Genealogy: Asking the Right Questions


Many of the individuals who visit the Shenandoah Room and Truban Archives come to learn about their family’s history. Some are just beginners. Others are seasoned veterans, looking for elusive individuals. Fortunately, no matter one’s skill level, we have a plethora of resources that more than likely help a researcher discover their ancestors.

However, knowing what questions to ask is often the hardest task. Many researchers get overwhelmed and discouraged by the sheer number of resources available, especially if they can’t find a published work that covers their specific topic.

Fortunately, after centuries of work, historians have figured out what the important questions for their trade (and genealogy) are. Most agree that who, what, when, where, and why are the things we should be asking.

The Shenandoah County Library is committed to identifying, collecting, preserving, cataloging, and providing access to resources related to the culture, history, life, and heritage of Shenandoah County. 

To do so we maintain the Shenandoah Room filled with local history reference materials, and the Truban Archives which houses historic documents and items. If you need help advancing your research, be sure to check out our Research Assistance Guide before visiting.

If you are visiting us to conduct genealogical research, we recommend you browse our Family Folder Collection

Most of our local history collection is available during regular library hours. However, materials in our archives is only available when our archivist or a volunteer is on duty. While we recommend you contact us in advance to assure someone is available, individuals are usually available:

Monday & Tuesday 10:00AM-5:30PM
Wdnesday 10:00AM-6:00PM
Thursday & Friday 10:00AM-5:30PM
First Saturday 10:00AM-3:00PM
Fourth Saturday 10:00AM-Noon

Visit our  to see online materials and exhibits 

Follow our historic posts on 

"Shenvalee Motel." New Market Photographs, 1904-1982. Herb Parker Shenandoah County History Collection. 

Learn about your community by participating in our What Happened Here? local history project. 


Shenandoah County has a long and rich history. Numerous local organization preserve that past, and interpret its meaning including: 



Farms, Factories, and the Frontlines: Exploring Shenandoah County's Role in WWI and WWII

From 1917-1918 and again from 1941-1945 the United States was involved in two catastrophic World Wars. These conflicts touched the lives of almost everyone in the nation at that time. 

The Shenandoah County Library is happy to partner with Shenandoah County, the Shenandoah County Historical Society, other local historic organizations, and the state of Virginia's WWI and WWII Commission to commemorate the 100th anniversary of WWI and the 75th anniversary of WWII between 2016 and 2020. Our efforts, and statewide initiatives, are designed to:

  • Honor our veterans
  • Inspire a desire to learn more about the role our communities played in World War I and World War II
  • Connect historic sites with visitors interested in these conflicts
  • Preserve the history of these wars

Read below to learn about upcoming events, our county museum trail, and much more.