As a genealogy librarian for over 20+ years, I faced almost daily the chaos of unprepared genealogists who neither knew what the wanted nor what they had! Many had no idea where they learned what they had! Out of this experience came a number of library sponsored programs on a variety of interconnected topcs. Let me tell you about some of these.
- Twenty years ago I offered a class on filling out a family group sheet, and a pedigree chart. In its last manifestion, this program showed people how to do this on a free genealogy software package like Personal Ancesral Family
- A lecture on taking research notes and using research logs was developed next. Some of the ideas on research logs came from my new neighbor, Graham Edis. Others came from Norman Wright, William Dollarhide, and my own imagination solving problems. This lecture has endured over 20 years.
- A program on organizing file folders was developed, but abandoned. I refer people to Sharon Carmack’s Organizing you family history search,(Betterway Books, 1999)
- The last of the library programs was on creating practical, standard genealogy source citations. This is a wonderful topic for a practical hands-on workshop too. I used Elizabeth S. mill’s book, Evidence! Citation and Analysis for the Family Historian as my reference and created relevant local, region and national examples following her models.
I found that I could offer these programst least once a year, year after year and fill the classes with between 12 and 24 students each time. I believe these foundation classes should be essentials in any library lecture/workshop program series. They are not hard to teach and most important, they equip the genealogist to get a handle on what they have, and what they need.
What do you think. What other essentials would you cover before teaching about record sources?