Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Visit to another genealogy library

I just returned from a week's trip to Missouri to visit with relatives on my mother's side of the family. My husband and I try to do this at least once a year, as I like to get back there to do genealogical research and he enjoys the small town environment. This time there were 5 of us first cousins and my uncle, who is now 84 [going on 60].
Since we were only there for a week I tried to be on my best behavior and not run off to do my research. However, before leaving Seattle I discovered that a relative had donated a box of photos to the genealogical society in an adjacent county. Needless to say, I wanted to take a look at them. Since my cousins were also interested, we scheduled a little field trip.
This genealogy library is only open 12 hours a week--Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 AM to 2 PM. It's located in a former Carnegie Library that the Society managed to purchase for $90,000 [raised in 12 months] in 2002 in a community of about 10,000 people. Counting the floor space on both the first and second floors, I doubt they have as much space as the SGS Library and they certainly don't have the number of books, periodicals, CDs, and other research materials we have.
What they DO have that was impressive to me is an ACTIVE archival preservation and indexing program. The box of photos I found listed online had been carefully indexed and organized into a single archival box with photos separated by archival tissue paper, grouped by subject and placed in archival file folders. The entire second floor of the building housed shelves of ORIGINAL county records [what you'd expect to find in a county clerk's or recorder's office] and project work areas. This group is currently preserving and indexing all of the county's circuit court records from 1900 until 1980 [the State of Missouri is doing the same for all court records before 1900]. The record preservation process and care taken by these volunteers is impressive and the resultant indexes will be invaluable for researchers in this area.
My questions to readers of this blog:
   - Should SGS be doing similar record preservation projects?
   - Could SGS generate enough money to purchase our own building?
   - Is that a worthwhile goal?
Please let me know your thoughts by clicking on the green COMMENT button below or emailing me directly at SGSPresident [@] gmail.com.
Thank you.


  1. It would be interesting to know how many members of the SGS are doing research in King County records (for their own family history). Any idea?

  2. Not a clue, but another person asked about how many members are researching each state/country. Maybe it's time for a member survey to learn more about our current membership?