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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

 Getting Started in Genealogy

Genealogical research can be one of the most challenging yet rewarding life experiences.  The following suggestions have a proven track record for helping newcomers navigate through the research process.  Begin by writing down all known facts concerning yourself, your parents, your children, grandchildren, and grandparents.  Take the time to interview relatives, especially older members of the family.


Take notes and ask for permission to record the sessions for future reference when the inevitable contradictions surface.  Going back for clarification is impossible if they are deceased!  Study the “historical context” of their lifetimes, as well as obtaining names and spellings of family members and specific dates and localities of residence.  Long-term success in research depends on the ability to document sources of information.  This involves seeking out family bibles, photo albums, trunks, old letters, and scrapbooks.  Check your home and homes of parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, old friends and neighbors for clues.


Your local library may have printed genealogies on any of your family surnames.  Other libraries to search include historical societies, and major repositories, such as the Family History Library, Allen County Library Genealogy Center, National Archives, or appropriate state archives.  College libraries and universities may also have holdings for the surrounding area. 

When recording information, work back from the known to the unknown.  Cite your sources, and be as specific as possible.  This includes Record Group Numbers, Census years, Wards, Enumeration Districts, county and town names, and website links.   Documenting where the information was obtained is extremely important since either subsequent researchers or you may have to go back, at one point or another, in order to verify or review the same information.  Knowing what types of records are available is another key step for research. Reading how-to-books on genealogy will provide valuable guidance.


Court records provide good documentation through wills, estate inventories, official records, land records, tax records, bankruptcy records, criminal and civil cases, and other court records.  Records which are accessible to the public vary from state to state, and even county by county.  Some birth, marriage, and death records may sometimes also be found in courthouses, especially adoption records.  Some states will allow some records to be accessed.  Check the state statutes or contact the Clerk of Court to see what is accessible, and by whom.  Courthouse website list what types of records were kept and are available. For unique local reasons, some unusual types of records were sometimes kept.  Before 1860, church records provide the best source for early births, baptisms, marriages, and deaths/funerals. 


Cemetery and funeral home records can also provide documentation for a burial and list birth/death dates.

Census records contain information about the members of a given population and are an excellent source for documenting your family’s whereabouts at a given time.  However, census records are only as reliable as the person giving the information.  Spellings of names will always be an issue.  Prior to the 1850 census, only the head of household was listed by name.  Others are grouped by age and sex.


Old newspapers help in providing death notices and obituaries.  Obituaries usually refer to military service, employment and membership in organizations as well as listing surviving family members.  Sometimes they also list who predeceased the person.  Birth and marriage announcements are found in newspapers as well. 

Books on local and county history, although not considered official documentation, may provide helpful clues and context.  City Directories can help locate information about individuals such as occupation, address, ward, marital status, etc.  Other publications commemorating various anniversaries of the town or city or of churches in that area may exist.  Perhaps the name you are searching will be listed among residents of a particular area or as a participant in a local celebration.

BLM/JC  8/22/2014


 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

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
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.
Created by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this site includes a ?Search for Ancestors? database and research guidance.
Federation of Genealogical SocietiesFederation of Genealogical Societies
Blanket organization with over 500 state and local genealogical societies as members.
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