Since 2001, October has been nationally recognized as Family History Month. This is a time to increase awareness and encourage people to explore their roots and learn more about their ancestors. A number of resources are available to help anyone start or continue researching their family history, many of which are easily accessible with your library card.
Get started by visiting omahalibrary.org/genealogy-local-history, where you can find online research tools, recommended reading, and even local community resources that may be helpful in constructing your family tree. Find vital records, census and military records, and much more in Ancestry Library Edition, a vast collection of U.S. and international genealogical information, now available to use from home until December 31, 2020. OPL also offers access to extensive genealogy resources, such as FIMo (Fire Insurance Maps Online), MyHeritage, Omaha Star Digital Archives, and the Gilbert M. and Martha H. Hitchcock Omaha World-Herald Digital Archive.
In recognition of Family History Month, OPL has planned free, online programs to help you learn more about your past. Registration is required. Sign up at omahalibrary.org or by calling 402.444.4826.
- Thursday, Oct. 1, 6 p.m.: Finding Treasure in the Periodical Source Index (PERSI) - PERSI is the largest subject index to genealogy and local history periodical articles in the world. Genealogy Librarian Martha Grenzeback will show you how to get the most out of it.
- Sunday, Oct. 11, 3 p.m.: Libby Copeland Virtual Author Visit - Libby Copeland, author of “The Lost Family: How DNA Testing is Upending Who We Are,” will speak about how home DNA testing is redefining family history. Drawing on years of research for her book, she will address how DNA testing informs who we are, and how the effects of this technology may ultimately move us toward a more inclusive definition of family and inspire us to become more openhearted about the different ways kinship is formed.
- Sunday, Oct. 18, 3 p.m.: Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for Genealogy - The Sanborn Map Company published many detailed maps of cities and towns around the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries. Using them in conjunction with land records can help tell the stories of your ancestors and give you a picture of what their living conditions and communities were like. Jeanette Sheliga will present from Lockport, NY, where she is the chairman of the board and vice president of the Niagara County Genealogical Society, organizer of the North Tonawanda Library Genealogy Club, and registrar for the Niagara Falls Chapter of the DAR.
Visit omahalibrary.org for information about additional programs and services offered at Omaha Public Library’s 12 metro locations.