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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

 Southern States Research


Many genealogists and historians view the South as one monolithic cultural, social, and political institution.  Social and political life in general was perceived as so unique that it was impossible to relate any logic to events and circumstances that prevailed elsewhere in America. Historical events such as slavery, succession from the Union, Civil War, and Reconstruction have set the South apart from the rest of the country until recent times.


The settlement of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi began with European outposts in the colonial wars of empire. Each developed under variable conditions.  They rarely share a common past other than being geographically located in the South.  The history of the Old South, from Virginia to Texas, cannot be told in any one state’s story.  It can best be understood in the experiences of the many migratory “frontier” southern families.  Lack of a tradition of early vital records and religious faiths leaving few surviving parish or congregational registers among a widespread people can complicate matters. 


Record keeping was inconsistent.  Region-wide consistency begins in 1830 when the first relatively complete and credible federal census records were generated. Policies concerning Indian removal were in full force.  Most of the members of the last Native American tribes in these states were removed to western Arkansas, today’s Oklahoma, shortly afterwards, creating a large volume of federal and other records of the Indians, and the whites among them, that can contain extensive family information.  The various Indian Wars ultimately contributed to the thousands of genealogically valuable military bounty, pension, and other military records of southerners.


With the exception of Georgia, the other states were federal territories. Personal information appears on the settlers of those states in such well-known works as The American State Papers and The Territorial Papers of the United States. Colonial and early federal records have also been published for individual states. Bureau of Land Management indexes for the land grants of these federal land states have been made widely available but are incomplete for pre-1820 credit grants and for the homestead applications that were never completed.


The Civil War/Reconstruction Era created especially valuable records such as indexes to service records, pensions, etc.  These records are available on a number of online websites such as Ancestry, Fold 3, Family Search, through the various state archives, and the National Archives. Most of the material from the Reconstruction still lacks useful indexes and publication, but extensive personal data on thousands of former slaves and other persons found in what survives of the registers of the Freedman’s Bank have been abstracted and digitized by the Family History library and are available online via Ancestry, Family search, and Heritage Quest.


BLM 6/30/2014

 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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