There's very little librarian Trudi Campbell hasn't been asked when it comes to geneaology. The most popular question that people want to know?
"Passenger lists and the census. Right now there's nothing hotter than the 1940s Census," said Campbell.
She's been called a 'genealogy guru' and even the 'obituary queen' for her knack of finding obituaries for people from all over the country and sometimes world.
"We get a lot of obituary questions," said Campbell.
Campbell says she's seen interest in genealogy increase during her time in the library. She says it can be a time consuming endeavor, but with the right materials in hand, it doesn't have to be intimidating.
"It's just amazing what people can find and their eyes are opened they had no idea that our collection was so rich," said Campbell. "This is really a destination collection for the library."
Starting your research? Here are a few tips:
1.) Start with the obvious.
Instead of looking for someone long ago, start with yourself and your living relatives. Use the upcoming holidays as a chance to ask questions about family history.
"Always start when thinking of own geneology by starting with yourself and working backwards," said Campbell.
The Hennepin County Library offers a Get Started workshop on the first Wednesday of the month from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Minneapolis Central Library.
2.) Use collections at the Hennepin County Library.
The Minneapolis Central Library Fourth Floor houses the McCarthy Genealogy Collection, which is a vast resource of periodicals, city directories, old records and even yearbooks that you can use at the library as reference materials.
3.) Request information from other libraries.
If you are researching a family member in another area, the Library can request the reference materials at no cost to you.
"If they need to borrow newspaper microfilm from California or Wyoming, they can do that free of cost," said Campbell.
4.) Help from experienced volunteers.
If you are stumped on a branch of your family tree, a professional genealogist can cost $50 to $75 an hour, but Hennepin County offers experienced volunteers seven days a month at the Minneapolis Central Library.
"They are more experienced so they can work around some of the stumbles that a beginning researcher might have," said Campbell. "There are so many places people can look and often beginning genealogists don't think of it."
5.) Use online search engines.
Online databases like Ancestry.com can cost $20 a month and up, but you can go to the Library to use those databases for free. The Minneapolis Central Library fourth floor has computers set aside strictly for genealogy research.
6.) Visit the Family History Fair.
On Saturday, Nov. 3, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. the Hennepin County Library will host this free event that helps people with their genealogy search. You can receive genealogy assistance from experts or attend sessions to learn more about military records, the newly released 1940s Census, or internet genealogy. To register for the event, go to www.hclib.org or call 612-543-KNOW (5669).
Shannon Slatton, reporting
October 24, 2012