How to Begin a Family Genealogy Search
Genealogy is an adventure, a time-travel journey to meet older generations, and a treasure hunt full of twists and turns, dead ends and discoveries.
So how do you begin your genealogical “treasure hunt?”
Step one: download and print a free family tree (also known as an "ancestral chart"). Using your memory and consulting with family members, fill in as much as you can of the chart.
Step two: head to the Denver Public Library Western History and Genealogy Department(WHG), either online or in person!
What can you do from home?
- Getting Started In Genealogy Tutorial - This tutorial explains how to begin your research and briefly introduces you to genealogy staples like census, immigration and land records.
- Genealogy Research Guides - Obituaries, pioneers, place names—oh my! Discover the variety of tools and services available in the library and online. Some favorites? Obituaries, Cemeteries & The Dead and Civil War Genealogy and History.
- Genealogy Tools - Amazing databases like Heritage Quest and America's Obituaries and Death Notices can be accessed on your home computer with your library card.
- Digital Collections - Digitized historical photos, maps, art, building plans and more converge in one, easy-to-search database.
What can you do by visiting DPL's Western History and Genealogy Department?
- Beginning Genealogy course - Jumpstart your genealogical research with this free class.
- FREE! Ancestry Library Edition. No need to subscribe to this popular (yet pricey!) genealogy research website—Ancestry Library Edition is available on all Denver Public Library computers (yes, all DPL locations) for FREE.
- WHG staff members - Dedicated reference staff know exactly how to get newbies started with their family history. They can also direct seasoned researchers out of a dead end and into new resources.
- Books, journals, microfilm, manuscripts and more - There's a treasure trove of resources to see by stopping into the Western History and Genealogy Department. Our genealogical resources span 50 states and several countries; this is NOT a Colorado-only genealogy collection. Search our catalog first; you will find much more than you ever imagined. (Note: WHG materials cannot be checked out. Why? This means our research materials are always ready and available for you to use).
The Western History and Genealogy Department also offers classes and meet-ups for specific ancestral groups. To learn more, visit denverlibrary.org and check the Events and Classes section to search for genealogy events or pick up a copy of Engage! magazine at your local branch.
I was wondering if you ever have People who would go to a Denver cemetery, Mt. Olivet,
and take a picture of a head stone for an out of state family? I would be willing to compensate them for their time and gas. Thanks, Kim Ryan firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi, Kim! Have you first checked FindAGrave.com? This website includes volunteer-posted headstone photos--you can also request that a volunteer photograph a headstone. Please click here to search the Mount Olivet records.
Are there any records extant for the people at Fort Uncompahgre? My grandfather claimed to have been born there Jan. 1883.
Hello! This page from FamilySearch provides a nice overview of the records available for Montrose County (note that Fort Uncompahgre--located near Delta, Colorado in Montrose County--was abandoned in 1844). Please feel free to use our Contact Page if we can help you with more genealogy questions.
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