New to Genealogy?
The Minnesota Historical Society’s Family History Research guide and FamilySearch’s Family History for Beginnners offer step-by-step instructions on getting started in genealogy.
Books on family history research and genealogy can be found in the library’s reference and circulating collections under the Dewey Decimal Classification: 929.1.
The library subscribes to several genealogy-related magazines, including FamilyTree Magazine. Hard copies of FamilyTree Magazine can be checked out, and the Libby app offers access to the digital version of FamilyTree Magazine as well as several other genealogy titles (reference staff can provide instruction on checking out magazines with the Libby app).
Free Web Sites
There are numerous free web sites that cover both everything from genealogy basics and getting started, to more advanced research topics. Some sites to begin with include:
• FamilySearch Created and maintained by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this site houses billions of records, many of them digitized. FamilySearch also offers a comprehensive genealogy wiki with country and state guides, guided research options and more.
• Cyndi’s List Long considered one of the most comprehensive guides to online genealogy, Cyndi’s list is an index to online genealogy resources. Links point users to resources for researching specific places, record types, and topics such as immigration research or DNA.
• USGenWeb Built and maintained by volunteers, this site provides access to county and state resources.
• Find-A-Grave An excellent resource for locating ancestors’ burial information, many records are accompanied by photos of the actual tombstones.
Library Reference Databases
• Ancestry Library Edition
A licensed information database, Ancestry Library Edition is an enhanced version of the Web resource Ancestry.com. It includes access to U.S. Federal census records starting in 1790; immigration and military records; the Social Security Death Index; the American Genealogical Biographical Index; and much more. Due to licensing agreements, access to Ancestry Library Edition is only available by searching from computers located in the library. The library also has a tutorial for using Ancestry Library edition.
A licensed information database that identifies and inventories historical documents, personal papers, and family histories held in archives around the world.
• Minnesota Digital Library
Includes images, maps, and documents from more than 150 cultural heritage organizations from around the state. Includes Stillwater Building permits
• Minnesota Newspaper Hub
Search Minnesota newspaper articles from the Minnesota Historical Society archives. Find geographically and culturally diverse newspapers published between 1856 and today.
• Newspaper Databases
• St. Paul Pioneer Press, 1988 – present (available by remote access and in-library)
• Star Tribune, 1986 – present (available only in-library)
• Historical Minneapolis Tribune, 1867 – 1922 (available by remote access and in-library)
Assistance at the Library
Reference staff is available but are limited the amount of time they can devote to any individual’s search. Consider signing up for one-to-one help in one of our monthly Genealogy Help sessions.
The library is fortunate to have several volunteers assisting in the St. Croix Collection. We encourage researchers working on family history, or house and building history, to visit when one of our volunteers is available. You may also submit a query by phone or email. For volunteer availability, check with the Information Center at 651-275-4338, ext. 4876.
For additional assistance in researching your family history you may wish to utilize the services of a professional or other experienced researcher. Contact the Minnesota Genealogical Society, 1185 Concord Street N., South Saint Paul, MN 55075, (651) 455-9057, or the St. Croix Valley Genealogical Society (a chapter of the Wisconsin State Genealogical Society), P.O. Box 396, River Falls, WI 54022..