There will be no First Tuesday seminar in December. The Center will be closed December 18 through January 1 for Christmas and New Year’s.

Thursday, January 3, 2019, 7 PM

Wilmette Family History Center, 2707 Lake Ave., Wilmette

"Using the Family Search Website to Locate Elusive Ancestral Villages,” presented by Jan Zaleski

Many researchers use the Family History Library website ( in a straight-forward fashion, looking up specific individuals/localities in search of their ancestors.  Few researchers realize that the website provides access to millions of records that document specific ancestral villages as well as patterns of migration.  Even when the website does not contain an index record/image for your ancestor, a good researcher can use as a tool to narrow the field of potential villages that need to be searched when the ancestral village is unknown, or to save time when researching elusive branches of the family when the ancestral village is known.  Many of the examples used are German or Polish, but the techniques apply to most of the countries in the FHL database.

Our Speaker

Jan Zaleski is a native and lifelong resident of Detroit, Michigan. The loss of all four grandparents by the time he was 12, and the relatively obscure paper trail of his immigrant ancestors, forced him to test and refine a number of lesser-known and ambitious techniques and strategies as he sought his ancestral parishes. 

He has served for over 25 years as a volunteer librarian at the Family History Centers in Westland and Roseville, Michigan, and has been an Accredited Genealogist with a Specialty in Polish Research on researcher lists distributed by the Salt Lake Family History Library.

For 32 of the last 34 years, Mr. Zaleski has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Polish Genealogical Society of Michigan and has been a frequent speaker at their meetings and seminars.

About Our Center

The Wilmette Family History Center is the oldest and largest branch of Salt Lake City’s Family History Library in the Chicago area. It’s staffed by volunteers and open to the public free of charge.

Patrons visit our center to view films from FamilySearch’s extensive Family History Library catalog  including our large on-premises collection of 10,000 films including  our complete Chicago and Cook County collection, to use our computers to access premium sites like, ProQuest, and at no charge, and to ask our volunteer consultants for help using Family History Center resources and to get started with family genealogy.

Our Family History Center is equipped with a new Microfilm/Microfiche reader/scanner/printer. You can now capture images on a thumb drive as well as print them or send them to yourself via email.