Thursday, October 8, 2009

PastPorts: October 2009

The October issue of PastPorts
(pdf) arrived in my email box this week. PastPorts is the newsletter of the St. Louis County Library Special Collections department.

The newsletter is filled with tips for local researchers, along with a list of new print and microfilm resources at the library.

A few items I'd like to highlight:
  • St. Louis City Death Records
Although Ancestry offers a database called “St. Louis City Death Records, 1850 – 1908,” there are differences between it and the St. Louis Death Registers: Deaths Recorded in the City and County of St. Louis, 1850–1908 produced by the St. Louis Genealogical Society in 2004 and available on public PCs in the Special Collections Department.
Differences listed include: Ancestry's database doesn't contain any records after 1901; doesn't contain records for those who died outside of St. Louis but were returned for burial; and doesn't include records for St. Louis County after it split from St. Louis City in 1876 -- Whereas the St Louis Genealogical Society database does. [Note: A keyword search on the Ancestry database finds only one entry from 1902, and confirms none exist for 1903-1908 despite the title.]

It's a good reminder that one shouldn't always judge an online database by its title, and similar databases at a local library may actually contain more data.
  • The Special Collections Department has also created some Research Guides which could be very useful for researchers new to the library holdings -- as they provide an overview of the resources available at the library, and there are individual guides based on geography, ethnicity, record types, and a few special topics. For visitors from out of town, they also have a guide for local lodging and dining nearby the library.
  • I was also pleased to see the announcement that they have purchased four more combination Microfilm Readers/PCs with scanning software. (For a total of five) It's very nice to be able to save a copy of the microfilm page directly to a flash drive, as opposed to printing a copy out and scanning it in at home.


David said...
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David said...

I misread the second sentence. It is the City Library which desperatly needs to upgrade their microfilm readers.

The County Library was among the first in the area (either them or LDS centers) to have the digital capability. St. Charles has two similar units now, too.

Another benefit of visiting the County Library is their policy of allowing permanent loans of FHL film.