The Library will be closed on Wednesday, June 19, 2024, in observance of Juneteenth.


Collage of books about unknown genealogy, family tree and adoption
Janice Batzdorff, March 07, 2022

Imagine discovering that the man who raised you is not your biological father. That your mother’s race differs from how she presented herself. That the person you are attracted to is your sibling. That you are the descendant of a renowned individual. A monstrous one.

photo composite of old family photos, postcards and documents
Julie Huffman, October 12, 2021

One of the good things to come out of our COVID year was the explosive popularity of online programming. Genealogy Garage—the library's monthly genealogy session—has taken the plunge, too, and we now have recordings of our presentations for you to watch whenever you want!

Freedman’s Bank
Julie Huffman, June 17, 2020

The notion of having one’s own savings account is commonplace to us modern folk. But for former slaves—many of whom had never even seen money—it was an alien concept. And, in a country that runs on capitalism, getting the hang of money management was (and is) essential to survival.

Groovy, complicated heraldic achievement
Julie Huffman, August 08, 2016

I recently completed an online heraldry class conducted by the University of Strathclyde, and I learned a great deal that will be helpful to me as a genealogy librarian.

Slave Premiums table
Julie Huffman, February 24, 2016

Insurance companies have long provided policies to cover losses of property but, before the end of the Civil War, this also included pay-outs for injury and death of the formerly enslaved.

4 covers of old city directories
Julie Huffman, October 01, 2015

These annual precursors-to-telephone directories display a person’s home address, but also often a spouse name, occupation, and work address. And since they were largely published every year, they can be powerful tools used to find where your ancestors lived and worked between the decennial U.S.

Dr. Strangelove Meets Genealogy
Julie Huffman, January 01, 2015

To the bane of many genealogists, the eleventh census of the United States was heavily damaged by a fire at the Commerce Department in 1921. Less than one percent of it survived, which means we have census data (e.g., age, place of residence, family members, etc.) on only 6,160 Americans in 1890.

simple hand drawn comic showing a confused girl looking at a family tree
Julie Huffman, November 01, 2014

My grandmother was born June Eileen Lavonne Nystrom, and her husband called her Patty. I know this because my mom told me, and my mom knows this because her mom told her.

[photo of great grandmother]
Julie Huffman, September 01, 2014

Am I related to anyone famous?

What is my ethnic background?

How far back can I go? 1800s? 1600s? Adam and Eve?!