Wednesday, January 6, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy: Week 1

This post is part of the "52 Weeks to Better Genealogy," written by a brilliant princess and graciously hosted by The week 1 challenge:

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.

When I moved to Texas, I went and got a library card even before I got a new driver's license. Here is what mine looks like:

My nearest library is a small suburban branch that's part of the larger Harris County Public Library system. For most of the year, the bushes on the right are part of a glorious garden. In winter, not so much. The pointy green thing is a dragon. In a few weeks, the library is moving to a much larger brand new building. I do not know what will happen to the dragon.

This is my library's genealogy collection. I've circled the basic genealogy books in orange. They are all ones you've heard of, with no unique or unusual books on the shelf. We do have Emily Croom's works, including Unpuzzling Your Past, because she is a local author.

There are no genealogy books in the reference section, but there are a couple almanacs that might come in handy in my research.

Though the pickins are slim, this isn't a bad genealogy collection. The library is part of a bigger system, so I have access to all their books, too. Also, we are near the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research, so it's not like there's a shortage of genealogy books in the area.

Every few months, I go back to the little genealogy shelf and see what they've added. There's always a rotation. Always something new to learn.


  1. I am just happy I didn't have to do the 52 Weeks Challenge #1 in my hometown. They just closed the public library because there were only two books left. And one was already colored in.

  2. I looked up my local library's genealogy fare in their online catalog and was STUNNED by what was listed (read: more than 5 books. Much more). I'll be heading over there later this week to verify that no false advertising is going on on their part.

    Thanks for the great blog idea suggestions. I'd all but given up on our local library (small barely describes it) after a disappointing visit to their local history section.

    Little Bytes of Life

  3. That looks like the collection here! LOL

  4. Looks like you have done your homework. I love! Clayton! Surprisingly many little towns like Hamilton TX, and Glen Rose TX have small areas dedicated to genealogy. Glen Rose even has it's own genealogy library on the square.

  5. Amy - Thanks for doing this! I can't wait to see what the other weeks bring. I needed something to concentrate on while I get back into normalness. Such a Brilliant Princess! LOLOL

  6. You're so lucky to live near the Clayton Library! Have been there a few times. But then I'm lucky to live near LAPL and SCGS libraries in SoCal. Still, I dream of great swaths of time in the libraries and archives of New Orleans--the library grass is always greener, n'est-ce pas? :)

  7. Maybe I don't understand what you mean by genealogy books. Are you talking about ANY book at the library that you can use for genealogy research, such as cemetery transcriptions, and DAR books, or something else completely?

  8. Marti, any book with any connection to genealogy. Most public libraries just have a few shelves (or less). If yours has more, then great. There are no specifics because each library is different. There is no wrong way to do this challenge. :)