The National Genealogical Society Announces the 2017 Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship

The following news release is from Susan Yockey, at the National Genealogical Society:

ARLINGTON, VA, 9 MAY 2017 — Larry W. Cates is the 2017 recipient of the Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship. Cates, who is librarian at the Heritage Research Center of the High Point Public Library, High Point, North Carolina, received his award and its $1,000 prize, which is underwritten by ProQuest, at the Librarians’ Day event of National Genealogical Society (NGS) 2017 Family History Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, also underwritten by ProQuest. The Filby Award is named for the late P. William Filby, former director of the Maryland Historical Society and author of many core genealogical reference tools that genealogists have relied on for decades. Created in 1999 by NGS, the award has been sponsored by ProQuest and Mr. William Forsyth since 2006.

Cates has been Librarian at the Heritage Research Center of the High Point Public Library since October 2007. During the course of his career, he has created innovative programs for family historians. In 2010, Cates co-founded the Heritage Book Club to introduce genealogists to the historical context in which their ancestors lived. He initiated a “Field Trip to Archives” program with the Guilford County Genealogical Society to mentor inexperienced researchers. He also has provided programs to local genealogical societies; served as journal editor for the Randolph County Genealogical Society and Guilford County Genealogical Society; and helped to promote their activities through his library’s mailing list and at genealogy fairs at his library.

Cates is equally dedicated to the preservation and cataloging of historical records. He has worked single-handedly to process and incorporate various private collections of papers into his library’s local history files. Cates also volunteered to create thorough scope and content descriptions for a sizeable body of manuscript and other textual materials housed at the High Point Museum. He is currently working to document High Point’s participation in the Great War, including a more complete roster of local participants, with African Americans who were omitted from High Point’s World War I monument. Over the years, Cates has published a wide variety of abstracts, transcriptions, and feature articles in various local and state-level genealogical publications.

From 2012- 2015, Cates served the North Carolina Genealogical Society as a director and editor of NCGS News, and North Carolina Genealogical Society Journal. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Digital Library on American Slavery and serves as Clan Genealogist for the Clan MacRae Society of North America.

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogical education, exemplary standards of research, and the preservation of genealogical records. The Arlington, Virginia, based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian, seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, and guidance in research. It also offers many opportunities to interact with other genealogists.

Toronto Public Library’s Digital Archives Reaches 100,000 Special Collections Objects


According to a blog post at their website, Toronto Public Library’s digitization program has reached an important milestone. The Digital Archive now contains over 100,000 Special Collections objects. I did a search on the surname of Irvine, and came up with several items that may have a connection with my great-grandfather, who was a minister there for many years.

Read the blog.

Search the digital database.

Thanks to ResearchBuzz for the heads-up.

Keeper of the Knox County Public Library’s History Collection, Brian Spangle, Retiring After 30 years

The following excerpt is from an article published October 21, 2016 at the website.


The Knox County Public Library’s McGrady-Brockman building [of Vincennes, Indiana] is filled — from carpet to crown molding — with books, the pages of which hold a rich history dating all the way back to 1790.

And perhaps no one knows the stories they tell better than Brian Spangle.

“It’s the kind of collection you don’t see at a typical library,” he said, his chin lifted with pride. “People are always surprised when they come in here.”

Spangle has worked at the library for 30 years — spending much of that time putting together a historical collection the likes of which people travel from all over the country to see.

But at the end of November, he will end his three-decade career and leave the massive collection he has spent years tucking into every nook and cranny of the McGrady-Brockman building in the hands of another.

Read the full article.

Washington County (Maryland) Historical Society Opens New Genealogy Center

The following teaser is from


Washington County [Maryland] Historical Society Board President Evelyn Williams, a native Floridian, said the past few days — with Hurricane Matthew pounding the state’s eastern coast — weighed heavy on her mind.

Joined by supporters and local dignitaries, Williams and fellow historical society officials cut a ribbon to officially open the center, a first-of-its-kind resource for residents looking to trace their family lineage.

The event also served as a weekend kickoff for more family-friendly genealogical activities today and Sunday.

“It was a dream of the board of directors for about the last 18 months we’ve been working on this,” said Carol Miller-Schultz, a genealogist who teaches at Hagerstown Community College and is a historical society board member.

Read the full article.

For more information, see the society’s website.

The Rutherford B Hayes Presidential Library & Museums Has a New Website

The Rutherford B Hayes Presidential Library & Museums has done a redesign on the website, It’s now more mobile friendly, and has lots of new content that’s been posted over the last week or so.


Included is the Hayes’ museum’s Ohio obituary index, educational programs and resources, as well as the ability to search through the museum’s 90,000 books, manuscripts and pictures of the president and his family.

The website can be found at

There is also a “Search the Site” button available to help users. People with questions about information on the site can call Hill at 419-332-2081, ext. 231, or email librarian Becky Hill (who was the lead on the redesign of the site) at

Thanks to ResearchBuzz for the heads-up.

Curt Witcher Honored

The following excerpt is from the August 20, 2016 edition of


Curt Witcher, manager of the Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library, was honored Friday with a Hoosier Hospital Award from the office of Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb.

The Genealogy Center generally draws more than 100,000 visitors a year.

Witcher was honored for taking exceptional steps to make Fort Wayne’s genealogy tourists feel welcome. A press release announcing the award recounted this example: “On one occasion, a group of visitors was planning to be in Fort Wayne for only a short period of time. Witcher’s nominator said he took their information before they arrived and began doing the background research for them. When the visitors arrived and found that several pieces of their family history had been assembled, they were moved by Witcher’s generosity.”

Read the full article.

Maine State Library to Digitize Historic Maine Newspapers

The following excerpt is from the August 15, 2016 edition of


The Maine State Library in Augusta has received a $275,000 federal grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize over 100,000 pages of historical Maine newspapers.

Any Maine newspaper printed prior to 1923 could be included in the project provided that the master microfilm is available for imaging. Newspapers printed between 1923 and 1962 may also be eligible for digitization if the publisher is willing to provide a waiver of copyright to permit the content to be imaged and shared.

Read the full article.

Thanks to ResearchBuzz for the heads-up.

Residents Volunteer in the Glenview, Illinois, Public Library Genealogy & Local History Room

The following excerpt is from an article posted August 5, 2016 at the Chicago Tribune website.


Tucked in the back left corner of the Glenview [Illinois] Public Library, the Genealogy and Local History room is staffed by seven volunteers who keep the room open so visitors can learn about genealogy and Glenview’s history.

The room has materials that were donated in 1968 by Glenview resident Gertrude Lundberg, and volunteers watch over the room and help visitors with any genealogy or local history questions they may have, said Kimberly Schlarman, Glenview Public Library reference librarian and genealogy specialist. One volunteer recently offered to come in over the weekend, giving visitors more access to the room, Schlarman said.

The room is open whenever a volunteer is present during library hours, Schlarman said. But if a volunteer isn’t inside the room, visitors can come during regular library hours and ask a librarian to pull material from the room, she said.

Read the full article.

The library is located at:
1930 Glenview Road
Glenview, IL 60025

Coyle Public Library in Chambersburg, PA Gets a Renovation With Expanded Genealogy Center

The following excerpt is from the July 29, 2016 edition of


CHAMBERSBURG [Pennsylvania] – Coyle Library is well underway in the $5.5 million renovation process, which is scheduled to be completed in the winter of 2018.

“We’re in that demolition phase,” Franklin County Library System Director Bernice Crouse said. “Everything’s pretty much on target.”

Demolition has been ongoing at the library’s old address at 102 N. Main Street, with selective demolition occurring first, followed by regular demolition. Selective demolition involves carefully removing portions of the old building the officials want to incorporate into the new design. Crouse predicts a couple more weeks of demolition will take place before moving onto the next phase, which involves concrete and steel work. The goal is to have the concrete and steel portion done sometime in November.

Coyle temporarily moved into the old Jennings Dealership building at 340 North Second Street in May for the duration of the renovation process…

The second level (second floor) will provide space for the fiction and nonfiction collections, library services, offices, an expanded genealogy center, a business center, huddle rooms and conference areas. Mezzanine seating will overlook the first floor and have full view of a Living Wall of plants to beautify the space and improve indoor air quality.

Read the full article.

Dr. Sam Wheeler Has Been Appointed Illinois State Historian


According to an AP article posted at, Dr. Sam Wheeler has been appointed as the Illinois state historian. He will direct collections and research at the state historical library. Dr. Wheeler has been a research historian at the library, which is part of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

It is planned that he will also head up efforts to use Illinois’ historical resources (museums, library collections & historic sites) to further educate the public concerning Illinois’ heritage.

Read all about it at:

Read another article about Dr. Sam Wheeler.

Curt DiCamillo Appointed Curator of Special Collections at NEHGS

The following is from Henry Hornblower at NEHGS:

Curt DiCamillo lecturing at a Masterpiece event for Downton Abbey at WGBH Studios, Boston.
Curt DiCamillo lecturing at a Masterpiece event for Downton Abbey at WGBH Studios, Boston.

Boston, Massachusetts, January 11, 2016 ― Curt DiCamillo, the internationally recognized authority on English country houses and the decorative arts, has been appointed the New England Historic Genealogical Society’s (NEHGS) first Curator of Special Collections, a new position commencing February 29, 2016.

A longtime member of NEHGS, Mr. DiCamillo has led highly successful heritage tours for the organization to England and Scotland, has lectured extensively in the United States and abroad, and has taught classes on British culture and art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and elsewhere. Previously, he was for many years Executive Director of The National Trust for Scotland Foundation USA, based in Boston, where he successfully raised over $7 million and initiated many innovative programs. In addition, he worked at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, for 13 years. The New England Historic Genealogical Society, founded in 1845, is the leading nonprofit genealogical society in America, serving more than 150,000 constituents and millions of online users through its award-winning website,

“For more than 170 years, we have collected family-related objects along with genealogical source materials,” said Brenton Simons, President and CEO of NEHGS. “Curt DiCamillo is the perfect person to lead our efforts in collecting, stewarding, and widely communicating ― both online and in-person ― the importance of these special holdings to our members, scholars, art historians, and the public.” As Curator of Special Collections at NEHGS, Mr. DiCamillo will provide strategic direction and expert guidance for organizing and exhibiting the organization’s extensive collection of family history-related artifacts and fine arts, part of a larger collection of more than 28 million items held by the organization. The position has been created now in anticipation of the organization’s expansion into a second, adjoining building on Newbury Street in the Back Bay in the coming years. Mr. DiCamillo will also continue to lead a series of heritage tours for NEHGS both in the United States and abroad. “The field of family history is exploding, in large part through the leadership efforts of NEHGS,” said Mr. DiCamillo. “I am so pleased to be a part of telling the compelling story of our ancestors by interpreting objects, art, furnishings, and other artifacts collected by or given to this society, the founding genealogical organization in America. Our historic objects span centuries, cultures, and ethnicities, and are a wonderful tool to better understand the lives and times of our ancestors.”

Mr. DiCamillo’s award-winning website, “The DiCamillo Companion to British & Irish Country Houses,” seeks to document every English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish country house ever built, standing or demolished, together with a history of the families who lived in the houses, the architects who designed them, and the history of the collections or gardens. He is a Fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a member of The Society of Architectural Historians of Great Britain, and a member of the Advisory Board of Samuel T. Freeman & Co. of Philadelphia. In recognition of his work in the field of English country houses, Mr. DiCamillo has been presented to the late Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, and the Prince of Wales. His paternal ancestors hail from Italy; his maternal ancestors came from Warwickshire to Maryland in the 18th century. Mr. DiCamillo, a native of the Philadelphia area, grew up in Central Florida with his sister, the award-winning children’s book author Kate DiCamillo.

About American Ancestors and New England Historic Genealogical Society
The founding genealogical society in America, New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) was established in 1845. Today it has a national collecting scope and serves more than 150,000 constituents through an award-winning website, Since 1845, NEHGS has been the country’s leading comprehensive resource for genealogists and family historians of every skill level. Today NEHGS provides constituents with worldwide access to some of the most important and valuable research tools anywhere.

American Ancestors is the public brand and user experience of NEHGS representing the expertise and resources available for family historians of all levels when researching their origins across the country and around the world. NEHGS’s resources, expertise, and service are unmatched in the field and their leading staff of on-site and online genealogists includes experts in early American, Irish, English, Scottish, Italian, Atlantic and French Canadian, African American, Native American, Chinese, and Jewish research. Expert assistance is available to members and nonmembers in a variety of ways. The NEHGS library and archive, located at 99 – 101 Newbury Street in downtown Boston, is home to more than 28 million items, including artifacts, documents, records, journals, letters, books, manuscripts, and other items dating back hundreds of years.

Researching Irish Genealogy at the Library of Congress Primer

Irish Central just posted an nice little article on its site titled How to research your Irish genealogy using the Library of Congress. Here is an except:

Starting your research on Irish genealogy can be a daunting task. Where do I start? Where are the best places to look? What kind of information can lead me on the path to my ancestors?

The list of possible places where you could find information on your family is long but luckily, the Library of Congress (the research library that officially serves the United States Congress) has put together this small but useful referencing guide to help you get out of the blocks and begin researching Irish genealogy and local Irish history.

This reference guide will give you at least a place to start in researching your family history.
This reference guide will give you at least a place to start in researching your family history. Photo by: Public Domain / WikiCommons

Although the library admit that it is far from a comprehensive list, and as you get further into your research you may need to look to more specific resources, the guide acts as a great starter aid to get you over that intimidating first hurdle: working up the courage to start.

Not only can the aid be used within the Library of Congress but any other large library is likely to hold the same content as listed below.The Library of Congress will help you fill out your family tree. Image: Getty images.

Here are some of the Library’s suggestions:

1. Handbooks

Although some of them are now quite dated, there have been a number of handbooks published that aim to guide you through the genealogy research process. The LOC recommends “Pocket guide to Irish genealogy” (1991) by Brian Mitchell or “Irish family history” (1990) by Marilyn Yurdan among others.

READ the Full Article

FamilySearch’s Family History Library Celebrating 30 Years October 23

The following was received from FamilySearch. Click on the Infographic, then click on it again to view in full-screen mode. Click on the links to view the pictures.


(SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, 22 October 2015) — FamilySearch’s Family History Library (FHL) in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, will celebrate its 30th anniversary on October 23, 2015. When the new facility was completed in 1985, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was already considered the foremost authority on family history research. During the past three decades, the library has been hailed by genealogists as the top research and collections library in the world—a designation it still maintains—in part, because it has evolved to keep pace with the changing demographics and demands of family researchers and the communities it serves.

“The Family History Library in Salt Lake City is unique in all the world,” said Diane Loosle, director of the world-renowned library. She explained the focus of the library has always been to increase access to the world’s genealogical records and help patrons make personal family discoveries.

“To the family historian, this library is like Disneyland,” says Loosle, “There’s no place like it. People dream for years of coming. It is the largest facility of its kind and the largest of FamilySearch’s 4883 family history centers globally. Many people begin their journey of discovery at one of our facilities.”

The Family History Library has been attracting guests and visitors from all corners of the world for three decades due to its expansive collection of resources and knowledgeable staff. “Most mornings before the library opens, people begin to queue up in front of the doors waiting to get in,” Loosle said.

It appears the masterminds behind its construction had a vision of future demands. Plans that seemed almost grandiose when construction of the edifice was announced in 1983 have not only materialized, but have also led the way through the years to accommodate ever-improving research and information gathering options. It has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1894 as a one- room repository of the Genealogical Society of Utah, just around the corner and up the street in a small building called the Church Historian’s Office at 58 E. South Temple.

The five-story building in downtown Salt Lake City today continues to serve as a repository and physical point of access for FamilySearch’s now billions of records. Instead of growing numbers of microfilm and microfiche, the influx of new records today continues digitally through online indexing, patron submissions, partner exchanges, donations from various government, religious and private entities and local records preservation and access initiatives world-wide—most of which is made available at

The library continues to move with digital innovations, benefiting from the latest technology to preserve and provide access to the world’s genealogical records and increase the success of personal discovery. Progress in gathering, copying, and making records available has been dramatic and fast. Over 300 camera teams are digitally preserving historic records worldwide—over 100 million images per year—that are published directly online.

In this age of 24/7 access to information and growing thirst for digital services, libraries across the nation are evolving to meet the changing demands of the communities and patrons they serve, and the Family History Library is no exception.

About 25 percent of the 2.4 million rolls of microfilm stored at the Granite Mountain Vault have been digitally published online. The Family History Library itself has about 1.5 million rolls on site. As physical films are digitized, they are removed from the library. Insofar as possible, the records teams plan on digitally publishing all of the microfilm online for 24/7 access.

In 1985 family history research was a very individual experience requiring each person interested in a specific record to scroll through microfilm or search microfiche. In 1985 over 600 microfilm and fiche readers were housed in the Library. Though microfilms and fiche still play an important, though less frequently used role, a large portion of today’s research is now computer-based. Today the Family History Library boasts 550 Internet-enabled patron computers while still providing access to over 200 film and fiche readers. The Library also offers free access to film, book, and photo scanning equipment to help patrons digitally preserve and share family records.

The library is the hub of a worldwide genealogical library system—including 4,883 satellite branches in more than 100 countries—called FamilySearch Family History Centers or affiliate libraries. The library began serving about 2,000 patrons a day or 700,000 a year in 1985, and today, with and its satellite branches, it serves over 45 million guests per year.

“We know that many people will never have the opportunity to visit the Family History Library in person,” said Loosle. “So FamilySearch has been expanding its reach. We want everyone who desires to discover their ancestors to be able to do so, no matter where they live.”

Managing the Library Requires a Village
Visitors to the Family History Library find an amazing collection of resources collected over 120 years and hosts of friendly people with expertise available to help them. The Library delivers with an impressive cadre of 45 full and part-time staff, and perhaps unprecedented for libraries, 550 full- and part-time volunteers or “missionaries.” The volunteers hail from all over the world, many of them dedicating up to 18 months—at their own expense—to help patrons make successful discoveries.

The main floor of the library is specifically designed to assist inexperienced patrons in getting started. The floor has been outfitted with computers supported by volunteers trained to assist beginners. Volunteers and expert reference staff are also available for more in-depth research on the other floors dedicated to records from certain areas of the world.

On its lower level, for example, is found the largest number of Chinese clan genealogies outside Mainland China. This level is also used for storing family histories, and overflow films, and books available by request. Requests for digitalization of these and other personal books can be requested here, and is done at another facility in Salt Lake or at many of the Family History Centers and affiliate libraries.

“The library is not a repository for original documents as is the case with specialized archives; it is not an archive in that sense,” noted David Rencher, chief genealogy officer for FamilySearch. “But it accepts donations of published works of genealogical significance.” Books and serials are continually added to the library’s shelves—over 600,000 in fact—and the library is heading up an initiative with other public libraries to digitally publish historic books of genealogical relevance online—over 225,000 have been digitally published online to-date.

Future of the Family History Library
The library is focused on continuing to expand access to the world’s genealogical record collections to satisfy growing consumer demands. In 1985, the average patron was mostly retirees or professional researchers. “Today, the patron faces are changing. It is common to see working professionals, families, and even a growing number of youth amidst the stereotypical retirees and serious researchers,” said Loosle.

Loosle sees a bright future for the library. “The library is still the best place to do family history research and will continue to serve that purpose.” In addition, the library has created a lab for testing discovery concepts called the Discovery Center, a family-friendly area where families, and particularly young people, can begin the journey of self and family discovery through fun and engaging activities. Over time, similar experiences are planned to be incorporated in the Family History Library. We anticipate the exciting additions will attract thousands of new patrons who want to discover their family history.

The library will continue to develop and offer timely, free guest classes broadcasted as webinars. The schedules, necessary connection links, downloadable handouts, and recordings to past webinars are accessible online through the FamilySearch Wiki. The library also hosts a community block party in June. This year over 3,200 participants came and enjoyed a free family day including bounce houses, face painting, cultural entertainment, family history centric activities and classes. The 2016 party is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, June 11.

Begin your family discovery at the Family History Library, online at or through a local FamilySearch Family History Center.

About FamilySearch
FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 4,600 family history centers in 130 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Tell Your Story and Upload it to the Library of Congress


The following is from the August 10, 2015 edition of the

As students head back to school, here comes a big homework assignment: StoryCorps wants tens of thousands of teenagers across America to interview a grandparent or elder this Thanksgiving and upload their recordings to the Library of Congress.

The nonprofit oral history organization is asking high school history teachers to have their students record the interviews with StoryCorps’ free smartphone application. Recordings sent to the library will become part of a publicly accessible archive at the American Folklife Center.

“The Great Thanksgiving Listen” is an assignment that will last for generations, StoryCorps founder Dave Isay said.

“When young people do these interviews and they hit ‘send’ at end of the interview to the library, they know that their great-great-great-great-great-grandkids are going to get to eavesdrop on this conversation someday and get to understand where they come from, who their ancestors were,” Isay said in a telephone interview.

Read the full article.

Storycorps is a terrific site and app. I’ve got it on my Android cell phone. It works just as well for us grandparents with stories as it does for the teenagers who might be interviewing us.

Arizona’s Genealogy Library Gets Downsized and Relocated


The Arizona Genealogy Library has now moved. The vast genealogy community was against it, as many valuable resources were not moved into the new digs. Following are links to articles both pro and con on the subject: