How to Use Libraries in Research

“My products are content-driven, so facts and correct information are my life’s blood.  Libraries are my IV…the libraries are always where my journey begins.

Books also provide pictures or diagrams that I can locate for visuals…without libraries I could not make the films I make.”

” ‘Visuals’ are obviously important in documentary films. How do you typically discover the ones you use?”

“Lithographs, maps, paintings, etc. set me in the direction of possible visuals.  They often inform me as to where I have to go for permission to use those visuals.  I have also purchased a number of nineteenth-century books that have visuals that I can use without copyright infringements.  There are many good sources; you just have to spend hours digging.”

This short dialogue is part of an interview between Virginia Libraries and Richard Groover, an award-winning Virginia filmmaker.  His documentary, The Powhatan Mystery, relates the story of Virginia Indians after 1607 (released in 2007 to celebrate the founding of Jamestown).  His audiences are students, middle school to college, and viewers of the History Channel.  And the whole interview is recounted in the April-June 2007 issue, pp.7-8.

I want to poll my Genealogy Evidence Blog readers with this question posed by the magazine:  “Is there a particular library that has been especially valuable to you?”

You can respond through the comments section of this blog or by email–arlene@arleneeakle.com.  And would you please give me permission to share your comments with all my readers?

What really intrigued me about this interview was the same questions I have been wrestling with for several weeks–making lists of genealogy libraries and identifying their specific focus and collections of value.

Your ability to document ancestry and to extend a genealogical lineage is wholly dependent upon the libraries and archives you have access to–whether in paper hardcopy or online.

Did you ever consider that websites are libraries and archives of information?

Did you ever consider that online sites access the same kinds of information that you find on the shelves of your favorite genealogy library.  And usually in similar formats.

Page by page, screen by screen. Documentation of the information, citing the sources of the information, depends upon how much you choose to copy of any format! Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle http://arleneeakle.com

PS  We picked up some 15 boxes of current genealogy periodicals from Thomas Kemp for the Genealogy Library Center, Inc.  And I have the joyous task of preparing an inventory of them (and reading them) as I go through the boxes–one of my very favorite tasks.  Most parts of the United States are represented.  Stay tuned–the genealogy community is alive and well with creative approaches to challenging times.

PPS  27 Nov 1983, the first Cabbage Patch kids took Christmas by storm–every child of any age wanted one.  Including my Mom!  What makes them so distinctive?  Each doll has its own identity–name, birthdate, and numbered birth certificate!  What a unique idea.  Stay tuned–numbered birth certificates supply some unique evidence, wherever you find them.

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One Response to How to Use Libraries in Research

  1. goodrum1 says:

    Two libraries that have been particularly helpful to me are:

    1. The Denver Public Library’s Western History and Genealogy Department located on the 5th floor of the main branch. Not only do they have an incredibly diverse collection but the staff is extremely helpful.
    2. Boulder Public Library’s Carnegie Branch Library for Local History which has a wealth of information specific to one of my areas of research which is Boulder, Colorado.

    Both have excellent online resources as well.

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