Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Monday, January 04, 2010

Thoughts on Libraries and Genealogy

Many persons blogging about genealogy are taking part of a 52 week meme. I may occasionally post a response to one of the weekly themes, but I'm not able to participate in this week's challenge because of my mom's surgery and the fact that I'm nowhere close to home. I could use the Tennessee State Library & Archives catalog feature which allows one to search most of the public libraries in the state of Tennessee, but I can already tell you what the results would be. The challenge is to locate books that would help one become a better genealogist. I can tell you that my personal library is better than the holdings at the Morristown-Hamblen County Public Library or Jefferson City Public Library in neighboring Jefferson County. I would have to go into Knoxville to the McClung Historical Collection to find a better library and then I would not be able to check out any of the materials. The college library where I work has a number of genealogy books, but most of our methodology titles are becoming very dated. In fact, I own more recent editions of several of the titles. There are a number of other types of books or e-books which would be useful in getting background information to add dimensions to an ancestor's story. It is a shame that so many libraries (especially public libraries) do not offer circulating collections of genealogical titles. Some do have a few beginner's books in their circulating collections, but advanced researchers are left out. That's why I have my own genealogical library. I have books on methodology, record groups and their uses, research in various states and countries, standards, etc. I also have many published abstracts, indexes, and other tools. I have many histories of areas in which I do a great deal of research for myself or others. I'm not going to list a few books here because I don't want to pick and choose at this time. I can state that I'll be utilizing many of these books in the upcoming months. I can also state that my collection will continue to grow (even though I really need additional shelving). I also want to state that I often learn more about becoming a better genealogist by reading publications such as National Genealogical Society Quarterly. I enjoy discussing the cases with other professional genealogists who have read them when I have an opportunity. I keep hoping that Tennessee will eventually have its own APG chapter. A few of us discussed the possibility at the FGS conference in Little Rock this fall.

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