Working at the reference desk we get asked all kinds of genealogical questions. Even though we do research our own family histories, we are often called upon to find information in places that we don’t have personal experience in. We are always on the lookout for good resources to help researchers find information in various countries. My colleagues, bless their hearts, are always digging in resources and pulling rabbits out of their hats, so to speak. This time it was the person who does the entries for our Best Websites. She was entering a country resource, Portals to the World from the Library of Congress, and noticed, as she was flipping through the site, that it includes information that would be very helpful to genealogical researchers. She quickly pointed this out to me and so I am pointing it out to you!
We have long used a resource called Portals to the World from the Library of Congress to find information about countries. The links are collected by subject experts at the Library of Congress and include historical, cultural and political resources as well as information on language and literature and travel. But what got us really excited is the link for Genealogy. Pop in to Portals of the World and see what I mean. It is under our E-Library, accessible from the front page, www.calgarypubliclibrary.com, or from any catalogue page. In the box called “Easy Find” the first listing is “Best Websites”. This collection includes lots of stuff for genealogy that you only have to type “genealogy” to find. So type “genealogy” into the search tags box and find Portals to the World. Choose a country and have a look at the kind of information that is available.
Country resources can, in themselves, be helpful in genealogical research because knowing the history and political situation in the countries from which our ancestors came can help direct our search and can also answer some of those basic questions. Portals to the World holds a little more specific information as well. See the link “Genealogy”? Under this link you will find links to sites that provide information for genealogical researchers. The Library of Congress has also included links to their collection, where appropriate. This link is at the top of the page and can provide invaluable information about resources that we might not otherwise know about.
Another link that every genealogist should check is the one to “Libraries and Archives”. These are the repositories that will hold much of the data you are looking for and knowing where they are and what they hold can be a real boon.
So, check out Portals to the World. It’s not just for Social Studies homework!