Tuesday, February 7, 2012

ALA RUSA "Genealogy is Bigger in Texas" Preconference - part 5

The fifth and final presentation at the American Library Association (ALA) Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) History Section's genealogy preconference at the Midwinter Meeting in Dallas on January 20 was by Sue Kaufman, Manager of the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research of the Houston Public Library.  Her presentation about the Clayton Center, the "Gem of the Gulf Coast," was what I was most looking forward to when I attended this conference, since my mother's family has long (late 1890s) Houston roots.

I was happy to hear from Sue that anyone with a Texas drivers license can get a Houston Public Library card.  I will be in Houston in mid-April for part of the Texas Library Association conference, and I plan to spend some time after the conference ends on Friday and before I head home on Saturday doing research there.

Sue noted that their collection is physically organized by geography, but that Dewey Decimal numbers are in their online catalog.  She also said they now have at least one thing from every county in 30 states.  She also stated they have about 20 five-drawer cabinets of unindexed family files.  Fun!  I'll have to see if any of my kin are in those!

Here are a few other things Sue talked about that I'll be checking on my upcoming trip:

Sue mentioned that the Clayton Library Center has a very active Friends group.  They gave the Center more money than it got from the city budget!  They also manage the original Clayton house (pictured in Sue's slide to the left) 40 hours a week.

The Clayton Center is now a partner with FamilySearch in a number of activities.  They particpate with other genealogical libraries in a program to digitize genealogy and family history publications in their archives.  They are now a microfilm affiliate site, meaning you can have microfilm from the Family History Library sent here.  They will also be assisting with indexing the 1940 census that will be released on April 2.  Other projects include digitizing Houston-area funeral home records and vaccination records.

© Amanda Pape - 2012 - click here to e-mail me.

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