Maintained by


June 13, 2024
Genealogical documents with family tree
Where did you come from?!? Find out!
Genealogy is one of the most popular hobbies in the United States and countless resources exist to help you delve into your family tree. Worthington Libraries provide a wealth of materials to help the family researcher produce a history that is complete and of high quality.

Getting started

Genealogy projects can seem overwhelming, but getting off to the right start saves time and effort. Many basic books on genealogy can be found in the reference or circulating book section with the number 929. If you're a real beginner, these titles will give you some guidance on how to start:

Once you have some idea of research techniques, recommended research titles are:

Getting specific

America's melting pot has brought together people from all over the world. Genealogical records vary from country to country. Titles that provide specific aid include:

My Heritage

Once you have found the geographical location of the information you are looking for, try consulting My Heritage (formerly known as WorldVitalRecords) to determine where and how to get specific records.

The Worthington Room

Central Ohio has many unique genealogical resource centers. Old Worthington Library has the Worthington Room, which contains specialized material for searching local genealogy and archives. These resources may be in book form or microfilm. A brief selection follows:

Microfilm sources at Old Worthington Library include:

Getting digital

It is always a good idea to use caution while searching the internet. Information is only as good as its source. Determining credibility for genealogical sources is especially tricky, since there are no authoritative central agencies. Much of the information, even in published family histories, may be misleading family legends rather than fact. Use your critical intelligence when looking at genealogical information on the internet.

Web sources make it easy to find and share information online. Much of the information a genealogist needs is NOT on the internet, but valuable resources can be found there. Some popular sites are:

Worthington Libraries card & PIN required (No card? Apply online!)
A valuable resource for genealogical research, this NewsBank database, formerly known as America's Obituaries and Death Notices, provides obituaries and death notices from American newspapers from 1704 through the present. Search by name, date range or text such as residence, occupation, hobbies, family members or other personal information.
Available only inside the library (Visit us!)

Begin your genealogical or local history research with Ancestry Library Edition from ProQuest and Ancestry Library Edition includes the digitized images of the U.S.

A well-known gateway with links to thousands of genealogy sites on the internet. The site is free, but contains links to fee-based sites.

Ellis Island Records

This site searches immigration records from the port of entry of many Americans' ancestors. This site is prone to variant spellings and other problems; however, it still offers a means to find out where and with whom your ancestors crossed the Atlantic.
Available only inside the library (Visit us!)

FamilySearch provides searchable access to names as well as images of historical genealogical records. It includes birth, marriage, death, census, land and court records from more than 130 countries to help you discover and make family connections.

Hayes Presidential Center Library Ohio Obituary Index

The Hayes Presidential Library Center offers a searchable index of obituaries from newspapers throughout Ohio, from the 1810s to the present day. More than 3.5 million records are indexed. There is no fee to use the index, but there is a nominal charge for copies of the obituaries.
Worthington Libraries card & PIN required (No card? Apply online!)

HeritageQuest Online from ProQuest is a comprehensive collection of primary genealogical sources, local and family histories, research guides, census maps and more. Included are U.S. Federal Censuses, genealogy and local history directories, Revolutionary War records, Freedman's Bank Records and the Periodical Source Index (PERSI) Archive.

The Official Federal Land Records Site

This U.S. government database provides image access to more than five million federal land title records issued between 1820 and the present. Due to organization of documents in the General Land Office collection, this site does not currently contain every federal title record issued for the Public Land States. Certified copies of land patents can be requested, for official documentation.


This is a gateway site, with a busy listserv for asking and answering questions. There are also links to volunteer lookups and numerous message boards.
Worthington Libraries card & PIN required (No card? Apply online!)
See what Worthington looked like in 1922. This site provides a searchable interface for historical maps of Ohio towns and cities from 1882 through 1962.
Available only inside the library (Visit us!)
The Death Master File contains records of deceased persons from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The database offers basic information about people with Social Security numbers whose deaths were reported to the SSA.


This is a free site staffed by volunteers working together to provide internet genealogical research in every county and state in the U.S. Some areas of the project are more complete than others. Many WPA records have been made available online through this project.

Originally created in 2002 to commemorate Worthington's bicentennial, Worthington Memory brings together tens of thousands of records spanning hundreds of years.

Genealogical resource centers in central Ohio

Columbus Metropolitan Library - Local History & Genealogy

96 S. Grant Ave.
Columbus, Ohio 43215

The genealogy collection housed on the third floor in the Genealogy, History and Travel Division of the Columbus Metropolitan Library is one of the largest collections of genealogical resources in the United States. Since 2007, the collection has grown to include the genealogy collections of the State Library of Ohio, the Palatines to America Society and the Franklin County Genealogical & Historical Society. The library's collection includes indexes and transcriptions of census, vital, military, court and other records, as well as state, county and local histories, family histories, surname files, maps and atlases and more.

Delaware County Historical Society

2690 Stratford Rd.
Delaware, Ohio 43015

The Delaware County Historical Society is the county-wide historical society dedicated to preserving, promoting, and educating about Delaware County history. The Cryder Historical Center and Research Library and the Nash House Museum is located at 157 E. William St., Delaware, Ohio 43015.

Delaware County Genealogical Society

Delaware County District Library
84 East Winter St.
Delaware, Ohio 43015

The Delaware County Genealogical Society offers records from cemeteries, the Civil War, government, court records and more.

Franklin County Genealogical & Historical Society

96 S. Grant Ave.
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Note: The Franklin County Genealogical & Historical Society's office is housed in the Columbus Metropolitan Library's Genealogy, History and Travel Division.

Ohio History Connection

800 E. 17th Ave.
Columbus, OH 43211

The Ohio History Connection houses a wealth of resources valuable to the genealogical researcher, including city directories, muster rolls, letters, death records, land records, military records and county and state records. For those beginning their research, the Ohio History Connection also offers genealogical workshops, in cooperation with the Columbus Metropolitan Library and the Franklin County Genealogical and Historical Society.

Getting the "gene" in genealogy

Not sure where to begin your quest for genetic genealogy information? Start with these online resources specifically geared toward those new to the field of genetic DNA research.

DNA for Newbies

A forum for those new to the field of genetic genealogy, this resource from the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) offers answers to basic questions, information about the different testing companies available, DNA lessons and helpful diagrams.

DNA Testing Companies

The first step in determining your genetic ancestry is to get tested. A variety of testing companies exist offering different types of tests and price ranges. Do your research and select a test that closely matches your goals and finances. Remember, as with most purchases, that you get what you pay for. Here are a few options to explore.


This DNA ancestry service provides ancestry-related genetic reports and uninterpreted raw genetic data.

African Ancestry

African Ancestry uses the world's largest database of African DNA lineages to determine your country and ethnic group of origin, all with a simple swab of your cheek.


AncestryDNA (from will explain and help you choose a mitochondrial mtDNA or Y-chromosome lineage test and find leads based on DNA testing, surnames, geography and haplogroups.

Family Tree DNA

Offers Y-chromosome, mtDNA, combined y chromosome and mtDNA tests, XSTR DNA tests for males and females and other specialty testing services.


This company offers maternal, paternal and combo ancestry packages and many search and analysis features.

DNA databases

Once you have tested your mt-DNA or Y-DNA you can enter your DNA into one of the many DNA databases available. This will allow you to see if and how closely you match with anyone. Here are some databases to start with.

Additional information

The International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG)

Founded in 2005 by DNA project administrators, The International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG) exists to advocate for and educate about the use of genetics as a tool for genealogical research, and promote a supportive network for genetic genealogists. Their website contains helpful information for both beginning and advanced genetic genealogists.

Your Genetic Genealogist

This blog examines the intersection of traditional genealogical techniques and modern genetic research and explores the latest news and developments in the related field of personal genomics.

Recommended for

Kara R

I am the library's digital library manager. I like to read fantasy, sci-fi, historical fiction and retellings, especially extra-long tomes. When it comes to music, give me anything with a groove and some soul. 

More by me