News from the Reference Desk Category: Genealogy

Tales Told by Found Photographs

The stories of our families are told through  many forms of documents.  Family photographs, however, are unique because they have visually captured moments in time that now only live as memories.  A discarded photograph album lead a writer in New York to the story of black families that lived in the Crown Heights neighborhood of New York City during the middle of the 20th Century.  This writer, Anne Correal, describes the journey she undertook to discover whose photographs they were and how the album was left forsaken on the street.  Her article “Love and Black Lives, in Pictures Found on a Brooklyn Street” appeared in the New York Times in January 2017.  It traces the paths that many African American families took from the Deep South to the North in an event known as the Great Migration. The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson is a book in the Library’s collection which also illuminates this event in American history.  There are now also other books and videos on display in the Library which document African American history.  If you are interested in learning more about your own family’s history and managing your own family photographic collections, come talk to our Research Services staff who will help you get started.

 

Genealogy in Time

Genealogy has been a popular topic on the Web since its early days.  In recent years many more companies are making genealogical resources available online.  Genealogy In Time is an online magazine that reports on this aspect of the Web.  Its editors have recently published a list of the top 100 genealogy websites based on usage; visit this site to find out what sites are most popular as well an analysis of the current state of genealogy.

Anne Shaughnessy, Genealogy Reference Librarian

1940 Census Now Searchable by Name

The 1940 Census was made available to the public in April 2012 by the National Archives. At first it could only be searched using street addresses. With the help of scores of volunteers who indexed millions of names, it is now possible to search the 1940 Census by name. The Census is available at www.familysearch.org for free. It is also available for free at www.ancestry.com through 2013. If you need assistance using this resource, please contact the Reference Department.

1940 Census

On April 2, 2012, the National Archives will release the records of the 1940 Census.  The only place they will be available is the web site  http://1940census.archives.gov/  There is no name index available yet.  Volunteers from many genealogy organizations are working to prepare this index but the project will take several months.  Therefore, in order to find the record for a particular family, a researcher must know where that family lived in 1940 and from that information determine the enumeration district that included that address.  For more information on locating that enumeration district, please look at the web site prepared by Steve Morse http://stevemorse.org/census/unified.html.  He has prepared search engines for many large cities and other areas. FamilySearchhas some states and so does My Heritage.