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A Practical Guide for Librarians

Katherine Pennavaria

Commercials for the largest subscription database indicate that the process of genealogy is simple—you just “plug in” what you know, and the database does the rest! Those ads might sell subscriptions, but they are misleading. Getting beyond that “low-hanging fruit” is not so easy; collecting the records and data needed to delineate a family tree accurately requires time, organization, and informed searching. Records are available from many places, and finding them is never a “one-stop shopping” experience. So how does the new researcher identify which resources meet his or her specific research needs? And how can libraries and librarians best help this new generation of genealogists?

Genealogy: A Practical Guide for Librarians offers help on several levels:

First, librarians can use this book to learn what resources, both print and online, their library should offer their patron base. This means not only what monographs to purchase and subscription databases to maintain, but what websites to highlight at the library’s webpage, what to include in their online tutorials, what adult education programming is appropriate. Critical assessments of print and online resources are given, including the strengths and weaknesses that librarians need to help patrons understand them.

Second, both librarians and researchers can find here an in-depth discussion of the research process itself, including the best steps for a beginning researcher and search strategies for the experienced one.

And third, anyone can use this book to become better informed about the phenomenon of genealogy itself and about the latest standards for online searching and research.

The book includes practical advice for every public-service librarian and offers all researchers, from novice level to experienced, a clearly delineated context for the popular subject of family history research.
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Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 190Size: 8 1/2 x 10 3/4
978-0-8108-9325-2 • Hardback • March 2015 • $104.00 • (£70.00)
978-0-8108-9150-0 • Paperback • April 2015 • $65.00 • (£44.95)
978-0-8108-9151-7 • eBook • March 2015 • $61.00 • (£42.95)
Katherine Pennavaria has been a faculty librarian at Western Kentucky University since 2000. She writes a column on genealogy for Kentucky Libraries and has researched her own family extensively over the past several years. She has done genealogy-related public presentations on immigration records, indexing problems, subscription-database options, and DNA-testing.
Chapter 5. Researching Online
Chapter 6. Specialized Research
Chapter 7. Continuing Education
About the Author
This recent installment in the 'Practical Guides for Librarians' series covers what one would expect to find in an introductory guide to genealogy research. Pennavaria clearly presents tips on using census, military, immigration, and vital records. Subjects discussed include dealing with errors in official documents, working with online databases, and locating records in foreign countries. . . .Verdict: Librarians who wish to become genealogists or to update their genealogy collection will appreciate this work.
Library Journal

Pennavaria has produced a very useful introduction to genealogy and to the numerous resources that are worth checking in one’s search to uncover family history. I recommend it highly for libraries and for individual use.
Bowling Green Daily News

In an online world offering billions of available records and thousands of same-name people, what does the librarian and genealogist need to know to produce meaningful, reliable family histories? In an engaging style, Pennavaria covers all the genealogical essentials a librarian needs to know to serve the needs of a diverse population base.
Elizabeth Shown Mills, author of Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace (a Library Journal Best Reference 2007)