Databases Available Through the Library
Genealogy & Local History websites
Don't Forget Books -- Subject Headings and Call Numbers for Genealogy
The Newton Free LIbrary, like many public libraries, uses the Dewey Decimal System for cataloging and shelving non-fiction books. Each number represents a subject category. This allows you to go to the shelf looking for one book and finding others that may be of interest. Below are Dewey numbers relating to genealogy and family history.
929.2 Family History: The history of family groups as opposed to the biography of an individual.
929.3 Genealogical Sources
929.4 Personal Names: the origins and/or the history of last names (surnames) or first names (forenames).
929.5 Cemetery Records
929.7 Royal Houses
Genealogy -- Handbooks and Manuals ["How to" books]
Genealogy -- [Place]
[Place] -- Genealogy -- Handbooks and Manuals ["How to" do place related research]
Note: A place can be a country, state, county, or town. For subject headings Massachusetts is abbreviated as Mass., not MA.
The Curious Genealogist: The Library's Genealogy Blogger
The Newton Genealogy Club
The Newton Genealogy Club is about members helping members. We can discuss someone's research, resources (online and off) for an ancestor hunt, new developments, how a beginner can get started. Anything related to family history is fair game. Our members have a range of experience, from rank beginners who don't know where to begin all the way to Ruy, a certified genealogist. (He began the club and I took over when he stepped down.) Everyone needs help with something and the discussions are fun and very lively.
Interested? The Newton Genealogy Club always meets on the second Wednesday of the month. The only month we skip is August. The meetings are from 7:00 to 9:00 in the evening.
Unless otherwise notified, we use Meeting Room A. When you come into the library from the parking lot, you go over a bridge. As you first come in, you will see the art gallery to your left. Just as you turn into the front part of the gallery, you will see a big square opening on your right. If you got through that and look to your left, you will see Meeting Room A. That's where you will find us.
Genealogy and Family History
Is there really any difference between the terms family history and genealogy?
Actually, there is. Genealogy is solely concerned with direct ancestors: your parents, grand parents, great grand parents going back in time. Sound simple? Remember that every time you go back a generation, you double the number of ancestors. You have two parents, four grand parents, eight great parents, sixteen great, great grandparents... How do you reseach such a vast number of people? Ancestor by ancestor, family by family, line by line starting with you and going back in time.
When you refer to family history, you exclude no one who is part of a particular household. Keeping track of brothers, sisters, even boarders, is not only interesting, but comes in handy in a pinch. At some point in your research you will come to what is known as a brick wall. There seems no record that links to the next generation. Sometimes going sideways, looking at the records of a brother, sister, or uncle, may lead you to that one record that makes the leap backwards. And that boarder. You would be surprised how often a border ends up becoming an ancestor through marriage. And don't forget adoptees and others living within the family.
Interested? Click on the tabs above to see what resources are out there (and in the library) to begin or to continue your search.
Why Family History?
There are many reasons why people become interested in family history.
1. It seems most often sparked by a sense of regret for connections not made. You suddenly think of all the questions you wish you had asked.
2. It can be simple curiosity. Where did I come from? Who were my ancestors who lived before me? What influenced them? Where and when did they live? Why did some come here? So many questions.
3. Sometimes a medical genealogy can help solve medical questions about you or a family member.
4. Working with members of the family (older or younger) can help create bonds and forge connections.
5. Sometimes all or some of the above.
6. Did I miss anything? Leave a comment and let me know.