One of the greatest divides in genealogy is the distance between us and the resources that a library has which cannot be found online. Are they the first go-to items we gravitate to when documenting our ancestors? No. When we get desperate for records, their treasures are worth the time and travel to access them. I visited a library in the town where I grew up, Joliet. I hope this makes you curious about the library where your ancestor grew up.
History I wish I had in school
There is a local history section full of resources on the second floor that I never bothered to approach out of all the time I spent here growing up. With limited time now, I am anxious to document myself and the previous generation using these unique records. Can anyone else relate?
I made a full sweep of everything first taking photos, and then I went back to determine record content and time period. In this process, I figure someone else that I am connected to may somehow also have Joliet roots.
What of education? The topic bewilders me especially since my parents paid for me to go to private schools. If we do not teach the history of the area in which we live and how we are connected to it, how can we inspire true leaders, public servants, productive communities? Below are resources right in the Joliet Public Library that document a history that was never even mentioned throughout all the years I spent in school here.
Always check the library website to learn what local history and genealogy resources they have, however, remember that other resources may be available on site that are not mentioned online. If you have items that may be of interest to other patrons, you should make a donation to the Friends of the library to be added to the local resources.
Robin Foster, April 2016 ©
The first items that drew my attention were these colorful binders. Can you imagine 19 volumes of funeral programs documenting African American people who died in the Joliet area and the history that each program holds? Funeral programs often give rich biographical details, and they also mention parents and other members of the person's family group. They are a great starting point to discovering historical documentation.