Learn more about your family’s history at your library

Jewish family history

Themes in current events, TV shows, books, politics and the ubiquitous ads for DNA test kits reflect people’s yearning to trace their families’ journeys through the generations.

Hennepin County libraries have resources for people who are just starting to retrace those journeys, or who are looking for the next step in a familiar path.


Professional research librarians have training and tools – beyond Google – that amateur researchers don’t have. In addition, it’s always good to have another set of eyes on your project, said Jean Bielke-Rodenbiker, a librarian who has expertise in genealogical research.

There are also classes taught by experts that are funded by Minnesota's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Several Hennepin County Library locations host classes on topics such as Ancestry.com, looking for the women in your family tree and more this spring.

See a listing of upcoming genealogy classes funded by Minnesota's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

Online resources

For research done inside a library building, there’s the Ancestry.com Library edition, an enhanced version of the popular genealogy tool that otherwise requires a membership fee. From home, school or anywhere else, genealogists can use the library website to access military records at Fold3, U.S. history links at Genealogy Connect and local history such as city directories, census records and more at HeritageQuest Online. Users generally need a library card to access these online resources.

Local resources

For families with local roots, Hennepin County Library’s Special Collections include local maps dating back to 1859, as well as Minneapolis city directories, vintage yearbooks and photos, and full-text articles from Minnesota newspapers. These resources are available at Minneapolis Central Library, and many are also available online.