20 April 2009

The Price is Right...

Okay, I know what you are thinking - what the heck does a television game show have to do with genealogy? Actually it has nothing to do with it, but the phrase has tons to do with it.

With the onset of more & more vital records coming on line, which is a very good thing, less & less people are using libraries & historical societies anymore. Which is a very bad thing.

Ever heard the phrase, use it or loose it? Many libraries & historical societies are having trouble making their budgets because so many people aren't using the resources that these organizations house. Some are in danger of shutting their doors forever because without revenue they can't operate.

On Saturday my husband Mark & I traveled to Lansing to the State Library of Michigan to do some client work in the genealogy department. For the first time in a very long time I actually saw a woman using census microfilm! OMG! What a concept! Great libraries like the Michigan State library have tons of materials not on line and probably will never be on line.

Yes, the price is right for the records found on line, its great that they are there, but there are many newspapers and other valuable resources that can't be found on line that hold valuable clues to your ancestors, but because they aren't on line & you won't make the trek to the library, heaven only knows what you are missing!

Many historical societies are putting their holdings on line but many can not due to funding and other financial concerns. Volunteers are dropping off, there's no one to do the work, everyone is at home on line. Seriously, we need to make the time to visit our libraries and support the libraries & the historical societies. Memberships need to be retained so that newsletters can be done and websites maintained. Without the funding from memberships etc., many historical societies & libraries just don't have the funds to put their information on line.

I guess what I am saying is that we need to keep our memberships to the historical & genealogical societies paid, we need to take the time to pack up our genealogy bag and make use of our great libraries before we loose them. I see lots of people making a fuss when they announce the possibility of closing a library but I don't really see any drastic change in the attendance there. And in many states (check with your tax man or state office) supporting the library or historical society can be a tax deducation on your income tax. Just think, your check to support your library, historical society or genealogical society may just be the one that keeps the lights on, the printers humming or the website on line for another year. Sure sounds like the Price is Right to me!


1 comment:

E said...

I think it might be important to stress that there are enough mistakes in online material that it is very worth while to double check original sources even if they are film based.