Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday's Tip - Use NUCMC to Find Manuscript Holdings

Today's Tuesday's Tip is:  Use the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC) search engine to find manuscript collections that may have information about your ancestral families.  The location of these manuscript collections is in a repository (e.g., Library of Congress, historical societies, university libraries, etc.) and they are not digitized or available online.

The NUCMC home page is at http://www.loc.gov/coll/nucmc/.

The home page looks like this:

There is a Search box at the top of this page - DON'T USE ONLY THIS!!!  It searches only the NUCMC web pages, all Cataloguing Web Pages, and All Library of Congress Web pages. 

The actual search for manuscript collections is through the link  for "Searching on OCLC WorldCat" under the "Searching Manuscripts" heading in the middle of the page.  That page looks like:

The options on this page are to:

1. Simple Search Form (word list) -- titles, notes, and subject fields
2. Simple Search Form (word list) -- all names fields
3. Simple Search Form (left-anchored phrase) -- all names fields
4. Advanced Search Form
Searching Instructions and Hints

I used the "Simple Search Form (word list) - titles, notes and subject fields" for (without the quotes):

*  "seaver" - 359 matches
*  "seaver family" - 56 matches
*  "seaver diary" - 7 matches
*  "seaver letter" - 39 matches
*  "seaver genealogy" - 12 matches

Try all of the Search options - they may lead you to a collection that is not found by searching just the Names fields.

As an example of a manuscript collection that might contain significant Seaver family history material:

Author:        Seaver family.
Title:         Papers, 1672-1944, bulk: 1672-1898.
Description:   1 narrow box and 1 oversize box.
Notes:         Papers of the Seaver family of Roxbury, Mass.
                  including deeds and plans for lands in Roxbury and later
                  Colrain, Mass., quitclaims, wills, inventories, and other
                  estate records of Joshua Seaver, his sons Ebenezer
                  (1687-1773), Joshua, Robert, and Jonathan, and Ebenezer's son
                  Ebenezer (1721-1785). Also, Jonathan Seaver's account books
                  (1734-45, 1745-53); a few letters to Ebenezer Seaver
                  (1763-1844); a sketch of the history of New England written
                  for his descendants by Noah Clap; and letters exchanged
                  between Susie (Hibbard) Seaver and her son Henry M. while the
                  latter was travelling in Europe in 1898.
               Parker, Mary S., Dec. 1925.
               Some items are individually described in the MHS
                  manuscript catalog.
Subjects:      Clap family.
               Account books.
               Inventories of decedents' estates.
               Real property -- Massachusetts -- Colrain.
               Real property -- Massachusetts -- Roxbury
               Voyages and travels.
               Europe -- Description and travel.
Other authors: Clap, Noah, 1718-1799.
               Seaver, Ebenezer, 1687-1773.
               Seaver, Ebenezer, 1721-1785.
               Seaver, Ebenezer, 1763-1844.
               Seaver, Henry Morse, 1873-1947.
               Seaver, Jonathan, 1700-1754.
               Seaver, Joshua, 1641-1730.
               Seaver, Joshua, 1678-1739.
               Seaver, Robert, 1698-1771.
               Seaver, Susan Hibbard, 1851-1909.
Control No.:   ocm26827656 

Do you think that a descendant of one of these Seaver men would like to see this manuscript collection?  Heck, I want to see it!!  Where is it? 

They cleverly hide how to find out the name of the repository in their Locating Collections page.  I followed this trail, which I wrote about three years ago, here.  The collection above is at the Massachusetts Historical Society at 1154 Boylston Street in Boston. 


Gerry Sell said...

This was an exceptionally useful post. Thank you so much.

Dorene from Ohio said...

I have used NUCMC before, but your post provided a wonderful refresher course! Very direct and user-friendly. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Thanks for posting this! I really had not considered manuscripts, as i have a "family of nobodies" who never wrote anything that I have found. I'll have to give this site a whirl!

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing your expertise and experience. I had been listening to an early Genealogy Guys podcast when they mentioned the value of looking for materials already published about your family in catalogues such as NUCMC. You gave me the visual "how to"!