March Question of the Month: an irregular series

I’m doing geneological research and had trouble browsing the 1910 Census records due to insufficient information. The city of Lanark, Montana in 1910–what county was it in? what Township & Enumeration District was 1910 Lanark, Montana considered to be in?

Hello, and thank you for using our Ask a Librarian service.   Your request for information on the 1910 Census enumeration district for Lanark, Montana, was referred to the History Department for a response.

The present location of Lanark, Montana (it is not currently listed as a place on Montana State Highway Maps, but is on U.S. Route 2, between Bainville and Culbertson near the North Dakota border) is in Roosevelt County. However, Roosevelt County was not created until 1919 from Sheridan County, which in turn was created in 1913 from Valley County. Valley County was created in 1893 from Dawson County. Continue reading “March Question of the Month: an irregular series”

New Seattle History Guide

 Shove over, Sherlock. Seattle history detectives have a powerful new tool to help them deduce the details of Seattle’s past. You should have been so lucky!

Due to the efforts of nearby historians, Lorraine McConahy and Helen Divjak, the legendary voice of Paul Dorpat and friends and Greg Lange at the Puget Sound Regional Archives  among others, we’ve had powerful allies for delving into Seattle history. Now, Seattle history detectives are armed with a new arsenal, a comprehensive compilation of Seattle history resources created by our own Special Collections Department.  The new Seattle Building History Guide annotates a wealth of Seattle history research tools and places them in a broader context than ever before. We’ll be rolling it out on May 19th at the Third Place Books History Cafe. Afterwards, the guide will be available from our website.

If you’re the sort of person who, while riding Space Needle elevator or contemplating your idea for the site of the proposed Chihuly museum, wonders more about the land Continue reading “New Seattle History Guide”

Genealogy 101: Why are genealogists fascinated with our immigrant records and why are they so hard to find?

With the exception of Native Americans, we are all descendants of immigrants from some other country.  Arlene Eakle projected that between 1607 and 1980 “Over 40 million persons came from other places in the world to settle in the U.S”   (Eakle, Arlene H.  “Tracking Immigrant Origins” in Eakel, Arlene. The Source:  A Guidebook of American Genealogy.  Salt Lake, City, UT., 1984.) Therefore, genealogists are curious about where their ancestors came from.

Why did your ancestors decide to leave their homeland, the people that they knew, and choose to come to an unknown place?   They may have been seeking religious or political freedom.  They may have wanted the opportunity to own land, which most of them could not do in their country of origin.  The biggest factor for many was that they wanted a better life for themselves, their children and grandchildren.  It is amazing to see what they were willing to go through in order to accomplish this.

You may learn from family tradition or a U.S. record that your ancestor came from a particular country. However, you usually cannot go directly to that country to try to locate your ancestor’s records.  The researcher is most likely going to need to locate some record in the U.S. that will provide the information, or at least a very solid clue, as to the exact place of origin, i.e. the village. 

Why do we need to know such specific information about the place?  We may think that a family name is uncommon because it is not found frequently in the U.S.  However, in the homeland country Continue reading “Genealogy 101: Why are genealogists fascinated with our immigrant records and why are they so hard to find?”

Genealogy 101: What is the census and how can it help me with my family history?

Census TakerCensus records are amongst the most widely used government records for family history research.  The U.S. Congress authorized the first nationwide census in 1790.  A census has continued to be taken every ten years.  The 2010 Census is coming soon. Information from the 1790-1930 U.S. censuses is available to the public.  More recent censuses are restricted for 72 years because of rights to privacy.  You can even view the countdown clock for access to the U.S. 1940 Census

The primary reason for taking the Census is to determine the representation in Congress from political districts in each state.  The government also uses the censuses to gather other details about individuals.

The 1790-1840 censuses listed the names of the heads of free households and statistics for all members of the households, both free and Continue reading “Genealogy 101: What is the census and how can it help me with my family history?”

Learn about your ancestors at the Library

Wondering about the roots of your family tree? The library has a wealth of resources, classes and expert staff to help you find out more. You can get started today with the Ancestry database, Library Edition. This video will show you how.

                            ~David C. Central Library