Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Local Library: Part 1

Since one of my February genealogy goals is to visit the local library to investigate their genealogy holdings, I thought I'd start out by exploring their website.

To start my search, I clicked on genealogy under the library collections tab. It led to the Haywood County Genealogy Society website. From clicking around their site, it appears that they have a resource center and also volunteer in the library's North Carolina Room. It isn't clear where the resource center is, but it is noted that it is open by request and non-members are requested to give a $3 donation.

According to the website, the resource center offers instructional videotapes, genealogical magazines and reference books. They also have a database of over 10,000 names culled from the 1850 and 1860 Haywood County censuses; a surname list built from member-submitted ancestor charts and copies of heritage books for here and the surrounding counties.

Going back to the library website, it appears that North Carolina room is where they keep their history and genealogy holdings. In addition to books, they have a large clipping file of newspaper articles that relate to North Carolina and Haywood County, as well as the local newspaper on microfilm back to 1900.

I did learn something new in that historic photographs of the county have been digitized are are part of Digital NC. Even though my family isn't originally from here, I couldn't resist browsing. The collection is primarily photographs, most of which have the pictured individual identified, but has some documents such as teacher certificates and a telegram.

Next, I went to the catalog to see what they had that could be helpful in my research. I have to admit I'm not too thrilled with the online catalog. While it did return 505 results for the keyword genealogy, I wasn't able to narrow it down to the items found only in the North Carolina room. Some of the results did list that they were in that collection, but there was no way of listing only those in the collection.

By clicking around a bit, I did learn that some of their genealogy books are found in the adult non-fiction section. I went back and tried my search of the genealogy keyword again and tried to narrow it down to only those in the adult non-fiction collection successfully. It appears that there are 122 titles that can be checked out, a nice find.

I did some browsing in this collection and found a few I will probably check out when I visit.

  • The Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy by Val D Greenwood
  • International Vital Records Handbook by Thomas Jay Kemp
  • A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your Female Ancestors: Special Strategies for Uncovering Hard-to-Find Information About Your Female Lineage by Sharion DeBartolo Carmack
  • The Hidden Half of the Family: A Sourcebook for Women's Genealogy by Christina Kassabian Schaeffer
  • Professional Genealogy: A Sourcebook for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers and Librarians by Elizabeth Shown Mills

I was a bit disappointed to find that the library doesn't have a copy of either of Elizabeth Shown Mills' books on citing sources. In fact, the only source citation reference book I could find in the catalog was a book published in 1985. Given that the book is over 25 years old, I'm sure it's terribly out of date.

I think when I go to the library, I'll ask about filling out a purchase request. At one time, you could fill out an online purchase request through their website. However, when I tried it today, the link was broken. I'll also bring this to the librarian's attention so they can get it fixed.

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