Re: Spoiled? #general

Donna Dinberg <blacknus@...>

Nancy wrote:

As I check my daily email >from JewishGen I find it interesting the
number of posts that ask the question; "are these records available
online?" <<


and Nancy goes on to point out some of the valuable offline resources
available to those researching their family history.

I would like to mention one additional research possibility that is
often overlooked by researchers working online.

Many libraries, archives, historical societies, genealogy societies and
other repositories world-wide have placed databases and catalogues
online. You are all familiar, for instance, with the wonderful New
York databases for naturalization and other information jointly created
by the New York Jewish and Italian genealogical societies. You also
recognize that a Google search will not reach into those databases; you
have to go to the website specifically and do a search directly within
the databases.

Well, the same thing is usually true for library catalogues, databases
of archival finding aids, smaller databases placed online by historical
societies, etc. You must go to the agency's website, find what
databases they offer, and search directly within those repositories.
Google will not find these hidden gems for you.

Here is but one example (I have e-mailed the researcher privately, in
detail, as well): There was a recent request for information about
the Hirsch Colonies in Canada. One can find quite a bit of information
for starters within the database of the Canadian Archival Information
Network (CAIN), located at

A general search engine will not reach into this CAIN database. You
must go to it and perform your search.

So, if you are looking for information specific to a locality, remember
to broaden your online search to include the websites of libraries and
archives and societies in that area, and also search the databases of
the national libraries and archives serving that locality. You will
often be pleasantly surprised at what you can find online that is
beyond the reach of general search engines.

Also, don't forget that both published items and records reproduced on
microfilm are often available to you via your local public or academic
library on (yes, even international!) interlibrary loan.

Cheers, and happy searching!

Donna Dinberg
Librarian, JGS of Ottawa
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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