Sunday, February 19, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy: Genealogy Libraries

The prompt for Week 8 of 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy, from Amy Coffin at We Tree, and hosted by Geneabloggers, is: Genealogy Libraries

Genealogy libraries (and dedicated departments in regular libraries) are true treasures in the family history community.  Tell us about your favorite genealogy library. What or who makes it special?

There are so many libraries with outstanding genealogy departments, that I cannot pick just one! Here are a few of my favorite libraries. The Sandusky Library is dear to my heart because it is in my home town.

(Note: The above image is from an old postcard. In 2003, the Sandusky Library underwent a major addition/renovation, resulting in a much larger facility.)

The reason I appreciate the Sandusky Library so much is that since many lines of my family have lived in Erie County, Ohio for so long, there are many valuable resources at the library that are helpful in my family history research. Available at Sandusky Library are: city directories, high school yearbooks, county histories, the Firelands Pioneer, Obituary Notebooks, census records, cemetery records, church records, and several reels of Erie County Court Records. Another very helpful resource is the Charles E. Frohman Index to the Sandusky Register and the Sandusky Star Journal. The index covers citations to people, places, and events from the Sandusky area. Once you have the citation, then you are able to retrieve the article from the reels of microfilmed copies of the newspaper. The Archives Research Center also has two finding aids to historical files as well as photographs. Once you find an item of interest, then the library staff can retrieve the item for you. There is even a quadrant of computers in the Archives Research Center dedicated to genealogy research. The Sandusky Library is definitely one of my favorite research libraries!

Another library which is so very helpful to Ohio researchers is the Library of the R.B. Hayes Presidential Center.

This library houses the diaries of President Rutherford B. Hayes, who was himself a fan of genealogical research! Also at this library are a variety of city and county directories, newspapers, county histories, historical atlases, all from several different counties of Ohio, as well as the entire U.S. Census on microfilm. The Ohio Obituary Index is an invaluable tool in finding obituaries from all over Ohio. The Library of the R.B. Hayes Presidential Center also features special indexes, and a huge collection of manuscripts and photographs. While you are visiting the R.B. Hayes Presidential Center, you can also tour the Hayes home and visit the Museum, as well as the lovely grounds of Spiegel Grove. When I drive in to the R.B. Hayes Presidential Center and I see those beautiful gates which were once in Washington D.C., my heart always skips a beat.

Other libraries which I find very helpful are:

Milan Public Library
– This library, a part of the Milan-Berlin Township Public Library system, has an index to local newspapers, that I have not found in any other facility. A wide variety of government records are on microfilm at the Milan library, as well as several family histories of local interest, any many volumes of indexes to passenger lists.

Samuel D. Isaly Library of the Ohio Genealogical Society - This library has resources in books, vertical files,periodicals, and research databases which cover the entire state of Ohio. I only wish I had more time to visit this outstanding facility more often.

Allen County Public Library – This major genealogical library, located in Fort Wayne, Indiana, is a mecca for genealogists! There are thousands of rolls of microfilm, covering all U.S. Censuses, and many resources from other countries. Stacks and stacks of books of family histories, county and state histories line their shelves, and the well trained staff is always available to assist researchers. There is a bookstore and coffee shop in the library, along with a public television station. Before going to the Allen County Public Library, you will want to do your homework, and have a list of what you hope to accomplish. Once you get there, it can be overwhelming, since this library is so comprehensive in its holdings.

There are many other libraries in which I have done research, but these are a few of my favorites. Being in the Information Age, we are all so fortunate to be able to visit many libraries virtually! It truly is a terrific time to be a family history researcher!

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