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Have you always wanted to look into your family’s past, but weren’t sure how to begin?

Below is a selection of FREE resources to help get you started.

Genealogy by Martin S. Matthews

With step-by-step, full-color graphics, this book gets you started on researching your family tree.

Black roots: a beginner’s guide to tracing the African American family tree by Tony Burroughs

Written by an African American genealogist who teaches and lectures, Black Roots highlights some of the special problems, solutions, and sources unique to African Americans.

AARP genealogy online: tech to connect by Matthew L. Helm

This book offers information on finding ancestral details, gives tips on how to communicate online with other genealogists, and discusses how to use social networking sites to locate relatives.

Genealogy for Beginners by Katherine Pennavaria

A recent addition to the library’s collection, this book offers instruction for fledgling genealogists and introduces the mechanics of sketching a family tree. Appropriate for young people or adults, this guide aims to simplify analyzing family roots.

From the library’s databases:

The library offers portals to commercial genealogy websites that are free with a library card through our eLearning link. From here you can check into Ancestry Library Edition, Heritage Quest Online, and Newspaper Archives

From the Internet:

Family Search  A nonprofit family history organization that works to preserve and share the largest collection of genealogical and historical records in the world. They also provide a helpful guide on how to get started: Getting Started.

Cyndi’s List  A categorized and cross-referenced index to genealogical resources on the Internet.

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness  A global volunteer organization that helps researchers obtain copies of documents, pictures of tombstones, etc., that cannot be obtained easily by those who do not live in the area of their ancestors.

Find a Grave  A website where anyone can look for burial and other final disposition information on family members. The content is provided by volunteers located all around the world.

The Genealogy Center  Containing one of the largest research collections available, the center incorporates records from around the world. Genealogy librarians are on staff and available to help.

American Adoption Congress  A starting point for adopted individuals researching their biological ancestors.

The Southern Maryland Studies Center  SMSC, located on the La Plata campus of the College of Southern Maryland (CSM), is an archival repository and research center that collects, preserves, and provides access to materials that document the history and culture of Southern Maryland, an area encompassing Calvert, Charles, and St. Mary’s Counties, together with the southern portions of Anne Arundel and Prince George’s Counties. 

College of Southern Maryland Studies Center Contact Info:
Mailing Address: 8730 Mitchell Road
P.O. Box 910
La Plata, MD 20646-0910
Phone: 301-934-7606
Email: smsc@csmd.edu