You can access several History & Genealogy Resources such as Heritage Quest Online, via the Digital Pipeline Databases, here http://sled.alaska.edu/databases/ . This lesson will focus primarily on Heritage Quest Online.
- Choose the History & Genealogy tab, and select Heritage Quest Online.
Heritage Quest Online is a comprehensive treasury of American genealogical sources—rich in unique primary sources, local and family histories, and finding aids. 18th Century or 20th Century. European or Native American. Farm or Factory. East Coast or West Coast. Where does your American past begin?
The collection consists of six core data sets:
- U.S. Federal Censuses.
- Genealogy and local history books.
- Periodical Source Index (PERSI).
- Revolutionary War records.
- Freedman’s Bank Records.
- LexisNexis U.S. Serial Set.
Once you've finished your search exercise, read the two articles from American Libraries (links should take you directly to the articles in EBSCO)and review the additional resources. When you've finished either choose one of the exercises below or a related topic that peaked your interest during this lesson and respond on your blog.
- Using Heritage Quest Online, search for a grandparent (having an approximate birth year and place of birth will be helpful). Begin by identifying the data set most relevant to your search. For example if you know for a fact that your Great Grandfather had an account at Freedman’s Bank you might begin your search there. However if you know little more than birth or death dates I would suggest beginning with a Census search in order to gather some additional information such as birthplace of parents, spouse's name, state of residence, family members, occupation, etc. On your blog post an image from one of your search results and briefly state something that you discovered about a relative that you did not know.
- Choose the Census tab and rather than Search, choose the Browse option. Select 1890 for the census year and then any state from the next drop down menu. Notice there are only 1-2 counties listed for any of the states included in the 1890 census. If you are looking for a family member, starting with the 1890 census is not likely to produce many results. Why? On the left hand side of the Browse the Census page you will see a link to an article "What You should know about the 1890 Census" which will provide insight to the shortfalls of this particular data set. Think in terms of any local genealogy collections in your community and what methods could be or are being taken to safeguard these against disaster and respond on your blog.
- While you are using the Browse the Census option you might find it helpful to note the first year that Alaska was included in the federal census.
- Patrons conducting family history research using Heritage Quest Online will likely want to either print or save copies of the records they locate. For library staff, printing these archival images in a scale large enough to meet the desire of a patron can be very time consuming and in many cases not done without Adobe Acrobat Professional. For this reason familiarize yourself with options for SAVING images as an alternative and also read through the tips for printing enlarged census pages by clicking on the Print option in a record and then reading the tips for Acrobat Versions 6-8. I've also included the links here, Acrobat 6 , Acrobat 7 , Acrobat 8. Remember that in aiding patrons with their research, your assistance can only go so far, they will need to to acquire a certain level of search skills to discover their unique family history, this is their research, not yours (unless you are working/volunteering at an organization dedicated to family history research).
- Deciphering the actual census images can take a great deal of work as these often aren’t the greatest reproductions and the originals were handwritten by census takers. From the image record you can Print (will include ancestor info as well as original image), Download (PDF, TIFF or View full-size in Adobe Acrobat), view Positive (default) or Negative filters of the image or Zoom (100%, 200%, 400%). You may also take notes on the records and add them to a notebook. Your notebook contains the citations that you have chosen from the Results and/or Citation pages for printing, emailing, or downloading. Please note that there does not appear to be a way to save your notebook items or your search history once your session has ended. While researchers will be at the mercy of the handwriting of the census takers to discern added entries, even the type written forms can be difficult to read and for that reason, this is a handy guide for figuring out exactly what was recorded in each census year, http://persi.heritagequestonline.com/hqoweb/library/help/censusbook/Section%205.pdf
This isn't required reading, just some good sites to bookmark for referencing later as you begin to assist patrons with their family history research.