October is Family History Month. That is appropriate since October also celebrates the heritage of German-American, Hispanic-American, Italian-American, and Polish-American groups.
The library subscribes to two databases for your research needs. Ancestry.com (which can only be accessed at the library) and Heritage Quest (which you can access from home using your library barcode). The librarians have also compiled a list of useful websites for aiding your search. Feeling overwhelmed by all the information? Individual classes on using these resources can be scheduled by calling the reference desk.
Of course, the Syosset Library also has books for the beginner to the seasoned family historian. Some of my favorites include The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy by Kimberly Powell, The Genealogist’s Companion and Sourcebook by Emily Anne Croom and How to Do Everything Genealogy by George G. Morgan.
Where to start? Begin with yourself! Write down what you know about yourself, your parents and grandparents. Check any available family documents like bibles, scrapbooks, photos, and diaries and official records like birth, marriage and death certificates.
The holidays are coming soon. Take advantage of family gatherings to ask family members about their lives and recollections. Take good notes or record the conversation. And here is where you need to exert real discipline! Each of the stories will pull you in a different direction. Try to focus on one side of the family at a time. Keep good notes of where you have looked and document each source.
But most of all have fun! Great stories are waiting to be captured and retold.
– posted by Brenda, Reference Librarian
This would be a good time to gather the family and celebrate your ancestors. You might try something simple like making a favorite family recipe. This could be the beginning of creating a family recipe book. Or celebrate an ancestor’s birthday by cooking special foods and playing games that he/she played as a child. Maybe you could visit a cemetery and make a rubbing of a tombstone (if the tombstone is in good condition if the cemetery allows rubbings).
Why not encourage the young people in the family to interview relatives? Find out what their lives were like. What kinds of music did they like? What did they do for fun? Did they have pets?And do your part by writing down your own special memories. Then you could make a family scrapbook of the stories you collect.
You can gather all the photos that are shoved in old shoeboxes. You could scan the fragile ones. And then organize all of them into albums, adding as much identification as possible. And what about those old 16-mm and 8-mm home movies and the video cassettes? Maybe this is a good time to convert them to DVDs.
If this gets you excited and you really want to pursue your family’s genealogy, check out the book display on the Syosset Public Library’s third floor. There are books for the beginner as well as the more advanced researcher. There is material for specific heritage groups and material to help organize and preserve your data. Be sure to consult the recommended websites on Syosset library’s site and, of course, the Library provides access to the well known Ancestry.com database (in-library use only).
This is just the beginning of this adventure! You might find that you are hooked. Happy ancestor hunting!
– posted by Brenda, Reference Services