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Genealogy HowTo
Issue: Nov 25, 2002

LESSON 3 - Using Archives and Court Houses Effectively
By Karen Clifford, AG, FUGA

An archive is a repository for preserving papers, records, and other historical materials -- most often for a community or nation. The records are to be made available for different groups of people for different needs. For example, the National Archives holds and preserves documents relating to our Nation's history while state archives hold and preserve documents relating to that particular state's history. Libraries are different in that they can house books and records, usually secondary sources that are related to many different areas and subjects.

If you are using Traditional genealogy researching methods you will find The Genealogist's Address Book by Elizabeth Petty Bentley to be very helpful for obtaining addresses and phone numbers for Archives, Libraries, Historical Societies and Genealogical Societies. In her book, Ms Bentley also mentions that the reference books, The Redbook and The Handy Book For Genealogists, were helpful in providing the names of genealogical repositories. Ms Bentley describes the steps she took to use these repositories effectively. First, she wrote a list of questions for each repository that she wanted to contact. Second, she coordinated this list with her research planner and research goals. Third, she telephoned the archives or library. The information desk personnel were usually very helpful in answering her questions about available records and agreed to mail copies of their catalogs. Sometimes the archives or library will charge a small fee to send requested information.

Some of the records were not available to the public because of privacy laws or document restrictions. Also some of the birth, marriage, and death records she wanted to obtain were housed in local courthouses and public health offices. Again, she used the reference books mentioned above to obtain addresses and phone numbers to find where to look for the records, and to discover if the records were available at all. She developed a standard letter that could be used with only minor changes for almost any request for a vital record. Many times, friends would come to her rescue and provide her with information from the Internet on various libraries and archives.

If you are privileged enough to live near a major repository, you may think everything of value is at that one great library or archives. But that is never the case. For example, you would be astonished at how much information can be found in the some state Historical Society archives. Here is where using Internet Genealogy Research methods would be effective in locating available records. For instance, the Minnesota Historical Society's website has an online catalog of their manuscript holdings which includes letters, photographs, memoirs, and numerous family bibles. In addition to their manuscripts catalog, they host an online death certificate index, a newspaper database, a gazetteer for the entire state, and an enormous visual resources database. Many libraries and archives have an Internet site with a catalog of their holdings. Be sure to check the holdings of the genealogical societies of the states you are researching.

A listing of the major societies can be found at Society Hill Directory at daddezio.com

Most people don't accidentally stumble across references to rare manuscripts on the internet. Wouldn't it be great if there were a database of all known manuscripts in the world, regardless of their repository?
The National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections, known as NUCMC, has attempted to do just that, at least, for records from the United States. The NUCMC is a free-of-charge cooperative cataloging program operated by the Library of Congress. Since 1959, over 72,000 collections located in more than 1,400 repositories have been identified for this online database index. According to the NUCMC website, the holdings of 266 additional repositories have been cataloged in the last 6 years alone. Using their online search engine, I searched for the "Brown Bible" and immediately identified 27 new research possibilities. Each entry gives a detailed description of the manuscript, and identifies the repository. Research on one's family would be incomplete if this collection was not consulted.

Do you remember the days when, to find an address or a telephone number, we had to call information, or even write a letter of inquiry? The Internet has changed all that; it has also changed the way we write for a birth, marriage, or death certificate. Now, to obtain addresses and fee information for vital records, we can consult such sites as www.vitalrec.com. This site gives most of the information you will need to send a request for a record, plus it allows you to order the certificate online.

If traveling to an archive, make sure to print driving directions from the airport to the hotel, and from the hotel to the library. This is easy to do at http://www.mapquest.com/. Just type in the two addresses, and it automatically creates driving directions and maps. Finally, be sure to consult the archive's online catalog before you leave home. Write down the titles and call numbers of the items in which you are interested. This will save you valuable time when you are at the library.

You may not even need to travel to a far-away repository to obtain the information you seek. Ask your local librarian about their Interlibrary Loan (ILL) program. For a small fee, your library will arrange to borrow, or have copies made, of the book or manuscript you desire. Often, if it is a book in which you are interested, you don't even have to know where it might be located. The ILL people will search their databases. Consult the USGenweb Project for lookup volunteers in a specific area, or you may wish to hire a professional to search the records www.GRAonline.com/.

Another technique for determining the best Archive in which to research is to use your genealogy program to do a database locality search. This will help you determine which ancestors might benefit from research in a particular repository. The Legacy and Personal Ancestral File (PAF™) genealogy computer programs allow you to do this type of search. These programs look at the text in the note fields or in other specific fields like city, county, and state.

Once records are obtained a means of displaying the record with the ancestor to which it refers would be beneficial. Scanned images of photographs or of vital records documents may be stored in your personal genealogy program and can also be uploaded and displayed with your family tree at the MyTrees.com website.

It's easy to add scanned images of photographs or documents to your family information in your MyTrees database. After logging into your account, switch to the pedigree view, and click the "Upload Pictures" link on the right. Click the "Browse" button, and select the drive and directory where the image is located. For detailed instructions, click the "Name" link. Once your picture is uploaded to your MyTrees.com database, it can be linked to any individual or family record for display.

Using large archives or smaller archives needs pre-planning and preparation. Hopefully this article has given some helpful ideas about genealogy research techniques you might want to use when searching for records in Archives and Libraries whether using Traditional or Internet/Computer genealogy research methods, or a combination of both.

Article written by Karen Clifford from Genealogy Research Associates. Sponsored by MyTrees.com.
Links provided by Cindy Carman.

Copyright © 2011 Karen Clifford. All rights reserved.

No reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.

Newsletters

Select Newsletter by Issue or Topic:

Genealogy HowTo
Issue: Nov 25, 2002

LESSON 3 - Using Archives and Court Houses Effectively
By Karen Clifford, AG, FUGA

An archive is a repository for preserving papers, records, and other historical materials -- most often for a community or nation. The records are to be made available for different groups of people for different needs. For example, the National Archives holds and preserves documents relating to our Nation's history while state archives hold and preserve documents relating to that particular state's history. Libraries are different in that they can house books and records, usually secondary sources that are related to many different areas and subjects.

If you are using Traditional genealogy researching methods you will find The Genealogist's Address Book by Elizabeth Petty Bentley to be very helpful for obtaining addresses and phone numbers for Archives, Libraries, Historical Societies and Genealogical Societies. In her book, Ms Bentley also mentions that the reference books, The Redbook and The Handy Book For Genealogists, were helpful in providing the names of genealogical repositories. Ms Bentley describes the steps she took to use these repositories effectively. First, she wrote a list of questions for each repository that she wanted to contact. Second, she coordinated this list with her research planner and research goals. Third, she telephoned the archives or library. The information desk personnel were usually very helpful in answering her questions about available records and agreed to mail copies of their catalogs. Sometimes the archives or library will charge a small fee to send requested information.

Some of the records were not available to the public because of privacy laws or document restrictions. Also some of the birth, marriage, and death records she wanted to obtain were housed in local courthouses and public health offices. Again, she used the reference books mentioned above to obtain addresses and phone numbers to find where to look for the records, and to discover if the records were available at all. She developed a standard letter that could be used with only minor changes for almost any request for a vital record. Many times, friends would come to her rescue and provide her with information from the Internet on various libraries and archives.

If you are privileged enough to live near a major repository, you may think everything of value is at that one great library or archives. But that is never the case. For example, you would be astonished at how much information can be found in the some state Historical Society archives. Here is where using Internet Genealogy Research methods would be effective in locating available records. For instance, the Minnesota Historical Society's website has an online catalog of their manuscript holdings which includes letters, photographs, memoirs, and numerous family bibles. In addition to their manuscripts catalog, they host an online death certificate index, a newspaper database, a gazetteer for the entire state, and an enormous visual resources database. Many libraries and archives have an Internet site with a catalog of their holdings. Be sure to check the holdings of the genealogical societies of the states you are researching.

A listing of the major societies can be found at Society Hill Directory at daddezio.com

Most people don't accidentally stumble across references to rare manuscripts on the internet. Wouldn't it be great if there were a database of all known manuscripts in the world, regardless of their repository?
The National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections, known as NUCMC, has attempted to do just that, at least, for records from the United States. The NUCMC is a free-of-charge cooperative cataloging program operated by the Library of Congress. Since 1959, over 72,000 collections located in more than 1,400 repositories have been identified for this online database index. According to the NUCMC website, the holdings of 266 additional repositories have been cataloged in the last 6 years alone. Using their online search engine, I searched for the "Brown Bible" and immediately identified 27 new research possibilities. Each entry gives a detailed description of the manuscript, and identifies the repository. Research on one's family would be incomplete if this collection was not consulted.

Do you remember the days when, to find an address or a telephone number, we had to call information, or even write a letter of inquiry? The Internet has changed all that; it has also changed the way we write for a birth, marriage, or death certificate. Now, to obtain addresses and fee information for vital records, we can consult such sites as www.vitalrec.com. This site gives most of the information you will need to send a request for a record, plus it allows you to order the certificate online.

If traveling to an archive, make sure to print driving directions from the airport to the hotel, and from the hotel to the library. This is easy to do at http://www.mapquest.com/. Just type in the two addresses, and it automatically creates driving directions and maps. Finally, be sure to consult the archive's online catalog before you leave home. Write down the titles and call numbers of the items in which you are interested. This will save you valuable time when you are at the library.

You may not even need to travel to a far-away repository to obtain the information you seek. Ask your local librarian about their Interlibrary Loan (ILL) program. For a small fee, your library will arrange to borrow, or have copies made, of the book or manuscript you desire. Often, if it is a book in which you are interested, you don't even have to know where it might be located. The ILL people will search their databases. Consult the USGenweb Project for lookup volunteers in a specific area, or you may wish to hire a professional to search the records www.GRAonline.com/.

Another technique for determining the best Archive in which to research is to use your genealogy program to do a database locality search. This will help you determine which ancestors might benefit from research in a particular repository. The Legacy and Personal Ancestral File (PAF™) genealogy computer programs allow you to do this type of search. These programs look at the text in the note fields or in other specific fields like city, county, and state.

Once records are obtained a means of displaying the record with the ancestor to which it refers would be beneficial. Scanned images of photographs or of vital records documents may be stored in your personal genealogy program and can also be uploaded and displayed with your family tree at the MyTrees.com website.

It's easy to add scanned images of photographs or documents to your family information in your MyTrees database. After logging into your account, switch to the pedigree view, and click the "Upload Pictures" link on the right. Click the "Browse" button, and select the drive and directory where the image is located. For detailed instructions, click the "Name" link. Once your picture is uploaded to your MyTrees.com database, it can be linked to any individual or family record for display.

Using large archives or smaller archives needs pre-planning and preparation. Hopefully this article has given some helpful ideas about genealogy research techniques you might want to use when searching for records in Archives and Libraries whether using Traditional or Internet/Computer genealogy research methods, or a combination of both.

Article written by Karen Clifford from Genealogy Research Associates. Sponsored by MyTrees.com.
Links provided by Cindy Carman.

Copyright © 2011 Karen Clifford. All rights reserved.

No reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.

Newsletters

Select Newsletter by Issue or Topic:

Genealogy HowTo
Issue: Nov 25, 2002

LESSON 3 - Using Archives and Court Houses Effectively
By Karen Clifford, AG, FUGA

An archive is a repository for preserving papers, records, and other historical materials -- most often for a community or nation. The records are to be made available for different groups of people for different needs. For example, the National Archives holds and preserves documents relating to our Nation's history while state archives hold and preserve documents relating to that particular state's history. Libraries are different in that they can house books and records, usually secondary sources that are related to many different areas and subjects.

If you are using Traditional genealogy researching methods you will find The Genealogist's Address Book by Elizabeth Petty Bentley to be very helpful for obtaining addresses and phone numbers for Archives, Libraries, Historical Societies and Genealogical Societies. In her book, Ms Bentley also mentions that the reference books, The Redbook and The Handy Book For Genealogists, were helpful in providing the names of genealogical repositories. Ms Bentley describes the steps she took to use these repositories effectively. First, she wrote a list of questions for each repository that she wanted to contact. Second, she coordinated this list with her research planner and research goals. Third, she telephoned the archives or library. The information desk personnel were usually very helpful in answering her questions about available records and agreed to mail copies of their catalogs. Sometimes the archives or library will charge a small fee to send requested information.

Some of the records were not available to the public because of privacy laws or document restrictions. Also some of the birth, marriage, and death records she wanted to obtain were housed in local courthouses and public health offices. Again, she used the reference books mentioned above to obtain addresses and phone numbers to find where to look for the records, and to discover if the records were available at all. She developed a standard letter that could be used with only minor changes for almost any request for a vital record. Many times, friends would come to her rescue and provide her with information from the Internet on various libraries and archives.

If you are privileged enough to live near a major repository, you may think everything of value is at that one great library or archives. But that is never the case. For example, you would be astonished at how much information can be found in the some state Historical Society archives. Here is where using Internet Genealogy Research methods would be effective in locating available records. For instance, the Minnesota Historical Society's website has an online catalog of their manuscript holdings which includes letters, photographs, memoirs, and numerous family bibles. In addition to their manuscripts catalog, they host an online death certificate index, a newspaper database, a gazetteer for the entire state, and an enormous visual resources database. Many libraries and archives have an Internet site with a catalog of their holdings. Be sure to check the holdings of the genealogical societies of the states you are researching.

A listing of the major societies can be found at Society Hill Directory at daddezio.com

Most people don't accidentally stumble across references to rare manuscripts on the internet. Wouldn't it be great if there were a database of all known manuscripts in the world, regardless of their repository?
The National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections, known as NUCMC, has attempted to do just that, at least, for records from the United States. The NUCMC is a free-of-charge cooperative cataloging program operated by the Library of Congress. Since 1959, over 72,000 collections located in more than 1,400 repositories have been identified for this online database index. According to the NUCMC website, the holdings of 266 additional repositories have been cataloged in the last 6 years alone. Using their online search engine, I searched for the "Brown Bible" and immediately identified 27 new research possibilities. Each entry gives a detailed description of the manuscript, and identifies the repository. Research on one's family would be incomplete if this collection was not consulted.

Do you remember the days when, to find an address or a telephone number, we had to call information, or even write a letter of inquiry? The Internet has changed all that; it has also changed the way we write for a birth, marriage, or death certificate. Now, to obtain addresses and fee information for vital records, we can consult such sites as www.vitalrec.com. This site gives most of the information you will need to send a request for a record, plus it allows you to order the certificate online.

If traveling to an archive, make sure to print driving directions from the airport to the hotel, and from the hotel to the library. This is easy to do at http://www.mapquest.com/. Just type in the two addresses, and it automatically creates driving directions and maps. Finally, be sure to consult the archive's online catalog before you leave home. Write down the titles and call numbers of the items in which you are interested. This will save you valuable time when you are at the library.

You may not even need to travel to a far-away repository to obtain the information you seek. Ask your local librarian about their Interlibrary Loan (ILL) program. For a small fee, your library will arrange to borrow, or have copies made, of the book or manuscript you desire. Often, if it is a book in which you are interested, you don't even have to know where it might be located. The ILL people will search their databases. Consult the USGenweb Project for lookup volunteers in a specific area, or you may wish to hire a professional to search the records www.GRAonline.com/.

Another technique for determining the best Archive in which to research is to use your genealogy program to do a database locality search. This will help you determine which ancestors might benefit from research in a particular repository. The Legacy and Personal Ancestral File (PAF™) genealogy computer programs allow you to do this type of search. These programs look at the text in the note fields or in other specific fields like city, county, and state.

Once records are obtained a means of displaying the record with the ancestor to which it refers would be beneficial. Scanned images of photographs or of vital records documents may be stored in your personal genealogy program and can also be uploaded and displayed with your family tree at the MyTrees.com website.

It's easy to add scanned images of photographs or documents to your family information in your MyTrees database. After logging into your account, switch to the pedigree view, and click the "Upload Pictures" link on the right. Click the "Browse" button, and select the drive and directory where the image is located. For detailed instructions, click the "Name" link. Once your picture is uploaded to your MyTrees.com database, it can be linked to any individual or family record for display.

Using large archives or smaller archives needs pre-planning and preparation. Hopefully this article has given some helpful ideas about genealogy research techniques you might want to use when searching for records in Archives and Libraries whether using Traditional or Internet/Computer genealogy research methods, or a combination of both.

Article written by Karen Clifford from Genealogy Research Associates. Sponsored by MyTrees.com.
Links provided by Cindy Carman.

Copyright © 2011 Karen Clifford. All rights reserved.

No reproduction of this article may be used without the express written permission of the author.

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