Research your PERSONAL story

Research your PERSONAL story

The second Sunday in March (this year March 9) is Genealogy Day. Genealogy is the term used to describe the quest to discover facts about our ancestors. Some people know more about their family history; some less. Some are very interested in the tidbits that are gathered on numerous generations over the years, and some are perfectly content to know nothing about extended family beyond their grandparents. Some family stories are ingrained in an individual whether they know it or not, because they have been repeated for years by older relatives. Some individuals know very little about their extended family. The starting point for any family research is to accept that EVERYONE has a story.

How much effort you exert in discovering YOUR story depends on your interest and initiative. In this blog we will investigate one of the FREE sources that members of the Bellevue University community can use to research your personal story.

Let’s say you are mildly interest in investigating where your ancestors were born, where they lived, and how they made a living. You know the names of all four of your grandparents, and the maiden name of one of your grandmothers. First pick one of your Grandpas, preferably the one that you know the most about. Get on a computer and go to the Bellevue University Library’s web page at

Click on the Find tab on the top left, then go to Databases on the drop-down menu.

On the Databases page click on the letter “A

Scroll down until you find Ancestry Library Edition printed in blue.

This is the page that marks the beginning of your search.

First, click on the Charts and Forms tab at the top of the page and print off an Ancestral Chart and at least two copies of the 1930 U.S. Census form.

There are four directions to go at this time; we will start with the Search Census area.

Click on that box.

On the U.S. Federal Census Collection page, scroll down under Included Data Collections until you come to the 1930 United States Federal Census, and click on that.

Type in Grandpa’s first and last name, and birth year and birth state if you know it. If you don’t know either one, try it without. Click on the orange Search box.

Click on View Record of the correct line.

This should bring up Grandpa’s name in heavy black print with “in the 1930 United States Federal Census”.

Look at the information in the large white box to make sure you have the correct man.

On the left side of the page, click on the green View box.

This takes you to the 1930 census page. The line that Grandpa is on will be highlighted in yellow; the rest of the immediate family will be highlighted in green.

On the right side of the census page is a magnifier scale with a + and – . Adjust that until it is comfortable for you to read. Each column is labeled up at the top with what information is in that column.

Take one of the 1930 U.S. Census forms that you printed off earlier and copy the relevant information. Now you have Grandpa’s name, age, family, where he was born, his occupation, and whether or not he was a veteran.

Use the thin arrow at the top left to get back to the page with the green View button.

Scroll down until you see a Suggested Records box on the right. These records may also be Grandpa’s, but they may not. Particularly if it is a common last name (Jones, Green, Peterson), there may be a stray record included for a different man with the same name.

As long as you are a member of the Bellevue University community, you have access to Ancestry Library Edition for FREE. If you have difficulty locating the correct Grandpa, please contact Library staff members Allie O’Connor at or Allison Schafer at and we will help. Start with what you know and work backwards in time. Happy Genealogy Day, and may you enjoy researching your personal story.

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