on "Reference". Click onto "Databases" to choose "genealogy" from the drop down menu. Tip: Access is also possible from your home computer with a library card.

5. Borrow a CD of folksongs, a DVD travelogue or a cookbook featuring ethnic recipes to explore your family heritage.

6. Tap into the library site to access the Chelmsford Papers Obituary Search database. To view or to obtain a copy of your findings, use the library microfiche equipment or ask a librarian for help.

7. View vintage photos and find local history sources at Chelmsford History (chelmsfordhistory.org), a site hosted by the library.

8. Watch for the new arrival of "study tables" at the library. Each study table will feature a bookstore style display of books on particular topics. One table will be dedicated to the subject of genealogy.

9. Ask a librarian for help. Chelmsford librarians will be happy to help by identifying resources, providing help in using library equipment and offering research assistance.

Need help when the library is closed? Don't despair. Help is available 24 hours a day by visiting the library's site. You can click on the "Ask a Librarian" box to be connected to a librarian via chat software.

As you dig into the hobby of genealogy, you'll come to appreciate the vast amount of information and resources available at the library - and best of all, they're all free.

   Posted in Library Information, Resources | No Comments »




Climbing the Family Tree

   Wednesday, January 19th, 2011 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

Judy SylviaIf you're wondering about how to research your family tree, the Chelmsford Genealogy Group is ready to help.

By Paula McCarron, Chelmsford Patch (reprinted with permission)

Spike Lee, Sarah Jessica Parker, Emmitt Smith and Lisa Kudrow found their ancestors courtesy of the NBC show "Who Do You Think You Are," which focuses on how genealogy can reveal fascinating details of one's family history. But here in Chelmsford, you don't need to be a celebrity to get help in climbing your family tree - and best of all, the help is free.

Judy Sylvia, Coordinator of the Chelmsford Genealogy Group (CGG) started her search after hearing her father-in-law speak about his search for ancestors. Since then, Sylvia works on her own tree but she's also helping others to make their own discoveries through her volunteer work with Chelmsford Genealogy Group.

CGG meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Chelmsford Public Library. All meetings are free and open to all – residents and non-residents, alike.

"If you're just getting started, it's a great because someone in the group has probably already done what you're looking to do. People are willing to share what they know. And we often have guest speakers with thanks to the Friends of the Library who donate the money for speakers' fees," says Sylvia.

E-mail announcements are sent three to six times a month to keep everyone informed of the meetings as well as other local events. Sylvia also forwards requests from people who are searching for a Chelmsford ancestor.

The "hottest" development, a surname database was initiated by club member, Norm Rourke and is under construction by Reference Librarian, Brian Herzog. The database will provide an opportunity to search or share information about a particular ancestor or surname in the very near future through the Chelmsford Public Library website.

Now twelve years into her search, Sylvia recently discovered a 1700's ship captain within her family tree.

"That's the thing. You start with four grandparents, then eight great grandparents and it just keeps going. You keep finding so much that it's never really ever done," she said.

For more information, check out the Chelmsford Public Library's Web site.

This article originally appeared on the
Chelmsford Patch on January 18th, 2011
.

   Posted in Library Information, Programs, Resources | No Comments »