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Explore your family history through a variety of print, electronic, and microfilm resources for genealogy research. The main genealogy collection is housed at our Gonzales location.

Accessible Archives image and link

Accessible Archives utilizes computer technology and a large team of conversion specialists to provide easy to use access to vast quantities of archived historical information previously available only in microformat, hard copy form or as images.

Diverse primary source materials reflecting broad views across American history and culture have been assembled into comprehensive databases. These databases allow access to the rich store of materials from leading books, newspapers and periodicals then current.

Ancestry logo

Ancestry Library Edition delivers billions of records in census data, vital records, directories, photos, and more. It’s an unprecedented online collection of individuals from North America, the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, and more.

Answers await everyone—whether professional or hobbyist, expert or novice, genealogist or historian—inside the more than 7,000 available databases. Here, you can unlock the story of you with sources like censuses, vital records, immigration records, family histories, military records, court and legal documents, directories, photos, maps, and more.

Ancestry is only available inside your local library.

Fold 3 by Ancestry image and link

Fold3 features premier collections of original military records. These records include the stories, photos, and personal documents of the men and women who served in the military. Many of the records come the U.S. National Archives, The National Archives of U.K. and many others.

Heritage Hub image and link

HeritageHub is the largest and most comprehensive collection of newspaper obituaries and death notices. Extensive editorial review of all newspaper sections ensures thorough selection of obituaries for easy access. An easy-to-use interface allows searching by name, date range, or text such as institutional name, social affiliation(s), geographic location(s), philanthropic activities, etc.

Heritage Quest image and link

HeritageQuest Online is a comprehensive treasury of American genealogical sources—rich in unique primary sources, local and family histories, and finding aids.

18th Century or 20th Century. European or Native American. Farm or Factory. East Coast or West Coast. Where does your American past begin?

Internet Genealogy Magazine

Internet Genealogy is a magazine that focuses on keeping today's family historian up-to-date with the vast and ever-growing collection of genealogy-related resources, software, tools, products, technologies and more. With each new issue you will find website reviews, social networking strategies, as well as tips, and stories from a wide variety of seasoned professional authors who share the benefit of their many years experience of doing traditional and online genealogy research.


African American Resources

Finding Your Roots: A Beginner's Guide to Genealogy

Start with yourself and work from the known (names, dates, places). Keep in mind who, where, when and what.

  • WHO is to be researched? (persons, families)
  • WHERE were they? (states, countries, ships)
  • WHEN were they there? (dates, historical eras - what else was happening that might cause them to do what they did?)
  • WHAT are you looking for? (names, dates, places)

At home, look for:

  • Personal papers, diaries, and letters
  • Newspaper clippings
  • Funeral programs & holy cards
  • Family birth, baptism, marriage, and/or death certificates, licenses, or announcements
  • Family bibles
  • Baby books, high school year books, and school papers
  • Scrap books and photo albums (these are really helpful if labeled)
  • Visit or write relatives and ask for family information. Try to get as many towns, cities, parishes (counties), states, and countries as possible. Try to find out when your ancestors lived there.

At libraries, check these sources:

  • Census materials
  • City and parish directories and histories
  • Cemetery inscription books (lists of names and dates of who is buried there)
  • Biographies of local area residents
  • Sources of immigration records and ships' passenger lists
  • Address lists for vital statistics records in other parishes, counties, states and countries
  • NOTE: Most libraries do not have actual documents; often you must go or write to a courthouse, state archive, or diocesan archive.

When you find information, whether you copy or photocopy it, write down the author, title, page number, and volume number (if it has one), or photocopy the title page. Some day you might have to recheck your work.

Go, or write to, parish courthouses, state archives, or diocesan archives for:

  • Birth, death, marriage, and baptism certificates
  • Probate records (wills and successions)
  • Records of deeds (land ownership)
  • Tax records
  • NOTE: There may be a fee charged for searching for and copying the information, so check with the agency.

When you write to other parishes, counties, or states, etc., be sure to give as much information as you can about the person you are searching for. Be as clear and brief as possible. Follow the agency's instructions on how to receive the information.

When you do your research, remember to:

  • Carry your ancestor chart(s) or copies with you (so you will be working on the correct names)
  • Begin with the present and work back (if you skip, you may connect with the wrong person)
  • Be alert to possible spelling variations in names, places, and changes in dates
  • If you abbreviate, be consistent and clear
  • Be aware that not all records contain the same information (some marriage licenses may list parents and their birth places, but others may not)
  • Organize the information which you collect so that it can be easily reached and added to
  • NOTE: Document everything! If the original documents do not agree, try for more documents, and then accept the most logical information. However, ancestors were people too, so what seems the most likely may not be correct.

 Be patient. You won't find everything in one day.


Selected Bibliography

General Works

  • Croom, Emily Anne. The Genealogist's Companion and Sourcebook
  • Drake, Paul. In Search of Family History: A Starting Place
  • Kelley, Harold. In Search of Your Family Tree (not in APL catalog)
  • Kemp, Thomas Jay. International Vital Statistics Handbook (not in APL catalog)
  • Stryker-Rodda, Harriet. How to Climb Your Family Tree: Genealogy for Beginners
  • Wright, Raymond S. The Genealogist's Handbook: Modern Methods for Researching Family History

Louisiana Works

  • Boling, Yvette Guillot. A Guide to Printed Sources for Genealogical and Historical Research in the Louisiana Parishes
  • Diocese of Baton Rouge, Catholic Church Records, 1707-1885
  • Hebert, Rev. Donald J. Southwest Louisiana Records
  • Sacramental Records of the Roman Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, 1718-1815
    Books marked with an asterix (*) in the call number are for in-library use only.

Other Genealogy Collections

    502 Highway 30, Gonzales, LA 70737
    Phone: (225) 644-2377
    7711 Goodwood Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70806
    Phone: (225) 231-3750
    701 North Fourth Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802
    Phone: (225) 342-4923