Welcome to Genealogy

Getting Started

Gather papers, photographs and mementos from your family, look at your birth and marriage certificates, and begin to build your tree with the help of the basic forms linked below (forms are in pdf format and can be printed):

  • Use this Ancestral Chart to keep track of your direct ancestors. You are in the first slot, your parents in the next slots, then their parents and so on.
  • Use this Family Group Record to flesh out specific family details.
  • Keep track of where you have researched with this Research Extract form. Not finding something today in a source doesn’t mean that you won’t find it later.
  • This Research Checklist will also help you complete the details in an ancestor’s life. It is very useful for getting past those “brick wall” ancestors – people we just can’t locate.
  • Census Worksheets are vital tools. Use the sheets to help you read through these lengthy columns.
  • This Relationship Chart can help you understand your connection to kin.

Further Resources

  • Check out the Library’s Genealogy & Local History webpage. You can sign up for our monthly genealogy e-news, view upcoming programs and find links to other resources.
  • The Library has a subscription to Ancestry Library edition that must be used in the Library (bring in your own laptop if you wish).
  • Fold3 and Heritage Quest can be searched from home. Visit our Genealogy & Local History webpage to access these resources with your CAPL card.
  • Sign up for a free account on FamilySearch. The Library is now a FamilySearch Affiliate which opens up more records when searching at the Library.
  • The Illinois Digital Archives (IDA) is an Illinois state project to digitize images and documents making them available to everyone. 
  • Visit Cyndi’s List and Link Pendium for a wealth of genealogy related websites.
  • Join a genealogy group. Our Genealogy Interest Group (GIG) usually meets the second Sunday of the month. Check our online calendar for upcoming dates/times. The McHenry County Illinois Genealogical Society typically meets the second Thursday of the month. 

Ask Questions

We’ll help you find the answers. Contact our Genealogy & Local History Librarian, Nancy L. Gaynor, via email at ngaynor[at]caryarealibrary.info