by Delia

Recently, I had a customer ask what The Genealogy Center has on the computers. She said she always comes for the extensive collection of books, some of which are one of a kind, and the microfilm collections, but she was noticing more people coming in and spending the whole day on the computer, so she wondered what we had that she couldn't get at home.

We have an excellent collection of subscription databases, including Ancestry, Fold 3, American Ancestors, Origins Network, Slavery and Anti-Slavery Archive, and Archives Unbound. I showed her their location on our On-Site Databases page and explained each of them. She was happy to know what we had and said she'd try them on her next visit.

But her question made me think. We all love having information instantly, just sitting at the glowing screen and pulling data from various wide-flung archives and databases. But we need to be careful about neglecting the book and microfilm collection as we research. Yes, Ancestry does have all of the Federal Census online and it's searchable. But sometimes it's just better to browse the pages using microfilm. Yes, Fold 3 does have many military records, but not everything. And, yes, some of our books have been digitized and are available at Internet Archive or Family History Archive. But those constitute only a small part of the collection.

So the next time you visit, be sure to spend some of your time curling up with a good book or two or a hundred. We receive new volumes of local and regional records and histories, military and family histories every month. Take a few minutes to search the catalog before you arrive. There is a great deal of information awaiting you between the covers!