"Our Loose Ends" Genealogy Column
by Lynna Kay Shuffield
Houston, Texas

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press & Thorndale Champion
26 August 2004

Libraries & Card Catalogs

Today we are going to discuss getting better acquainted with card catalogs and libraries. There is a trend in family tree research today to rely solely on the Internet. I can't tell you the number of e-mails I receive asking, "tell me where to find it on the Internet" and when I reply you have to go to the library, they get upset!

Many evenings, I go to Clayton Library after work and whereas before you could not get a parking place and there were waiting lines to get a microfilm reader or make photocopies. One night last week, there were four cars on the parking lot that did not belong to staff members. With trends like this, all that is going to happen is library staff and hours of operation will be cut.

To get stared you need to become very familiar with WorldCat. Many libraries are now members of WorldCat (also known as OCLC and FirstSearch) electronic card catalog.

What is WorldCat / FirstSearch? "Founded in 1967, Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) is a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world's information and reducing information costs. More than 50,000 libraries in 84 countries and territories around the world use OCLC services to locate, acquire, catalog, lend and preserve library materials."

That means you can search the electronic card catalog for all these libraries around the world at one-time! Ask your local librarian how to access this feature at your library or while at home.

WorldCat is a key resource for genealogists. To download a free 30-page "WorldCat for Genealogy Tutorial" go to: http://www.oclc.org/worldcat/genealogy/.

Because WorldCat is a "super" catalog of more than 900 million library holdings representing 54 million items held in libraries, you can reduce the number of places you search to locate useful material. WorldCat complements tools such as the LDS Family History Library, Ancestry.com and ProQuest's HeritageQuest.

WorldCat is apart of the TexShare Program through the Texas State Library & Archives. Ask your local librarian for the TexShare login ID and password that have been assigned to your home library. Some libraries may use a different method to identify you and may ask you to log in to their Web site with your student ID or library card number before connecting to the Library of Texas.

For more information on the Library of Texas, go to: http://www.texshare.edu/lot/index.html

Libraries Across the United States

The flagship of America's great libraries is the Library of Congress, http://lcweb.loc.gov/homepage/lchp.html which seeks to obtain copies of every book published in the United States. In the areas of genealogy, history, biography, manuscripts and special collections, the Library of Congress has a vast collection of materials.

Every state has a major library and/or state archives devoted to historical materials for that state. Some of these state libraries and archives are combined into one facility however in some states they are two separate facilities. So don't make the mistake to look at one and not the other.

Most large universities and several large public libraries have extensive history, genealogy and/or archives collections. Again, some of these are combined into one facility however Austin, Houston and Dallas have separate genealogy collections, archives and Texas & Local History collections.

I hope you are now motivated to get out to your local library to do research instead of sitting only at the computer! Now don't get me wrong, I too spend too many hours in front of the computer but I know that I cannot solely rely on everything being on-line!


In this column, I will be glad to highlight and review any family history, genealogy, county history, or similar book, free of charge, if you donate a copy of the book or item. After it has been highlighted and reviewed, on a space available basis, it will be donated to the genealogy section of a library. You will receive an acknowledgment of the donation from the library. Mail item or book to me at the below address.

Lynna Kay Shuffield has written several books related to Texas genealogy and military history. She has spoken before numerous genealogy and veterans groups. Also, is a County Coordinator for the Texas GenWeb Project. Regretfully, she cannot help with individual genealogical research. Please visit the website for this column at: http://www.geocities.com/lks_friday/COLUMN-001.htm or if you have any questions, comments, suggestions for column topics, genealogy or historical society announcements, please contact her at: P. O. Box 16604, Houston, Texas 77222-6604 or e-mail: lksfriday@sbcglobal.net

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This webpage was last created on 29 Sept 2004 and was last revised on __________

Copyright 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604