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St. Clair County Community College Library


SC4 Databases

Search newspapers for obituaries and birth, wedding, or death announcements.

History databases

Contact the Library

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Jane Lewandoski
Phone (810) 989-5640
Text (810) 515-7343
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Research suggestions from Lisa H., SC4 library staff member

  • “Genealogy without documentation is mythology” - Anonymous.  Family stories do not mean anything; documentation is proof.
  • Start with yourself and work backwards.
  • Organize your findings in a genealogy program such as Legacy family Tree.  (Free Edition:    You will never have to upgrade to the paid version because the free version does not expire.)
  • Do not be concerned about spelling changes/errors.  For example, Schultz may have been recorded by census takers as Shultz, Schults, or Chultz.
  • Church records are best.  Look for baptismal, marriage, or death records. They often list the name of parents, siblings, etc.
  • Check newspapers for obituaries.
  • Look for military draft records.
  • While online visit the public library of a city and see what resources are available. Sometimes emailing a specific request will get you the document you want in digital format.
  • While online visit the county historical society and see what resources are available.
  • Don’t forget to research the siblings of your ancestor!  You might find that missing elderly parent living with a sibling, etc.
  • Record and cite your sources!  (As you progress, you will find you cannot remember where you found that birthdate.)
  • Evernote note taking software is a easy way to organize and save information across various platforms or devices. Click here for a link to the free software program.  Click here for more information about how one genealogists uses Evernote.
  • Nearly all records from the 1890 U.S. Census were destroyed in a fire and flood.


Records to check

Records to check

  1. Census (1790-1940 - the 1890 census was ruined in a fire)  Each census asks different questions.
  2. City Directory (similar to a phone book it lists the person, their occupation and residence – came out yearly)
  3. Vital Records (birth, marriage, death)
  4. Newspapers (brings your family to life with news stories and obituaries)
  5. Find-A-Grave
  6. Church Records
  7. Cemetery Records (you may discover other family members in the section)
  8. Military Records
  9. Dead Fred Genealogy Photo Archive:
  10. Not every ancestor came in through Ellis Island in New York.  Visit Castle Garden for immigration records:

Other resources

Other sources