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

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Doing genealogical research using the Digital Public Library of America

In a recent blog post from the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), entitled "Finding family information through DPLA," by Larry Naukam the retired Director of Historical Services (Local and Family History, Digitizing, and Newspaper Retrieval) for the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County, New York, he made the following observation about the DPLA:
Genealogists are getting much more interested in doing serious research and having accurate citations than may have been the case in the past. DPLA offers a place where these researchers can utilize the “serendipitous discovery” potential of items in the DPLA to advance their research. As more people discover DPLA, they will enhance the quality of their research output by accessing this larger pool of available materials. Even having a small piece of a larger collection will stimulate use of that collection. Case in point: a small historical society in mid-New York state digitized an account book from the early years of that town. As it was created before the U.S. was a separate country, this helped people who had colonial ancestors flesh out the stories of some of their ancestor’s lives. Academics used it to reconstruct a look at that community. More searchers are using more materials and doing so in a historically responsible manner. DPLA can greatly enhance this process of discovery.
He concludes with the statement,
All in all, DPLA is a magnificent resource that should grow and be advertised and marketed to genealogists and family historians. We all will get a lot from this endeavor by sharing our discoveries.
The DPLA is now just over a year old. It is dedicated to providing free, online access as a portal to digital collections all over the United States. In just the first year, it has acquired a collection of over 7,318,000 items from libraries, archives and museums. A search on the term genealogy, brings up 62,074 entries. You can search for a surname or any variation of the name of an individual ancestor. 

It may sometimes feel overwhelming to contemplate all of the millions upon millions of records being added online every day, but really it is a great opportunity to expand your view of the genealogical world.

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