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 Genealogy Information at the Fort Myers Regional Library

Genealogy is the field of study that explores the origins and descent of individuals and families.  The focus is identifying individuals and their specific family relationships.  As the body of knowledge expands, researchers are able to place an individual and/or family in their accurate historical setting and fill in the biographical details of the lives of individual family members.  We offer two study guides specifically designed for beginners: 

  1. Beginning Genealogical Research Outline
  2. Family History: A Concise Beginners Overview.

We would be happy to provide electronic copies of these and any other research outlines relevant to genealogical research subjects by contacting Bryan L. Mulcahy at (239) 533-4626 or via e-mail at We have a total of 120+ study guides available on a variety of genealogical topics.



Searchable Lee County Deaths Index 
 9/13/2011 4:29 PM
The Lee County Genealogical Society now has a searchable index of Lee County obituary notices on its website. The index covers the years 1930-1997, and gives the information necessary to find the actual obituary in the Fort Myers News-Press archives.
For information about Obituary Requests, please click here.

 Upcoming Genealogy Programs

 Family Stories

Family stories can be the most interesting component and a foundation for all genealogical research.  While some stories prove to be accurate, many either stretch the truth or turn out to be pure fabrication, as in the following example from one of our recent researchers.  Her great-grandfather supposedly was the captain of a sailing vessel which crossed the Atlantic in dangerous storms multiple times in the early 1800s from England to Boston, Massachusetts. Many present-day members of the family liked boating and sailing, and assumed this love of the sea was handed down from their great-grandfather.


The truth turned out to be less dramatic.  The great-grandfather had been a captain of a barge which went up and down the Ouse River, outside the port of Boston, located in Lincolnshire, England.  Like many family stories there was a kernel of truth, but most of the details were exaggerated. In some cases, the inaccuracies may be deliberate.  In most it is simply that over time, we remember past events through “rose colored glasses”.  Distant memories are also influenced by subjective opinions that over time become “facts.” 


Use caution about stories that touch on the social standing of a family, especially those claiming noble descent. This is where the greatest discrepancies usually occur. The farm laborer becomes a land owner, the sergeant or lieutenant in the army becomes a colonel, or a small house becomes a thirty-room mansion. Someone moves to a new place, job, or church, makes new friends and tries to impress them a little with some slightly exaggerated stories about his or her background.  Even the most honest people have been known to enhance their resumes for employment or educational purposes.


Stories can be deliberately fabricated.  In some cases, this happens because someone was trying to hide their social status, criminal activities, failed marriages, or hide acts that occurred during controversial time periods in history.  Social norms have changed over time.  Historical customs such as slavery were once considered appropriate.  Many immigrants grew up in poverty and came from repressive areas of Europe and the British Isles.  Upon arrival in America, they made every effort to “bury” that past and create a new reality that fit a new country.


Depending on the individual circumstances of your family you should also discover what you can about name changes, naturalization, military service, apprenticeship to a craft, and ethnic background. When discussing a place of birth or origin be sure you get the name right. Double check with one more person at least, and don’t assume the name you have been given is the name of a city or a village. It may be the name of a farm or a district or a county, or the nearest big city rather than that of their small and unknown village. If you are lucky enough to have elderly family members still alive, consider taking the time to interview them.  When they die, the stories are buried with them.


Happy Thanksgiving.


BLM 11/25/2014                   


 Family Search

Changes in FamilySearch Film Ordering Brings New Convenience to Genealogists


It’s easier than ever for genealogy researchers to order microform from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Orders for all microform materials now will be placed online, making it possible for researchers to order from the comfort of their home or from any location where there is an Internet connection.

A researcher’s first step is to visit the Family History Library Catalog (available at to select the microform they wish to order. Next, a visit to the website  instructs customers to create a personal account and select the preferred Affiliate Library or Family History Center where the microform materials they order will be sent. They must make payment using a credit or debit card or PayPal.

Genealogy researchers are encouraged to download the User’s Guide available at as it provides step-by-step guidelines for placing an order.  For those wishing help in selecting and ordering microform materials, genealogy assistance will continue to be available at the Fort Myers Regional Library by calling 479-4636 for an appointment.

Questions? See the FAQ.

 Getting Started

 Genealogy Resources

Afircan American Heritage linkAfrican American Heritage
Search essential historical records for African Americans
Allen County Library-Fort Wayne , Indiana-Genealogy DivisionAllen County Public Library Genealogy Center, Fort Wayne, Indiana
One of the largest digitized genealogical collections available, incorporating records from around the world
America's Obituaries and Death NoticesAmerica's Obituaries and Death Notices
America's Obituaries & Death Notices is NewsBank's large and comprehensive collection of newspaper obituaries and death notices from around the United States. Each obituary or death notice is indexed by the name of the deceased person.
Ancestry Library edition (in-library use ONLY)
Census data, vital records, immigration and emigration records, family histories, military records, court documents, directories and photos (from Proquest. )This resource is only available while inside the library.
Nearly a million descriptions of historical documents, personal papers, and family histories held in archives throughout the world
Bonita Springs Genealogy ClubBonita Springs Genealogy Club
Official site of the Bonita Springs Genealogy Club
Charlotte County Genealogical SocietyCharlotte County Genealogical Society
Starting point for Charlotte County genealogical research, including Charlotte County Library’s holdings and indices to county wills and guardianships
Christine's Genealogy WebsiteChristine's Genealogy Website
Portal to online resources for African-American genealogical research
Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the InternetCyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet
A collection of more than 81,000 links that have been organized and cross-referenced in over 140 categories.
Dead People ServerDead People Server
A website dedicated to identifying which celebrities have passed away, and refuting rumors about those who have not.
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