Week 5: . Play with WorldCat.org. WorldCat is a massive network of library content that the public can search for free (user name and password not required). Not every library is a part of WorldCat, but the vast size of the network makes it an important genealogy tool. If you are looking for a specific book or publication, enter the identifying information into the WorldCat search box and see which libraries hold the item. You may even find that you can get the item through your library’s inter-library loan program. Don’t forget to search for some of your more unusual surnames and see what comes up. The goal is to play with WorldCat and examine its possibilities for your own research. If you’re already familiar with WorldCat, play with it again. The network and collection grow and change constantly.
I didn't have a specific book in mind when I started my search, so I did a search for my Slowey surname. I found a lot of books written by authors with the surname of Slowey, but not anything that pertained to any of my specific ancestors (at least none that I know of right now).
I did another search for my Lanctot surname. Again, several authors with the Lanctot surname, but pretty slim pickins for anything pertinent. As I'm scrolling through the list, I notice a book called "La Famille Lanctot." Hmmm. Author? Philippe Constant. That name sounds familiar. I look in my genealogy program ... no Constants. Ohhh ... that's right. One of my Wagners is named Constant (actually two, but who's counting?). Still ... it's a Lanctot family history. My Wagners eventually flow into my Lanctots (via Rothmeyers, Hubers, and Sloweys), so maybe these folks are related somehow. (It's scary being inside my head, huh?) Oh great. The book is in French. Ok, I might need an interpreter. Let's see if I can even get the book first, then we'll deal with whether I can read it.
Turns out it's available through the NEGHS. Awesome. Now the question is whether I can get it through interlibrary loan or if I have to join the society (which I've been meaning to do anyway) and request a lookup (except I have no idea what's in that book). I will definitely have to look into this some more. Perhaps when I have some extra time after school lets out, I can go to the library and see which libraries are on the ILL roster.
This is definitely a tool I will use for my research in the future. I have included a link to WorldCat.org in my toolbox as well.
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!