South Dakota Library Challenge: Electronic Resource Edition
Lesson 9 | Ancestry Library, Heritage Quest, Sanborn Maps | March 16, 2015
*The South Dakota Library Challenge: Electronic Resources Edition was developed by the South Dakota State Library staff to introduce you to the statewide subscription electronic resources. The Electronic Resources Challenge encourages library staff to learn more about the resources that provide expanded access to information and research tools to all schools, libraries and citizens of South Dakota.
Week 9 of the SDSL Challenge has us exploring history and genealogy resources such as Ancestry Library, Heritage Quest, and Sanborn Maps. Ancestry Library contains over 4000 different searchable databases and indexes. In addition to census information, it offers historical maps, yearbooks, and indexes, including the continuous index. Heritage Quest provides access to census information plus full text historical books, Freedman's Bank records, and more. Sanborn Maps offers historical fire insurance maps for 82 SD communities and includes details such as street names, house numbers, and building use.
I began exploring in Ancestry Library by doing a search for my name. Apparently, you don't have to be dead to be listed in this resource. When I searched using my married name, there was a result with an old address and telephone number. When I searched using my maiden name, I was given my marriage license information from 2000. Next, I searched my grandfather on my mother's side. He died when I was in 6th grade. This search resulted in a SS Death Index, several census listings, a grave index, and an army enlistment. Finally, using this resource, I typed "South Dakota" in to the location search bar. This brought up almost 500 million results including census and voter lists, birth, marriage, and death certificates, military listings, immigration and travel documents, newspapers and publications, pictures, and much, much more. I opened the link for pictures and looked a few. These were great historical pictures with a caption, location, source information, and description. You can also click on the picture to get a nice close-up where you can zoom in. Very cool!
For the second part of this Challenge, I explored Heritage Quest. This resource has over 28,000 family and local histories in their online historical books. I began by clicking on the link to the Family History Books and Directories and then searched for Sturgis, SD, in the location search bar. The first thing that I noticed is that it seemed like many of the results had nothing to do with Sturgis, SD! So, I used the search filter option in the left sidebar to make my search more exact. When I narrowed my search to the "state" level, I got a hit for "A Brief History of South Dakota." This was of interest to me, so I clicked on the link and was taken to another page that had 224 results. At this point, I was just pretty confused as to what I was looking at and what I was looking for. I tried to make sense of it, but finally gave up until a new day.
Finally, for the last part of this Challenge, I explored Sanborn Maps. I started by searching for Sturgis, SD, with the date January 1931. There was an index page and then several pages of maps that I could look at. After looking at several of the maps, I found the church that my husband and I were married in! It is a very old chapel that is being restored by my husband's family. There were other buildings on the maps from 1931 that still exist today, as well. Most of these are on our Main Street. This would be an interesting resource for a history class.
Overall, three really good resources...even though I couldn't quite get into Heritage Quest.