Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Finding Resources at Your Local Friends of the Library Bookstore

I think we all know that I love books. Hardbacks, paperbacks, audiobooks, ebooks, I love them all. And because I love them all I am always looking for a good buy. One of the great places to find books that can help your genealogical research is your local Friends of the Library Bookstore.

Most Friends of the Library groups have some sort of book sale whether it's a yearly sale or a nook in the library with books or a whole store of books. Near my home, I am lucky in that the library actually has a Friends bookstore that is a large store in a strip mall. Now, why is this important to genealogy?

Opportunities to look through used books can be helpful in allowing you to find everything from how-to books, to social history books, to even local history books. On my trip yesterday with my fellow genealogy blogger/presenter  Madaleine Laird I picked up A Day At A Time: The Diary Literature of American Women from 1764 to the Present by Margo Culley, Cheap Amusements: Working Women and Leisure in Turn-of-the Century New York by Kathy Peiss and The Belles of New England: The Women of the Textile Mills and the Families Whose Wealth They Wove by William Moran. These social history books will allow me to learn more about women in the era and locality that these books study. That knowledge will then help me know more about the lives that my female ancestors lived. Social history is an important aspect of enhancing your knowledge of your ancestor's daily life.

I also picked up the 1972 book Genealogical Research: A Jurisdictional Approach by Arlene H Eakle, Vincent L Jones and Mildred H Christensen.  You may be wondering why in the world would I pick up a how-to book from the early 1970s. Well I believe that even with an older book on genealogy you can still learn something. Although the methods we use to find information may be different today because of technology, the research techniques and resources they discuss are still important in today's research. I agree with the forward to this book written by Rulon T. Burton, "The early telephone was not as fully perfected as the phone of today, yet the principals discovered by Alexander Graham Bell remain the same." I know Arlene and respect her greatly. Already, I have found some interesting resources that I want to check out that are discussed in this book. At the bargain price of $1.00 this book was a great buy.

And even though I picked up some great books, I also left behind some that would help other genealogists.  One book was about Polish people in California and provided biographies. What a great buy for someone with Polish ancestry. Another was about working women in Italy,  in case you have any black sheep in your family.

As you research your family, don't forget the value of Friends bookstores. It is through the donations of others that you may find a book that will help you better understand your ancestors and their lives.


Tina Lyons said...

Congrats on your nomination to Family Tree Magazine's Top 40 Blogs!

Gena Philibert Ortega said...

Thanks Tina! It was quite a surprise and a huge honor.

WhitePineLane said...

That is really a great idea. I do shop the Friends of the Library bookstore, but mostly looking for things to sell on eBay. I hadn't thought to look for things for my own genealogical research.

And I love the idea of picking up books like A Day at a Time, and some of the others you mentioned. It's always helpful to put ancestors' lives in context. Learning more about the history of the period in which your ancestors lived can help to answer nagging questions in your research too. "I wonder why...." - you might come up with the answer in a book of the history of their era (or area).

Great post - thanks for sharing!