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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

 Using Emigration and Immigration Records

Many genealogists find the terminology and records related to emigration and immigration records confusing.  Because our ancestors encountered multiple identity checkpoints prior to their departure to the New World, many documents were created on both sides of the Atlantic.  Emigration records were created as the individual or family prepared to leave a country.  These types of records could have been created at any of the following identity checkpoints such as the civil registrar in the locality of residence, border crossings (country and provincial), ports of departure, and ports of entry.  The procedures which emigrants followed in the processing of reaching the port of departure, whether complying with family or local directives or laws, all generated records.


Some of the most relevant emigration related records of interest to genealogists include:
1. Letters of Manumission:  If a person was employed in an occupation that was considered vital to the survival of a community, he had to obtain a document showing he was released from his commitment to the satisfaction of local authorities.
2. Sale of Property: If the person owned property, they were required to dispose of everything prior to departure.  It could be sold or left to relatives or friends or as bribes to facilitate the process.
3. Letters of Recommendation:  Often issued by church authorities in the Old World indicating that the emigrant was in good standing.
4. Permit to Emigrate:  Document that certified the person was free to leave his homeland, having fulfilled all of his financial obligations and settled his personal affairs.  Emigrants had to have this document available for search at all times.
5. Indentured Contracts:  Emigrants unable to pay for the trip agreed to sell themselves into service, usually for a specified length of time, to pay for their passage.  The contracts were filed at the courts in the port of departure and arrival.
6. Emigrant Lists:  Lists of people leaving a particular port of departure.  They are available in many foreign archives, especially those located at or near ports of departure.


Immigration records are documents created as one enters a particular country.  Immigrants faced the same complexity of legal hurdles to enter, become established, and obtain citizenship in America as they did leaving the Old World.  These hurdles generated lots of potential records.  Some of the most relevant immigration related records of interest to genealogists include:
1. Ship Passenger Lists:  Also called immigrant lists, arrival lists, or manifests.  These were created at the port of entry.
2. Hospital Record:   Many ports of entry has designated areas, sometimes called pest hospitals,  where sick and infirm passengers were quarantined until they were well or deported.  Many local newspapers printed names of detailed passengers.  For those who were not deported, they  usually had to be issued special health certificates.
3. Alien Registrations:  At various times in American history, Congress mandated that incoming aliens had to be registered on a regular basis, particularly in the late 1700s, early 1800s, and after 1929.

 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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