We’re into week 9, which is my last week in Georgia. It’s hard to believe I’m almost through, but even though it’s almost over it feels like I’ve got a lot of work left to do. I still have my presentation to give at the staff development day and I have to finish up my resource lists, but I’ve come along way and accomplished a lot. And I finished my display! Behold:
It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darn good if I do say so myself. At least, it’s not bad for someone with very little experience doing these sorts of things. Jacqueline seemed pleased with it. But that’s what I spent most of the first part of the week doing at the academic library.
As I mentioned before, I got a tour of the genealogy resources at the public library on Tuesday. I got there in the morning, about an hour before the library opened. Lydia, who is in charge of the genealogy department, showed me around. The library’s genealogy section isn’t huge, but it’s pretty impressive. There are a lot of resources that have been accumulating over the years. Most of the people who seek information go for the microfilm, which contains newspaper clippings, wedding announcements, obituaries, and other tidbits dating back to the early 1900s. The machines for looking at microfilm, as Lydia mentioned, are a little out of date, but they still work.
There are also a whole lot of print resources. Some of them are just history books about the region, but others are family histories and logs. Apparently there is one lady who has put together several big books detailing her family history in exhaustive detail and donated them to the library. There are also books listing participants in the Civil War that have an enormous amount of detail in them.
These books list all of the Confederate soldiers of Georgia, where they were stationed, what their ranks were, where they eventually ended up, and (if applicable) where and when they were killed. It would be fascinating to look through these, and I imagine many people have spent hours going through these books. According to Lydia, though, most people either want to go through the microfilm or access the online resources. The library provides free access to Ancestry.com and a few other genealogical resources. Patrons can use any computer in the library to access these resources, but many times they will use the ones in the genealogical room so that Lydia can help them if they need her to. Lydia also periodically gets guest speakers from various historical departments in the surrounding area to give talks to patrons.
It was a fascinating look into a small but comprehensive genealogy department. Lydia should certainly be proud of what she does, and I’m glad I got to see it!