Skip to Main Content

Genealogy and Family History: Getting Started

A guide to assist those interested in starting a family history project.

What Is Genealogy And Why Should I Care?

The Merrian Webster Dictionary defines it as:

1) an account of the descent of a person, family, or group from an ancestor or from older forms

2) regular descent of a person, family, or group of organisms from a progenitor 

3) the study of family ancestral lines

4) an account of the origin and historical development of something

Librarian (I am available for one on one appointments as well)

Profile Photo
Sue Malek
Truckee Meadows Community College
Elizabeth Sturm Library
7000 Dandini Blvd
Reno NV 89512

Genealogy: Part of Sustainability

Generally speaking, there are three parts to sustainability: social equity, economic viability and environmental protection. Under social equity genealogy can help to prevent social exclusion and discrimination, promote solidarity and contribute to the well-being of stakeholders.

Using the TMCC Library To Learn About Genealogy

This research guide will help to meet the following objectives:

  • Understand what the definition of genealogy is and why it might be important for you to pursue it
  • Explore genealogy topics such as creating a family tree, locating family records, preserving your research, networking to collect additional information
  • How to use Social Networking to increase your genealogical research
  • Develop critical thinking skills by evaluating historical documents and information
  • How to use both print and eBooks, as well as Reference sources in your research
  • Becoming familiar with terminology used in the field of genealogy
  • Learn how to construct an effective online search for genealogical information
  • Understand how to effectively use a web search to find quality sources appropriate to your task
  • Learn which type of information source is effective for which part of a search
  • Learn which library databases contain information on specific genealogy subjects
  • Learn what a peer reviewed journal is and how to search for them
  • Learn how to use digital newspaper databases
  • Websites that will teach you new genealogical skills (Boolean/Advance Google searching, Cemetery Research, etc.)
  • Learn how to cite genealogical sources and write a research plan
  • Learn to use a variety of sources to locate information (paper, electronic, etc.) 
  • Learn how to visualize complex data sets using Mind Maps, apply it to your family tree
  • Using Table of Contents and back of the book index to save time
  • How do I pursue a career in genealogy? What are the professional organizations associated with it?
  • What is DNA Genealogy? What types of DNA testing is available?
  • What local resources are available for me to learn more about genealogy?
  • How do I write and publish my family history?
  • Sources for faculty and librarians, how to incorporate genealogical research across the curriculum

TMCC Research Guides will assist you with your research and documenting and writing your family history:

Beginning Genealogy

How to Fill out a Pedigree Chart

Use Social Networking To Further Your Research, Its Easy And Free!

Start Here: Download And Fill Out As Much In These Charts As You Can. Organize it on paper before you put it online.

Mission Statement

TMCC Library Family History Research Room

Mission Statement

To be the leading local resource for family history, genealogy and their associated disciplines.

Promote recognition of the worth of family history research by:

  • Influencing academic standards
  • Providing education, skills and standards for research
  • Inspiring individuals in all sectors of society to study their heritage and their own place in history
  • Assisting students, faculty and the public in their research objectives by making widely available an expanding collection of relevant records, finding aids and other materials both physically in the reading room and through online databases
  • Work with faculty to explore ways of incorporating family history research into the curriculum
  • To conduct periodic educational programs and other learning opportunities to explore cultural, genealogical and historical topics
  • To disseminate cultural, genealogical, historical and biographical information to our students, faculty and the public

Create and encourage collaboration with:

  • Local community groups
  • Local veterans organizations
  • Other departments and clubs on campus

to further the needs of those we serve.

Grand Opening: TMCC Library Dedicated Genealogy Research Room

The TMCC Library is pleased to offer you three ways to research your family history. First, we offer a free online Open Genealogy Lab each Friday, secondly we have a dedicated family history research room, and thirdly we offer free online one on one genealogy research assistance appointments.


TMCC Library Open Genealogy Lab

While our campus has re-opened, due to Covid-19 our Open Genealogy Lab will continue to meet online via Zoom . If you would like to attend the Open Genealogy Lab by logging in from home, please contact Suzanne Malek at 

TMCC Library Open Genealogy Lab

  • We meet each Friday online using Zoom from 11:30am-2:00pm
  • Free, open to everyone (students, faculty, employees and the public)
  • Free parking
  • No registration required
  • All skill levels welcome!
  • Get a free TMCC Library Card, check out our outstanding genealogy collection of books and wide selection of databases

Come in and learn new research techniques, hear guest speakers, collaborate and have fun while building your family tree. 


Looking for a guest speaker? 

Click here to see a list of the TMCC Experts List


TMCC Library Open Genealogy Lab YouTube Channel:

Past TMCC Library Open Genealogy Lab guest speaker presentations are now available on the TMCC YouTube Channel! Click here to visit our YouTube Playlist.


Below are links to newspaper, magazine and website articles about the TMCC Library Open Genealogy Lab and Family History Research Room:


List of Upcoming Guest Speakers at the TMCC Library Open Genealogy Lab:

To get a Zoom link to join us live, please email your request to


Jan 2024

Jan 5 - Open Forum

Jan 12 - Open Forum

Jan 19 -    The Oregon Trail: Chance, Choice, and Chimney Rock!- Loren Pospisil, Chimney Rock Museum in Bayard, Nebraska

Jan 26 - Travis Boley, Association Manager, Oregon-California Trails Association


Feb 2024

Feb 2 - Jennifer Shaffer Merry - Cemetery Symbolism

Feb 9 - Robert S. Davis - Secrets to Research in Georgia

Feb 16 - Open Forum

Feb 23 - Micaela Procopio, Army Women's Museum - Island of Integration: The Desegregation of the U.S. Army 


Mar 2024

Mar 1 - No class today so everyone can attend Rootstech

Mar 8 - Tracie Boyle - Investigative Genetic Genealogy Center - Ramapo College of New Jersey

Mar 15 - Melissa Hayes, Houston Public Library/Family History Research Center Clayton Library Campus - Adoption: Searching for clues

Mar 22 - Mark Olsen - Introduction to FamilyTree Maker

Mar 29 - Lotte Lieb Dula, Founder of Reparations 4 Slavery - Reparative Genealogy


April 2024

Apr 5 - Irene Walters, Librarian, Houston Public Library Family History Ctr., Clayton Library Campus - Crossing the wide blue seas: passenger lists of our ancestors

Apr 12 - Tim Ritter - The Story of the Liberty Bell

Apr 19 - Troy Olson - Founder - Search Angels

Apr 26 - Jeremy Pekarek, Archivist, Northwest Archives and Special Collections


May 2024

May 3 - Open Forum

May 10 - Christine Burke, Investigator, Forensic Genetic Genealogist

May 17 - Kristin Harris, Research Coordinator, Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum - Descendants and Grave Marker Programs

May 24 - No class today 

May 31 - No class today


June 2024

June 7 - Debra Dudek - Sordid Southern Divorce Records

June 14 - Kristi Dorney, Special Collections, Jacksonville Public Library - How to digitize negatives and slides

June 21 - Homestead National Historical Park - Black Homesteaders in Nebraska: Audacious Dreams

June 28 - No class today, TMCC Library Open Genealogy Lab will host the Scouting America Family Heritage Badge Day


July 2024

July 5 - Open Forum

July 12 - No class today 

July 19 - Researching Your Incarcerated Ancestors - Glen Whorton, Nevada State Prison Board of Directors & Former NSP Correctional Officer

July 26 - TBA


August 2024

Aug 2 - TBA

Aug 9 - TBA

Aug 16 - No class today

Aug 23 - TBA

Aug 30 - TBA