Showing posts with label libraries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label libraries. Show all posts

Monday, August 22, 2011

12 Days of Family and Genealogy - Lycoming County Genealogical Society Library

This post is part of my series of the 12 days I spent with my parents visiting family and doing genealogy research.

On our last day in Williamsport, I helped my aunt with the neighborhood garage sale. This was how I paid for my stay. After lunch, my parents dropped me off at the Lycoming County Genealogical Society's Library. I was able to spend 2 hours there and find some records on my family.

Here's a sampling of what I found:
  • Williamsport City Death Records 1879-1927 - I found the records for Margaret Blitz and her son Joseph Blitz, but no record of Valentine Blitz (my favorite ancestor). I was hoping to find more than the year on his tombstone to help me locate an obituary.
  • Lycoming County Will Books 1795-1903 - I was hoping to find more wills, but apparently my ancestors didn't write them. I was able to find the wills of Michael F Dincher, Valentine Blitz, and Margaret Eck.
  • Surname Books - They only had "books" on my Eck family, but they had a lot of them. Most of them were just family group sheets, but a few had newspaper articles, marriage licenses, deeds and more. My grandmother told me she threw away all of her research, but some of these "books" were actually binders filled with what I believe to be here research. One clue that it is hers was my parents wedding announcement. Another was her name written on some pages in random spots.
  • Vertical Files - I searched for my Lycoming County surnames again and found a few files, but nothing of interest inside.
I hope to visit this library again someday. I should try to go through their tax records and hopefully find something interesting for the Eiswerth surname book.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

FHL Catalog Down...But There's Another Way

Last night I read on A.C. Ivory's blog Find My Ancestor that the Family History Library's catalog would be down for a few days. Earlier in the day I had tried to access the catalog. I was trying to get myself organized for my Indiana probate record summer research. A few weeks ago I had made a spreadsheet of all my ancestors that died in Indiana, their date of death, and the microfilm numbers that contained their wills and probates. Yesterday I wanted to print off the film notes pages for each microfilm number so that I could take notes on it on my findings for each film I order this summer.

But as A.C. pointed out the catalog was down. I received a message to try again later. This morning the catalog won't even load to the search page.

But I had another idea. I remembered FamilySearch's beta website. This is the update to their pilot site. It allows you to search for records, but also allows you to search the catalog.

This catalog is still working. It worked yesterday and it worked this morning. I hope that the people working at the FHL know about this other catalog and are not leaving their guests stranded with access only through old microfiche. The beta site is different than the regular catalog and it won't let me print by film number, but if you are at the library and stranded without the normal catalog you won't mind.

I'd appreciate if this post was passed around to anyone at the FHL or the FHCs in case they don't know about this workaround.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Opening Genealogy Events to the Younger Working Genealogists

In my last post about Family History Month, I started to rant about how annoying it was for many of the session I was interested in attending being during the day. This meant that I either had to take off the entire month of October to attend everything or miss out on lots of great talks. So here is my dedicated post to my rant:

Family History Month means that the Allen County Public Library is offering a talk or other event every day of October. They have been doing this for years. I went to a few events last year and really enjoyed them, so I looked forward to the October 2009 calendar of events. Once again there were some very interesting topics that I wanted to attend all month. The problem was that many of these events were on weekdays during the day. I don't want to take off lots of day in October to attend the events that interest me. I know there are a lot of others that have this same problem with the genealogy societies and events held where they live and nationally.

Although I have no data to support the following claim, I think that it is true: The age of the average genealogist is decreasing rapidly. Younger people are getting involved and finding a passion for genealogy. I'm not talking about high school and college students, I talking about people who have full time careers and find the time to do genealogy as a hobby. Genealogy is no longer reserved for retirees.

The reasons for this change is based on the availability of great resources on the internet. A genealogist can now search many databases from home, 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 day a year. Whenever a person has the time and desire, they can preform searches and make great strides in their research. Although you can't do everything online, there is a LOT you can do. The popularity of blogs, Facebook and Twitter in the genealogy world has also helped to spread the genealogy bug to nongenealogists. Many people are catching the genealogy bug so much that they are making it their profession.

So here is my question: If so many people are becoming genealogist with full time jobs, why are many society meetings and genealogy events held during working hours?

Is it just because that is the way it has always been? Do they not realize how many people are interested in genealogy that are working when the meetings are held? Is it about the cost of an evening or weekend meeting? Do they not want "younger" people at their meetings?

Here are some of my thoughts on some changes that should be made:

1. Societies should hold meetings in the evenings or on weekends. Meetings during the day time hours during the week are only going to be attended by retirees and others who have flexible schedules. Holding meetings later should help to increase attendance and membership.
2. Offer a variety of topics that would interest different people. For example, the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana's October program is on African American research. I didn't notice any African Americans at the September meeting, but this will encourage African Americans to attend and learn about how to do their own genealogy.
3. Promote events and meetings online through a society website, blog, twitter, Facebook, etc.
4. Make meetings open to the public. People who attend a meeting on an interesting topic will want to come back and become a member.
5. Events for a variety of levels. Don't focus only on beginners or only on advanced researchers.

I also have some ideas for libraries and archives. These are more problematic to undertake due to budget issues.
1. Evening hours and weekend hours. Move hours from 9-6 to 12-9 for example. Or be open Tuesday through Saturday instead of Monday through Friday.
2. Hold events on weekends or in the evenings.
3. Promote events online.

National or regional conferences:
1. Should hold events on the weekends to gain more attendants.
2. Promote online.
3. Move events across the country (if national) and not stick to one place (the South, the Northeast, try the Midwest or the West coast too!). This will allow a different group of people to be within driving distance of the event and be able to attend.

Not everyone will be happy with the times of genealogy events. But thinking of ways to get the most people involved should be a priority.

I have obviously just touched the surface on this topic. I wanted to start a discussion about it. So leave a comment. What are your thoughts on this topic? What other ideas should the genealogy community consider to encourage more participation in events and societies?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

October is Family History Month in Indiana

October is Family History Month and it's just around the corner. The Allen County Public Library recently posted their October events calendar and it is packed full of great learning opportunities. They have an event for each day of the month. Most of the sessions are free.

I will be attending the 2nd Annual Military Symposium on October 9 and 10. This year's theme is Military Lineage Societies and it features Ron Darrah. The cost is $30 before September 25, $35 after and $40 at the door. (I am already paid.)

I am also going to attend the Scrapbooking session with Dawne Slater-Putt on October 17. I will also be at the ACGSI (Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana) meeting on October 14.

There are many other sessions that I am interested in attending, but may not be able. I would love to attend the session on "House History," "Being Creative," "Ellis Island," and more, but they are all during the day on weekdays and I can't justify taking the whole month of October off to attend all of these great session.

I really wish that more of the sessions were in the evenings. I don't need (or even want) to attend every session. But I feel as more and more people are getting involved in genealogy over the internet the demographics of the people has changed. It's not just retirees who have nothing to do during the day doing research. I think many more people would attend these session and others across the country if they had the time available.

But that is a rant for another day. Back to Family History Month...

I am also considering attending the Indiana Genealogy and Local History Fair at the Indiana State Library in Indianapolis on October 24th. The cost is's free. (That's the main reason that I want to attend, followed closely by an interest in the topics." They will be discussing cemeteries, women in 19th century Indiana and pioneer migration.

What will you be doing this Family History Month? Leave a comment and let others know.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Using Call Numbers to Get Source Information

Here's a quick tip I use when at the library:

When I need to source a book, instead of writing down all the information (title, author, publisher, date, etc), I just write down the call number. This works very well for me when I go to the Allen County Public Library. When I come home, I just enter the call number into the online catalog and all the information I need about the book pops right up. I don't need to go searching through the book trying to find all the pieces or worry about forgetting something.

If you are going to do this, there are a few things to keep in mind:
  • Make sure the library has an online catalog.
  • Check the online catalog and make sure it has all the information you need to make a complete source.
  • Make sure you write down the call number when you are at the library. I also write down the title of the book to cross check that I wrote down the correct number when I get home.
  • Make sure that the material you are sourcing is in the catalog. If the microfilm isn't sourced in the catalog, then you can't just use a call number to retrieve the information.
Hope this helps you improve your source citations and makes it easier too.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What I Take to the Library

Today I made a trip to the Allen County Public Library. I wanted to track down a two new lines that I had found on my last trip. I didn't make any real breakthroughs today, but I did find when a few people had died and where they were buried.

What I wanted to talk about today is what I bring with me to the library:
  • Netbook (for checking library catalog, database searches, and most importantly Twitter and Facebook breaks)
  • Flash Drive loaded with RootsMagic-To-Go (just finally installed this on a flash drive today and really liked how easy it was to run and take my existing database with me on the go)
  • 1-inch Binder including: genealogy files (family group sheets), list of resources to check, paper for notes, map of library, library resource sheets
  • Digital Camera for taking photos of books (haven't tried this on microfilm but ACPL has digital scanner that allow you to save to flash drives or email to yourself).
  • Change for copies (I don't copy much but if I have something that I want to write on, I'll make a copy. Ex: cemetery listings to check off who I found already)
  • Library Card to validate parking
I don't take much with me to the library. It helps that I can go whenever I want to ACPL and don't need to do 5 years of research in one weekend. Most of the things on my list I will blog about separately soon.

What do you take to libraries and archives? What else will help with a research trip? Leave a comment or send me an email to genwishlist [at] gmail [dot] com.