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Michigan State University

History of the Family Around the World: Genealogy

This is a guide to researching the history of the family around the world using reference works, bibliographies, periodical indexes, and primary sources. Last updated 06-08-2023


The process of researching and documenting the actual names, dates, and living locations of one’s ancestors is called genealogical research, but is often referred to as "family history."  M.S.U. Libraries does not specialize in, or have a subject specialist for,  genealogy.  Outside of academia this is what most people understand by the phrase "family history."  It is one of the ways that ordinary citizens "do history."  Given that everyone living in the United States today, except Native Americans, has ancestors from some other place, finding out about the history of these ancestors is important to many Americans.  In our local area the following two libraries do specialize in genealogy:

Library of Michigan 702 W. Kalamazoo St., downtown Lansing, 373-1300 has reference materials and primary resources for this field, as well as librarians with expertise in assisting with this type of research.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons), 431 E. Saginaw St., East Lansing, has a Family History Center which is open to the public, 332-2932.  Genealogy is important to them because of their practice of baptizing the deceased.  Their web site Family contains both research advice and access to free information.

That said, M.S.U. Libraries does offer this web resource in the Library only:
Ancestry Library Edition
This database provides access to U.S. and U.K. census records, naturalization records, immigration records, ship passenger lists, birth, marriage, and death records, etc.  It is a good place to get started in finding where your ancestors lived.