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Genealogy: Home

Provides very basic information for the prospective family historian to get started in research and describes resources available in the Murray State University Libraries and Online

Special Announcement

For the time being our public computers that contain the online catalog are out of order.  If you need to look up a book we ask you to come to the help desk in the lobby of the library.

About This Guide

This guide provides very basic information for the non-Murray State student and the prospective family historian to get started in family history research and describes resources available in the Murray State University Pogue Special Collections Library as well as online.  If you are a Murray State history student, you may find the history guide more helpful.

There are several websites that have good information for the beginning family historian.  The learning center that can be found at is a good place to start.


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To best view this LibGuide, the following browsers/ versions are recommended:

  • Explorer 7 and higher
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  • Safari 5

In addition, you must have the latest version of Adobe installed on your computer in order to open the pdfs.

Featured Website

Here is a great resource for those of us with family from the "Barrens" - Metcalfe, Allen, Hart and Monroe counties, as well as Barren County, Kentucky.  The museum is housed in the old Kentucky Pants factory in downtown Glasgow, Kentucky.  They also have a library.

Also included is the 1940 United States Census online.  A good resource for looking up families.

Where to Start

There are many websites that promise instant results concerning family history research.  However, the seasoned family historian knows better.  Begin your family history by recording the information about your family that you already know.  This can be accomplished through a family tree computer program or the old-fashioned way, by simply recording the information on paper charts.  Either way is acceptable if it is done consistently and accurately.  Once you record what you already know, ask older relatives what they might remember.  This can be accomplished through interviews, either in person or by telephone, or by sending letters to your relatives.  Either way you decide to interview them, make the questions specific and not general.  In other words, DON’T ask the question: “Can you tell me anything about the Washington family?”  Instead DO ask: “Do you remember when Grandma Martha Washington was born?”

Once you have some information recorded, you will notice where information is missing on your charts.  You will want to find this missing information.  Create a list of the specific information that you are missing and want to discover.  Decide in what type of source you might find that information.  For example, if you want to discover when your father was born, try looking at vital records.

LibGuides - Search

LibGuides - Search

Search tips: The default search is AND, i.e. it will search for all the words entered. To perform OR search use | character, e.g. hello | world. To exclude words use !, e.g. hello ! world will search for matches where there is the word hello but not world. To search for a phrase enter it in quotes, e.g. "hello world".

Contact us

Telephone: 270-809-6152

Fax: 270-809-6153

Email: Special Collections

Murray State University

200 Pogue Library

Murray, Kentucky 42071

Hours of Operation

Pogue Special Collections Library

Monday through Friday

8:00 am to 4:30 pm

Pogue Library is closed during vacation, holiday and interim periods.  Pogue Library may also close for special events.  It is recommended that researchers call ahead before planning a trip to Murray.

Check our calendar below for current information.