Saturday, August 1, 2009

Genealogy Library Visit

Tools and Resources - Genealogy Library Visit Recipe

1 genealogy notebook *see Recipe for Efficient Preparation
3-4 sharpened pencils (or ink pens preferably with an eraser)
1 library card (if not a member, you will need to apply immediately, so take ID)
1-2 hours (depending on the resources available at the library)
1 knowledgeable reference librarian
1 tools and resource checklist

Your first library visit should be at a genealogy library. Find the genealogy section of the library or the reference desk and introduce yourself to the friendly knowledgeable reference librarian. They will have the tools you need, so take the checklist of needed tools and don’t leave the library until you have asked about the following: family tree forms or descendent forms, list of available genealogy resources, local genealogy clubs and contact information, library sponsored genealogy workshops/seminars, location of genealogy books and how they are sorted, access to, remote access to library databases, especially HeritageQuest. Be sure to take lots of notes while at the library, because by the time you go home, do chores and make dinner, you will have forgotten the details.

While you are there have the librarian start you on How do you long on? What does it provide? Remember you are just exploring, but put in a grandmother’s name and information and play with this database while at the library.

Verify that your library card is up to date and you have remote access to the library’s databases ( normally is not available remotely). Your library should have at minimum the following databases. Be sure to ask which of the following are accessible from home, and have the librarian show you how to access their databases remotely if you would like to do research at 3:00am from the comforts of your laptop:

America’s Genealogy Bank – historical newspapers and books and documents
America’s Obituary & Death Notices – wide-range of newspaper obituaries
Digital Sanborn Maps – fire insurance maps from 1867-1970
Heritage Quest – census records up to 1930

This week become acquainted with all of these databases by searching a relative (grandparent) that was born before 1930. Just play and see what you find. If you were born as late as 1970 you should have at least one relative’s name that was born before 1930. If not, ask you parents or aunts about someone interesting in the near past that you would like to begin with. Do not start with the “coming to America”, just someone a name within two generations of you if possible. Keep a log. This is just to familiarize yourself with the various databases.

The only other database you should discover this week is “”. You can access this from your library’s internet or from home. Be sure to thoroughly review each tab to see what is available. Be sure to look under Research Helps to see what is available under different states and countries.

Remember, we haven’t begun research, but we are getting to know the resources. Happy playing and remember this is a life project, so pace yourself.

Kathleen Brandt
a3Genealogy - accurate, acessible answers

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