26 May 2014

NGS 2014 Family History Conference – Session T260 – Diving into Archives: Uncovering ArchiveFinder and ArchiveGrid

Another in the series on sessions I attended at the NGS 2014 Family History Conference.

T260 (R) Diving into Archives: Uncovering ArchiveFinder and ArchiveGrid, D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS, Syllabus page 283

The talk was great in reminding us how many archives there are in the world and also the enormous task that archives are faced with in terms of identifying what they have and making their materials accessible to the public.

Recently, an archivist had mentioned ArchiveGrid to me.  I did play around with it a bit though I didn’t appreciate using the “summary view” vs the “list view” mode as described by Joshua and that is the way I will look at results in the future.  A long list of results was tedious to go through and it lacked contextual information; not so when using the summary view mode.  Searching on “wake county” ledger brought up 14 results now characterized in a much easier-to-digest mode (see graphic above).  Finding aids, if available from the participating institutions, are included in the search.

Joshua also suggested subscribing to the ArchiveGrid blog, which I have just done, to keep current on new collections.  The most recent post was about 13 newly registered institutions from Australia and New Zealand.  Good news for anyone researching for ancestors “down under.”

I was unfamiliar with ArchiveFinder (Proquest) and that might be more explained by it being available only to institutional subscribers.  ArchiveFinder is a current directory which describes over 220,000 collections housed in repositories in the US, UK and Ireland.

I was also unfamiliar with the Library of Congress Authorities list.  Since many libraries, archives and other repositories use this system as the basis for their cataloguing.  Having an understanding of what headings/references have been catalogued can help you better search in any catalogs that you come across.

So, two news tools in my genealogical research arsenal.

The associated syllabus pages provide a lot of detail about what you might find in each of these resources and how to best search the contents to identify possibly relevant archival material.

Editor’s Note: This series is not presented in any particular order.

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