About the Genealogy Center

Genealogy Reference and Research Services

Genealogy research questions can be answered by telephone, email, or letter. Examples of email phone inquiries are questions about what is owned by the library, an address, or information on a research topic. The department is not able to conduct research by phone. The staff is unable to return long distance telephone calls. Specific questions can be answered by letter or email.  

For a copy of an obituary in the Tulsa Tribune or Tulsa World, contact the Research Center at rcaskus@tulsalibrary.org. Newspapers and city directories dating back to the early days of Tulsa can be requested through the Research Center.

Books, microfilm, microfiche, maps, magazines and journals, and access to online subscription databases offer family historians access to both traditional resources as well as online digitized records. The Center is an Affiliate Library with the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah allowing researchers access to online digitized records.

A library card is required to access the subscription databases, but not to use the print materials. Non-residents can purchase a guest card for $2.00. Computer printouts, microfilm copies, and photocopy charges are $.10. Scans to flash drives are free.  

Programs and Events

Tues. June 25, 2019

7 PM - 8 PM

Maple Room, Hardesty Library

Capture Your Family's Past:  Turn Dry Facts into an Unforgettable Story

Our ancestors deserve more than a mere listing of names, places, and dates.  Author and genealogist, M. Carolyn Steele will discuss methods of crafting and presenting family legends into written stories that will immortalize the personalities for generations to come.


July is Family History Month

Join us for this month-long learning event featuring classes for all levels of family history researchers.  All events will be held at the Hardesty Library unless noted in the description.

Beginning Genealogy

Saturday, July 6 ● 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Learn how to start your family history research and discover the steps, strategies and records useful to begin your search. 


Hidden Gems in the U.S. Census

Saturday, July 6 ● 2:30-4 p.m.

Learn how to dig into census records for detailed information on your family and discover how the census can expand your search into other useful records. 


Is Your Family Tree Broken?

Presented by Genealogist Mark Lowe

Saturday, July 13 ● 9:30-10:30 a.m.

Feeling trapped with nowhere to go? Bad, weak or missing evidence all contribute to misleading research. Review your research, sharpen your techniques, evaluate your sources and map a new course.


Religious Publications That Spread the Light

Presented by Genealogist Mark Lowe

Saturday, July 13 ● 10:45-11:45 a.m.

Learn about online resources that can help you sharpen your focus on your frontier ancestors and their neighbors. Case studies will paint a clearer picture.


Researching Colonial Virginia and Kentucky From Home

Presented by Genealogist Mark Lowe

Saturday, July 13 ● 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Learn about records for researching colonial Virginia and Kentucky, including the development of Kentucky County, Va., into the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 1792.


Expanding the Details From Published County Histories

Presented by Genealogist Mark Lowe

Saturday, July 13 ● 2:45-3:45 p.m.

County histories were solicited by subscription and required a fee for inclusion, but they often include valuable family details, biographical sketches and useful information.


Finding Fact, Family Stories and Documentation

Presented by Genealogist Mark Lowe

Sunday, July 14 ● 1:30-4 p.m.

Learn details about your ancestor’s neighborhood, using census records, manuscripts, gossip columns and land records. Document the people with whom they worked, prayed, fought and married.


Using Ancestry Library Edition

Tuesday, July 16 ● 10:30 a.m.-noon

*Nathan Hale Library ● 6038 E. 23rd St.

Join us for an overview of Ancestry Library Edition and become more efficient in navigating and using the resources found on this popular website.


U.S. Government Sources for Genealogists: U.S. Congressional Serial Set

Saturday, July 20 ● 9:30-10:30 a.m.

Join John Phillips, retired head of the Government Documents Department, Edmon Low Library, Oklahoma State University, as he leads this discussion of the Serial Set, its history and benefits for family historians.


U.S. Government Sources for Genealogists: Maps

Saturday, July 20 ● 10:45-11:45 a.m.

Did you know you can access digital maps from the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Geological Survey? Learn how these collections and the Oklahoma Digital Maps Collection can enhance your research.


Exploring Autosomal DNA Testing

Saturday, July 20 ● 1:30-3 p.m.

Join Liz Walker, Genealogy Resource Center associate, and discover the options available for autosomal DNA testing and compare what tools the testing sites have to offer. 


Using Ancestry Library Edition

Wednesday, July 24 ● 3-4:30 p.m.

*Zarrow Regional Library ● 2224 W. 51st St.

Join us for an overview of Ancestry Library Edition and become more efficient in navigating and using the resources found on this popular website.


DIY Digitization

Saturday, July 27 ● 10-11:30 a.m.

Saturday, July 27 ● 1-2:30 p.m.

*Central Library, Digital Literacy Lab ● Fifth Street and Denver Avenue

Looking to save your family history in a more updated format? Learn how you can use our digitization equipment for your genealogy projects. Registration is required. Register online at www.tulsalibrary.org/events or call 918-549-7323.









Additional Information

Frequently Asked Questions

1.  How do I obtain a copy of a birth or death certificate?

The Department of Health and Human Services publishes a document titled Where to Write for Vital Records. Look up the state in which the event occurred to find the address and fee information for obtaining birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates. Since vital records are handled at the state level, Internet services vary greatly. You can find the home pages for all fifty state governments by using State and Local Government on the Net. From the state home page, you can search for information on how to request vital records from that state. You can obtain Oklahoma birth and death certificates locally at the Oklahoma Department of Health, 5051 S .129th East Ave., Tulsa, OK 74134. They are open between 8:30 AM and 4 PM, Monday-Friday. Their phone number is 918-549-4840.

2.  What does my last name mean?

The meanings of our surnames can give us important information about our families. The country of origin is usually included with the meaning. Some library branches have surname dictionaries which contain many prominent family names; however, the Research Center at Central Library and the Genealogy Center have the widest variety of surname dictionaries.

3.  Where can I find the coat of arms for my family?

Heraldry is the study of a family's coat of arms. Coats of arms were granted to individuals for services rendered. Because of this practice, individual family members may have very different coats of arms. There are books about heraldry and coats of arms located at the Genealogy Center. To be able to identify your ancestor's coat of arms, you would have to determine the name of the ancestor who was actually granted a coat of arms and then locate his specific coat of arms.

Many people locate a coat of arms belonging to a person with the same surname as theirs and use that for their family's coat of arms. Although this is an accepted practice in the United States, it is not legally accepted in countries such as England and Scotland who maintain a registry of arms.

4.  How can I find my family history on the Internet?

Using the Internet to locate genealogical information is becoming very popular. Each day more and more information is added to the internet to assist researchers. To locate actual family records, a researcher should begin by searching more established web sites maintained by archives, libraries, museums, institutions, etc. These sites are linked to other sites that may be of help to researchers. Many researchers have created family web pages and uploaded them to the Internet. By locating these sites, researchers can connect with each other and share information.

Remember that information found on the Internet is not always reliable and correct. Once you locate family information, verify everything by checking documentation and sources. Researching your family's history requires many hours of research, documentation and reading.

5.  Where do I locate a marriage record?

Marriage records are located in the county courthouse in the county where the marriage occurred. One way to determine a county location would be to find the individual on the federal census at the time of marriage and check that county's records. Most counties have indexes of both the bride's name and the name of the groom. Using these indexes, the date and location of the actual marriage certificate can be obtained.

6.  Are the Mormon Church's genealogy records available to the public?

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (also known as the Mormon Church) maintains the largest collection of genealogy materials in the world. The Genealogy Center has been designated an affiliate Family Search Center and can access digitized materials on their website at www.familysearch.org.  For more information about this service see the Additional Resources tab on our web page and look at the Family History Center box.

7.  What is the latest census information that is available for research?

The federal census has been taken every 10 years since 1790. The earliest censuses contain only the names of the heads of households. From 1850 forward, names of every person were included on the census.

The census contains helpful information such as age, place of birth, and occupation. Later censuses contain immigration and naturalization information. The census is arranged by state and then by county. A census exists for every state that was a state at the time the census was taken. Knowing when the state you are researching became a state will aid you in determining the earliest census that is available for that state. 

The complete U.S. census is available and indexed on Ancestry Library edition.  Find the link on the genealogy center web page.  

Currently, there is a 72 year privacy law in effect making the 1940 census the latest census available for researchers.

8.  Where are genealogy collections and resources located?

There are many places a researcher can locate genealogy materials. Legal documents such as birth and death certificates and marriage records will be located with the issuing agency. Other places to search would be state archives and libraries, historical and genealogical societies and public libraries. These depositories will maintain local and state records such as military records, cemetery and funeral home records and local newspapers. Because researchers are interested in where their ancestors lived, these local records will prove very helpful in documenting the daily lives of our ancestors.

If it is impossible to make a personal visit to the local area where your ancestor lived, many of the agencies will do limited research for a nominal fee. Many of these agencies maintain a web site listing their policies, addresses, etc.

9.  How can city directories assist me in my family research?

If your ancestors lived in the city, you may find listings for them in city directories. These directories predate telephone books and list city dwellers by name and address. Using city directories you can determine when a person first arrived in the area, where he lived and when he left the area or died. The directories usually give the name of the wife. Often, they include an occupation in the listing.

City directories for the city of Tulsa are located in the Research Center at the Central Library. The Genealogy Center has Tulsa city directories for 1929, 1930, 1939, 1940, and 1941.

10. How can I locate old newspapers?

Many genealogists use newspapers to discover information about their family. If families lived in rural areas, local newspapers were usually full of information about local citizens. Many carried stories about church news, 50th wedding anniversary celebrations, family reunions, funerals, etc. These smaller papers devote more space to the local citizenry than larger news stories and events. These newspapers can be a gold mine of information to researchers.

Most newspapers were not indexed before the early 1990s -- many are still not indexed. Researchers need to know exact dates to locate articles.

Local public libraries and state archives maintain copies of older newspapers. They will usually make copies of articles, but will not be able to spend time searching for articles. Some institutions loan copies of their newspapers on microfilm through interlibrary loan.

Newspapers for the city of Tulsa are located at the Central Library.

Newspapers for cities and towns in Oklahoma are located at the Oklahoma Historical Society newspaper archives in Oklahoma City, OK.

Friends of Genealogy

The Friends of Genealogy supports the Genealogy Center through memberships and donations.

If you would like to become a member of this organization, please fill out the form linked above and return it to the Genealogy Center. Membership is $10 per year.