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Thursday, January 7, 2010

52 Weeks - Challenge 1 - Local library

I'm not sure how many weeks I will manage, but I will at least make a start on Amy Coffin's '52 Weeks to Better Genealogy'. The first challenge was posted on facebook here. It is:

Week 1: Go to your local public 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 collection.

Unfortunately this week I'm finding it hard to get to the library. I will do the challenge in a virtual sense using the library catalog, which is online. I often use the local library service that way, as I am able to request items from any branch and collect them from my local library. It's very convenient.

I started with a broad search of the catalog, entering the general keyword "genealogy". 512 titles were returned. Among the results were:
  • general guidebooks - with "for dummies" and "on the internet" titles featuring prominently;
  • more guidebooks - particularly those published by the local family history society;
  • a few country guides, eg Scotland and Ireland. I will have to keep these in mind when my research next leads me there;
  • "how to write" type guides;
  • even more guidebooks again, focusing on specific subjects such as female ancestors, soldiers;
  • some local family histories;
  • newsletters and magazines from the local and some other Australian family history societies;
  • local transcriptions and indexes;
  • old copies of the Genealogy Research Directory;
  • DVDs - "Who do you think you are?";
  • DVD - "A video guide to handling and preserving records";
  • Some of the "digger" CDs (early Victoria, Australia, BMD indexes). They appeared to be available to borrow, which was surprising;
  • fiction titles.
There were a few books that I would like to borrow sometime. I must remember to take a closer look at some of the more specialised guides, in particular. The library provides Ancestry Library Edition onsite, but they have such a painfully slow internet connection that I would rather pay for a month subscription at home every so often as the need arises.

I also tried searching on some of the place names where my family lived hoping for some histories, with no luck. I didn't really expect to find anything as my family don't come from this area. For that sort of search I would normally go to the National Library of Australia (NLA). Publishers in Australia are legally obliged to provide both the NLA and the relevant State library with a copy of each book they publish. 

This challenge was a little nostalgic for me... when I first became interested in family history more than 20(!) years ago the first place I went was the local library, where I found a basic how-to book for Australia.


  1. Congrats on your first challenge - I will look forward to your weekly posts.

  2. I love your blog and have awarded you the Happy 101 Award. You can pick up your award at Heritage Happens