Family History Research

Tuesday’s Tip – Search Missouri County Histories Online!

Last week I visited the Missouri State Archives and a couple local libraries for client work. When I was finished I drove to Springfield, MO, to visit my sister and wait for my parents to bring my son home from vacation. I again stopped into the Springfield Public Library to look through a couple of county histories I looked at in Jefferson City. After locating a few more surnames related to this family I wanted to make sure I could check the books once more before I left town and had to inter-library loan them.

I wrote about the Springfield Public Library in May and their great genealogy/local history collection. Last night I spoke to a staff member when I could not locate two Missouri county history books I needed. They were held in the rare book collection in a separate storage space in the local history/genealogy section. The staff member was very helpful and then told me that these books are digitized on the Missouri State Archives Missouri Digital Heritage site. How nice! Now I can search any county online from home if I need to!

Visit the MDH website above and click on ‘Collections.’

Choose ‘Books, Pamphlets and Monographs.’

Scroll down to ‘Missouri County Histories’ and click that.

Then choose the county you want to read about and proceed to the digital copy!

I must admit this is an area of the website I had not utilized much but will focus on its contents much more so I am familiar with its resources. Take a look when you have some time!

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Follow Friday – Springfield Public Library

I am back in Missouri! Ok, I have been here since Sunday doing client work for a few days, then to visit my niece.

I spent some time at the Springfield Public Library again last night. This time I took a little time to just walk up and down the aisles of books in the entire section. One of my client’s has families in Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia, and has some verified and non-verified Revolutionary War participation.

Walking the aisles I was amazed at the vast resources for not only Missouri but others states, including the ones I was working with. I browsed through several books checking indexes for surnames and then stumbled upon two from Virginia that I had to sit and go through. I literally had to tear myself away from the library because it was getting late and I was starving.

I may have to go spend a little time there later today when I’m not watching my niece. Not necessarily to do any client work but maybe to just walk the aisles and make a list of books that I should look at not only for this client but others in the future.

What a fantastic resource, the local history/genealogy section of the Springfield Public Library. Visit them if you are in the area.

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Tuesday’s Tip – Search all Libraries

Last week I drove from Chicago to Springfield, Missouri, stopping in Rolla and Marshfield to do research. I ended up back in Marshfield again Thursday morning to finish up. I found a lot of great information on the Shannon family I have been working on and some on the McCoy and Hayes families for a friend.

I spent the night at my best friend’s house on Tuesday as I drove down and took some time to visit the Rolla Public Library. The Rolla library has a very small genealogy area but has some surrounding county information. I found a few county history books that gave me some great information on the McCoy and Hayes families. The Missouri S&T library didn’t yield anything but it was worth a stop to look.

Wednesday I spent the day in Marshfield first at the Webster County Library and then historical society. The library was full of great resources. So many county histories from the area, microfilm of the Marshfield Mail newspaper and self-published genealogies. I found a book called The Shannon-Martin Marriage that was all about the Shannon family I was researching. A lot of what is in the book, written in the 1980s, I already knew about. It did contain a few pieces of information I did not know which will take my search further.

The Webster County Historical Society Research Center was run by three volunteers that day. One was Jo Slingerland, a RAOGK volunteer. She was extremely helpful in locating information before I arrived and is still looking for information since I uncovered new data last week.

I finished up at the Webster County Library on Thursday and took a walk through the Marshfield Cemetery. Found the graves I was looking for quickly and easily. The cemetery is small and thankfully the Shannon family marked their graves with large stones that said “SHANNON” on them.

Great visit and I highly recommend as you travel, to search the library catalogs for areas near the places in which your ancestors lived. You never know what you will find in a small town library.

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