Friday, February 12, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Week 5

This is my blog entry for Week 5 of the challenge created by Amy Coffin of We Tree and hosted by GeneaBloggers.com.

The assignment:
Play with WorldCat.org. WorldCat is a massive network of library content that the public can search for free (user name and password not required). Not every library is a part of WorldCat, but the vast size of the network makes it an important genealogy tool. If you are looking for a specific book or publication, enter the identifying information into the WorldCat search box and see which libraries hold the item. You may even find that you can get the item through your library’s inter-library loan program. Don’t forget to search for some of your more unusual surnames and see what comes up. The goal is to play with WorldCat and examine its possibilities for your own research. If you’re already familiar with WorldCat, play with it again. The network and collection grow and change constantly. If you have a genealogy blog, write about your experiences with searching WorldCat for this exercise.


While I knew about WorldCat, I seldom used it. Why? I dont' know. I guess I thought it a book wasn't in my library or the Dallas System, I didn't need to know about it. Such is life with blinders on. While playing around with their search engine, I put in names of family history books I already own, and didn't get any hits - even though I know one of them exists in at least two other libraries. Then I put in names of books I have heard about and found a couple of them. But most interesting was when I put in my family name and found an autobiography I'd never heard of. I then googled the name and found the obituary for the man, and while he seems to have had an interesting life, I didn't read anything in the obituary that made me anxious to read the book. Then, I put in the name of locations where family members came from. One was the Allison Prairie of Illinois and a search for it just gave me the name of the flora and fauna of that area, so I doubt I would learn anything about family history there. But the other was for the Waxhaw settlement of South Carolina and a search for it turned up a 100 year history, 1989 centennial. That might be interesting, but my relatives were long gone by 1889 so even though they were some of the founding members of the community, I doubt there would be any mention of them.

All in all, it was a good perusal and I will go to it first rather than last the next time I need a book.

Until next time, may you have blessings and answers,
Marti

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