Thursday, June 15, 2006

Local Library Online Databases

Have you checked what online genealogy-oriented databases your local library might have available for the home-bound researcher?

As an example, I went to my local Chula Vista public library web site tonight, and found a list of online databases, including:

1) America's Newspapers - the Newsbank database - access to 51 US newspapers, including 27 in California. The list includes the NYTimes, the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune and others. Some go back as far as the 1970's. While these may be most useful for academic research, they could be used for finding obituaries or other family history research.

2) Biography Resource Center - Search for biographical information on famous people by name, occupation, nationality, ethnicity, birth or death year, or gender.

3) California Libraries Catalog (CalCat) - Search California-Discover the World! Search for books, maps, films, audio and other materials held by the libraries of California, plus a link to WorldCat* and a billion library holdings around the world. (*Note: To search all libraries, not just public, click on All Libraries and enter your home zip code. Click on "Databases" and select "WorldCat" to search libraries worldwide.) When I used this recently, I found out the libraries around the world that had a fairly rare typescript on my Seaver family. If I were going to San Francisco, I could use this catalog to determine the books that the Sutro library there has of interest to me.

4) Los Angeles Times Newspaper Archive - this led me to the San Diego Public Library online databases and not the LATimes archive, for some reason. all was not lost, since I could enter my SD library card number and access the Proquest newspaper archives and the historical New York Times archive.

There are other databases for academic or recreational pursuits. I have cards from San Diego and Carlsbad libraries also, and their online databases are different and useful. Carlsbad has the genealogy database HeritageQuestOnline which I use frequently (and blogged about back in April).

My point here is that your local library may have online resources that you might want to investigate. Go for it!

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