L is for Libraries

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kyz/3962573662/ Date; 2009-09-26, Author: Stuart Caie, http://www.flickr.com/photos/77047514@N00 Stuart Caie from Edinburgh, Scotland

Continuing the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge…L is for Libraries! I have long been a lover of libraries. When I was a little girl, I loved to visit the library for a stack of new books to read (I still love it as a big girl, too). Since I went to high school and college in the stone age before Wikipedia, Google, and computers, I relied on the library to research my term papers (and I relied on typewriters to write them, but that’s another story…). I was downright giddy on a visit to The British Library, and the Library of Congress was also impressive. The worst thing about the big, beautiful libraries in other countries is that I can’t read all the books because I’m not fluent in foreign languages, but I can still admire the beauty of the collections. But aside from my love of books in general, where would my family history research be if it weren’t for libraries? Long ago before a multitude of information was available on the internet, the library was the sole source for any serious research.

My first visit to the Family History Library in April, 2010.

My family history research began shortly after I graduated college. My friend Marie and I were attending grad school and we started talking about family history. Specifically, we talked about our desire to know more about our respective family histories. We asked each other, “How do you get started with genealogy, anyway?” By that point in our academic lives we knew there was one place to find the answer – the library! We visited the college library together and left with a stack of genealogy how-to books (Angus Baxter’s In Search of Your European Roots is still in print!). Thus began my 20+ year journey among records, archives, microfilm, and – eventually – computers.

Libraries have always been my favorite source of books to read, but they can also be a great resource for books and other media related to genealogical research. Even though many records are now available online, the Free Library of Philadelphia remains the only place where I can see the city’s newspapers after 1920 and city directories from certain years.

Then, of course, there is the Ultimate Library for genealogical research, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is truly a mecca for genealogists no matter your family’s country of origin. If you’re a genealogist and you haven’t been there yet, put it on your “bucket list” – you won’t be disappointed!

[Written for the weekly Family History Through the Alphabet challenge]

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6 thoughts on “L is for Libraries

  1. Libraries have been a great asset to my genealogical research. The Connecticut State Library where I’m from has a vast genealogical collection of books not to mention the microfilm of records and newspapers.

    Although the state libraries are very big and usutally contain a lot of books and genealogical materials, don’t overlook your local library. Many local libraries have amassed a small collection of genealogical materials of particular interest to the local surroundings. I sometimes write about local library collctions in my own blog. When I can’t make the long trip to the state library, I can often find what I’m looking for and one of the surrounding town’s local libraries.

    Regards, Jim
    Genealogy Blog at Hidden Genealogy Nuggets

  2. Pingback: Family History Through the Alphabet - L is for ... | Genealogy & History News

  3. Libraries are a great resource for information, and I’m always referring customers to them. I haven’t been to any of the really BIG ones, but I’m sure I’d be in awe of them.

  4. I love libraries too!!! especially my local library. It’s wonderful that they have a bank of computers and free access to Ancestry for peeps who don’t have the money to buy their own 🙂

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