Monday, April 9, 2007

Visiting the San Diego Public Library

I'm still on holiday, but had planned to visit the SD Library this morning to search for an obituary in the San Diego Union from 1940 in order to help answer a recent query to CVGS.

I "knew" that SDPL opened at 10 AM, so at 9:45 I kissed Linda good bye and took off on my 9 block jaunt to the Library. Oops - I violated the first rule of visiting repositories -- check the hours it is open! On Mondays, it is open from 12 noon to 8 PM. Argggh. So I hiked back to the hotel (through an empty Petco Park) and will spend two hours online before I go meet Linda for lunch at Horton Plaza, and then I will try the library again.

BTW, my daily Padres' reports are on my blog if you want to read my pithy comments about my favorite baseball team.

UPDATE, 9 April, 2:30 PM: I met Linda at Horton Plaza for lunch, then hiked to the library to finish my mission.

The San Diego Public Library (central downtown branch) is located downtown at 820 E Street, San Diego CA 92101, 619-236-5800. The hours are noon to 8 PM on MW, 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM on TTFS, and 1 PM to 5 PM on Sunday. Parking is a problem - I usually take the trolley or park at Horton Plaza. There is a small lot between Broadway and E on 8th but it is usually full, except early on Saturday.

San Diego Public Library has microfilms of some of the early San Diego newspapers (indexed 1851-1903), and the San Diego Union newspaper since 1868 (indexed 1930-1983). The indexes are on microfiche in the California Room (second floor, west end). I had one obituary to find for Burley Starr in June 1940, and found him in the index as B.H. Starr. I decided to get "clean" copies of my San Diego ancestors obituaries, and the 1937 article about the 50th wedding anniversary of Austin and Della Carringer.

After the index work, I went to the Newspaper Room (right next to the California Room) and requested the five microfilms I needed. The helpful attendant quickly brought them out, showed me how to use the machine, and gave me nickels for the copy machine (only 15 cents per page!). I found the obituaries, made the copies, and handed the microfilms back to the attendant.

I decided that I would make a list of the important genealogy resources at SDPL, especially the ones unique to the San Diego area. I requested access to the Genealogy Room, and was admitted after showing my ID. I've been there before, so I knew where to find what I was looking for.

The highlights of the SDPL collection include:

1) Full set of the American Genealogical and Biographical Index - 206 volumes plus 20 supplemental volumes.

2) Full set of the New England Historical and Genealogical Register (1847-current)

3) Full set of the Domesday Book - 35 volumes, by English shire.

4) Full set of Germans to America - 66 volumes.

5) Full set of Italians to America - 12 volumes.

6) Full set of the Pennsylvania Archives - 21 volumes.

7) PERiodical Source Index (PERSI) books, through 1997.

8) DAR Patriot Index books - 166 volumes, through 1922.

9) Encyclopedia of American Biography - 40 volumes.

10) Full set of Filby's Immigration and Passenger Lists

11) Microfiche of Boston Transcript genealogy columns (up to 1934). This set is indexed in the AGBI, and located in the California Room.

The Genealogy Room also has over 400 linear-feet of surname and local history books. The emphasis is the USA, and focused on the Eastern states. About 1/3 of the collection is on loan from the San Diego Chapter of the DAR. There is a collection of surname and locality periodicals in a file cabinet in the Genealogy Room.

There are also over 100 CDROMs available in the California Room. Ancestry Library Edition, the Biographical and Genealogical Master Index (BGMI), the NY Times Archive 1851-2001, and the Proquest Newspaper collection (from 1980) are available on all of the library computers, as well as from home (with the exception of Ancestry Library Edition) with a SDPL library card.

I always enjoy my time at SDPL because they have a good collection, and because they have knowledgeable genealogy/history librarians. I told them about and today, and also touted my San Diego genealogy blog.

I had forgotten that SDPL has the Boston Transcript on microfiche, and have had a long list of items that I want to copy. I need to find my list.

Whew - I've hiked about 3 miles today and it's time for my nap! Tonight is the Padres game - I'll post again tomorrow.

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