Genealogy: Reference


Reference departments in most libraries collect sources containing factual information, usually in a format that does not require reading the entire text of the source. These sources allow users to find background information such as names, dates, events, places, statistics, and definitions of words. This information can help you place your ancestors in context and provide you with clues for further research. For example, if you wish to find a brief history of the Texas community where your ancestors settled in the 1920s, consult The New Handbook of Texas. If you aren't certain about the location of a town, try an atlas or a gazetteer. For the definition of a legal term in a court or land record, check Black's Law Dictionary.

Although Reference books may not be checked out, you can use our scanner to make digital copies. You can also make photocopies using your Buffalo Gold card or a copy card. Copy cards may be purchased at the Circulation Desk on the first floor of the Library. Photocopy machines are located near the Circulation and Reference Desks. Ask at the Circulation Desk for assistance with photocopying.

Genealogy Research Guides

The guides listed below include information on how to do genealogical research. They should also be of assistance to those researching various topics in American history.



American Indians

Archives - Europe

Archives - United States

Art & Architecture

Associations, Organizations, & Societies


Numerous biographical sources are located separately from the remainder of the Reference collection. Ask at the Reference Desk for the location. You'll also find additional biographical information in subject encyclopedias and other works located elsewhere in the Reference collection. Also check under headings like American Indians, Art, Business, Education, Law, Medicine, Texas, & Women in this guide for additional biographical works.