Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Using Libraries for Family History Research

Research takes many forms for genealogists. Increasingly it can be done from the comfort of home, as more and more records are digitised and put online. There is much to be said, however, for making use of the printed resources available in libraries.

I have to admit that I love visiting my local library. Along with numerous others, my library has an extensive local and family history section, with staff who are only to happy to help with searches. There was even a local history week back in March. The promotion of historical resources is an indication of just how popular genealogy has become. 

My local library has a large amount of interesting information, including census records and newspapers on microfiche. It also has many different books relating to the area. I have spent hours in there just reading about local history, without even researching my own family tree.

I have also made use of the library's free access to Ancestry.co.uk, which is an invaluable service for those people without a subscription to that particular website. Also on offer are credits at a discounted rate for the Scotland's People website.

The main centres for genealogical research in the UK are the Scotland's People Centre in Edinburgh and the National Archives in London. However, if you don't live near to those locations there are still many places where useful information can be uncovered. Local councils often run family history centres where records can be searched. Some cities also have Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints centres with access to the public. The Mormon church is of course an important provider of genealogical records.

And then there are our libraries. With their extensive collections and helpful staff, they are hugely important for genealogists. To continue growing our family trees we need to make use of as many resources as possible, and libraries play a crucial part in this. If nothing else they provide a calming, peaceful environment for us to organise our research.

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