Sunday, November 30, 2008

Finding Books: WorldCat, Google Books & Inter-library Loan

When trying to find information on your family, especially when looking for information from the colonial period, you'll most likely have to resort to finding books. So how do you go about this? You have two options: WorldCat & Google Books.

WorldCat is the world's largest network of library content and services. lets you search the collections of libraries in your community and thousands more around the world. Not only can you find books but you may also find article citations with links to their full text; authoritative research materials, such as documents and photos of local or historic significance; and digital versions of rare items that aren't available to the public. lets you find an item of interest and then locate a library near you that owns it. WorldCat has provided me with pointers to family letters as well as a ledger and court docket of Benjamin. You can check out my WorldCat Kissam genealogy list of books.

Google Books
Google Books provides full indexed versions of a large number of books. It allows you to search for a term within a book giving much more accurate results. In out of copyright books the full text may even be available for both review online and as a downloadable book. You can check out my Google Books library.

Inter-library Loan
And once you find the books you want you should check with your local library to see if they're part of an inter-library loan program. Many books can be requested from other libraries and delivered free to your local library. Don't let geography and the location of a book you want deter you from getting your hands on it. One thing to note with inter-library loan though, a book may be delivered in it's micro-fiche format as opposed to a real book. So you may need a refresher if, like me, you hadn't used a micro-fiche machine since high school :)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

In Search of Benjamin Kissam

I'm hoping through this blog I can share information I uncover as I pursue my family research. Much of my time has been and will be focused on one man, Benjamin Kissam. Benjamin was a lawyer in colonial New York and seems to be best known as the lawyer John Jay was apprenticed too. But Benjamin was involved in much more. He was a member of the first and second New York Provincial Congresses. He was also a vestryman in Trinity Church for almost twenty years. It's rumored he was a member of the Sons of Liberty. He is also my great-great-great-great-great-grandfather.

Hopefully this post will help me to start sharing the information I've uncovered about both this man and his family. We'll see :)