I am currently a reference librarian at the Newton Free Library, a large public library in Newton, Massachusetts, a city just west of Boston. Like many of us, I am not a degreed genealogist. I do have a passion for family history. Being a librarian has helped me with many of the skills needed in helping patrons research their genealogy. I have also taught a class here that included a number of sources available within the library to begin or extend family history searches. This includes books and periodicals, as well as computer based information. (Repeat after me, “The computer is only one tool.”)
Why Start a Genealogy Blog?
I am building this blog for two reasons. The first is to address the problem of information overload. If you need convincing, take a look at the number of genealogy websites Cyndi Howells indexes on the Cyndi’s List website (over 282,000+). Or type the word “genealogy” into the Google search engine and check the number of hits (in the millions). And this accounts only for websites, not books or articles. Type “genealogy” as a keyword into the Library of Congress catalog and see what happens. Finding reliable sources that are a good fit for what you need can be daunting. And what you need today may be completely different from what you will need later as you move back through your generations. Ancestors inevitably go to and come from the unlikeliest places.
The second reason is to provide ready access to genealogical information on the City of Newton. This will include information on programs being held at the library and in the city relating to genealogy and family history, where to find records, interesting facts on city history and people…the list can be endless.
How the Blog is Set Up
My hope is that you will look at the material posted here and see it as an opportunity for us to help each other. The starting point is the extensive lists and shorter posts I will be providing. The longer lists will be located under two of the tabs at the top of this blog. They are divided into two groups, either by Location/Group (immediately to the left of the search box) or by Record Type or Topic (underneath the “Building Bridges” tab you are reading now). I will be posting these lists alphabetically by subject. The third tab, to the right of “Building Bridges” on “City of Newton, Massachusetts” will allow you to access Newton information quickly. Shorter postings will make up the body of the blog. These may highlight individual books, blogs, websites, periodicals and people, as well as local programs and workshops. They may also include short lists. This, and the list of categories on the right, should help all of us find the information we need more quickly.
What We Can Accomplish Together
What I hope will happen is that you will add your opinions to mine in the boxes at the bottom of each posting and list. You could leave a comment on a whole list or how you used one particular source. You may have other suggestions or experiences to share. So what about it? Will you join me in creating a growing dialogue on the resources we use to research our ancestors? Together we can build bridges to our past.
updated 15 September 2010/vea
Newton Free Library