Green River Star -

By Lindsey Travis
Sweetwater County Library System 

Research family history with free library books


Before I figured out that I wanted to live in Wyoming for the rest of my life, I lived in the Midwest – Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois, to be exact. My parents were both born and raised in the Midwest as well – my dad in Wisconsin and my mom in Illinois. But besides knowing that the majority of my relatives lived in the Midwest, I never really looked into the rest of my family heritage. I’m curious to know when they ended up in the Midwest. How many generations have lived there? When did my family arrive in the United States?

October is Family History Month, a great time to start looking into your genealogy. Unfortunately, family history resources can be expensive, which could cause you to delay your search. Thankfully, the Sweetwater County Library System is here to help. The library has resources that are available for free with your library card.

Two of the main resources the library offers are Ancestry and MyHeritage. You might have heard of Ancestry – there are a lot of commercials out there for it. You don’t, however, have to spend money to use this site because the library offers Ancestry for free for in-library use. So drop by the library, visit our website at, and find Ancestry listed under online services. Ancestry allows you to search census records, birth records, divorce records and death records. You can also search the message boards and post questions. MyHeritage is another free resource available with your library card – and you can access it online from anywhere as long as you have your library card number. To access MyHeritage, visit the library’s website and click on the MyHeritage icon under online services. You will can then enter your library card number and PIN in order to use the site (if you don’t know your PIN, drop by or give us a call and we’ll help you). Through MyHeritage, you can search for family members through birth records, death records, census records and more.

I took the time to try out both MyHeritage and Ancestry and discovered that some parts of my family have lived in Wisconsin for many generations. I was able to find census records that listed my great-grandparents. I found the birth records for my grandparents and my parents. I even found my parents’ marriage and divorce records. It was pretty exciting to find all of this information. I know that I could spend a lot more time searching and researching my family through these resources. Perhaps it’s time to start putting together that family tree that members of my family have always been talking about.

If you also want to start working on your genealogy project, but you aren’t quite sure to where to start with these library resources, stop by and see us. We’ll help you get started. Another great source of information is the library’s genealogy blog, “Roots and Branches.” The blog is put together by Micki Gilmore, one of our reference librarians at the library in Green River. Micki is passionate about genealogy, offers words of wisdom, fun facts and information about family history resources. To find Micki’s blog, visit the library’s website and click on blogs at the bottom of the page.

Good luck starting your family history project, and don’t forget, the library is here to help!


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