So, that was the Learning Lab presentation. Great! I was now more confused than when I walked in…
I went to the back of the room and met up with my fellow teacher, and with mom by my side we found a table, sat down and talked about what we had just experienced. We decided to wander upstairs to the “Genealogy Department” to see what they were talking about and to get a feel for the place.
In our library, the Genealogy Department is a room all by itself tucked away in the far back corner. On the entry door a sign posted very prominently stated hours that the room was open and when staff would be there to assist. It was obvious that the Department did not operate on the same schedule as the library, but we assumed that there was a good reason why it was not open during the same hours as the library…
We entered and saw many shelves full of “older looking” books, or in other words books without pretty dust cover jackets. One wall was filled with old card catalog file drawers, hundreds of them. Against another wall were three rickety old microfilm machines nestled between file cabinets on a folding table. The two computers that we saw were not running.
There was a private office in one corner, and there inside, with the door closed, was Our Presenter! A sign on the door read “If you require assistance, please fill out the form and leave it in the box. I am in the middle of research and will contact you when I am available.” Slyly, my friend asked “So this means Do Not Disturb?”
Mom walked over to a table, sat down and asked me “So, how do you find out where my grandparents are?” “I am guessing, but have they died?” I replied, to which she answered without missing a beat “Oh yes. They died when I was very young. They were in Oklahoma, or Kansas, or Tennessee, or… well, somewhere where Indians lived.”
With a bewildered expression on my face I looked at my friend and asked her.. “Okay, and who do you want to find?” She thought for a moment and then said “I want to find my family who lived in Texas one half the year and Mexico the other half.”
We needed a plan. I had read the sign on the door and remembered that the Genealogy Room was open on Wednesday nights, so I asked “Shall we make a date for Wednesday night?” My friend agreed and my mother replied “You two go ahead, just find my grandparents.”
So we had a mission, we had a plan, and we had no idea what the heck we were doing. However, I did know my way out of the library, and on the way out I spotted the the computer kiosk and, partly joking but mostly serious, I entered “Genealogy for Dummies”.
They have a copy! There is such a book! I checked it out and went home to do some studying. OK, this was Monday evening and I had a whole book to read in the two days before our 6:30 pm Wednesday date to meet at the Library, and I was determined that, by that time, I would know “Everything You Wanted To Know About Genealogy” and I would know it without any help from Our Presenter behind the closed door.
You know that this was not likely, and I now know how naive this sounded, but I will leave the telling of this for another installment.
– Genealogy Huntress