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@ Your Library: How to climb your family tree

Family History Month is celebrated across the U.S. during October. At Batavia Public Library, we celebrate family history and genealogy every month of the year. The library supports this increasingly popular hobby in several ways.

If you’re interested in researching your family tree, start with the library’s “Take Root in Your Family Tree” pamphlet, available at the reference desk and in the library’s Local History Room.

The pamphlet lists the numerous genealogy resources offered by the library, including an array of circulating and reference materials. The library’s Local History Room contains books related to Batavia, Aurora, Geneva, Kane County, Illinois, census, marriage records, cemeteries, Batavia High School yearbooks and more.

In 2014, the library was designated a FamilySearch affiliate library. FamilySearch is the world’s largest repository of genealogical records. As an affiliate, the library can offer access to microfilm contained in FamilySearch’s Salt Lake City repository, which contains genealogical records — birth, marriage, death, census, land and court records — from more than 130 countries. Researchers can request genealogical microfilm via FamilySearch, and the microfilm is delivered to the library where they can peruse the microfilm in-house.

Another way to research family history is by using any of the library’s four online databases subscriptions – HeritageQuest, Ancestry Library Edition, America’s Obituaries & Death Notices and the Chicago Tribune. These websites are very popular and can be accessed in the library. Most can be accessed from home (with a library card number and PIN).

The library’s Questions & Ancestors genealogy program series, inaugurated in 2014, features speakers who share their enthusiasm and expertise on a variety of topics related to genealogy/family history. The next program in the series will be presented at 7 p.m. Oct. 6 and features Tina Beaird, genealogy and local history librarian at Plainfield Public Library.

During Beaird’s presentation, “Identifying and Interpreting Historic Photos,” she will explain how to use genealogical sources and observational techniques when looking at old family photos. Beaird also will offer practical solutions for storing and preserving heirloom photos, albums and scrapbooks. Registration is required for the program. Register online at BataviaPublicLibrary.org or call the reference desk at 630-879-1393, ext. 200.

To help you get started in your family research, the library offers two computer classes on how to navigate genealogy databases and websites – Genealogy on the Internet, Parts 1 and 2. And whether you’re just getting started or need help overcoming obstacles in your search, the library offers hourlong one-on-one genealogy research sessions with a librarian. Sessions are available to Batavia Public Library cardholders from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call or visit the reference desk to schedule your appointment.

Genealogy is an exciting and rewarding hobby. When you’re ready to start climbing your family tree, visit the library – we’ll give you a leg up!

Michele Martzel is the promotional services manager for the Batavia Public Library. The @ Your Library column runs the fourth Thursday of each month. Feedback can be sent to editorial@kcchronicle.com.

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