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Genealogy Rocks

I have worked on my family’s genealogy for about 40 years. There were breaks – some lasting a month, others lasting several years. But it always patiently waited for my return. My family jokes (somewhat seriously) that to vacation with me is to visit cemeteries. My mother famously found her g-g-grandfather by saying “I’m tired, who is this guy, are we related.”

When I began the work was by mail (snail, not email) and driving to libraries and courthouses to excitedly plunder their collections. The thrill to reading every name on the 1850 Census for Northampton County, Penn is impossible to share! For the past 20 years, genealogy has gone to the Internet – with groups like rootsweb blazing the way. Libraries have digitized as much of their local history and genealogy collections as possible with staff, volunteer, and money constraints.

While the Internet has brought genealogy closer, not everything is online. I have seen estimates that only about 10% of the genealogical material held at libraries, archives, societies, and government offices is available online. This holds true for the Peru Library as with other libraries. The majority of our collection is print, not digital. Check out our catalog and the Genealogy page on our website for an idea of what we have.

The local newspaper is microfilmed back to 1906, but not digitized. Nor does it have an index for the last 110+ years. There are several partial indexes available for use – with some accessible as pdf.

We also have the oral history interviews and transcripts from a 1975-76 project covering the Illinois Valley. You can hear the voices of Cherry Mine Disaster survivors sharing their memories.

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