Transcript of "Assisting genealogists in the Library"
Christine Sharbrough, MSLIS, CGSM
Welcome!Librarian? Teacher? Genealogist? Other?Understanding the genealogist & geni-speakUnderstanding resources sought and ownedSifting through the story to get the questionTools, terminology, techniquesKeeping up
Novice or true beginnerUnwitting inheritorIntermediateName collectorScholarly researcherHistorian
Help (I don’t know what to do)How do I make sense of this?Where do I go next?Names – preferably royalty and heroesConfirmation/VerificationHistory/ContextFree information
Every family is differentEvery researcher is at a different point of discoveryResearchers come at problems differentlyResearch focus differs from person to personMost librarians are not trained as genealogistsMany librarians/library staff have no idea what is inthat local history room.Most people fear the unknownIf one person asks, ten more want to know
Most difficult to discernThink about where the patron is in terms of “type”What are they hoping to find?What do they need to do first?When in doubt – ask for clarificationThe Reference Interview is your friend
(Most of) Our relatives would rather…Watch paint dryWatch grass growHave fingernails pulled out with pliers; orHave bamboo shoved under them…soWe have conferences…and we go to the libraryIf you work in a library…you must like books, ergo…youmust like research… and hearing about mine…right?Getting to the heart of the matter without being heartless“What question would you like to try and answer today?”
“Go from what you know to what you don’t”Not fun, but necessaryCannot accurately research without documentingeach link of the chainNo one wants to hear thisSuccess of this route depends on who’s standing infront of youUnderstanding what they want to know and knowingwhere records/resources are that will answer thequestion
Do not be distracted by facts or storiesPeople are excitedResearch is very personalThe first question asked is not usually the one theywant answered…for example…“I want the book on my family”“My 4thgreat grandfather, Edward Spaulding, was oneof the founding families of Chelmsford. He is buriedhere according to a genealogy I read. He died in 1701.What cemeteries are in town?”
Vital Records (time period is key)Census Records (federal and state)Land/Property mapsLocal newspapersCemetery recordsMilitary recordsHow do I do…Where do I find…
You have access to more than you may realizePhysical and virtual materialsPhysical:Genealogical reference materialsLocal history collection“Regular” history collectionMagazines (Family Tree, American Ancestors, ?)DVDs (WDYTYA, Gates)Virtual:Databases, online sites
• Vital records• MAVR to 1850, MAVR 1850-1915; Copley books (NH),NH State Papers; Barbour Collection (CT)• Local, county histories• Local property maps and Sanborn Fire Maps• Local and regional newspapers• Genealogy Bank/Newsbank• Genealogical reference books• Cemetery records• Local transcriptions, Findagrave.com
The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy – ValGreenwood (3rded.)Ancestry’s Red Book (3rded.)Map Guide to the 1790-1920 Censuses – Thorndaleand DollarhideThe SourceReading Early American Handwriting – Kip SperryEvidence Explained – Elizabeth Shown Mills
Create a finding aid/research gridWhat/Time Period/Information containedWhat do you have in the building?What do you subscribe to online?What dates do these records cover?What do area libraries have?What major repositories are in the area?Local/regional genealogy groups?Archives?List of local researchers?
Basic understanding of the roles of:Public librariesHistorical societiesArchives (National, State, Local, Corporate, Museum)What type of information sought?Person, place or entity?Specialty library
Live and die by circs and/or usage of collectionsCome in and have a great experienceTell their friends…at large conferencesArchivists – researchers know the collection better thanthe staff do sometimes because they have the time to lookat things in detailGreat help creating finding aids and vetting them.• NB: Pathway to NF and fiction– Dan Waddell– Rhett McPherson– 970s (history), 364.1 (true crime), 780s (true life adventure)DO NOT BE AFRAID! WE WON’T HURT YOU…REALLY
Create genealogy page on websiteInclude finding aidsFAQRefer people to itHotlink resources (catalog, etc.)
You don’t need to know it all, just where to find it…Inventory your local history collectionCompiled Genealogies “History of Adams Family”“Researching your British Ancestors”“Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850”Shelf listActually open the books/login to databases/PLAYNote what they contain – names? Descriptions?Transcriptions?Annotated bibliography/finding aidTrain staff how to field questionsAppoint someone to be point person
• Basic Forms• Brochure – short version of annotatedbibliography/finding aid• Bibliography/finding aid/research grid• List of online resources – subscription and free• Basic understanding of limitations of resources• Basic information about genealogy software programs
Forms PacketPedigree chart (direct line ancestors)Family group sheet (all information on one family)Correspondence Log (tracking what was done/who wascontacted)FREE: www.familytreemagazine.com &www.ancestry.comInformation SheetWebsites (access at home and at the library)Other “where to go” resources – locally, regionallyNEHGS, National Archives, ACGS (Manchester, NH)List of local researchers
Library edition does not offer online family trees likepersonal subscription doesNo access to personal family treesPatrons can subscribe monthly or bi-annually to haveaccess to a personal siteDownload a GEDCOM
Most basic programs are freeLegacy Family Tree (www.legacyfamilytree.com)RootsMagic (www.rootsmagic.com)Family Tree Maker (Ancestry – personal subscriptiononly)FamilySearch = New Family Tree(www.familysearch.org)Various levels of collaboration and source citation
Staffing/timeGetting startedGetting organizedKeeping upHow much are you willing/able to do?“We’re able to get you started” versus “We will do theresearch for you.”Guidelines provide consistencyLeave the desk with something to do/somewhere togo
Who’s who in genealogy?Blogs/eNewsletters/Websites/HangoutsDick EastmanDear MyrtleThomas MacEntee – GeneabloggersElizabeth Shown Mills - Evidence ExplainedFamily History Library AffiliationFamilySearch.org Wiki/Learn – online classesFamily Tree MagazineLook at major conferences: NGS, FGS, NERGC
Do your own genealogical researchBecome really great friends with someone who email@example.comGenearchibrarian.wordpress.com
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