09-28-2022  10:14 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
Kirby McCurtis
Published: 21 November 2017

Uncovering your family’s history can be as exciting as reading a good mystery novel—scattered clues, unidentified photographs, hidden secrets and surprising heroes. While esteemed Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. makes it look easy on his PBS show, “Finding Your Roots,” in reality, the process can be labor intensive and challenging. However, using your library card, you can access several resources that can help get you started:

  • Ancestry.com is available for use in libraries only. It provides access to more than 7 billion names in more than 4,000 genealogical databases including census records.
  • Birth and death index shows death notices and obituaries from newspapers around the United States.
  • Find obituaries and death notices by using America’s Obituaries and Death Notices
  • The online Historical Oregonian (1861-1987).


On Dec. 2 at 3 p.m., Kenton Library will host local author and genealogist Stephen Hanks, who specializes in African American genealogy, for a presentation that will help participants learn:

  • What library resources to use for research
  • The importance of the 1870 Federal Census
  • How to search census records and other historical documents
  • What role state newspapers can play in your search
  • How to find pre-Civil War estate records


Even if you are just starting to gather important birth dates and facts about your family, this event will be a great way to learn more and decipher what you are finding in the research. 

For more information about genealogy research, visit multcolib.org/genealogy.


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