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Just who do you think you are?

Just who do you think you are?


Genealogy and family history research are a popular hobby for many people.

You can research your family roots, and maybe even discover interesting things about your ancestors. And with the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year or so, hobbies like genealogy research have only grown in popularity.

You may have seen in the newspaper or on the news recently the Grand Island Public Library is now officially an affiliate library of FamilySearch. FamilySearch is a non-profit organization, supported by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that operates the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, as well as the church family history centers and other affiliate libraries all across the United States.

This free affiliate partnership with FamilySearch provides another great set of tools for the genealogy toolkit the Grand Island Public Library already provides through Ancestry Library Edition ( and through MyHeritage (which is funded by the Nebraska Library Commission for all Nebraska residents).

So what can the hobby (or serious) genealogist expect to find through our FamilySearch affiliation? Let’s review.

What I think is probably one of the biggest advantages of becoming a FamilySearch Affiliate is the additional sets of historical records our patrons will now be able to access. While there is some overlap in records that both FamilySearch and Ancestry provide — or example, both sites have all of decennial U.S. Federal Censuses — FamilySearch and the Family History Library have been working for decades to acquire and digitize primary source records from all over the globe.

Because of their diligent work in preserving these records, FamilySearch provides many records that are not included in the database. Because of their partnership agreements, many of these records are accessible only within an affiliate facility. Many of these digitized records are important primary source records such as vital records like birth, marriage, and death records.

Another great feature of the FamilySearch website is the catalog search by place. You can enter a place name and see all of the sources that are available on the FamilySearch site. This is a really great feature as you will be able to see different types of sources you may not think to look for otherwise, such as tax lists, funeral home records, newspaper clippings and so on.

Later in the summer and into the fall, keep a look out for partnered events we will have in our Heritage Room that will highlight not only FamilySearch, but all of the genealogy and local history resources available not only at the Grand Island Public Library, but in Grand Island, Hall County and around the area, like the Hall County Historical Society and Prairie Pioneer Genealogical Society.

If you are interested in learning more about FamilySearch, and all of the other resources available for use at the Library, give us a call at 308-385-5333 and speak to the reference desk. We would be happy to set you up on a Book-A-Librarian appointment to work one on one with you and help you learn more about what we have to offer.

Visit our website,, and go to the “Resources” menu tab to see a list of all of the databases and digital lending services available to you. Also, take a look at what we are offering for our Tails and Tales Summer Reading program this summer — there is a lot of great events for all ages.

Library cards are free to all residents of Hall County and residents whose home libraries participate in the Nebraska Library Commission NebrasKard reciprocal library card program. Check out your library today!

Shaun Klee serves as the adult and technical services librarian for the Grand Island Public Library. Email him at

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