A Quick Guide for Americans -  Exploring our Library and Archives Part 2

Come and visit the British family history experts -  by Sherryl Abrahart

Have you been preparing for RootsTech London? Are words like ‘records’, ‘database’, ‘index’ and ‘transcription’ filling your head right now? They are all key terms in genealogy so of course they are. But, here at the Society of Genealogists, we don’t think of them as records or indexes or whatever. We know that they are the story of your family and all our families.

It’s our focus on family stories that makes us a must-visit stopover during your stay in London.

Why this blog has two Parts

In Part 1 of our Quick Guide for Americans we explained how to explore our Upper Library as you search for evidence or more information on how and when your ancestors migrated to the US from all over Europe. Plus we described the huge amount of information we hold on early settlers in each of the 50 States. We also encouraged you to browse the shelves of the Middle Library, where you can find books, papers and indexes covering every county in Britain. This is especially essential background if you’re planning to visit your ancestors’ birthplaces.

Here in Part 2, we want to take you downstairs to the Lower Library where we store and care for thousands of people’s family stories...

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A Quick Guide for Americans -  Exploring our Library and Archives Part 1

Come and visit the British family history experts -  by Sherryl Abrahart

You’ve booked your trip to London? Yes! Beyond excited and full of plans? Oh, yes! Major events like RootsTech London sorted? Of course! Great! But make sure the Society of Genealogists is on your ‘must see’ list too, won’t you? If you’re coming from the US and are tracing your family history back to Britain or other parts of Europe, we’re an essential stop. It would be a great shame to come to London and not visit us. We’re easy to find and easy to get to by bus or tube.

We’re not going to assume that you have loads of time to prepare before you leave home. If you’re anything like us, you’re probably in a race against time just to make it to the airport. But there’s so much in our Library for you, that we thought we would suggest a plan to guide you through your visit. There are some basics before you get going. At some point, before you visit us, jot down some brief notes on family names, possible dates and potential place names. It’s difficult for us to effectively help visitors who ask ‘What do you have on my great-grandmother, Mary Ann Brown, who lived in Chicago?’

Begin at the top in the Upper Library

Start your visit on the Upper Library, and head straight for the USA section. There are almost 2,000 books in just this one section. We’ve included lots of hints and tips below on what might be the most interesting things to look at. There’s also our online catalogue that you can search before you come in or on one of the PCs at the Information Desk in the Upper Library.

The USA section has two areas: the ‘general’ area holds items that cover the whole of the country or more than one State; the other holds items relating to each of the 50 States. The books, indexes and other literature in the ‘general’ section could help you find information on migration details. Additional evidence could more clearly link people in your family tree with people that migrated from Britain or other parts of Europe...

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