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Digging Up Your Roots: Genealogy

Program Description

During transitions in people's lives, they often start asking themselves who they are and where they came from. Finding family origins is a start in determining your genetic base. Finding your roots also may help to find long-lost kin. This program helps start participants on their way.


  • Where to begin research.
  • What to look for and questions to ask.
  • Identifying good leads and when to follow them.
  • How to organize and document the resources.


  • Member of the local historical society or museum, which can be located at the Montana Historical Society Web site at: www.his.mt.gov.
  • A local genealogist.


  • This program should be a continuing series of two to three sessions of 1 to 1½ hours each.
  • Classroom-style seating.
  • Preparation time - 2 hours. Add one hour if you "Make It Special."

Learn More About It

Allen, Desmond Walls. First Steps in Genealogy: A Beginner's Guide to Researching Your Family History. White Hall, VA: Betterway Books, 1998. Ancestry.Com (http://ancestry.com) provides links to Social Security death index and census records. Croom, Emily Anne. Unpuzzling Your Past: A Basic Guide to Genealogy. White Hall, VA: Betterway Books, 1995. Genealogy Gateway (http://gengateway.com) is a good place for persons beginning to dig as well as those who are entrenched. RootsWeb: (http://rootsweb.com/~bwo/montana.html) RootsWeb sponsors an electronic discussion list (ROOTS-L) and an additional resource, Books We Own (BWO). BWO is a list of resources owned or accessible to members of ROOTS-L.

Make It Special

Offer to start persons on their way by looking up a few family names at one of the previously mentioned Web sites. Then show them how to look them up themselves at another session.

Market It

Distribute flyers to shopping centers, places of employment, downtown businesses, workout centers, and churches.

Reprinted with permission from the Missouri State Library and Secretary of State Robin Carnahan.

  • Montana State Library
  • P.O. Box 201800, 1515 East 6th Avenue
  • Helena, MT 59620-1800
  • Phone: (406) 444-3115
  • Fax: (406) 444-0266
  • msl.mt.gov