Saturday, February 2, 2008

Visit to San Diego Public Library today

We changed our CVGS Research Trip plans and visited the San Diego Public Library (SDPL) genealogy collection today, because the FHC was closed. This library is in downtown San Diego and is difficult to access during the week, but on Saturday there is free parking nearby and smaller crowds in the library.

SDPL has local and California history resources in the California Room, and a small genealogy book collection in the Genealogy Room nearby. The book collection was donated to the library by a local DAR chapter years ago, but they have added new resources over time; however, the collection is space constrained and a number of books and periodicals are stored in closed stacks, which are accessible using call slips.

In the California Room, the library has:

* Nearly complete collection of San Diego City Directories from 1887 to 1980
* Complete Haines County Directory (by street addresses, with names and phone numbers) from 1970 up to 2006.
* Microfiche index for the San Diego Union newspaper for 1851-1915, 1930-1975, 1976-1980 and 1981-1983. The complete San Diego Union (and Tribune) newspaper archives are available on microfilm in the nearby newspaper reading room (the only complete collection in San Diego County).
* Microfiche file for the San Francisco Newspaper Index (1904-1949) and the San Francisco Chronicle 1950-1980.
* Vertical files of newspaper clippings by subject and name.

In the Genealogy Room, there are several unique (to San Diego County) genealogy resources, including --

* New England Genealogical and Historical Register (NEHGR - 1847 to present)
* American Genealogical Biographical Index (AGBI - complete set)
* Periodical Source Index (PERSI, 17 volumes, and 1986-1997 supplements)
* Filby's Passenger and Immigration Lists Index (1982-2008)
* Filby and Glazier's Germans to America series (65 volumes)
* Filby and Glazier's Italians to America series (12 volumes)
* Domesday Books
* Pennsylvania Archives
* DAR Lineage Books (166 volumes, to 1921).
* Boston Transcript genealogy columns on microfiche (index in AGBI).
* Vertical files of donated periodicals and family papers.

They have two computers reserved for genealogy users with the library databases, including Ancestry Library Edition, plus a CD collection.

There were only four of us today, and we worked from about 10 AM to 1 PM. I checked the AGBI for Russell Smith and several other names, and checked the NEHGR Index for Russell Smith. It's handy to have all of the books there to flip open and check a page. I used the Haines directories a bit also. I spent some time taking the resource inventory above, working on Ancestry for specific names, and talking to the staff about genealogy in general and library resources in particular.

San Diego is supposed to build a new main library in the near future, but it's tied up by local politics. If a new library is built, I hope it will not be in downtown San Diego where it will be more expensive to build and constrained by traffic and homeless issues. We would love to have a dedicatedx Genealogy and Local History area with a world-class collection, but that would take a lot of time and money.

We hope to take our next CVGS Research Trip to the San Diego Family History Center next month and try out all of the online databases on the computers there. These trips are useful for our new members because many of them have only done Internet research. Some of our senior members can't drive to these repositories so it gets them out and researching also. We carpool from downtown Chula Vista and have a great time talking genealogy on our excursions.

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