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Genealogical libraries of interest

 

Key:

Enpv = estimated number of print volumes (indices and family histories)

 

My two cents: if you have to travel any distance (like, requiring a motel room) to do your research, don’t waste your time with an enpv < 60,000. If I have SEEN and been IN the library, and thus verified the holdings claims and other details of the library then I will note it as “on-site” verified.

 

My four cents: The only good genealogy is genealogy that starts in the largest collection of indices you can get your hands on. Period.

 

Warning: several libraries in the north and northeast claim to be very large but they won’t say how large their collection actually is. Pictures seem to indicate that they are grossly exaggerating their collections. Be forewarned: NARA, LOC ‘Reading Room’, NYC public lib; NY State public lib; MI State lib, etc. I’m not sure why they do this, but I’m at least skeptical of them. If you live nearby the aforementioned are a best pick.

 

In my research on the Manley surname I have, as of 04 July, 06, searched through collections totaling approx. 151,000 volumes. Adding Dallas would bring it to about 231,000 volumes. Correcting for redundancy that equals about 100,000 unique volumes. A visit to Ft. Wayne would bring it to about 350K unique volumes.

 

First Pick

Information on-site verified: NO

1.) Allen County Public Library

Fred J. Reynolds Historical Genealogy Department

Enpv: 300’000

Parking:

Emphasis: national and international

Phone: 260.421.1200

Address: 200 East Berry St., Ft. Wayne, IN 46801-2270

Directions:

Notes: In terms of actual indices and abstracts of local genealogical records, this library is the largest in the world. It is also probably the best. If you must travel and have no idea where you might need to look as you investigate, I would suggest that you go here first and allocate about 2 weeks full time work per surname.

Lockers: ?

Website: http://www.acpl.lib.in.us/genealogy/

 

Information on-site verified: NO

2.) Family History Center, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Enpv: 310’000 (specious)

Parking:

Emphasis: national and international

Phone: 801-240-2584 and 866-406-1830

Address: 35 North West Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84150-3400

Directions:

Notes: Claims for being largest in the world are doubtful as much of their collection is based on non-academic material from unsourced, anonymous entries – BAD stuff and stay away from it! This does as much harm to genealogy as all those incomplete and error-ridden indices do - and there are lots of them. These folks are NOT academically rigorous in methodology. In fact, why is this entry here? I digress.

Lockers: ?

Website: http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/FHL/frameset_library.asp

 

Information on-site verified: NO

3.) Daughters of the American Revolution Genealogical Library

Enpv: 150’000

Parking:

Emphasis: national; 18th Century onward

Phone: 202 628 1776

Address: 1776 D St. NW Washington, DC 20006

Directions:

Notes: Mainly for research back to 1775 era; do not expect much from 1600’s.

Lockers: ?

Website: http://www.dar.org/library/

 

Information on-site verified: NO

4.) Dallas Public Library, J. Erik Jonsson Library - Genealogical Library

Enpv: 80’000

Parking:

GARAGE HOURS

Sunday                           1 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Monday thru Thursday     9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Friday & Saturday            9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

 

GARAGE RATES                      

Weekdays:                               

First Hour                                 $0.75                 

Second Hour                            $0.75                 

Each additional hour                 $0.50                       

MAXIMUM                                 $5.00                      

Saturday & Sunday:                                                

First Hour                                 $0.75                       

Second Hour                            $0.75                       

Each additional hour                 $0.50                       

MAXIMUM                                $3.00                       

Special Event Parking - Library Sponsored Events   $2.00 per park

Pay Station will not accept $20 bills

FULL CHARGE MAY BE MADE FOR LOST TICKET.

RATES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.

Emphasis: national

Phone: 214 670 1433

Address: 1515 Young St. Dallas TX 75201

Directions:

Notes: Top choice for those limited in geography to southern U.S. By far the best in the southern U.S.

Lockers: ?

Website: http://dallaslibrary.org/CHS/cgc.htm

 

Information on-site verified: NO

5.) Mid-Continent Public Library - North Independence Branch - Genealogy and Local History Branch

Enpv: 70’000

Parking: probably cheap or free – this is a branch location

Hours: Monday-Thursday 9-9, Friday 9-6, and Saturday 9-5. The library is closed Sundays and Holidays.

Emphasis: MO, bordering states and all east of MO.

Phone: 816 252 7228

Address:

317 W. 24 Highway
Independence, MO 64050-2747

Directions:

From I-70 exit at Noland Road and turn north. Follow Noland Road to Highway 24. Turn left. The library is on the left 0.3 miles. If coming from I-435, use the "Winner Road / Independence Avenue / Hwy 24" exit. Turn east and follow it 3.7 miles to the library, on the right. Look for the building with the green roof.

Notes: Another great choice. Recommend this as low-cost, bang for your buck option (high volume collection, hotels cheap, low traffic, central U.S., etc.). Is on far east side of Kansas City. Building is physically connected to North Independence Branch.

Lockers: ?

Website: http://www.mcpl.lib.mo.us/genlh/about/heartland.htm

 

Information on-site verified: YES 2003-2005

6.) Denver Public Library

Western History and Genealogy Department

Enpv: 60’000

Parking: $12 all day

Emphasis: VA, MD, NJ, NC, KY, SC

Phone: 404-730-1896

Address: 10 W. 14th Avenue Parkway
Denver, CO 80204-2731

Directions: On I-25 North take the Colfax exit. Go east on Colfax into downtown. Follow the loop around the city park and turn right in front of the State Capitol building. Go through the first light and the library is on your right; continue through the next light and turn right into the parking garage. The Western History and Genealogy department is on the 5th floor.

Notes: Copies are 20 cents apiece. Debit card available. Copyright restrictions on maps are enforced – no copies of maps are allowed. County indices are located alphabetically within each state. Very well organized. Has at least 2 copiers with multiple change machines. A snack room and gift shop is on the ground floor. Staff is very friendly and helpful. This lib has a sentimental attachment from me; I got a really good start spending many, many hours here. Thank you DPL!

Lockers: YES

Website: http://www.denver.lib.co.us

 

Information on-site verified: YES 27 July, 2006

7.) Library of Virginia

Enpv: 30’000

Parking: garage

Emphasis: VA, WV

Phone: 804-692-3500

Address: 800 East Broad Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219-8000

Directions: Downtown Richmond. The genealogy department is called the “reading room” and it is on the second floor.

Notes: Copy and print costs vary depending on copy type; copier/printer debit card can be purchased for 50 cents and with any dollar amount up to $20 and can be re-credited. County indices are located alphabetically within each state. Very well organized. Several copiers are available. A sandwich store with limited hours and gift shop is on the ground floor. Rumor has it that downtown area is not very savory, recommend eating in the sandwich shop and not venturing out too much. This library is archival and is a great place to go to get primary sources for numerous types of VA and WV records. Holds tax list originals for VA and WV on microfilm.

Lockers: YES

Website: http://www.lva.lib.va.us

 

Information on-site verified: YES abt. May 2006

8.) Chattanooga-Hamilton County Bicentennial Library – Local History and Genealogy Department

Enpv: 26’000

Parking: $6 all day

Emphasis: (strong bias for) TN, NC, VA

Phone: 423–757–5317

Address: 1001 Broad Street
Chattanooga, Tennessee 37402

Directions: Take I-75 North from Atlanta. Take I-24 West exit. Take Broad Street exit. If you go around the lake you’ve passed it. Turn around, come back and take Broad street exit. Continue north on Broad Street until you reach West 11th street. Building is after that on the left. Turn left onto West 10th street and turn left into parking structure. Genealogy department is on the 3rd floor.

Notes: copies are 20 cents apiece. No copy restrictions posted. Only 1 copier.

Lockers: ?

Website: http://www.lib.chattanooga.gov/localHist/guide.html

 

Information on-site verified: YES April to June 2006

9.) Macon-Washington Memorial Genealogical Library

Enpv: 22’000

Parking: free –front door

Emphasis: GA, SC, NC, VA; poor: IL, IN, all north of MD

Phone: (478) 744-0800

Address: 1180 Washington Avenue
Macon, Georgia  31201

Directions: Take I-75 south from Atlanta. Take first exit after the I-16 exit (Forsyth street exit). Go to the second red light and turn left. Continue through 2 or 3 red lights and turn left at the intersection with an Episcopal Church on your right. Continue to the next red light and turn right. Take the first right into the parking lot.

Notes: Copies are 20 cents apiece. Only 1 copier. No copy restrictions posted.

Lockers: NO

Website: http://www.co.bibb.ga.us/library/GH.htm

 

Information on-site verified: YES abt. May 2006

10.) Ohoopee-Ladson Genealogical Library

Enpv: 17’000

Parking: free – front door

Emphasis: GA, VA, NC

Phone: 912-537-8186

Address: 125 Church Street Suite 104, Vidalia, GA

Directions: Coming from GA 280 eastbound turn left at red light and intersection with Church street. Turn at first left side street and park in parking lot on left. Enter from back of building adjacent to parking lot.

Notes: Poorly organized library – county books not in alphabetical order. Rules are excessively restrictive – no laptops, pens or cell phones allowed. Staff performs copies for you – will not allow individual to do their own copies!

Lockers: NO

Website: http://www.toombs.public.lib.ga.us/ladson.htm

 

Information on-site verified: YES 2000 - 2006

11.) Cobb County Public Library (“The Georgia Room”)

Enpv: 14’000

Parking: free – front door

Emphasis: GA, VA, NC, SC

Phone: 770-594-1706

Address: 266 Roswell Street
Marietta, GA  30060

Directions:

Notes: This is a fairly new library and many of the books are recent copyrights; therefore, its size understates its usefulness because many gaps from larger genealogy libraries can be filled by looking in many of their unusual titles/indices. Well organized. Copies are 15 cents apiece. Only 1 copier.

Lockers: NO

Website: http://www.cobbcat.org/aboutgarm.htm

 

Information on-site verified: YES May 2006

12.) Rome-Floyd County Public Library

Enpv: 7’000

Parking: free – front door

Emphasis: GA

Phone: 706 236-4607

Address: 205 Riverside Parkway
Rome, Georgia 30161

Directions: Take broad street west to Riverside Pkwy – watch closely because it’s hard to see. Turn right just after large white building on right. Take Riverside Pkwy past fire station and library parking lot is on left.

Notes: though it is a very small the library the staff is very helpful and friendly. Copies are 20 cents apiece but copier is of poor quality. 1 copier only.

Lockers: NO

Website: http://www.romelibrary.org/specialcollections/genealogyStart.html

 

Information on-site verified: YES May 2006

13.) Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library Main Branch

Enpv: 5’000

Parking: $12 all day

Emphasis: VA, MD, NJ, NC, KY, SC

Phone: 404-730-1700

Address: 0ne Margaret Mitchell Square, Atlanta, GA 30303

Directions: Coming from I-75 south take the Andrew Young, International Blvd exit at downtown. Go west on International and turn left at the Westin Hotel (the silver, cylindrical building). Continue about 4 blocks and the library is on your right. Turn right just before library. Parking structure is on your left. The genealogy department is on the 5th floor. Security will check your bags.

Notes: Whoever created this library must have great disdain for genealogy. This library is mostly a general history library with a de-emphasis on genealogical indices and abstracts. Only one copier and of poor quality – was broken when I was there. That this was located in a city of the size of Atlanta is pathetic! The local taxpayers should be outraged.

Lockers: gimme a break

Website: http://www.af.public.lib.ga.us/georgia_local_and_family_history_department.html