West Oaks Branch Library & Genealogy Center

Orange County Library System

It WAS in the Bible!

For many families, the historical account of major life events were recorded and kept in the family Bible.  Your grandmother may have documented marriages, births, deaths, graduations, and other special occasions as they occurred in her own family Bible.  Bibles are often valuable resources for genealogists in search of historical records.  Yet, with technology changing the way we live, play and record today’s familial events, Bibles are no longer the primary source of information for family history.  Today, we can learn about our family’s history and heritage with just a few clicks on the computer.  Many family Bible records are now easily found online, in addition to an array of ancestry research tools. One such resource is EPOCH, Electronically Preserving Obituaries as Cultural Heritage. A project developed by the Orange County Library System, EPOCH helps fulfill a community need for collecting local history and knowledge. EPOCH is specifically focused on gathering information recorded in obituaries. It’s free and anyone can enter obituary records, photos and share memories through this timeless electronic resource.  Information that was once recorded in family Bibles, is now being preserved online for future genealogical research.  So, when your grandchildren one day ask, “Do you know where Great Grandma was born?” You can say…it’s on EPOCH!


Join us for the next chance to learn about and use EPOCH.  Wednesday 29 April 2015 at 6:00 p.m.  1821 E. Silver Star Rd., Ocoee, FL 34761:  Forget Me Not:  Preserve the memories of your loved ones with EPOCH, a website where you can post free obituaries. Attend one of these sessions where Library staff will be on hand to provide assistance and answer questions. We will help you through the process of creating and posting a tribute on EPOCH (Electronically Preserving Obituaries as Cultural Heritage). Computers and scanning equipment will be available for use, so be sure to bring photos and any information you want to include in the tribute.

Genealogy Workshop Success

On Sunday, April 19th Branch Manager Gregg Gronlund, and Genealogy Specialist Allison Ryall led the discussion at our first Genealogy Research Question Workshop.  Questions submitted in advance included how to research Russian Jews who immigrated to Philadelphia, but are not appearing on the U.S. Census; how to locate records from New York for Irish Immigrants; how to research the conscripts in Massachusetts for King George’s War, French and Indian Wars, and the Revolutionary War; and how to find siblings & females of ancestors prior to 1850, when they are not listed by name on the U.S. Census.

Additional questions were shared during the discussion, including how an adoptee might find a birth parent in New York City records, how to find in Sweden living descendants of a common ancestor, how to find documentation of a family story about an ancestor being raised by nuns in an orphanage in the 1800s in Tennessee, and how to find information about a Florida town that no longer exists.  A lively, fruitful discussion identified research strategies and resources to assist in further researching these questions.  Here is a sampling of resources shared:

  • Neagles, James C.  U.S. military records : a guide to federal and state sources, Colonial America to the present / by James C. Neagles.  Salt Lake City, Utah : Ancestry, c1994.   RG 355.31 Nea
  • Register of federal United States military records : a guide to manuscript sources available at the Genealogical Library in Salt Lake City and the National Archives in Washington, DC / compiled by Marilyn Deputy … [et al.].  Bowie, MD : Heritage Books, 1986-  RG 016.973
  • Kirkman, E Kay.  Some of the military records of America (before 1900) their use and value in genealogical and historical research.  RG 929.1 Kir
  • Drake, Samuel Gardner, 1798-1875.  A particular history of the five years French and Indian war in New England and parts adjacent, from its declaration by the King of France, March 15, 1744, to the treaty with the eastern Indians, Oct. 16, 1749, sometimes called Gov. Shirley’s war. With a memoir of Major-General Shirley, accompanied by his portrait and other engravings. By Samuel G. Drake.  Boston, S. G. Drake, 1870.   RG 973.26 Dra
  • Massachusetts officers and soldiers in the French and Indian Wars, 1755-1756 / edited by K. David Goss, David Zarowin.  [Boston, Mass.] : Society of Colonial Wars in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts : New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1985.   DAR 974.4 Mas  ; RG 974.4 Mas
  • http://italiangen.org/ — resource for ancestors in New York City and the surrounding boroughs (Bronx, Kings, Manhattan, Richmond, and Queens). Covers all ethnicities not just Italian. Key indexes cover marriages, deaths, and naturalizations.
  • http://stevemorse.org/ – Contains a whole host of valuable information and search tools. Strongest asset is it ability to search Ellis Island Records in more versatile ways that help compensate for a variety of surname spellings.
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBNHwWq6yK8 – Video from the US National Archives featuring archivist Jean Nudd talking about using pre-1850 census records to find family relationships
  • http://www.masshist.org/abigail — Abigail, the Massachusetts Historical Society’s Online Library Catalog, provides access to the majority of the Society’s collections of manuscript and printed materials.
  • http://www.americanantiquarian.org/ – The American Antiquarian Society Library houses the largest and most accessible collection of printed materials from first contact through 1876 in what is now the United States, the West Indies and parts of Canada.
  • http://www.sec.state.ma.us/arc/arcres/residx.htm – Massachusetts Archives Research Services. The Massachusetts Archives has information not published elsewhere on soldiers who services in early wars such at King George’s War and the French and Indian War.
  • http://www.jewishgen.org/ – Provides resources for those researching Jewish ancestors. Also a great resources for those researching non-Jewish Eastern European ancestors.
  • http://www.jewishgen.org/InfoFiles/Manifests/ – A Guide to Interpreting Passenger List Annotations by Marian L. Smith, Historian for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. This comprehensive reference guide explains how to interpret the markings and annotations found on passenger lists.
  • The American Genealogical and Biographical Index (cumulative index) (AGBI).  RG 929 AME
  • Passenger and Immigration Lists Index / edited by P. William Filby, RG 325.242 PAS
  • Passenger List Indexes for Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston, New York, etc.  Genealogy Center Microfilm Holdings.
  • Post Office Department reports of site locations, 1837-1950. Florida [microform]
  • Gazetteers

Genealogy Research Question Workshop – Sunday April 19th at 2:00 PM


  • Are you interested in learning your family’s history and are puzzled about where to begin?
  • Is your research stuck in a rut?
  • Puzzled about how to write up your family history?
  • In a pickle over how you can locate your immigrant ancestor and their immigration records?
  • Baffled over the meaning and handwriting of an old document?
  • Perplexed on where to go next with your lineage society application?

Then join us this coming Sunday, April 19th at 2:00 PM for our Genealogy Research Question Workshop. You will be able to sharpen your genealogy skills and learn about resources by sharing your research questions.

Genealogy researchers, whether beginning or advanced, are invited to submit one specific research question in advance.  Genealogy Center staff will lead the discussion, and can help direct you to possible answers, resources, types of records, databases and websites, etc.

Just think: a safe haven for all those family history queries!

Registration is required and a completed genealogy questionnaire is recommended.  Please contact us by e-mailing genealogy@ocls.info or calling 407-835-7651 for more information about the genealogy questionnaire and attending.