My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.

Friday, January 29, 2010

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy - Challenge #4 Inter-Library Loan

My local library is shown at the left and you can read about it in  Challenge #1. In Challenge #4 our assignment is to, "Learn about your local public library’s inter-library loan (ILL) policy. Pick a genealogy-related book that you want to read that is not in your library’s collection. Ask the librarian how to request the book from another library. Find the different library systems from which you can request books through your own library, as this can dramatically increase the number of genealogy books to which you have access. If you have a genealogy blog, write about your experience with requesting items through your library’s ILL service."

I don't want to be fired because I didn't follow Amy's instructions exactly.  However, there just isn't time or the need for me to get a genealogy book, just for the sake of this challenge.  It is mid-winter which means snow, ice and cold in Massachusetts.  In addition, I have been told processing inter-library loans (ILL) is a very expensive process to deal with; a lot of wrapping, packing and mailing is involved.  Fortunately, they haven't begun to charge patrons, but it may be a reality some day, I heard $5 per request.

Our library belongs to the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium. along with quite a few other libraries (my guess is 30 towns).  That means, if I want a book that isn't in my library but is in one of the other libraries, I can get it rather quickly if it isn't checked out, otherwise, I am on a waiting list.  First, before I even think about ordering a book through ILL, I always check www.worldcat.org to see what libraries have it.  Sometimes, you may determine it might not even be available to your library or it just isn't worth the time and effort, if the book is across the country.

In June of 2009, I did a guest blog for Cheryl Palmer Cutting Back on Spending, in which I discuss inter-library loans and Worldcat.

At my library, the inter-library loan requests are processed differently. The order request is sent to another library, where all the requests from the entire consortium are processed. In the past, I have ordered and received two books using this method. One book had to be used at the library under our librarian's eyes. The other I was able to check out.

The books I got were:
1. The Van den Berghs in America by Stockman, R. Grunwell & B. Grunwell, (Lynchburg, VA: Pub. Robert L. Grunwell, 1994) from the Jones Library, Lynchburg, VA and,
2.  Molson, The Birth of a Business Empire by Hunter, Douglas, (Canada: Penguin Books, 2001) it came from Univ. of Maine.

Cemeteries And More #2

Part two of my cemetery series covers more ideas about contacting a cemetery or Historical Society, and then a section about maps. If you live a distance from the cemetery, you want to be armed with the most information available prior to the trek. I like to know some of the history and the exact entrance to the grounds as well as the hours.

Not all cemeteries are privately run, some are abandoned, some are run by the town, some by the government.  Each has their own set of rules and what they share with the public.  Many will freely provide all their records on your ancestor, others charge a steep fee (like Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, DC).  Often you can find a volunteer to do some of the leg work for you.  In the past, if I received something from them, I always wrote a thank-you and enclosed a small token of $10. Always pay them in some way, either dollars or stamps, because you never know if you will need their service again, and they will remember you.  If their work is exceptional and they are employed, write a thank you letter, so it can go in the employee's human resources file (I did that once and even brought the administrative assistant a box of chocolates.)

The next time I need information; I will either call or email a request.  Personally, I like calling best.  Do it mid day, never just before closing.  I'll explain exactly what I am looking for, get right to the point.  Sometimes I'll have a check-list, so I don't forget to ask something.  Often on the phone, I get a little nervous or side tracked, then the call isn't completed in full. I would still do that, especially if it is a Historical Society (those people can be so nice)

A great source for locating historical societies is the book, The Genealogist's Address Book by Elizabeth P. Bentley.  The new 6th edition was published in 2009 and has 809 pages.  I used to own a copy, and referred to it frequently, mine didn't even have email addresses, it was that old.  A page snippet from the new book is below.

I was very lucky when I wrote to the Colchester Historical Society in Connecticut, because a volunteer drew up a perfect map showing where my ancestors were buried. This map is something I have been wanting to share for a long time.  What I received was 14" x 17" in size!


Sometimes a larger cemetery will have a pamphlet with a map inside. What a blessing, when I discovered my ancestor listed on the map! Locating him could not have been easier.
My ancestor is # 59
Example of a pamphlet.