Sunday, January 10, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy -Challenge #1 [Your] Local Library

The Challenge: Go to your local library branch. Make a note of the genealogy books in the collection that may help you gain research knowledge. Don't forget to check the shelves in both the non-fiction section and the reference section. If you do not already have a library card, take the time to get one. If you have a genealogy blog, write about what you find in your library's genealogy section.

I admit to being a tech-junkie: laptops, Smartphones, wi-fi, netbooks, iPod and my latest wish-list must have, Barnes & Nobel's very own eBook Reader, Nook. However .... nothing can compare to the feel of a book. There is something comforting walking around the stacks, pulling a book off the shelf and having the words come to life as soon as your eyes make contact with the page. And the wonder of it all - is you can take them home. I truly believe that a library card, which gives you access to almost any book in the world, is one of our society's greatest idea come to life. When I read Geneabloggers Challenge #1, I could hardly wait for Friday afternoon when I had scheduled my time at the Portage County Library.

A creature of habit, my first stop is always to the new book section. As I make my way across the room, a book on a display catches my eye, The Cut of Men's Clothes 1600-1900 by Norah Waugh. Published in London, England, the book has photographs, line drawings, patterns, detailed descriptions including accessories. I make a note of the title and call number; this book will be a great reference in helping me date my orphan photographs.

After a relaxing 15-minutes spent perusing the new book section I head over to the Genealogy Room but not without selecting two books. Hidden among "Remember the Carrot" and "A Child's Book of Poems" I discovered a 20-page publication titled "Prison Life: Personal Reminiscences of Two Days at Chickamauga and Fifteen Months in Rebel Prisons" authored by Edward McGlachlin. The book was compiled by a local woman, Dianne Peplinski from the writings of McGlachlin in 1885 which appeared in the Stevens Point Journal. My great-grand uncle, John P. Little, was captured during the battle of Chickamauga and died in Andersonville Prison at the age of 17. This book will add insight into what John Little's tragic final last months of an all too short life was like. The second new publication is "How to Do Everything Genealogy Second Edition" by George G. Morgan. I never get tired of reading genealogy how-to books looking for another tip, trick or something that makes me say, "I have to try that!"

Among my top five "Most Wanted 2010" are the unknown parents of great-great-great grandfather Lewis Facer Sr. Born circa 1792 in Zanesville, Ohio, Lewis's pension record (the only record able to locate at this time) from the War of 1812 states his father was born in Virginia. I remove"Ohio Wills and Estates to 1850: An Index" from the shelf and sit down at the table. After reading the forward and explanation of abbreviations, I turn to find the surname Baker. Lewis's wife was Susan B. Baker. Census records state she was born in Michigan circa 1800; their first son, Lewis Facer Jr was born about 1820 in Michigan but I have no documentation to back this up. The full page of Baker's is a bit daunting until I realize that there are only four Baker's who had wills or estate records filed in Muskingum County.

While I did not find any listings Facer, there are several listings of variations: Farr, Farra, Farrar, Farrce, Farrer, Frase, Fracy, Fraze and Frazee. Since this is an index, the interpretation of the listings is a matter of opinion. I make a note of the names, dates and counties which will provide enjoyment for several week-ends to come.

While none of my ancestors spent more than few days in my county of residence (Stevens Point was a 'jumping off place' to the northwoods), it does not mean striking out at my local library researching my family history.


Janet Iles said...

Thank you for sharing your visit to the library. You gave some good examples that are "not genealogy books" but would be very useful in your understanding of the past.

Cher' Shots said...

I've been to a wonderful geneology library in Missouri. It was either in Kansas City or Independence. I'd have to check that out but it was fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

Evelyn Yvonne Theriault said...

I also find it useful - and inspiring - to read memoirs because I'm hoping it will influence my own writing and fresh ways of looking at things.
Evelyn in Montreal


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