Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Family files

If you are just getting started in researching a branch or member of your family in or near Schenectady County, taking a look at our family files is a great place to begin. They are also a source worthwhile to revisit if it's been a while since your last trip to our library. These files contain a variety of information collected or donated by library patrons over the years, as well as materials added by our library staff and volunteers. The number of resources provided in family files varies greatly; most family files contain obituaries, newspaper clippings, genealogical charts, and lineages. Many include photocopies of photographs and portraits, copies or transcriptions of family bible records, citations of other records sources or sources in genealogy publications, and correspondence detailing research about the family. Some family files contain hidden gems -- copies of death records or birth certificates, whimsical caricatures of prominent members of the family, and copies of wills, correspondence, or military records are just a few of the items we've seen patrons discover in our family files.

While our staff and volunteers add to our family files regularly, some of the most valuable materials added to our family files come from library patrons that share their research, documents, and photographs by allowing us to photocopy them. We greatly appreciate these contributions, which make us better able to help other genealogists for years to come.

We maintain an alphabetical list for our family files, which was recently updated and can be found here. The notations in our family file list also can help connect you to other sources about the family surname you are searching, including original documents, photographs, genealogies and lineages, collections of personal papers, and digital records or collections on CD. A key to these notations can be found at the bottom of every page of our family file surname list. If you don't see the name you are searching for in our list, you may want to browse our general letter files (for example, the "A" file includes material related to all surnames beginning with the letter A not included on the family file surname list).

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