Thursday, July 14, 2011

Research Packet Available Online

While promoting a local history collection, we are always looking for ways to help our visiting patrons make the most of their research time.  We've had visitors from not only all around the states, but from as far away as Belgium, Japan and Australia.

When I go on research trips for my own genealogy fun, time is usually at a premium and I do as much preparing in advance as possible so as to get the most out of my visit.  Oftentimes, these visits are part of a vacation or a "passing through" situation which allows precious little time.

The Local History Collection of the Van Buren District Library houses one of the largest regional collections in the state of Michigan, and because we have so much to offer it's often overwhelming to researchers who may only be able to visit for the day or even just a couple of hours.

To assist in preparing genealogical treasure hunters to visit our facility, we've prepared a Research Packet that is available for download from the VBRGS website.  It is a 24-page Pdf file that includes the following items:

  1. First Search Tips (things to do & check first for the quickest results)
  2. Info sheet about the Southwest Michigan Obituary Index (indexing over 110,000 obituaries & counting)
  3. Online Data Extract Form (created by VBDL)
  4. Online Search History (created by VBDL)
  5. Family Group Sheet
  6. Five Generation Pedigree Chart
  7. Ahnentafel Table or Ancestor List (one of my favorites)
  8. Research Your Ancestors From Around the World (information about the Family History Center microfilm loan program at our library)
  9. Local History Collection brochure (gives brief overview of the Local History Collection)
  10. Bess Britton Michigan One-Room Schoolhouse Collection brochure (describing collection, how to access and how to donate materials)
  11. Bookmark describing this blog and how to get your free subscription
  12. Van Buren Regional Genealogical Society brochure (summary of membership options, collections, and mission statement)
  13. Local History Master Index brochure (describes database, provides examples, and information about how to participate in the project from home)
  14. Local History Collection Overview (more detailed overview of special collections, newspapers, vital records, microfilm collections, and information about research requests)
 Anyone planning a trip to this library should definitely take advantage of this information, but even if you aren't coming to our facility there are several forms in the packet that would apply to research at any library.  Some of the "First Search Tips" are broad in nature and are useful.

Before visiting any library to do family or local history research for the first time, I would recommend the following:
  • Seek out their website (if there is one) and familiarize yourself with anything they have posted regarding using the collection, research guides, limitations on access, special collections, photocopying & digital duplication policies, and anything else pertinent to your research
  • Make contact via telephone or e-mail a short time in advance and confirm hours of operation and available personnel
  • Become familiar with the geographic area by consulting maps online and off
  • Make a "to-do" list of items to view; it's even better to consult their online catalog and write down titles and call numbers
  • Organize your notes for easy & quick reference because you will need to refer to them while researching
Nameless Photo of the Day

  Only identification is "Uncle Charles Carpp" who may be the man pictured here with these two ladies

Can you identify any of the subjects in this photo?  Please contact us if you any information and we will publish it in a future blog.