New year, new genealogy resolutions

If your New Year’s resolutions for 2019 include genealogy research, the Indiana State Library Genealogy Division can help! Whether you are starting your research for the first time or are a seasoned researcher, we have many resources and ideas for you. Here are just a few ways you can get started in 2019:

Read a genealogy book

Besides family histories and ethnic and geographic-based genealogy resources, the Indiana State Library also holds many books that cover the various practical aspects of genealogy research, such as genetic genealogy, organizing your research and research techniques. Check out our catalog for a selection of holdings.

Watch a webinar

The Indiana State Library offers free prerecorded webinars on genealogy topics such as Genealogy 101, vital records and wills and probates. Taught by Genealogy Division librarians, these webinars provide an overview of research techniques and resources with an emphasis on the materials and databases available at the state library.

Check out a new-to-you digital resource

Cited by Family Tree Magazine as being among “…the best state-focused websites for genealogy,”[1] our many digital resources can help with your research. As an added bonus, many of these resources are accessible from home.

  • The Indiana State Library Digital Collections contain full scans of materials from our collection, including manuscripts, family bible records, maps, Indiana government documents and more.
  • Hoosier State Chronicles contains nearly a million fully-searchable digitized Indiana newspaper pages covering a wide time period and geographic area.
  • Indiana Legacy collates many of our databases in one convenient search interface, including the Indiana Biography Index, the Indiana Marriages 1958-2017 database and the Indiana Newspapers on Microfilm holdings guide.
  • Indiana County Research Guides provide an overview to genealogical research in each of Indiana’s 92 counties, including a summary of our print materials and links to free online resources for each county.

Ask a librarian

The librarians at the Indiana State Library are available to answer your research questions even if you can’t visit the library in person. We offer an Ask a Librarian service where you may email or live chat with a librarian. We love to hear from our patrons and would be more than happy to consult our resources or provide research tips regarding your genealogy, whether you are just starting out or are working on a long-term brick wall.

[1] Rick Crume, “Cyber States,” Family Tree Magazine, December 2018, 18-21.

This blog post is by Jamie Dunn, genealogy librarian. For more information, contact the Genealogy Division at (317) 232-3689 or send us a question through Ask-a-Librarian.

Services for LGBT patrons

National Coming Out Day was Oct. 11, a day to honor civil rights for people who happen to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, non-binary or otherwise gendered.

This presents an opportune time to ask the question, “Is Your Library Doing Enough for LGBT Patrons?,” as proposed in a blog post by Sandra Stacey on EBSCOpost last year. Stacey suggests tips to increase the value of your library for patrons who are LGBT+. Her suggestions include:

  • Include content with positive representations of LGBT history, themes and events
  • Enhance book displays with diverse faces and families
  • Label spines with genre (such as putting a rainbow sticker on the spine of books with LGBT content)
  • Present LGBT-genre reading lists
  • Decorate with welcoming posters
  • Display pamphlets from LGBT organizations
  • Include LGBT-related materials in other events (Banned Books Week, Holocaust Remembrance Day, etc.)
  • Provide both fiction and nonfiction resources
  • Encourage community involvement in collection development
  • Participate in Pride celebrations by having book displays or exhibits
  • Provide meeting space for LGBT organizations
  • Ensure that pro-LGBT websites are accessible
  • Offer career resources for LGBT patrons

While the LGBT+ community has unique library needs, the American Library Association (ALA) provides help in several ways, including directories to LGBT+ legal resources, outreach ideas and ideas for LGBT-friendly materials for children and teens. ALA’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table released a 2017 Rainbow Book list in January to help with collection development. The School Library Journal published a story in 2014, “LGBTQ & You: How to Support Your Students,” that discusses the importance of “finding materials in which LGBTQ students can see themselves—resources that reflect the stories of their lives and the themes that mirror their own questions and concerns.” It mentions that a collection title can be “a book that simply features an LGBTQ family within its story line. As many as six million American children and adults have an LGBTQ parent, according to the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute.”

As we strive to ensure all members of our communities are represented in our collections, remember that help is out there!

This blog post by Katie Springer, reference librarian. For more information, contact the Reference & Government Services Division at 317-232-3678 or submit an Ask-A-Librarian request.