Genealogy and the Librarian

Perspectives on Research, Instruction, Outreach and Management

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About the Book

Covering trends, issues and case studies, this collection presents 34 new essays by library professionals actively engaged in helping patrons with genealogy research across the United States. Topics include strategies for finding military and court records, mapping family migration and settlement, creating and accessing local digital services, and developing materials and instruction for patrons.
Forewordist D. Joshua Taylor, host of Genealogy Roadshow and president of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, notes: “The increasing popularity of the topic requires that any librarian who encounters genealogical customers remain on the forefront of new developments in the field.”

About the Author(s)

Carol Smallwood, a recipient of the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and multiple Pushcart nominations, is the author of journal articles and editor of numerous books including one in Poets & Writers Magazine List of Best Books for Writers. A Michigan resident, her experience includes school, public and special libraries.
Vera Gubnitskaia has worked as a library manager, consultant, and reference librarian in public and academic libraries in Russia and the United States. She has contributed chapters to several professional publications, edited multiple anthologies, and published book reviews. She is currently an art fellow at Crealde School in Winter Park, Florida.

Bibliographic Details

Carol Smallwood and Vera Gubnitskaia
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 301
Bibliographic Info: bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7087-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3322-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword (D. Joshua Taylor) 1
Preface (Carol Smallwood and Vera Gubnitskaia) 3
Part I: Overview
Trends in Genealogy (Charlene Garcia Simms) 5
The Future of the Past: How Chronicling America Can Impact
Genealogical Stories (Robin C. Pike, Anna J. Kephart and Douglas McElrath) 12
Something Old, Something New: Reviving Traditional Editing Tools
in the Digital Age (Debra Carrier Bloom) 21
The Rest Is History: Using Historical Resources to Enrich Genealogy Results (Tracy Carr) 29
The Affective Nature of Genealogy Collections: New Narratives Through the Altered Book (Anastasia Varnalis Weigle and Renée L. DesRoberts) 36
Part II: Collaboration
A Genealogy Digitization Collaboration (Ben Walker and Chelsea S. Dinsmore) 45
Destined for the Dumpster: A Collaboration Between Librarians
and Genealogists to Make 79,000 ­At-Risk Records Available
for Research (Joanne M. Riley, Jessica Holden and Susan Steele) 52
Community Engagement Stimulates Collaboration and Innovation
for Local History and Genealogy Programming to Public Housing
Residents (Roland ­Barksdale-Hall) 60
Building a Collaborative Partnership Between a Genealogical Society
and a Public Library (Anastasia Varnalis Weigle, Wendy Lombard Bossie and Brenda Jackson Bourgoine) 69
Part III: Case Studies
Making the Case for Genealogy Reference Instruction (Lisa A. Oberg) 77
Introducing Genealogy to the Academic Library in the 21st Century
(Thomas McFarland and Joan M. Barnes) 85
Part IV: Research
Finding Military and Court Records: Strategies for Research
(Rosemary L. Meszaros and Katherine Pennavaria) 95
Contemporary Chinese Genealogy: Value and Status in Academic
Research and Library Collection (Hong Cheng) 104
Supporting Genealogists in Oral History Research: The Role
of the Library (Noah Lenstra) 112
Preparing for Genealogical Reference Work (Beth Stahr) 120
Part V: Instruction
Education Techniques for Genealogy Instruction (Carmen Nigro) 129
Instructing Patrons on Using Free Online Genealogical Resources (Andrew Hart) 138
Special Collections Librarians Assisting Patrons in Finding and Preserving Family History (Nancy Richey) 146
Beyond Names and Dates on a Tree: How Librarians Can Help Explore Family Heritage and Preservation (Barry L. Stiefel) 156
Finding ­Death-Related Records: Strategies for Research
(Katherine Pennavaria and Rosemary L. Meszaros) 164
Genealogy Literacy: Helping Patrons Build Stable Trees Through Information Literacy Standards (Cheri J. Daniels) 173
Part VI: Family
Finding Family, Friends, Neighbors and Community in Patent Records
(Barbara J. Hampton) 183
Putting Family History on the Map: Creating Visual Representations
of Family Migration, Settlement and Encounters (Leslie A. Wagner) 193
Part VII: Outreach
Genealogy Behind Bars: Professional Development Through Prisoner
Requests, a Case Study (Kathrine C. Aydelott) 203
Community Outreach: Making Your Collection Known and Used
(Larry Naukam) 210
Crowdsourcing Genealogy with Tea and Sympathy: Outreach Approaches That Instruct and Engage (Cheri J. Daniels) 218
Part VIII: Management
Accessing and Creating Local Digital Services for Genealogy
(Rhonda L. Clark) 227
Genealogy for Academics: Utilizing Genealogy Resources for More
Than Family History (Nancy A. Bunker and Jenny L. Presnell) 235
The Butler County Obituary and Newspaper Index: An Example
of Genealogy Database Creation and Ongoing Management
(Margaret E. Hewitt) 242
Digitize Your Old Media: A ­Self-Service Station for Public Library Patrons (Kirsten Canfield) 250
Crowdsourcing Genealogy: Evaluating Sources in the Age of Ancestry.com (Kathrine C. Aydelott) 258
Doing Your Data Digitally—Why and How (Larry Naukam) 264
Part IX: Finances
Grants: Finding, Writing and Following Through
Natalie Bazan Starosta 271
Developing Materials and Instruction on a Budget for Local Patrons
Janet Curtiss 278
About the Contributors 285
Index 289

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Explores ways that librarians can take advantage of the popularity of genealogy and family history research to create new services and connect with new user populations”—Library Journal
  • “The product of professional experience and a comprehensive survey of the field, this collection of 34 essays introduces aspects of family trees and proposes means of teaching clients how to locate and coordinate data on ancestry. A straightforward tone delivers perspectives on research and application…. valuable…this compendium covers a full range of both pragmatic and open-ended instruction and outreach”—Booklist
  • “Knowledgeably compiled and deftly edited…remarkably informative, exceptionally well organized, thoroughly ‘user friendly’ in tone and commentary…recommended”—Midwest Book Review
  • “Valuable”—FGS Forum
  • “Recommended”—Association of Jewish Libraries Reviews
  • “Provides rich examples of librarians serving the local history community and genealogists while building unique collections for future generations of users.”—Corey Seeman, Director, Kresge Library Services, University of Michigan
  • “This eclectic collection is a handy resource useful for all American genealogy librarians. Experienced editors Smallwood and Gubnitskaia gather professional essays on digitization and databases, literacy and instruction, preservation, community use, and budgeting for various populations and end-users.”—Patricia Brown, Director, Library Instruction and Information Literacy, Northwestern State University of Louisiana
  • “Applying modernization and library best practices to digging through family histories, this collection provides fantastic ideas for the teaching and practice of genealogy research.”—Jennifer Wright Joe, Owensboro Campus Librarian, Owensboro Regional Campus Librarian, Western Kentucky University
  • “A valuable resource for librarians and others interested in the current state of genealogical research, services, and sources.”—Erin Fennell, Reference Librarian/Associate Professor at Miami Dade College
  • “An outstanding collection of library services available to support patrons for genealogical research”—Stanley L. Klemetson, Ph.D., Associate Dean (Retired) of the College of Technology and Computing, Utah Valley University
  • “This book helps librarians navigate genealogy research using a variety of tools and techniques accommodating the needs of vastly different types of genealogists.”—Dr. Jeanine Huss, Associate Professor of Science Education, Western Kentucky University.