Family History & Genealogy Resources

This guide will point you to both the free and subscription resources available online.


Biographical & Genealogical Master Index entries provide bibliographic references to books containing material on a person, including an indication of which books include a portrait.  Biography in Context contains biographical resources on individuals with a portrait as well.


Many journals and magazines contain biographical information, including interviews and profiles.

  • Search your person as a SUBJECT in a general database (e.g., Academic Search Premier) or in a database that covers the subject and/or timeframe of your person.
  • If you are searching for a scholarly author who publishes mainly in academic journals, you can sometimes find brief biographical information at the beginning of articles written BY your author.
  • It's useful to see what articles the person has published, as well, so search for your person as an author in databases that cover the person's subject area (see Research Guides arranged by subject categories).


You can search for book-length biographies in our Library using the Lumen Catalog. Change 'Keywords' to 'Subject' and this will get you a list of books related to biographies.  Use an individuals name to find books about that person. It is not necessary to include the word 'biography' if you search the individual as a SUBJECT.

It's also useful to look in specialized encyclopedias and other reference works, e.g., like those listed in the Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL). You can use GVRL's  subject search to find biographical reference works:


You can also sometimes find brief biographical information in books written BY your author. It can also be useful to examine what your author has written--search WorldCat, a collection of millions of books housed in thousands of libraries, to see what your author has written. You can also search the individual as a subject in WorldCat to find books we don't own but that you can borrow from other libraries using the Interlibrary Loan service.


Search "biography" as a subject in the Lumen Catalog.