Family and Friends Friday
Using Library Resources

By Kenneth Green

One of my favorite assets in Genealogical research is the local public library. They have so many resources at my fingertips. I am fortunate to have a library that is down the street and has a whole floor dedicated to Genealogy. There i’m able to find some of the following resources.

1. Microfilm of local newspapers.

If you reside in a place where several of your family members have passed away this resources could be invaluable. However, you may live in a place where your family hasn’t and so this might not be for you. But I’m a third generation Coloradoan and so being able to pull up obituaries of family members has helped tremendously.

2. Computer Resources

Before my church became a partner with Ancestry, I always wanted to use it but could not afford the monthly fee. So I used to go to the library and there they provided the resource free of charge. I am fortunate to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints because what I used to have to go to the library for they provide free of charge.
While I’m on this topic of church, I would like to bring your attention to another free resource for genealogical research. This resource is the Family HIstory Centers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This resource is open to the public, so you don’t have to be a member to request help.
The Family History Center’s operated by the church have amazing resources all for free. First, the staff of an FHC can offer years of expertise and help. They also have a ton of microfiche in the library, and if they don’t have one, you need you can order it. They have computers with many of their partner’s websites on there for free. So if you want to use Ancestry and don’t want to convert (Mormon joke), then you can go to an FHC to use that resource.

3. Human Resources

I talked about this a bunch under number two and about the FHC. But there are usually people at the library very proficient in Genealogy. So especially if your just getting started this would be an excellent place to go to and ask for help. Even us seasoned genealogists can ALWAYS learn something from someone else. So don’t be afraid to utilize this. Maybe call the branch before you go in to see if they have an expert in Family History. If they have a department dedicated to that, then most likely they have some Genealogy pros.

4. Books

That’s what you go to a Library for right? Having access to books can help your research. Maybe there is a book on a particular area of the country or world. And what’s great is usually you can check these out and take them home and pour over them. And most libraries have something called an interlibrary loan system. If your’s does that mean’s if they don’t have the book they can borrow it from another library and get it sent to you!

5. They know the local resources.

The Colorado Genealogical Society and the African American Genealogy Society both hold meetings at the local library. So if you ask the scheduler what is coming up with Genealogy Meetings or Family History Meetings (if they don’t know what Genealogy is), you can usually find out about some neat groups and resources you can put to use.

6. Library Websites

There are many resources online now. Maybe that favorite book of yours comes in E-Reader format. If it does, you may be able to check it out directly on the Libraries website. They may also have inks to other genealogy sites you can use.

In Closing

I just wanted to pull your card to some resources that may be in your community that you don’t know of that can help you!. There are a large number of resources in your area that you do not know about. Genealogy is not just about the research to me but about the journey along the way. So take the time today and go to your local library and find out what resources may be there for you. One of my biggest tips is to go to the largest library in your city. They are more likely to have a genealogy department than your local library branch.
You can even make this a long day activity. Maybe on a day off you take a sack lunch and go to the Library or go to the local Family History Center in your neighborhood. You can have fun researching these sorts of places because of the quiet and sheer feeling of academia when your in these locations. I hope what I talked about today can give you some tips on how to go to the library and find these resources!
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