Thursday, March 31, 2011

Genealogy Books for Kids

This is a link from the Allen County (Indiana) Public Library web site for genealogy books for kids. Look any of the books up on your local library's catalog to see if they are in the system, and then check them out for your kids, or your grandkids!

The Myth of Wearing White Gloves

This article is from Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter from 30 Mar 2011: 

The Myth of Wearing White Gloves

White_glovesArchivists and curators have long required the use of white cotton gloves for handling very old paper or old books, when the paper is brittle and threatens to crumble. In fact, on recent episodes of the popular television series Who Do You Think You Are? the guests and even some of the experts shown in the program were criticized for not wearing cotton gloves when handling old documents. However, experts now say that the use of white gloves not only provides a false sense of security but even can induce more damage than handling the same documents with bare hands! On the other, um, hand, simple frequent washing and drying of the hands may be the better solution.

In an article that first appeared in the December 2005 issue of International Preservation News, conservation consultant Cathleen A. Baker and librarian
Randy Silverman argued that for the handling of most types of materials, white gloves don’t help and actually may contribute to the damage. As they pointed out, handling books with gloves is apt to do more harm than good. Gloves are just as likely to be dirty as fingers. Once absorbed into the cotton, dirt, abrasive grit, and chemicals are easily spread from one old document to another. Washing the gloves frequently is only a partial solution since chemicals from detergents are retained in the cotton fibers and then spread to documents handled later.

A second issue is the loss of dexterity when wearing gloves. Without tactile "feel," wearing gloves actually increases the potential for physically damaging fragile material through mishandling. This is especially true for ultra thin or brittle papers that become far more difficult to handle with the sense of touch dulled.

Baker and Silverman wrote, "Routine hand washing is recommended as a more effective means of preventing the spread of dirt while improving the user's haptic response to and tactile appreciation of the collections."

They also stated, "Institutional insistence that patrons and special collections staff don white cotton gloves when handling rare books and documents to prevent dirt and skin oils from damaging paper-based collections is inherently flawed; gloves are as easily soiled as bare hands. Cotton gloves are extremely absorbent, both from within and without; for example, even a scrupulously clean reading room provides numerous opportunities for gloves to pick up and transfer dirt to surfaces such as a text page."

Finally, they wrote: "White cotton gloves provide no guarantee of protecting books and paper from perspiration and dirt, yet they increase the likelihood of people inflicting physical damage to collection material. Implementing a universally observed, hand-cleaning policy is a reasonable and effective alternative to glove-use, and it follows the standard protocol employed by book and paper conservators before handling the very same material."

The authors did point out that their recommendations are limited to paper. Other materials, such as photographic prints, negatives, and slides, have their own unique set of requirements.

You can read the entire report by Cathleen A. Baker and Randy Silverman at

Monday, March 21, 2011


For your convenience - a brief tour on paper.

The following article was prepared for the NSGS Newsletter by LaRene Spencer, Co-Director at the RFHC.

{Editor: Italicized text was added by this editor-Jim Kattelman. As you should detect by my comments, I am very enthusiastic about the resources available at the RFHC. I encourage all NSGS Members to take some time to explore what genealogy information you might easily gather at the RFHC. Ask for help if you are not sure how the systems work or what is contained in the collections. Personal lessons can be arranged ! The items illustrated here are the physical resources. Next month will feature the free Internet resources available at the RFHC.}

As you enter the Center, you will see our Reference Area. You will see a computer just inside the front door by the sign-in table that contains the entire Reno Family History Center Catalog—books, CDs, microfilm and microfiche. {This computer is your guide to the RFHC - get to know how is works !} 

Books on rolling carts in the foyer contain information dealing with the “how” and the “where” to look for records that will assist you in your family history research.  You will also find dictionaries (including some foreign language dictionaries), gazetteers,atlases/maps, etc.  Also included here are sets of books dealing with emigration and immigration, e.g. The Complete Book of Emigrants (England), Wuerttemberg Emigration Index (Germany), Directory of Scottish Settlers, The Famine Immigrants (Ireland), German Immigrants, The Great Migration Begins (immigration to New England 1620-1633) and The Great Migration (immigration to New England 1634-1635).

Approximately 5000 books will be found in three book rooms:

Washoe Book Room, the last room down the hall on the right, contains the entire genealogical collection of the Washoe County Library system. {If you are studying Colonial or Civil War America, check out the D.A.R. or Civil War collections. The D.A.R. records contain thousands of names that have already been researched. The Civil War collection is practically a day-by-day chronicle of the war. If your ancestor was in the Civil War, find their unit and follow the action. Also, the 29 volume set, Passenger and Immigration Lists Index, by Filby and Meyers will surely contain information on some of your ancestors. Ask for help, some of the book sets are difficult to use.}

Reno Book Room, (there are two rooms treated as one):

Down the hall on the right – contains only Biographies & Family Histories. {Books written by family members.}

Down the hall on the left – contains all other books owned by the Center. {A lot of state reference material.} 

More than 500 CDs containing genealogical records are stored in the front office for use by patrons.  They are only accessible on the computer in that office. {Many of these CDs will give you glues regarding the collections that are included in the website.}

In the last room down the hall on the left, you will find approximately 4,000 microfilms that are here on Indefinite Loan from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Several thousand microfiche are also found in that room, and the information contained there is also varied. {My favorite ! Since I have many microforms of German Parish Registers and Virginia Colonial Records on Indefinite Loan, I use these resources frequently. Take advantage of all the film that other researchers have ordered - it won’t cost you a dime ! Look up these films on the computer in the reference area. This is a great training ground to learn about various places and their related records} 

Of interest to patrons researching records from Nevada and parts of Northern California is our Parkin Collection.  It will be found in the room holding the microfilm/microfiche collections.  The data was collected by Nona Parkin over a period of approximately twenty years. The collection is organized by state and county, and filed in the cabinets alphabetically—ignoring Dewey numbers.  The collection consists of one hundred three- ring binders. {Early Nevada, from territory into the 1900s, is detailed in this amazing work of one person.}

There are seven computers available for patron use - 5 in our Computer Room and 2 in our Washoe Book Room.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Free Webinars on!

From Ancestry's "The Weekly Discovery"   If interested in registering, click on link and scroll down to the "Free Online Classes" section.

First Steps #3: Now What? How to Use Your Discoveries to Make Your Next Big Find
Wednesday, March 09, 2011, 1 PM ET
Wait! That census record you just saved may hold the key your next big find. Join Juliana Smith, editor of the Ancestry Weekly Discovery e-newsletter to learn how to get every clue from a record. She'll show you how to use what you find on a record to help you move back through time and unlock the stories your ancestor left behind.

If you missed our First Steps #1 and First Steps #2 classes, you can now view it and many other free classes in our webinar archive here.

Finding Your Irish Ancestors in America…and Ireland
Wednesday, March 16, 2011, 8 PM Eastern
Sharpen your Irish research skills this month with our FREE online class: Finding Your Irish Ancestors in America … and Ireland. Team taught by our own Loretto "Lou" Szucs and Irish researcher Eileen M. Ó Dúill, you'll learn how to find your family in America, what you'll need to follow them back to Irish records and what tricks you can use to learn more once you get there.