Librarians On Loan

When you just can’t find what you’re searching for on the Internet, remember that real-world libraries may well hold the information you can’t locate in cyberspace. If you believe a distant library might have the answer you’re looking for, consider using “Ask a Librarian,” a service offered by most libraries and archives in the U.S. and Canada. The libraries encourage you to submit short, specific questions via e-mail or an online form provided for this purpose. You can also call them, but genealogical inquiries are often best submitted in writing. Library and Archives Canada at http://www.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/services-public/ask-question/Pages/ways-ask-question.aspx even has a special “Genealogy Inquiry Form.”

Appropriate requests would include lookups, such as obituaries that may have appeared in a local paper within a narrow date range. Librarians may be willing to make photocopies of brief local publications or several pages of a document or an article in their holdings. In such cases, you’ll need to pay for the copies and postage. Otherwise, the service is usually free, but a small donation is always appreciated.

Source:  Sue Lisk, Your Genealogy Today and Internet Genealogy author