Sunday, January 3, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Challenge #1

 Week 1: Go to your local public library branch. Make a note of the genealogy books in the collection that may help you gain research knowledge. Don’t forget to check the shelves in both the non-fiction section and the reference section. If you do not already have a library card, take the time to get one. If you have a genealogy blog, write about what you find in your library’s genealogy collection.

Amy Coffin of the fabulous We Tree blog, has done it again. Last year, Amy developed a series of 52 Weekly Genealogy Blogging Prompts which kept folks very busy and forced them to look at many different aspects of their genealogy.

Now this one is an easy one for me as I worked at the local public library for 30 years as full time staff and since my retirement in 2005 on contract work generally filling in as needed from time to time, at the reference desk. I am therefore biased in  my comments. For at least fifteen years, I cataloged the materials in the local history section of the library and answered some of the questions pertaining to local history and genealogy.

The Owen Sound & North Grey Union Public Library serves a population of about 40,000, although Owen Sound itself has about 21,000 residents.

There is a separate area in a room that was once the Chief Librarian's office for many of the local history and genealogy books. These books are for in library use only. There is a bench in the room (with my name on it.) but researchers work at the study tables in the adjoining room The microfilm cabinets, microform machines, and vertical file cabinets are in the "Carnegie wing" of the library. In addition, there are many excellent resources that are in storage in the basement that have to be retrieved by staff. The newsletters are housed there.The Bruce and Grey Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society library is on deposit here.

In the circulation collection are mainly how to genealogy books. The library has available on its public computers the Library Edition of Ancestry. There are some genealogy related books in the reference department on the main floor.

The library is open 71 hours a week. Reference assistance is available for most of these hours (not Friday evening or Sunday afternoons).
Now that I have talked about the collection itself, I am to mention some books that help me gain research knowledge. From home, I can check the catalog.

In acquainting myself with some of the useful resources for genealogical research in Grey and Bruce counties Betty Warrilow's book, Tracing Your Ancestors in Bruce & Grey is very helpful.

Althea Douglas' book Genealogy, geography and maps : using atlases and gazetteers to find your family is a guide I would like to review. It may give me some more ideas on using these resources.

One suggestion I often make to researchers is to look at the various family histories in the collection as you never know when your family may turn up. The library has a good collection of family histories that have a connection to Grey or Bruce counties.  

I go regularly to the library to use this great collection.  

© 2010 Janet Iles


  1. Thank you for doing this challenge. My goal was to show that libraries are great resources. Your post has done just that. Thanks for sharing a bit about your library.

  2. I enjoy reading your blog; to express my appreciation I have awarded you the Happy 101 Award which can be picked up at

  3. Your suggestion about looking at family histories is good - also because it can give us ideas about how to write up our own family histories.
    Evelyn in Montreal


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