Genealogical Research in Manuscritps

The Manuscripts Collection can provide unique insight into solving the genealogical puzzle.  However, this resource should be used once all other sources in the library have been exhausted.  This will ensure that the materials are a direct link to the ancestor in question and not a similarly named individual or organization.

Researchers should have the following information before using the Manuscripts Collection.  The Manuscript Card Catalog can be searched under

Full name of ancestor(s) with approximate birth and death dates
Location where family resided
Affiliations of ancestor(s) – religious groups, societal organizations, places of employment, institutional organizations, military service
Names of persons associated with ancestor

Items one might find in the Manuscripts Collection include:

Property records – deeds, probate, tax lists
Personal records – account books, diaries, correspondence
Military service records
Business records – employment records, account books, bank accounts
Organizational records – pew records, member lists, yearbooks, admission records

All items in the Manuscript Collection must be paged from the closed stacks.  An Item Request Slip must be filled out for each item requested.  A maximum of three items may be paged at one time (e.g. 3 boxes or 2 volumes and 1 box).  All requests are subject to the Paging Schedule.  Slips must be filled out before the time on the Paging Schedule and turned into the Special Collections Desk located at the back of the Reading Room.

It is recommended that patrons take copious notes when using manuscripts for research.  Citations are necessary for locating items again in the future.  A citation form is available for researchers needing assistance in properly citing collections.

Materials from the Manuscript Collection may be photocopied at the discretion of library staff.  Only staff members may photocopy items in the Manuscript Collection.