Fort Myers Regional Library

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As of December 2017, The Fort Myers Regional Library has been upgraded to the status of a Family History Library Affiliate. This privilege enables us to provide access to most of the digitized holdings of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, with one exception. This involves any Family Search films that are under copyright restriction imposed by the agency or entity that allowed the Family History Library and Family Search to film the records. Copyright-restricted films can only be viewed at designated Family History Centers.

Fort Myers, Lee County, Florida Genealogy

Fort Myers Regional Library Genealogy Department 2450 First Street, Fort Myers, FL 33901

Telephone: Genealogy Department (239) 533-4624 Bryan L. Mulcahy - Librarian (239) 533-4626

E-Mail Contacts Bryan L. Mulcahy - Librarian bmulcahy@leegov.com; Carolyn Ford - Main Volunteer cford@leegov.com

The genealogy collection is housed in the Genealogy Room, part of the 2nd floor adult services area. The hours of operation are: Monday-Wednesday 9am-8pm Thursday 9am-6pm Friday and Saturday 9am-5pm.

Our genealogy collections are utilized by patrons from throughout the United States. The staff serves patrons via in-house visits and electronic queries. The Fort Myers Regional Library maintains the largest print genealogy and local history collection in Southwest Florida. Carol Weidlich, Past President of the Lee County Genealogical Society, has converted the Fort Myers Library’s Genealogy Shelf List to a searchable database by location and subject on the society website https://lcgsfl.org/libraryRecords.php.

Patrons may contact Bryan L. Mulcahy or Carolyn Ford by telephone, letter, or e-mail bmulcahy@leegov.com or cford@leegov.com. Mr. Mulcahy is familiar with the contents of collections at Fort Myers and Pine Island Libraries. He can also discuss the resources held by various private genealogists, as well as the resources and services offered by local genealogical and historical societies within the states of Florida, Georgia, New York City, and Salt Lake City.

Mr. Mulcahy also presents programs on a wide variety of topics pertaining to genealogical research. Information about genealogical programs can be found on the Lee County Library System website at https://www.leegov.com/library/services/genealogy. Please direct any programming queries or suggestions to Mr. Mulcahy.

All genealogy programs conducted by the library system are held at the Fort Myers Regional Library Complex, South Building Meeting Rooms located at 1651 Lee Street, Fort Myers, FL 33901. Flyers announcing upcoming programs are posted on the Genealogy Room bulletin board, on Public Information Boards at all branches within the Lee County Library System, and online at https://www.leelibrary.net under the "program and events" icon. When on this page, click on the icon for Fort Myers Regional Library. You may also contact Mr. Mulcahy at bmulcahy@leegov.com to obtain a current listing of upcoming genealogy programs. All programs are free and open to the public but registration is required.

Patrons seeking information about how to begin genealogical research may contact Bryan Mulcahy at bmulcahy@leegov.com or by phone at (239) 533-4626. Using the email option quickest way to reach Mr. Mulcahy. All mailed queries must be accompanied by a business size (long No. 10) stamped self -addressed envelope. For one-on-one assistance it is best to contact Mr. Mulcahy via e-mail or telephone at least three to five days prior to your visit and provide some date and time options that work for your schedule. Based on the options provided, Mr. Mulcahy, or one of the genealogy volunteers will contact you with a date and time confirmation.

Collection Scope: The Fort Myers Regional Library genealogy collection contains materials from all 50 states, and 55 foreign countries. The primary focus of the Fort Myers Regional Library collection includes states east of the Mississippi River, Canada, the British Isles, and the northwestern tier of Europe.

Collection Contents and Material Types: The Fort Myers Regional Library collection consists of the following holdings:

1. Print material: 10,630 book titles.

2. Fort Myers News-Press (1884-present): 1,151 rolls of microfilm.

3. Bonita Banner (Bonita Springs) 1959-1992 (microfilm)

4. Bonita Springs Extra 1981-1985 (microfilm)

5. IGI International Genealogical Index 1978 and 1992 editions (microfilm) NOTE: While the content may be seem dated, many researchers find this tool increasingly useful because the 1978 and 1992 microfilm editions include information that has never been added to the Family Search database for a variety of reasons.

6. New York Times (September 1851-present): 3,887 rolls of microfilm.

7. Florida State Census of 1885: 13 rolls of microfilm.

8. Florida Federal Census 1830-1920: 100 rolls of microfilm.

9. New England Historical and Genealogical Register v.1-80: 27 rolls of microfilm, including an index.

10. Port of New York Passenger Lists, June-December 1869: 10 rolls of microfilm.

11. International Genealogical Index – 1978 Microfiche Edition: 6,000 microfiche.

12. Fort Myers News-Press Necrology Index – Compiled by the Lee County Genealogical Society: over 8,000 index cards.

13. Genealogy and Local History Vertical File Cabinets: 1,000 + items. These cabinets contain newspaper clippings, documents, and manuscripts, covering Southwest Florida and topics of genealogical interest worldwide.

14. Over 400 + rolls of microfilm from Family Search that were in our possession when the rental program was cancelled in September 2017. These are on permanent loan to our branch since we are a designated Family Search Library Affiliate Family History Center. A copy of the inventory of this collection can be obtained by contacting Bryan L. Mulcahy via email at bmulcahy@leegov.com.

Most of the genealogical materials in our print collection are considered secondary sources. Additional research in primary source records is recommended, and can be found in our databases such as Ancestry Library Edition, Family Search, Fold 3, and Heritage Quest. Our indexes and secondary sources provide information about requesting official records from courthouses or agencies that have jurisdiction over public access.

Examples of genealogy materials available for research include:

1. Indexes to primary source records: a. Land records b. Vital records (births, marriages, divorces, and deaths) c. Military service and pension records d. Township, city, and state records (tax records, voter registrations, licenses)

2. Bibliographies of holdings in genealogical research institutions in the U.S. and Europe.

3. Published family histories.

4. Historical maps and gazetteers for most states east of the Mississippi River, Canada,British Isles, Europe and Russia.

5. Personal narratives of historical events.

6. Selected genealogical periodicals.

7. Self-help books on specific genealogical research topics.

8. Over 200+ research guides and outlines on a wide variety of topics for genealogists at all levels of experience.

9. Information for contacting family associations, genealogical/historical societies, organizations, and repositories, both local and worldwide.

10. Subscription databases: Ancestry Library Edition, and Heritage Quest: Both databases are available at every branch within the Lee County Library System. Heritage Quest is available via remote access from home provided the user has a valid Lee County Library System library card. Fold 3, which specializes in military research is only available at Fort Myers Regional Library.

The secondary resources in our genealogical collections provide researchers with the contact information necessary to access primary records and documents from the jurisdiction where their ancestors resided. The information usually includes the fee structure, forms, and the address, fax, or telephone information needed to process the request. The library can also borrow genealogical materials from other libraries nationwide via our Inter-Library Loan Department. Further details on Inter-Library Loan will be discussed later in this study guide.

Patrons may view a copy of the genealogy collection shelf list on the Lee County Genealogical Society website http://www.lcgsfl.org/libraryRecords.php or visit the Genealogy Room at Fort Myers Regional Library.

Research Assistance: Research assistance is free but available by appointment only. For further information, contact Bryan L. Mulcahy at bmulcahy@leegov.com or via telephone at (239) 533-4626.

The Fort Myers Regional Library accepts research queries and photocopy requests from patrons by telephone, fax, postal mail, or e-mail. Queries received by mail must be accompanied by a business size stamped self-addressed envelope. Queries by e-mail or fax will also require an SASE be mailed to the library unless the sender is satisfied with an electronic response.

Family Search Library Affiliate Services Until the microfilm lending program was terminated as of August 31, 2017, patrons could order microfilm and specify delivery to the Fort Myers Regional Library. All films that were onsite as of the termination date are now part of our microfilm inventory of holdings. Our Genealogy Department has a complete listing by film number of the films that were retained on permanent loan from Family Search. Many of the films in our collection have now been digitized but are available for research in the event the Family Search site is down or the film has not yet been digitized.

As of December 2017, The Fort Myers Regional Library has been upgraded to the status of a Family History Library Affiliate. This privilege enables us to provide access to most of the digitized holdings of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, with one exception. This involves any Family Search films that are under copyright restriction imposed by the agency or entity that allowed the Family History Library and Family Search to film the records. Copyright-restricted films can only be viewed at designated Family History Centers.