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Fort Myers Library offering genealogy research services

By Staff | Oct 13, 2010

The Lee County Library System is now offering genealogy research services at its downtown Fort Myers location.
While that branch does hold the largest collection of genealogy materials in the county, this new status attained through the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, means genealogists now have access to hundreds of years of material from around the world.
“They (the Family History Library) go all over the world and film records in danger of being destroyed,” said Carolyn Ford, a genealogy research volunteer. “They literally have information from almost every country.”
Ford said she’s been a genealogist for 15 years, and the process of discovery through genealogy is fascinating.
Yet, Ford warned that use of the Family History Library’s extensive records is not the first step in discovering one’s past, and that a lot of work has to be done prior utilizing that service.
She suggested starting “with that they know” — use the Internet, collect information from friends and family, even complete an ancestor chart before heading to the library.
“If people come in a little more prepared, we’ll be able to better help steer them in the right direction,” Ford added.
Ford said genealogy is “very addictive” and likened the process to playing detective.
“It’s like doing detective work or doing a jigsaw puzzle … a lot of people are getting interested in it,” Ford added.
Jennet Buri from the Fort Myers Library said a location in Charlotte County offers the service, but the library is the only place in Lee or Collier counties where it’s available.
She said the Fort Myers Library will continue to offer its genealogy collection as well.
Records from the Family History Library come on microfilm, and have a process and handling fee of $5.50 per film.
Buri said it is important for people to understand that the microfilm can only be used and viewed at the Fort Myers Library, and that each order takes three to four weeks to process.
The service is available now, but appointments are necessary, and can be made by calling 479-4636. Appointments can also be made by stopping by the Fort Myers Library reference desk.