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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course US: Occupational Records  by Beverly Rice, CG. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Library of Congress

As with the National Archives, the Library of Congress is a vast repository and requires specialized training. The Library of Congress does not have a copy of every book published in the United States. Many small privately printed books with limited distribution never made it to the Library of Congress holdings. This is often the situation for family histories and genealogies.

The following book is a resource that will assist a researcher in working with the holdings of the Library of Congress:

Neagles, James C., and Mark C. Neagles. The Library of Congress: A  Guide to Genealogical and Historical Research. Salt Lake City, Utah:  Ancestry, 1990

If you are in Washington D.C. and you want additional training, a formal research orientation class is taught by reference librarians and will deal with many aspects of using the Library. These classes are offered regularly. Contact the Library of Congress or check the website.

A website is maintained by the Library of Congress and like the National Archives the bulk of their resources are not available online.

A great resource from the Library of Congress Internet site is the American Memory page, As an example, if we use the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad as the search topic there are over 9000 responses to include everything from the song by Eddie Fisher to the “Annual Report of 1896. There are maps, pictures, equipment, freight car descriptions.


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Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course US: Occupational Records offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at wiki@genealogicalstudies.com

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.