Researching in Special Collections

Researching in Special Collections
Blogging Techniques
Image by msulibrary1
The Tenth Annual Regional Genealogy Fair took place on Saturday, June 21st, 2008, at Mitchell Memorial Library on the Mississippi State University campus. About 50 genealogists from across the state participated.

The keynote speaker for the Fair, Anne L. Webster of the Mississippi State Department of Archives and History in Jackson, presented an overview of the resources and services available at the Department of Archives and History. She shared examples of documents, both common and rare, that researchers might find and emphasized that researchers should check every possible resource, even documents that might not appear to be pertinent, because information is often recorded in odd places.

Elizabeth Downey, an instructional librarian at MSU Libraries, presented Famiva, a new social networking website that allows family members to build a family tree together and to communicate with each other. The site allows blogging, maintains family calendars, and archives family photos, as well.

Participants were able to get together during lunch to share information with others researching the same family lines. Dessert at lunch was a special 10th anniversary birthday cake.

The afternoon sessions consisted of personal research in the Libraries’ Special Collections department, tours of resources throughout the Libraries, and "brick-wall breaking" sessions. MSU Libraries’ Lynne Mueller, a Special Collections librarian, presented sessions on incorporating new research techniques with more traditional research. At the same time, Elizabeth Downey, Mattie Sink, the manuscripts librarian in Special Collections, and Becky Murphey of Oxford, Mississippi, were in the Special Collections department to work one-on-one with researchers who had identified specific, difficult research problems and brought their documentation with them. They worked together to identify possible strategies and sources to solve seemingly unsolvable problems.

For more information on MSU Libraries’ Genealogy Fair and on the Special Collections department, please visit

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