Fast and affordable methods for training genealogy staff
Making the Financial Case for
Fast and Affordable Methods for Training Genealogy Staff
Presented by Nicole Wedemeyer Miller,
University of Illinois GSLIS
That some training is necessary & desirable
That your new staff knows nothing about family
That this training will cover research sources &
methods, and patron service
That the combination of in-house &
independent study is the cheapest way to go
That this does not cover everything, but will
enable them to answer many questions
Many sources used in genealogy reference are
sources already used in regular reference
Activity: reference tour
--phone, crisscross and city directories
--BGMI and the biographical sources it indexes
--back issues of newspapers, either microfilmed or print plus
--general and specialized encyclopedias
--history articles and books, especially WPA guides, American
--travel books (lots of local history information hides out
There is a big difference between searching for
previously compiled and published
information, and researching sources in order to
compile your own. Any information found
through searching needs to be evaluated, not
just taken at face value.
Where to search?
Look for published genealogies on World Cat,
Familysearch.org, GB, Internet Archive, and at
the Library of Congress.
Search for articles on a family/geographical area
in genealogical and local history periodicals
using PERSI, GPAI and Index to Genealogical
More searching activities
The WorldConnect Project at
Rootsweb.ancestry.com and werelate.org.
Message boards at Rootsweb and
Examine Genealogies in the Library of Congress.
The U.S. Census
“The Census Day” by Dollarhide
“Census Mistakes” by Dollarhide
Ancestry’s 10 Census Tips--
Have them track one ancestor through three U.S. censuses.
Webinar “Introduction to Military Records at the
National Archives” by John Deeben
Bureau of Land Management
Go to the wiki at familysearch.org and search
under a name of your state. Look for the state
archive/library that is listed. Explore its website.
Or, go to http://statearchives.us/index.htm.
The LDS Church sponsors the largest genealogical
organization in the world, which has amassed a
huge amount of information in Salt Lake City.
Much of it is on tens of thousands of rolls of
microfilm, which are stored in a granite
mountain, but can be accessed through ILL at a
network of Family History Centers and
participating libraries. This information is
beginning to be digitized, and can be found on
Read the article “FamilySearch” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FamilySearch
Search the FHL catalog for resources in your area. See if any of the
digitized record groups cover your area.
View: Record Search Tips on FamilySearch (4 minutes)
Access to Records at Familysearch.org (3 minutes)
Not all genealogical information is online, but
some is, and it may be good or bad. The most
commonly used types of websites include:
government, library/archives, collections of
digitized materials, genealogy/local history
groups, volunteer genealogy projects, and
How to Google Your Family Tree by Daniel Lynch
How Information is Properly Recorded
Researchers need to record information
precisely using standard formats such as the
family group sheet and the pedigree chart,
available in print and computerized versions,
and they need to keep their stuff organized.
A case study:
Read “Challenge: Cordelia’s Birth Date and
Birthplace,” pp. 212-214 of Unpuzzling Your Past.
Script Tutorial: Making Sense of Old
United States Record Selection Table
Staff will be called on to fulfill a number of
different roles when providing genealogy
reference, including negotiator, therapist, and
research coach. Also, the genealogy reference
interview is typically longer and more
complicated than the regular reference
Read “The Genealogy Reference Interview,”
PNLA Quarterly, v. 68, Spring 2004, pp. 13-15.
Observe—either at your institution or another.
What are genealogy & family history?
What they already know
Searching vs. research
Where to research
How to record information properly
Analyzing & interpreting
How to provide service
Your service policy
Other resources in your community
Flexibility in the order of the modules
Flexibility in swapping out sources & activities
Flexibility in updating as needed
Dick Eastman’s blog
“Digital Library of the Week” in American Libraries
Webinars—Rootstech, FamilySearch.org, Legacy,
Wisconsin Historical Society, NGS
Adventures in Genealogy Education--
Learn by teaching
Geneatech—software, apps, scanners, etc.
Old House Research
Various Types of Ethnic Research
Genetics and genealogy
Social Media and genealogy
Why this method will work
Explaining why each chunk is important
Concise, up to date, and entertaining
A variety of formats