Posts Tagged ‘genealogy’

Finding a Family, part 2: From Missouri to Iowa

by Candice Smith on September 17th, 2016

In my last post, I’d found my grandfather Carl in the 1925 census. I also found out that his father and his grandfather were born in Missouri, which came as a surprise to me. For as long as I’d known them, my father’s family of aunts, uncles, and cousins were all in Oelwein, Iowa, and I’d never thought to ask if they’d moved there from somewhere else. Oelwein can kind of seem like a place where, the people who live there, they’ve always just been there and nowhere else. I don’t mean that in a disparaging way, just that it’s a small town and community, everyone knows everyone and all their family members, all of their stories, and the stories of their parents and grandparents. They know where everyone works, who built what, who lives where, who everyone’s children got married to, etc. Oelwein is familiar and self-contained.

So, just who were these Missourians that came to Oelwein? Read the rest of this entry »

Finding a family

by Candice Smith on August 12th, 2016
Finding a family Cover Image

I, like many people I work with and see here at the Library, am interested in genealogy. I’ve done a little bit of research here and there, mainly on my mother’s side of the family. Her maiden name is Klein, her father’s first name was Henderikus, and this ended up being a good name to start with. Aside from the fact that it was often misspelled, it is a somewhat unique name which made it a little easier to trace, and I was able to find him in the census records, as well as documentation of his family’s immigration from the Netherlands. Working backwards, I eventually hit a genealogy jackpot, when I found someone from the Netherlands who had done the research for the same relatives I was looking at, all the way back to the 1600s.

My father’s last name is Smith. I have resisted doing any research on that side of the family out of fear that I would be lost in a morass of Smiths in the midwest, unable to go much further than a couple generations. However, I recently decided to give it a try. Read the rest of this entry »

ICPL announces May Classes for Adults

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on April 23rd, 2015

May is National Historic Preservation month and the Iowa City Public Library will celebrate by honoring local historian, Irving B. Weber. In conjunction with the many Weber on Wednesday events, the computer classes for adults will focus on history through genealogical research.

Have you ever wondered about your family tree? Not sure how to start searching for your ancestors? Come join us for an Introduction to Genealogy on Friday, May 8, or on Tuesday, May 19, beginning at 10 a.m. A librarian will help you get started by talking about what questions to ask, how to keep track of your information, and places you might want to search.

At 10 a.m. on Monday, May 11, and Friday, May 29, find out how to use the library’s genealogy resources at Using for Genealogy. Find out how both Ancestry and Heritage Quest, two leading, genealogical databases, can help you solve your family tree mysteries.

All classes for adults are held in the Library’s Computer Lab on the second floor. Classes are free, but space is limited to 10 people per program, so patrons should register early.

Visit to register online. You can also register by calling the Library at (319) 356-5200.

Learn more with databases at ICPL

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on April 10th, 2015

With subscriptions to nearly 50 databases, the Iowa City Public Library has the resources patrons need to learn a new language, research or check stocks, or find information about an ancestor or loved one.

The Library’s databases can be accessed at under the Reference and Research tab on the left side of the web site. Click Online Resources and watch the instructional video on the screen to learn more about the information at your fingertips.

The Library’s databases are organized by category and alphabetically.

Every database can be accessed from the Library, but some can be accessed at home. This option is available to Iowa City residents, as well as those who live in rural Johnson County, or the cities of Hills, Lone Tree, and University Heights. Patrons wishing to access a database at home must have a Library Card.

Databases that can’t be accessed at home are noted in the description.

“Databases are another great resource for Library patrons,” Library Assistant Jen Eilers says. “They have the capability to learn so much with just the click of a button.”

For more information, contact the Library at (319) 356-5200. is much more than family trees

by Maeve Clark on October 14th, 2014

We recently helped a patron find information from a Kansas City City Directory.  And guess where we found it?  Give up? It was   (Before I go any farther let me remind you the library’s subscription to this very useful resource limits its use to only in the library and only at our database stations.)

I can see by that look on your face that you want to know what else you can find on There is so much more and you can find out just what is available under Quick Links:

quicklinks ancestry







City directories are found in the link, Schools, Directories & Church Histories which has a wealth of other listings too:














As you can see there is a tremendous amount of information available and we haven’t even narrowed it down to only city directories.  At times it feels like one has fallen into a rabbit hole with so many options and so very many possibilities.

At the very bottom of the above image is the link to the mother lode – the Card Catalog.  The options displayed under Card Catalog show the full breadth of

The Card Catalog uses facets, features on the left side of the screen that give users the options in filtering a search.  A search can be filtered by Collection, Location, Date and Language or a combination of any of the four.

As you can see can be used for many kinds of searches besides a genealogy inquiry.  Come visit us at the library, we can show you how to use  And if you still can’t find the answer to your question using, come and ask us. We are after all, trained reference librarians.