Wednesday, October 15, 2008

CVGS Computer Group summary - 15 October 2008

We had a full house - 12 genealogists - in the Computer Lab today for the monthly Chula Vista Genealogical Society Computer Group meeting at the library today. After Gary hooked the master computer to the projector, Shirley asked Randy to demonstrate library online databases and then library catalogs.

First, we visited the Chula Vista Library's online databases - the genealogy-related databases are newspapers, and the library has 20 current newspapers via NewsBank, the New York Times since 2000, the San Diego Union-Tribune since 1983, and the Chula Vista Star-News for 1938-1969. These are accessible from home using a Chula Vista library card.

We checked out the San Diego County Library, the San Diego City Library and the Carlsbad Library online databases also, but needed a library card to access them. Randy explained that all three had Ancestry Library Edition for use at the library branches, but not at home. He used his Carlsbad card to demonstrate use of HeritageQuestOnline. Carlsbad also has home access to NewspaperARCHIVE for library card holders.

Randy showed the New York Times archives (1851-1922, and 1980 to present are free) and Shirley suggested the Fulton History web site for upper New York newspapers. Finally, Randy showed the Google News Archive Search site which is different from Google News.

We then looked at the Catalog search features of the Los Angeles Public Library for those going on the SDGS bus trip there on 1 November. We explored WorldCat and NUCMC to demonstrate how to find books and manuscripts at distant libraries, so that they can order them through Inter-Library Loan.

Lastly, we looked for vital records in different states - using the Vital Rec site, Joe Beine's Death Indexes site, and Joe's Birth and Marriage Indexes site. One of the attendees was looking for Louisiana records, and we found some potentially useful free indexes. Another researcher asked about Wisconsin records, and we found his father's birth record in the online free index.

Some attendees followed along on their own computer system, others watched the demonstrations, and several did their own research in online databases.

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