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Archive for the ‘Libraries & Archives’ Category

So I can’t help plugging this new digital collection at Mississippi State University Libraries because I did the metadata for it, and I’m proud of it! If you have time, do browse the collection and read some of the letters, especially. They’re very interesting and full of genealogy, military, and cultural gold. And you’ll find the occasional fun item in the collection as well. Like this:

Receipt for socks donated to the Confederate Army

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DeeDee’s family had a larceny of a cow.  My family has insulting while armed.  lol.  I knew that my great great grandfather and his family lived in New Mexico during the late 1800s.  So I searched the archives of the University of New Mexico and found a mention of my great great grandfather, Frank Garst.  The description said only “Frank Garst: insulting while armed”.  It didn’t give any indication of how long the document was or what it contained, but the description made me laugh.  The University of New Mexico scanned and sent me copies of a legal document scribbled down on a sheet of paper.

Territory v. Frank Garst: Insulting while armed.

Witnesses: V. H. Lusk, Sam Collins, John Mackey.

V. H. Lusk, being duly sworn says: Mr. John Mackey was in my store at Weed some time last March when Mr. Frank Garst and A. C. McDonald came in the store. Mr. Garst was drunk and had his gun in his hands. He stepped up to Mackey and commenced talking in a loud voice. He said, “I am a deputy sheriff and have my commission in my pocket, and if you don’t go slow, you will get killed.” Mr. Mackey was sober and peaceable. He said: “For God’s sake, men, don’t kill me, I’ve done nothing. I am not armed and don’t want to be shot down like a dog.” Mr. Mackey was not armed, I know because he stayed at my house the previous night as I had business with him. Sam Collins ordered the parties out of the house, as he didn’t want any tow in the house.

Source:  University of New Mexico Archives and Special Collections, Register of the Herman B. Weisner Papers, 1957-1992, Wilson, John B. Justice of the Peace Lincoln County, w) Territory vs. Frank Garst, insulting while armed, March 1882 Box 13 W-Folder 6



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I’ve been sending out a lot of queries about getting copies and/or scans of documents from collections that aren’t available online.

Things I have learned while emailing libraries/archives/genealogical societies:

#1. Genealogy people are so nice! They all understand that it’s impossible for people to travel to every location that their family tree leads them.  At this point I would have had to travel to: New Mexico, Ohio, Indiana, Kansas, and Illinois which is just impossible until transporters on Star Trek become a reality.

#2. Some facilities charge fees.  Some don’t.  Some say they do and then don’t charge you. (my favorite!)  So far the charges have ranged from around$15.00 to $5.00. Some charge by the hour, some charge for specific number of look ups, some just charge by the number of pages they have to copy/scan.

#3.  Be specific in your queries! Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what collections they have available if it’s hard to tell from looking at their websites.  But once you determine what they have, be very specific in your queries.  Do as much looking up  from your computer as you can before you  ask them.  Sometimes you can look up indexes to information on online card catalogs. I emailed the Dayton Metro Library with the specific newspaper articles I wanted from their microfilm and I had it listed all the way down to the exact column number on the newspaper page.  Their indexes were that good.  For sources that don’t have searchable indexes online, be sure to give specific information about the person you want research.  Just a last name isn’t good enough.  Give a last name, a first name, and some dates if possible and what collection you want searched.

#4.  Be less excited and more thorough.  This might just be something that bugs me, but I hate having a library look something up for me and then a week later I find ANOTHER document at the same library that I need.  I understand that sometimes this will happen, but in this case personally it shouldn’t have.  But I just got so excited that I sent my query off for a copy of it before I had really stopped and looked at what other resources they had. *facepalms*

#5  Be patient! This is probably the hardest part.  It takes a while sometimes to hear back from these places.  These people are busy helping in person patrons or they might even be unpaid volunteers.  When you find a lead you want to see it NOW NOW NOW.  The records have been sitting there hundred years so a few more weeks won’t matter.  If I don’t hear back after three weeks, I send a super polite follow up email to see what the status is.

Today’s exciting email response was from the St. Joseph County Public  Library in Indiana:

 I am mailing copies of the probate record taken from Complete Record Book No 1 of St Joseph Co Probate Records. I did not find a will recorded in the county. PLEASE SEND $5 to the library. 304 S Main St, So Bend, IN 46601
WOO!  PROBATE RECORDS!

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