Ge­nealog­i­cal Gems

Ar­chives & Spe­cial Col­lec­tions

Serve Daily - - NEWS - By Ginny Ack­er­son

Archivesand Spe­cial col­lec­tions can be ab­so­lute treasure troves for ge­neal­o­gists. Ar­chives are col­lec­tions of his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ments or records pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion about a place, in­sti­tu­tion, or group of peo­ple. Spe­cial col­lec­tions have char­ac­ter­is­tics that set them apart from other types of col­lec­tions in li­braries or ar­chives. The Univer­sity of Mary­land states these spe­cial as­pects may in­clude: Rar­ity: books, manuscripts and other ma­te­ri­als that are old, scarce or unique. For­mat: pho­to­graphs, slides, films, au­dio record­ings, maps, art­works, ar­ti­facts and other ob­jects that need spe­cial han­dling. Com­pre­hen­sive­ness: ac­cu­mu­la­tion of ma­te­ri­als that individually are not unique, but col­lec­tively make up an im­por­tant re­source be­cause of their rel­e­vance to a par­tic­u­lar topic or in­di­vid­ual.

These char­ac­ter­is­tics also mean that spe­cial col­lec­tions are not read­ily re­place­able and re­quire a higher level of se­cu­rity and spe­cial preser­va­tion en­vi­ron­ments to insure their sur­vival. In con­trast to mu­seum col­lec­tions as­sem­bled for vis­ual dis­play, spe­cial col­lec­tions fo­cus on re­search as their pri­mary mis­sion. Thus, they com­ple­ment gen­eral re­search col­lec­tions and are of­ten lo­cated in in­sti­tu­tions that house both kinds of col­lec­tions.

Spe­cial col­lec­tions can be housed in Uni­ver­si­ties, pub­lic li­braries, ge­nealog­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal so­ci­eties, fam­ily his­tory cen­ters and museums. The Univer­sity of Utah houses col­lec­tions on Mid­dle East records and the DUP li­brary in Salt Lake City has in­for­ma­tion on the pi­o­neers. BYU is in­dex­ing their col­lec­tion of em­i­gra­tion reg­is­ters and cre­at­ing a won­der­ful data­base called the Im­mi­grant An­ces­tors Project that can be ac­cessed on the in­ter­net. BYU also has the Mor­mon Mi­gra­tion Project where you can read jour­nals, au­to­bi­ogra­phies and see im­ages of your im­mi­grant an­ces­tors.

Springville His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety has a col­lec­tion of historic Springville news­pa­pers. Payson has sev­eral won­der­ful col­lec­tions in the Pe­teet­neet Mu­seum con­cern­ing the early set­tlers of the area. The Span­ish Fork FHC has an ex­ten­sive col­lec­tion on the Ice­landers who set­tled there. If you have South Sea Is­land an­ces­try, the Provo Sun­set FHC has a per­ma­nent and grow­ing col­lec­tion from that area.

Lo­cal pub­lic li­braries also house valu­able col­lec­tions. Many have ver­ti­cal files on area fam­i­lies con­tain­ing col­lec­tions of jour­nals, obituaries, news­pa­per clip­pings, fam­ily group sheets, books and other items do­nated by the fam­i­lies them­selves. Many times there are area wide col­lec­tions of books re­lat­ing to the his­tory and set­tlers of the lo­cale. Li­braries also have data bases per­ti­nent to the vicin­ity and very of­ten have sub­scrip­tions to web­sites with re­gional in­for­ma­tion.

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