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Genealogy for Kids

Family Research--Detective Work for Kids

Children and adults can enjoy investigating family trees together. Genealogy as a hobby creates a unique opportunity to learn about one’s ancestors and the countries from which they came. Students are able to use their organizational and research skills and in the process discover a whole new world ─ in the past. Here are some helpful guidelines to get started:

Where to Start

Begin by documenting your personal data, then work backwards. Start at home by interviewing immediate family members; they are your most valuable resource and can help to establish a framework for further research. Listen to old family stories at the next reunion. Send an e-mail or letter to a distant relative who may remember details that otherwise might go unmentioned. Let the digging begin!

What to Expect

Do not expect to find a single book on the shelf that traces your family tree. Answers may be found in the most unexpected places. Anticipating results and discovering clues along the way adds excitement to this potentially life-long project. Documenting your family tree is a worthwhile task which preserves your family name for future generations. Patience is a requirement, although with so many resources accessible online, information is more readily available than ever before. 

Where to Look

Websites, obituaries, newspapers, microfiche, census and military records, birth and death certificates, marriage and divorce records, city and county records, family heirlooms, bibles, journals, letters and old photographs may all contain family clues. Request document copies (this may require a nominal fee.)

Basic Forms Available for Recording Findings

Copies of ancestral charts and census forms for recording family specifics are available in the Genealogy Department on the main level. Reproducible forms are also in various genealogy reference materials.

Introductory Titles Available in the Youth Services Department

Every Person Has a History
by Rebecca Vickers  J 920 VIC

Using Technology to Find Your Family History
by TammyGagne  J 929.1 GAG

Basic Genealogy for Kids
by BonnieHinman  J 929.1 HIN

Super Smart Information Strategies: Your Fascinating Family History
by MaryJohnson  J 929.1 JOH

Design Your Family Tree
by Amie JaneLeavitt  J 929.1 LEA

Beginning Genealogy
by Jim Ollhoff  J 929.1 OLL

Filling the Family Tree
by Jim Ollhoff  J 929.1 OLL

How to Research Your Ancestry
by Tamra Orr  J 929.1 ORR

Climbing Your Family Tree: Online and Offline Genealogy for Kids: The Official Ellis Island Handbook
by Ira Wolfman  J 929.1 WOL

They Were Strong and Good
by Robert Lawson  J 929.2 LAW

A Sampling of Resources Available in the Adult Genealogy Department
Located in the Carnegie Business Room

Roots for Kids: A Genealogy Guide for Young People
by Susan Provost Beller  GENEALOGY 929.1 BEL

Genealogy for the First Time: Research Your Family History
by Laura Best  GENEALOGY 929.1072 BES

Writing Family History Made Very Easy
by Kyle Noeline  GENEALOGY 929.1 KYL

The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Genealogy, the Internet, and Your Genealogy Computer Program
by Karen Clifford  GENEALOGY 929.10285 CLI & GEN REF 929.10285 CLI

Finding Your Chicago Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide to Family History in the City and Cook County
by GraceDuMelle  GENEALOGY 929.107207 DUM & GEN REF 929.107207 DUM

Genealogy Reference Collection

International Vital Records Handbook
by Jay Thomas Kemp  GEN REF 929.1 KEM 2013

The Genealogist’s Question & Answer Book
by Marcia Yannizze Melnyk  GENEALOGY 929.1072 MEL

Red Book: American State, County & Town Sources
edited by Alice Eichholz  GEN REF 929.1 RED

The Great Ancestor Hunt: The Fun of Finding Out Who You Are
by Lila Perl  GEN REF 929.1072 PER

Subscription Databases Available from the Library’s Website

These and other resources and websites are found on the Library’s Genealogy Research Guide

Premium Search Databases (St. Charles Public Library card required for remote access)

Ancestry Library Edition (Only available from within the library)
America’s Genealogy Bank
HeritageQuest Online
Newspaper databases

Kid-Friendly Websites

COKids GenWeb Project
Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet: Kids & Teens
Ellis Island
Family Search
Illinois State Archives
Kane County Genealogical Society
Internet Surname Database
Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database
USGen Web Project
The WorldGen Web Project

Youth Fiction Titles for Fun and Inspiration

My Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandfather…Was a Warrior!
by Riccardo Francaviglia  JE FRANCAVIGLIA

My Family Tree and Me
by Dusan Patricic  JE PETRICIC

by Anne Shelby  JE SHELBY

The Granddaughter Necklace
by Sharon Dennis Wyeth  JE WYETH

My Family History
by Jane O’Connor  JR O’CONNOR

The Matchbox Diary
by Paul Fleischman  J FLEISCHMAN

The Little White Horse
by Elizabeth Goudge  J GOUDGE

by Joan Bauer  JH BAUER

Stitchin’ and Pullin’: A Gee’s Bend Quilt
by Pat McKissack  J 811.54 MCK

8/10 JDC; rev. 3/17 MSP