Helping genealogy patrons anderson


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Created to show librarians how they can help genealogy patrons.

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Helping genealogy patrons anderson

  1. 1. October 2011 Stacy
  2. 2.  Scare you?! Perplex you? Overwhelm you?These are not uncommon reactions……….
  3. 3.  Each user type poses it’s own challenges • Beginners • Experienced/Specialized • New to your collection • Regulars
  4. 4.  Two types of beginners • To genealogy in general  This is the more typical situation • To this kind of resource/particular type of record
  5. 5.  Want a complete completed genealogy • This is an unrealistic expectation; explain that these are rarely available Users want you to do their research • Explain that librarians don’t do anyone’s research for them, we only guide/assist your own search
  6. 6.  Lack the basic skills and/or information to conduct the research • Recommend how-to manuals • Give them basic forms • Refer them to other repositories with genealogical collections Will need help understanding what they’ve found • Refer to other repositories • Locate genealogy manuals and guides in catalog • Cyndi’s List may be useful
  7. 7.  May request specific records they believe will be helpful • Try to determine if the different resources listed next have the records • This is challenging, time-consuming, and may be beyond your knowledge – different records may have the same types of information, as well
  8. 8.  They often don’t need much help Questions may be directional (more on this later) Youmay know less about genealogy than these users • But you do know more about how libraries & archives operate
  9. 9.  Users who are new to your collection or library may or may not be new to genealogy Often they’ve done their homework on your website and come prepared to do their research Oftenthey have travelled quite some distance to use your unique collections
  10. 10.  Unlikely to have at a library unless there is a dedicated genealogy collection May use your library for • The library’s computers • The library’s high-speed internet access • The library’s access to Ancestry (not available remotely)
  11. 11.  Likeany reference  Also like a standard interview, a reference interview, genealogical there are some reference interview is “typical” questions to done to ascertain the begin with level of knowledge of the patron
  12. 12.  Are you just beginning your family history search? Have you contacted family members? Have you located home sources? What information do you already know? Do you have it recorded on a family sheet or pedigree chart? Do you have it with you? Are you familiar with Ancestry or Heritage Quest? What kind of information are you looking for?
  13. 13.  Directional • Showing locations where items may be found Knowledge-Based • Requires some experience with genealogy and the collection • Requires experience with tools in collection • Requires knowledge of library practices/tools Methodology • Where do I go next? • Can come from any type of user • Some are rote/some require more thought & creativity • May be addressed with more formal classroom instruction
  14. 14.  Databases • Ancestry • HeritageQuest • WorldCat Local Collections • Some libraries/branches have special collections Library Catalog • Keyword and subject searching Forms • Ancestral chart & family group sheet – two most basic and useful forms there are • Cyndi’s List • West Michigan Genealogical Society • Databases, copy services, instruction, research trips
  15. 15.  Ancestry • Individuals can actually buy Ancestry subscription (but $$) • Ancestry not available remotely • Has all census records, all searchable • How-to articles, forms • More focus on primary resources (vital records, passenger records, etc.) • This is where most patrons will want to begin
  16. 16.  HeritageQuest • Available remotely • Has all census records, but not all searchable • More focused on secondary resources  Often books that patrons want to ILL are available in the Publications section
  17. 17.  Family History  Library of Michigan’s Library’s Digital Seeking Michigan Collections • http://seekingmichigan. • https://www.familysearc org/ • Digitized death records • These are digitized from 1897 through microform records 1920 • Can limit records to just • Civil War Service Michigan Records for Michigan • Most of Michigan’s soldiers records seem to have been digitized
  18. 18.  Consist of record types such as: • Local histories • Yearbooks • Family histories • Newspapers • Photographs
  19. 19.  Keyword Searching • Use only the VERY most important words • Don’t search on “genealogy” or “[state]” • Location searches can be effective  Remember other usages, i.e. Great Britain for England • Try alternative terms for record descriptions  i.e. records, lists, indexes, registers Subject Searching • Location is usually identified at the county level • Searching for a family name is not particularly effective (unless searching for a family history) • Look at subject headings that are useful and use those for more resources
  20. 20.  Grand Rapids Public Library – Downtown Main • Family History Center – 96 & Leonard • Phone: 616-949-3343; Hours: T-W 9am-9pm; Sat 9am-1pm • asp Library of Michigan – Lansing •,1607,7-160-17449_18635--- ,00.html West Michigan Genealogical Society • Local (city/township) Historical Societies •
  21. 21.  Work on your own family history! Read books • Croom, Emily Anne. The Genealogists Companion and Sourcebook. Cincinnati: Betterway Books, 2003. • ____. Unpuzzling Your Past: The Best-Selling Basic Guide to Genealogy. Cincinnati: Betterway Books, 2001.
  22. 22.  Give them forms to fill out • Anywhere they go, this will help Tell them about circulating how-to books May also locate local collections • At your branch or elsewhere
  23. 23.  Show them the digitized Michigan collections Show them Ancestry and HeritageQuest • If they’ve never done their census research, recommend they start there Tell them about Cyndi’s List Refer them to another repository
  24. 24.  Show them the library’s access to Ancestry, HeritageQuest, and WorldCat • WorldCat can be used to see how many copies exist of specific title they may be looking for – helps determine odds of getting through interlibrary loan • Many don’t know about HQ’s publication section Tell them about local collections • This is why they may be at your branch or library Refer them to another repository
  25. 25.  Though genealogy patrons may scare you, perplex you, or overwhelm you, there are some ways you can try to help them Oneof the best things you can do is try doing of some of your family history research!
  26. 26.  All images used in this presentation came from Microsoft’s clip art collection and used with Microsoft’s permission under the terms of the End-User License