Sunday, July 24, 2011

Church Record Sunday: Tennessee State Library and Archives

State libraries and archives are an essential resource for genealogists. While they are often an archive for the records of the state government,  in some cases they also have church records. The Tennessee State Library and Archives has an online Guide to Church Records at TSLA: Manuscripts and Books. This Guide comes in three sections, representing where the materials can be found at  the Library; Church Records on Microfilm, Church Records in Manuscripts, Small Collections, and Manuscript Files and Published Church Records Found  in the Library Catalog.

This collection spans the 1700s to the 1900s.

**Special thanks to Miriam Robbins, author of the blog AnceStories and the websites Online Historical Newspapers and Online Historical Directories for providing me with the link for the Tennessee State Library and Archives.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Schools out for the Summer but the Library is Open

Cambridge Library, From Flickr: The Commons
It's no secret that I believe university libraries are just one of the places you should utilize in the search for your family history.  I even wrote an article about it for the Expert series.  My trip this week to  one of the libraries on the University of California, Riverside campus reminded me of even more tips that can assist as you prepare to visit an academic library.

Chat with a Librarian

Prior to my trip I did peruse the online card catalog for books that I was interested in.  As part of my search, I used the Ask A Librarian feature to ask about resources that I may have overlooked. Librarians search the card catalog differently than you do.  It's worth it to use a Ask A Librarian feature to get even more ideas. I used the online chat, and received help in real time as well as assistance in finding additional books. Librarians  know their collection, so take advantage of their expertise.

Membership has Privileges

I had read the Library's website and knew that community members could, with a donation, receive a library card.  After speaking with a librarian I found out other ways that community members could receive a library card. My new UCR library card allows me to check out books at any UC school. This is a great perk when I don't have the time to sit at the library and research.

Books and Food, What a Great Combination or Things are Sure Different than when I was a Kid

It's always good to do your homework prior to leaving for the library.  I had a list of all the books I wanted to look at,  that was no problem.  But the directions the school provided to the library via their website were lacking.  Because they basically got me to the campus and that's it, I spent a good 15 minutes driving around. Asking the librarian while I was chatting with them online might have saved me some time. Also, while I was there I learned that they allow snacks and beverages, within reason.  No, you can't have pizza delivery but other snacks are allowed in the library.  Had I known that I wouldn't have decided to try to fast through lunch. With the option of eating while you are researching you can sit amongst the books for hours! Free wifi, books and food, what more could a genealogist ask for?

As you research, consider all the places that you should be conducting your research in your quest for a reasonably exhaustive search.  University libraries are just one example of a library to check out (pardon the pun).  For other libraries see the website Libraries in the United States.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Church Record Sunday: Central Coast Museum Consortium

This week I had the privilege of speaking to the Ventura County Genealogical Society. As I was finalizing my presentation slides I came across a union catalog of museums, libraries and archives for the central coast of California called the Central Coast Museum Consortium.

You may be thinking "I don't have California ancestors." That's ok, a search on this catalog does show California church histories, cookbooks, and records but there is also at least one resource not documenting California.

 Genealogical records, volume II : Port Byron, Illinois records of Methodist Episcopal Church 1833 to 1900, Congregational Church 1849 to 1900, and extracts from the diary of August Henry Wendt 1881 to 1900 / compiled by Genealogical Committee Mary Little Deere Chapter, DAR.  

If your ancestor is from Moline, Illinois you may want to see what repository near you has the above title.

A search on the word "church" found 250 results in this catalog ranging from research guides, cookbooks, membership roles, histories, memoirs, encyclopedias, hymns, bibliographies and more.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Church Record Sunday: Canadian Church Records

The FamilySearch Research Wiki is such a wonderful tool for genealogists. It is here that you can read more about the records of a locality, record types and methodology. Take some time to scan some of the almost 60,000 articles available.

Canada Church Records is one example of what you can learn about an area and the records available.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Church Record Sunday: Inventory of Vital Statistic Records in Montana

Genealogists greatly benefit from the work done by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the 1930s. Not only did this program help put people to work, it cataloged records that genealogists and researchers use.

Recently while doing some research for another project, I came across a listing of WPA records for Montana. Collection 2336- WPA Records, 1935-1942 is available through the Montana State University Library. This collection of WPA records include two sets that will be of interest to anyone looking for church records for their Montana ancestors.

Series 2: Directory of Churches and Religious Organizations is a directory that is arranged by county and then the name of the church. The description indicates that some other states are also represented and  lists Arizona, Delaware and Utah. You would have to contact the university to see if this is just a few scattered listings or an entire directory for those states.

Series 8: Inventory of Vital Statistics Records of Churches and Religious Organizations in Montana includes documents used by WPA workers to gather information about records kept by these churches and religious organizations. This set looks like a dream for genealogists looking for what vital records would have existed and where they were archived.

This collection is another good example of the value of special collections found in places like university libraries for genealogists. Not all documents leading to church records are kept at a church.