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Effective Use of Libraries (and other repositories)
8 July 2006
Some of my fondest childhood memories are of visits to the library. In this age of
computers and the Internet, libraries often take a back seat in genealogy research. While the
Internet is a great tool for genealogy research, it is a long way from replacing libraries and
Many people are intimidated by libraries and especially by archives and specialty libraries
such as historical society. This fear can be reduced with a little bit of preparation and education.
- Be Prepared. Before visiting a library, visit the library website for location, hours,
policies and procedures. Knowing this information ahead can reduce anxiety. Use the online
catalog to determine the materials you want to use while visiting. Make a list of these materials
you want to use, including the call numbers.
- Ask Questions. That is why the staff is there. They know the collection and they know
how to find information in the collection.
- Be courteous to the staff and other researchers. The staff will be more likely to go
out of their way to help you if you are courteous and respectful.
- Record in detail everything you look at with a research log or calendar. Be sure to
record negative as well as positive findings.
- Make copies whenever possible. Taking notes is fine if copies are not permitted but a
copy for later study is best.
Colorado has a wealth of libraries and other repositories for genealogy research.
- Denver Public Library (DPL), Western History & Genealogy, 5th floor, 10 West Fourteenth
Avenue Parkway, Denver, CO 80204-2731, (720) 865-1111. DPL is one of the top 10
genealogy collections in the United States. The library has a broad reference collection of
family histories, county histories, census indexes, periodicals, published indexes of vital, land,
cemetery, obituary, court, probate, and wills for the continental United States from colonial
times to the present.
- National Archives, Rocky Mountain Region (NARA), Denver Federal Center, 6th & Kipling,
Building 46, Denver, CO 80225, (303) 407-5740. The collection includes the Federal
population censuses for all States, 1790-1930; 1885 State Censuses Colorado, Florida, and
New Mexico; Revolutionary War records; Civil War Pension file indexes; Indian censuses;
Colorado naturalization records; and a large collection of Passenger Lists and indexes.
- Carnegie Branch-Boulder Public Library, 1125 Pine St., Boulder, CO 80302, (303) 441-3110.
Resources include information on individual states, immigration, foreign countries and military.
It is the best source for Boulder County.
- Mamie Doud Eisenhower Public Library, 1 DesCombes Dr., Broomfield, CO 80020-2495
(303) 469-1821. This is a small collection of general genealogy material. A large portion of the
collection can be checked out.
- Family History Centers. Operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the
centers are branches of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, which has the largest
genealogical collection in the world. Most of the microfilms and microfiche from the Family
History Library can be ordered and viewed at the branches. The centers are free and open to
everyone. There are 45 centers in Colorado and they are listed with the address on the
- Colorado State Archives (CSA), 1313 Sherman Street - Room 1B-20, Denver, CO 80203,
(303) 866-2358. CSA has pre-1901 Denver birth and death records; Colorado court cases
which include divorce and naturalization records; 1885 Colorado Census; school records;
military records; 1866-1975 City Directories; State Penitentiary records 1871-1972; 1861
Territorial Election; Mining Fatalities before 1963 and Mining Accidents 1895-1900.
- Stephen H. Hart Library at the Colorado Historical Society (CHS), 1300 Broadway, 2nd floor,
Denver, CO 80203, (303) 866-3395. CHS has the largest collection of Colorado newspapers
available from 1859 to present with guides that list newspapers by county, town, and dates
published. They also have books, maps, photographs and periodicals which focus on Colorado
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