Tuesday, January 11, 2011

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Week 2

Week 2: Go to your local public library branch. Examine the local history, archives and/or special collections section. Ask a librarian if you don’t know if your library has special collections or where they are located. Be sure to check the reference section, too, as many of the newer and more valuable books are held in that area. If you have a genealogy blog, write about what you find in your library’s local history and special collections.

As I mentioned in my last post, my local library is closed on Sunday.  My master plan was to visit the library during my lunch hour one day this week.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature had a different plan that trumped my master plan (how dare she??!).  So, 6-1/2 inches of snow has kept me house-bound for the past 2 days.  On a side note - just received the new editorial calendar from Thomas MacEntee over at Geneabloggers (see post here) and realized yesterday was National Clean Off Your Desk day.  I totally did that!

Since I have been unable to venture outside for two days, I decided that I would probably be working through lunch the rest of the week.  So, I paid a virtual visit to my library (again). 

The main branch of my local library has a Local History and Genealogy Section (some of the resources are available at the other branches as well).  All the books within it are considered "reference" materials and cannot be checked out.  They have computer access to Footnote, Heritage Quest, Ancestry, Sanborn Maps, and NEGHS website.  They also carry census records through 1930 for Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia, along with Soundex microfilm for Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama.

Military records are available too!  They have a general index to Revolutionary War service records, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama Civil War service records, and the Confederate pension applications for Tennessee.

There is an alphabetical surname card file that indexes family sketches found in books, periodicals, clippings, and other material found within the library, as well as an index to obituaries appearing in Chattanooga newspapers from 1897 to present.  The index is available in printed form.  The online database is updated through 2003.  They also subscribe to several national, state, and local historical and genealogical society publications.

I'm really glad I checked all this out before physically going to the library.  This will help me put together a research plan so I can search the available records more efficiently.  Knowing that my local library holds some of these collections helps me plan for my trip to the National Archives in March.

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy is a 2010 series of weekly blogging prompts that are a bit more challenging and are geared towards those new to the field of genealogy and family history as well as those who want to brush up on some skills which might be a bit rusty.  Thanks to Amy Coffin at We Tree Genealogy Blog and Thomas MacEntee at Geneabloggers for putting this together!


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