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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

 Public Land States

Public land states are states that the federal government formed from the public domain.  The term public domain is defined as land owned by the federal government that is subject to sale or transfer of ownership under laws passed by Congress. It includes western lands that the original states ceded to the United States as well as acquisitions from foreign governments. Congress was initially responsible for matters relating to the settlement of land.


The Public Land system in the U.S. is an outgrowth of the Northwest Territory created by the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 from lands that had been ceded to the fledgling U.S. government by Virginia and some other states.  Records generated through this distribution process include thousands of diverse land claims and transactions regarding public domain, including military bounty lands, preemption rights, claims by refugees, agreements with Indian Nations, and the settlement of private land claims on public domain that the United States acquired from foreign governments. 
The original 13 states and Hawaii, Kentucky, Maine, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and West Virginia have no public domain. Several of these states ceded land to Congress for the benefit of the United States which became part of the public domain.   To successfully claim land located within the public domain, one had to prove right to the land as recognized under public land laws.   Claimants had to produce evidence to justify the basis for the claim. One type of land claim, private land claims on public domain that the United States acquired from foreign governments, often offers researchers a unique opportunity to gain detailed information on the claimants and their families.


The British, French, and Spanish governments granted a great deal of land within their American holdings to the inhabitants prior to the acquisition of the territories by the United States. After taking control of the land, the U.S. Government had to validate the titles originally granted by foreign authorities before the claimant could have legal possession of the land.


Congress also was responsible for the relief of veterans of the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 and passed many acts relating to bounty land, pensions, and other assistance to the soldiers and their families. Congress passed several public acts regulating veterans' claims that established common eligibility requirements and delegated to the Secretary of War the responsibility for administering the provisions.


Many veterans and their heirs, however, brought their claims directly to Congress for adjudication, and Congress passed private acts to reward these individuals. Bounty land claims within the Public Lands volumes can supply information about the claimants' military service and subsequent lives. For many veterans of these two wars, the bounty land claims supplement the compiled military service records and pension bounty land files available at the National Archives.


The requirements for acquiring public land were eased over a period of years, culminating in the Homestead Act of 1862 which made it possible to get title to land for free provided that the land was improved and occupied by the claimholder.

 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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