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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

 How Disputes Can Benefit Genealogical Research


Church records have a definitive track record for being more accurate than their civil record counterparts.  When it comes to locating dates of birth, the only place some researchers have success locating this information is using church records.   This can be especially true when researching children of immigrant ancestors before there was a legal requirement to compile vital records information in Canada, the United States, the British Isles and continental Europe.


One of the most common mistakes that many researchers make, especially when using church records for denominations that practice infant baptism, is making the assumption that the birth date and baptismal date always occurred within a few days of each other.  While this was true in many cases, especially within the Roman Catholic Church, one cannot make the assumption that this was always the case.  The actual baptism could have taken place a few weeks, months, or years after the date of birth.  There are numerous reasons why this may have been the case.



Family and neighbor disputes are always unpleasant to deal with.  However, from a genealogical research perspective, these issues may provide significant research benefits because they usually leave a paper trail.  This is especially true if the issue turned into a legal matter that had to be settled in court.  If the dispute became heated enough, a law enforcement agency such as the local police or sheriff may have been called to break up the altercation.  Even if no arrest was made, a police report would have been generated.

Family disputes can be especially emotional.  Many researchers who find old correspondence often discover intimate details of relationships that caused splits within the family itself or feuds with neighbors.  In some cases, the splits or feuds may have turned violent or led to permanent estrangement.

Besides family and neighbors, disputes may have involved a local business or business associates, employers, churches, schools, hospitals, or governmental entity whether it be on the local, state, or federal level.  Disputes fitting these examples would definitely lead to hiring of attorneys and generating court records.  The most common records where evidence would appear include land records, civil and criminal court proceedings, probate records, and correspondence from attorneys and governmental entities.

Land records may document long, drawn out arguments between neighbors or others over boundaries and/or ownership.  Additional problems such as the perceived quality of the land, lack of, or poorly done surveys, or difficulty in determining proper documentation would also generate legal problems.  Sometimes these records include detailed testimonials from neighbors, relatives, business associates, etc., supporting the claims of disputants, and detailed accounts of relationships between the various parties.

Civil court records may shed light on lawsuits filed against individuals for a variety of claims.  For example, if they were a business owner or merchant, there may be litigation over unpaid accounts, defective work, or related issues.  Probate records can reveal many beneficial clues.  If an ancestor died intestate (without a will), or if they had a will that the heirs contested, the probate court will have documentation of the process of settling the estate, lists of creditors, heirs, and statements from anyone applying to administer the estate based on their relationship to the deceased.  Criminal court proceedings may provide detailed information on offenses and testimony from witnesses, which may include family members.

Correspondence from attorneys and governmental agencies may provide a variety of clues.  Examples may include the nature or summations of accusations, questions pertaining to specifics in the case or dispute, name the court where the proceedings took place, case and docket numbers, and names of people directly or indirectly involved in the matter at hand.

Governmental correspondence may include information on complaints against the entity over damages to crops, lack of support for settlements, roads, unpaid wages, or incompetent civil servants and how their conduct impacted the person or family which led to the dispute or legal action.

BLM 4/1/2014



 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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