Family history with leicester libraries

Researching your family history can be a fascinating and exciting time but can also be a little daunting. Leicester Libraries try to make this journey as easy and accessible for researchers by providing information and guidance, online and by experienced staff, within their libraries.

To help first time researchers delve through census returns and other records, the library service have enlisted a local woman to act as their genealogy guinea pig! To begin with, Michelle Ogden will be researching back to her great grandparents on both sides. Then she will follow her mother's maternal side of the family and, once she has completed this and gained confidence in her research methods, will focus on the other side of the family, whom she believes to be American. Born and raised in Leicester, Michelle is looking forward to delving into her family’s past. Says Michelle, “I am really looking forward to beginning my search and excited at the prospect of what I might find out about my family.” Michelle’s parents are from Leicester and although she lived abroad for periods during her childhood, they always kept a family home in the city. Michelle will be updating the library’s Family History website along the way with what she has found out and how she achieved it.

Angela Cutting, Senior Community Librarian, said: “Discovering your family’s history is great fun and very rewarding, but it’s not something you can do in an afternoon! By sharing her story on our website, Michelle will provide a glimpse into what’s involved – what resources are available, how and where to find them, the successes and the disappointments.”

The website, which goes live in January 2010, provides information on how to get started and what resources are available to assist in the search. It is recommended that first time researchers should set themselves an achievable target to start off with, for example, up to their great grandparents. Once this has been achieved, the experienced gained can then be carried on to great - great grandparents and beyond. Following Michelle’s steps may help first time researchers get started and experienced ones could help her out with potential dead ends via the interactive forum.

Also available within the library are a wide range of books and journals on genealogy and family history, local census returns and other records on CD-Rom and microfiche and the Ancestry Library Edition website, free to use for library members.

Follow Michelle’s story online, as she starts off on her journey to discover her past, at
www.leicester.gov.uk/familyhistory
from January 2010.

For further details relating to researching family history,
visit www.leicester.gov.uk/libraries

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