Family Histories

Family stories are what hold the family together. Knowing and understanding families’ narratives are an aid to understanding family’s histories, communication patterns and meanings. Telling and retelling stories serve an important role in shaping the lives of each family member by transferring the family traditions from one generation to another. (Wolff 1993)

The library has a collection of almost 400 family histories! Many of them are written by novice genealogists. Some are written by more advance genealogists. Each one was created to preserve the family history for generations to come.

We have many different types of books in our family histories collection. Some of them are large and some are small. Some are hard bound and others are paper bound. There are family histories with paper covers bound with coil or comb bindings. Some are bound in 3-ring binders. Some are in color and some are black and white.

Many of the books in the collection come with pictures of the people and places that document the family’s stories. This is a great resource to check when you want to find out more about your own family. Maybe someone in your family published information about your family. It’s easy to find out!

All of our family histories are in the Genealogy Research section of the Topeka Room, located in Genealogy 929.2. Each is organized by the family’s last name. You can search for them in the Library Catalog. Not only can you check them out from the library, but they are available through Interlibrary Loan (ILL) to libraries across the country through the WorldCat system.

Review the booklist below for some samples of family histories in our collection.

View complete list

Sherri Camp

Being the Genealogy Librarian at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library is so much fun! As a veteran genealogist, I love teaching and sharing digital family history and genealogy techniques and helping people solve genealogy problems. My work is to promote a greater knowledge of family heritage.