Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Friday, December 20, 2013

American Jewish Committee Oral History Collection - New York Public Library Digital Collections

The New York Public Library has a new website specifically for its Digital Collections. At the time of this post, there were almost 800,000 items. Featured is the American Jewish Committee Oral History Collection. This collection is described as follows:
The collection contains interviews with 2,250 individuals -- comprising approximately 100,000 pages of transcripts and 6,000 hours of audiotapes. The American Jewish Committee interviewed individuals from all walks of life, thereby compiling a collection of oral histories documenting the Jewish experience in America. Out of this comprehensive collection of interviews, 350 of the transcripts have now been scanned and digitized; most of these are available both onsite at the Library and offsite, and the others onsite alone.
As genealogists, we need to be aware that new digitized material is going online every day.  It is important to keep searching for both our missing and our already cataloged ancestors. This particular newly online collection is a good example. The collection features interviews with the usual celebrities, but also contains:
Along with these individual interviews there are a number of series of interviews around selected themes. Among the series are American Jewish Women of Achievement; American Jews in Sports; American Jews of Sephardic Origin; Holocaust Survivors; Soviet Jewish Emigres in America; and the experiences of former residents of Eldridge Street and of the Hebrew Orphan Asylum in New York City.
It goes without saying that this collection, and likely many more similar collections around the country, is a valuable genealogical resource. Did you know about it? Did you look for it? I guess the real question I confront every day is the obvious one; how can you search for something you don't know about? How do you find the invisible?

In this case, the New York Public Library is one of the major genealogical resource collections in the United States. Most online researchers, from my observation, stay pretty much well into the main genealogy websites. They seldom venture out into the "unknown" for the simple reason that it is unknown. How do I find these websites? I assume they are there. With sites such as the New York Public Library, I periodically "touch base" to see what is going on and what has changed. I always have a huge list of previously visited websites running through my head. It is a matter of focus. When I focus on searching, I find things.

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