Archive for the ‘libraries’ Category

Historians and Genealogists are able to see Full View of Google Books Snippets

Who doesn’t use Google Books? If you do not then you are missing out on one of the largest collections of printed works that will lead to clues for historians and genealogists.

Those of you that do use often, know just how valuable of a research tool this enormous and growing collection is. There are hundreds of thousands of books that will help you find clues to your family history. By using all the normal types of keyword searches you are guaranteed to discover something that someone has published about your ancestors or relatives.

By searching for a full name in quotes and a one or two keyword like a location or event, up will pop several selections to choose from. Be creative, if you don’t find it right away, reverse the procedure, such as put a specific location in quotes and then maybe just a surname.

Many of these titles that are out of copyright are apt to be available in their entirety in pdf or electronic text format, and if so then you may download a full copy to your own computer to have and use at anytime, as you build a digital library of often rare books that would be priced way beyond the budget of the average armchair researcher.


Now comes the rub. Those dog-gone Snippets. If the book is still in copyright you might only get a small window of text that may or may not have enough clues to tell you what you want to know. You no doubt wish that you could see the whole page or a few pages from a chapter that would give you a much clearer view of data that you want to use in your research effort.

Well now there is a way to have that page or a few pages scanned, digitized and emailed directly to your inbox!

Wow! What a concept!

This exciting work around of snippets is brought to you by none other than those fabulous, wonderful volunteers that work at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Now part of the FamilySearch “Free Lookup Service” involves a contact form and procedure that allows researchers anywhere that have an Internet connection to contact the Family History Library and ask for digital copies of the page or pages of the specific title and page numbers that you found in your Google Books Snippet view.

A volunteer will locate the title in their collection and email you just the part that you need, for FREE!

Go to the FHL  online photoduplication request form and get started.

This news was one of the best gifts that I found under my family tree this season.

Merry Christmas everyone.
Dick Hillenbrand
Upstate New York Genealogy Blog

ps: If you have used this service or have additional thoughts about Google Books to share with our readers, please leave a reply in the comments section at the bottom of this blog post.

Onondaga County Public Library is Asking for your Help

The Onondaga County Public Library (OCPL) Local History/Genealogy Department is in need of a new microfilm reader printer, and they have the opportunity to secure a grant of $8,500 from the Central New York Community Foundation who very generously makes $8,500 available annually to a worthy local area organization or project.

How can you help?

Very easy, just VOTE for OCPL on the page shown here:

*** Special Note!  The link above only takes you to the site.  It is not the actual vote.  After you sign in with your email address you then have to select “Onondaga County Public Library” from the list of candidates to place your VOTE! ***

Starting today September 1st, you may VOTE and each and every day in September you may vote again, once per day max.

There are many groups and agencies competing for the funds so if you really care about our beautiful Local History/Genealogy department I urge you to vote, and vote often!

You do not have to be a local resident to show your support and I would urge all you out of towners and out of staters to VOTE also, because with this new technology the staff will be able to make the highest quality scans and copies to send to you from your queries for research assistance from  OCPL.

Here is the email that OCPL sent out:

30 Days Has September

At some time in the past few years, you have contacted the Local History and Genealogy Department at the Onondaga County Public Library asking for our assistance. Now its time for us to ask for YOUR assistance.

We are in the running for an $8500 grant to purchase a new microfilm scanner/reader/printer. If you’ve used our current microfilm equipment or been through the tedious process of asking us to send you a copy from microfilm – such as an obituary – you know how desperate we are for new technology.

This grant is offered from the Central New York Community Foundation and awarded through a voting process; the project receiving the most VOTES will win the $8500.

We need you to vote. You can vote every day in September. We are counting on you to help us out.

To vote go here:

Vote today and each day you can in September and help us help you be better researchers. 30 days has September….

Local History/Genealogy
Onondaga County Public Library
447 So. Salina St.
Syracuse, NY 13202
Instagram: LHG_OCPL


ps: please forward this to your friends and fellow genealogists and genealogical societies.

Dick Hillenbrand




Steele Memorial Library in Elmira New York Genealogy News

Yesterday’s post about the Broome County Library Vital Records Index caught the eye of Phyllis Rogan, a reference librarian at Steele and she wrote to say that they have the Vital Records Index also.


So then she sent me an announcement about some happenings at Steele and I am very happy to pass this information on to our readers.

It is with great pleasure that the Genealogy Department of Steele Memorial Library announces the acquisition of local early Catholic Church Records on microfilm. Beginning in 1848 to1910, most film consists of Chemung County Churches but also includes churches in Addison, Waverly, Trumansburg, and Watkins Glen. The records are available for immediate use and can be found on the second floor of Steele Library in the microfilm department.  This provides researchers with early records previously unavailable.


Hi Everyone!
Sherry Nichols and I will conduct a free workshop, Beginning Genealogy, at the Hornell Library on Tuesday October 26, 2010  from 2:00 to 4:00 pm. We will discuss what you can find  in your central library’s (Chemung County Library District) website, on the web, and in the two databases that Steele and Hornell subscribe to – and This is open to all interested.

Phyllis Ryan Rogan
Reference Librarian
Head, Genealogy Dept.
Steele Memorial Library
101 E Church St., Elmira, NY


On an additional matter about Steele, and I probably wrote about this several years ago on this blog, but it bears repeating. Back in the 1980′s I used to go to Steele on a frequent basis as they were the only place in Upstate New York, or at least closest to Syracuse, that one could find “ALL” of the U.S. Federal census on microfilm through 1880, and for NY State and Pennsylvania, through 1930.

This was a goldmine of data available all in one spot and I did not have to drive to Washington, DC or Salt lake City to access these films. I asked once why they happened to have such a huge collection and was told that after they suffered enormous damage to their collection in the Corning – Elmira Flood  of 1972, they were in the process of rebuilding their collection and a local citizen came in and asked, “What would you like to have for your library?”

The librarian’s response was something like, “Well we could always use some more federal census microfilm”. So this anonymous donor purchased the complete collection for them from the National Archives. Amazing!

In these days of automated digitization of the census film and being online at places like Ancestry, HeritageQuest, Footnote, FamilySearch and other locations, I might just add that it still pays to go and take a look at the actual microfilm yourself. You might just pick out some little hidden fact or clue that the super duper electronic digital gadget missed. There is no technology quite as good as an analog set of eyeballs!

Your Ancestors Are Being Released from Hostage on Saturdays

The New York State Library is going to be open on Saturdays, starting this coming October 16th.  This story sounded too good to be true, but it has been verified.

For those of you that work during the week this is a golden opportunity to be able to take advantage of the unique collections and fingertip access to some of the best published and non-published resources for New York State ancestors.

Update: Oct 13, 2010 – Additional information.
This may not be permanent. Some say yes, but one person that works at the library said that this might only be for a couple of months. So readers, if you want to take advantage of this great opportunity you had better plan to go sooner, than later.

One other bonus of visiting on a Saturday is that the two end parking lots outside are free parking.

If it is your first trip to Albany or if you have not visited the seventh floor of the Cultural Education Center in some time, then you will want to ask for a quick orientation when you get to the Genealogy/Local History reference area.

Here in metal filing cabinets you will find those hard to come by New York State census microfilms arranged by county/town for all of the NYS census that has survived.  A few of the counties have all or parts of the 1825 and 1835 census, many of them have the 1855, 1865, 1875, and 1892.  For those interested in more modern times there are also films for 1905, 1915 and 1925 available.

For a complete list of films available you will want to check out the main website at and click on the tab marked: NY Counties & NYS Census. Take a look at the far right column for a list of all of the known state census extant.

The state library is also where you will have ready access to the many microfilmed copies of old newspapers that are in the NYS Library Newspaper Project.  Nothing like going right to the center of your ancestor’s community to read about the events of the day just as they read them so long ago.

To those who have Civil War Union ancestors that served from New York State, you will discover that the NYS Library and Archives might just have more information on your guy than the National Archives in Washington, DC does.  Ask for help from a librarian for the best way to search for Civil War data.

Another huge resource of unpublished data is in the hundreds of volumes of manuscript or typescript books that were assembled by the various NYS chapters of the  National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).  These wonderful ladies started as long ago as the late 1800′s, collecting bible records, church records, documents and surveyed thousands of NYS cemeteries and sent their lists in to Washington.  Then a duplicate copy of these mostly typewritten sheets were also deposited at the NYS Library.

There is a card file index and also a compiled general index to the DAR collection that was done by Mrs. Jean Worden. You may search by county/town, surnames, etc.  Most of these thousands of unique DAR records have never been published anywhere.

Check out their website before your trip and you will be able to plan your research goals before you arrive. – If an item is in storage they only pull books at 10 am and 2 pm, so it would be good to know ahead of time what you might need when you arrive.

For directions and a map of the parking areas check this link:

If you have any questions you may call ahead of time at the Local History/Genealogy desk: 518-474-5161.

One other nice benefit of going to the state library is that during the week, the Capital District Genealogy Society (CDGS) mans a volunteer help desk.  The nice people of the society are there to assist patrons and help the librarians, but I have not been able to find out yet if there will be a CDGS volunteer there on Saturdays.

Good luck in your search and have fun!

State of Michigan Has Decided to Keep the State Library Open

If you have ever wonderd if your signing of online petitions has any impact, we suggest that it does.

Last September we told you that the State of Michigan was in a budget crisis and was planning on closing the state library.  We told you how to Save the Library of Michigan.

Well todays news is reported in the Lansing State Journal that the library is not only alive and well, but that the legislators have also voted to keep all of the non-Michigan books and research media available to genealogists as well.

Recently they had contemplated downsizing the state’s obligation to house some 44,000 volumes of books and 97,000 volumes of microfilm that did not relate to Michigan.

Well the activity created with the petition and increased awareness of this situation must have had some positive impact because the state has agreed to keep all of their collection intact and available.

Read the full story here: Library of Michigan.

Thanks to all who participated.

Rochester NY City Directories Online to 1930 and to 1940 Coming Soon

Those of you Upstate New York Genealogy researchers that are working on Rochester, New York , Monroe County and the western part of New York State in general, are very fortunate.

The Monroe County Library System has been hard at work making much of their large genealogy / local history collection available online.  A discussion on one of the recent message boards caught my eye and decided we better review this site again.  See our previous posts about the Rochester Library.

There are many information pages and categories but if you go directly to this link regarding the Rochester City Directories at:  – You will find that the decades are arranged very easily to select from.  You will need a pdf reader to view the files but they are the exact scanned directory pages arranged in alpha groups.

There are other local and county type business directories available on that page that represent various years from the 1860′s to the 1930′s.

As we have noted in our New York State Vital Records Index articles you should know that the Rochester Library is one of the repositories for a set of the microfiche indexes.  You will have to go there to use them.

You will no doubt find many other items of interest by going to the main website and just start clicking on all of the drop down boxes.  A fabulous resource indeed.

UNYG Readers Attention!- You Can Help Save the Library of Michigan

The State of Michigan is in a budget crisis.  What a shock.  What state is not?  The myopic view of the current state administration is to do away with the State Library

You can help stop this idiocy by signing an online petition, it does not matter what state you live in, sign it anyway.  An interesting note is that when I just signed it there were only 393 signatories.  It would seem that 300 thousand would be more impressive.  Please sign the petition, do not put it off.

From an announcement by Dick Eastman at the following in part:

In meetings held during the Federation of Genealogical Societies/
Arkansas Genealogical Society Annual Conference in Little Rock this past
week, the Records Preservation and Access Committee (a joint committee
of the Federation of Genealogical Societies and the National
Genealogical Society) has initiated a petition drive in support of the
Library of Michigan.

Genealogists from within and without Michigan are encouraged to sign the
online petition. You are encouraged to sign this online petition NOW.

You can

More Photos from the Library of Congress / website

We wrote about the partnership between the U.S Library of Congress and the photo hosting website, flickr dot com, back in January on this Blog.

Today I was reminded by Genealogy Reviews Online about this excellent resource from an article that Tim wrote about a Blogger in Washington, DC who has looked up some old views of DC and then recreated them with modern day subjects in pose. Pretty neat.

So after taking another look and doing a “New York State” search of the LOC collection, found several, a few of which are posted here.

Catskill Farm Country – What’s not to love?
Typical Upstate New York Barn
Morner House Near Albany
Saratoga Convention 1912
Camouflage Class 1943
(At first I thought this might be the new Microsoft Touch Screen.)

To our friends of the Upstate New York Genealogy Blog. Thanks for being loyal readers. If you have a website please consider linking to this Blog and if you do, please let us know by an email with the link. The more readers the merrier.

We also encourage you all to enter comments underneath each or any of the Blog postings. The interactivity is what makes this all worth while.

To those readers that asked for the Abner Chase, Methodist Circuit Rider book, we hope that they have all been sent out. We had dealt with a couple of computer crashes and all requests were not immediately able to be filled. If you do want it and did not receive it, just let us know and it will go right out.

Invisible Ancestors: Ideas & Strategies for Recreating Their Stories: A Web Conference

Elissa Scalisse Powell, a Certified Genealogist, posted on the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) mail list, the following exciting information about a free web teleconference for genealogists at the Library of Congress this coming Wednesday, June 18th.

Invisible Ancestors: Ideas & Strategies for Recreating Their Stories: A Web Conference

When: Wednesday, June 18, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time), 1:00-2:00 p.m. Central Time

Many ancestors – early immigrants and pioneers, slaves, women, native peoples, and others do not have compiled biographies. They are invisible except in the historical record, through the census or other data collection entities. Where there are gaps in their history, the stories can be told through early travelogues, letters, diaries, other texts and printed ephemera, photographs and other visual media, and maps.

Join Library of Congress Digital Projects Coordinator, Judy Graves, and Local History & Genealogy Specialist, Anne Toohey, for ideas and strategies for combining physical and online materials that go beyond the data and recreate the stories of these individuals. We invite you to take this opportunity to sample the Library’s online materials and locate items that will enrich the stories of those whom you would like to know better.

NOTE: Allow yourself time to download the small software plugin needed to participate in the conference. Depending on your network security requirements, you may need assistance from your local technical support group to download and install the plugin.

Actual installation should be very quick, depending on your computer and connectivity. All that is needed is a computer with an Internet connection, sound card, and speakers. A microphone will enable you to speak to the group.

To attend, go to OPAL at:
1. Click the “Download Here” button in the light blue rectangle in the center of the screen.
2. Follow the directions to download and install the plugin.
3. Click the link in the orange rectangle to enter the room.
4. A gray box will appear with text asking permission to launch an external application, web conference plugin. When the grayed out text “Launch application” becomes black, click the Launch application button.
5. Type your name (no password is required) and click “Log on” to enter the online conference.

To learn more about programs sponsored by the Digital Reference Section, see: Virtual Programs & Services -

To learn more about the Library’s Local History & Genealogy Reading Room, see:
Laura Gottesman
Digital Reference Section,
The Library of Congress
From the Quick Links column on the left, choose Auditorium.

Submitted by:
Elissa Scalise Powell, CG

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