This page is designed as an introduction to a few of the many resources available in the Colby Libraries for genealogical research. While Genealogy Databases like Ancestry Library, MyHeritage, Fold3, and Family Search, provide access to the basic documents, there are many other ways to approach the hunt for information. The Family History tab includes sources that will provide access to material on the histories of individual families, but also the kinds of experiences people might have; this gives you additional insight into the lives of your ancestors. The Social History section puts your ancestors into a wider context; what was happening in their world that led them to migrate, change jobs, form associations, and so on? What was the food like? The technology? The transportation? The politics? This is the sort of information that goes beyond useful but dry facts, and allows one to construct a story instead of a document file.
Finally, don’t hesitate to contact a Research Librarian to help you get started, or to get going again if you hit one of the famous “brick walls”. We may not have detailed genealogical knowledge, but we do know research, and we can usually point you in a good direction.
In addition, there is a section on Resources for Organizing, where you can explore different forms of genealogy tables, timelines, and documents, and one for Genealogical Organizations; groups at the national, state, and local level exist to provide workshops, accreditation, and moral support and enthusiasm to help you in your searches. Some of them are quite specific; did you know there is a Finnish American Heritage Society of Maine? And the local chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society is right across the Kennebec in Winslow. Many of the people in these groups are more than happy to assist in individual searches, and they do the critical work of preserving and organizing local documents and histories. Also, don’t forget the many local, area, and state archival resources; our own Special Collections is a good place to start for ideas on archival research, as well as specific materials which may relate to your searching.