I was greeted this afternoon by the lovely desk attendant Chris Schomaker. A volunteer with Seattle Genealogical Society for many years, she delights in helping intrepid researchers find just what they’re looking for among the stacks, and often resources of value that they weren’t expressly seeking.
I hadn’t set out this early afternoon with specific research goals. However, I did have a general desire to browse and see what goodies could be found amongst the Maryland section, maybe find something to inform my RHODES of Maryland research.
Before settling in, I stopped at the open seating area just inside the door of SGS. Comfortable chairs face a welcoming coffee table adorned with local society bulletins, Dick Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter (Plus Edition), and various journals.
Prominent and tempting, The NEHG Register: Winter 2015 (produced by the famous New England Historic Genealogical Society) called out for a casual thumb through. Curious about the overall-size of SGS’s collection, I wandered over to Chris and she graciously directed me to the treasure trove. 3 full shelves of products produced by NEHG!
“Is The NEHG Register collection all there?”
Chris explained that it was almost complete. I found Vol. 1-60 looking great, but then around Vol.s 70-96 things got a little dicey. I can imagine that at some future point, those small voids will get filled. But after Vol. 96, I believe the collection looked solid (I didn’t count every single one).
“And how do I find things?”
Chris pointed out several bound volumes representing the printed indexes. Overwhelmed, I wondered out loud if there might be an online searchable database.
We journeyed over to the visitor work stations, and Chris pulled up NEGH’s American Ancestors website (accessible for FREE through the SGS library). With a little poking about, we found the portal for searching the NEHG Register.
Of course, this is me. After 2 minutes, I got side tracked away from searching the index and sucked into outlying pages. I happened upon the Town Guides — covering Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont — which had resources detailing how to find records for Windham, Green, New York (important to my WHITCOMB line).
Chris was handily standing nearby to suggest that I could save the information into a thumb-drive. That would have been lovely had I remembered to bring one.
SGS had me covered though, they sell 8GB thumb drives for $10+tax. Great time saver, and I didn’t go home empty handed.
I opened up a text editor, created a text file to copy bits of an article, plugged in my newly purchased thumb drive, and saved the notes and a few pdfs offered through the website for future sorting and analysis. Success.
Smartly, I also took a moment to create a file that included my name, phone number, address and named it “! IF_FOUND.txt”. The exclamation mark at the front the filename ensures that this file will always be listed at the top when the drive is opened.
Finished at the computer, and remembering that I had a goal of eyeballing the Maryland section, I wandered back to the stacks and easily found my area with clear labeling. SGS kindly provides foot stools in the aisle to sit upon while you’re searching through the bottom shelves.
Started exploring near the beginning of the shelf, and wasn’t disappointed. Found Inventory of Maryland Bible Records: Volume One published by The Genealogical Council of Maryland in 1989 and prepared under the supervision of author and historian Robert Barnes.
Right there on page 1 — A023/24/25, STANDIFORDs of Baltimore County. Great find. I have yet to delve into the world of Bible records research, I’m not sure what to expect, and don’t yet know how to get access to these records, but I now know that they exist!
Hearing my enthusiastic mutterings, Chris wandered back to see what I was celebrating about. I explained a little bit about my RHODES lines from Fayette County, Illinois which are suspected to descend from colonial Maryland lines, and the possible intersection with the STANDIFORD family. After a quick chat, I asked her a little bit about her interests, and she shared with me that she enjoys researching HARRIS lines from Virginia.
Hey! Aren’t my HARRIS from Virginia? I know what you might be thinking, there are Harris everywhere (almost as bad as Smith), and the odds of a mini-Harris Reunion in the stacks at SGS would be slim. But on a whim, and hopeful, I pulled up my AncestryTree, and she instantly recognized our Wooten Harris (1759-1840, b. Virgina d. Fayette County, Ill.).
She’s run into our line collaterally in research. When asking if I was certain of descent, I brought up the existence of plenty of supporting autosomalDNA evidence. Which reminded her of the Harris Y-DNA Project results page. I plan to go back and look closely to look for leads on which group we may belong to, although first pass shows no obvious Wooten Harris or relevant Isaac Harris leads.
By this time, I had been at the library for about 3 hours, gabbed for about 2.5 of those, and it was time to head home and review notes and think about future research strategies.
In all, it was a fine day. Made a new friend, learned some things, and am eager to go visit again real soon… maybe tomorrow. 😉