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Digital books won't crowd groaning booksleves

Tribune correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 08:07 PM

Confronted with the dilemma that faces every genealogist and historian, I am critically eyeing my office, mentally moving furniture, pondering what I can sacrifice to make room for another bookcase.

I see no furniture that can be offered to the spatial gods; it is inconceivable to sacrifice some books in order to shelf newer ones. Aha! The solution must be on the computer.

Yep, it's time for digital books. The very notion is monumental for one whose love for printed books falls closely behind love for husband and canine child. But the advantages can't be ignored. Relief for my space issues (and pocketbook, too) might be found at Google Books, books.google.com.

Every genealogist needs books on the history of their ancestors' geographic areas. So at the Google Books search block I typed "Georgia History." Google returned several free digital images of books I plan to study. I can do that online from the Google Books website, or I can download the book to my computer.

I use the same search technique for North Carolina, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Virginia - the states where my ancestors settled for periods of time.

I also can search for information specifically relevant to my ancestral lines. One of my early lines may have origins in the Nansemond Indian tribe. I Googled "Nansemond Indian Tribe" to learn more about the tribe.

I was shocked - and immensely pleased - that one return was for "Hennings Statutes at Large," legislation that recorded that the Nansemond nation had been reduced to so small a number of men, they could not subsist by their main support, hunting. Hennings empowered the tribe to sell a tract of land in order to buy a better tract.

The real treat came when I read that the legislation appointed Richard Blow Jr. to oversee the transactions. The Blow family of Virginia married into another of my collateral lines (totally unrelated to the line said to have married with the Nansemond). What a bonus!

One of the thrills of being a genealogist is the periodic reminder that we never know what surprises and rewards await in the next minute of research.

Whatever tantalizing topics family lore suggest - gunslingers, orphan trains, wagon trains, gold rushes - treasures await at Google Books.

Some searches will give you free, viewable and downloadable books. Others offer only appetizing preview pages - just enough to get you to buy the book.

Oops - busted! OK, so maybe using Google Books doesn't always resolve the space problem. Perhaps I can find space to squeeze in just a few more books. And I did find many books that are no longer in print - which means I must download rather than purchase them.

Jewish Genealogical Society The Jewish Genealogical Society of Tampa Bay will meet at 2 p.m. Sunday for a hands-on workshop for individual research. The meeting will be at the John F. Germany Public Library, 900 N. Ashley Drive, Tampa.

The workshop will include an overview and private tour of the library's genealogical holdings. After the tour, experienced society members will provide assistance as those attending use the library's resources.

Participants should bring their own materials and information to do their research. Parking spaces are available on the street near the library at no charge on Sunday. Parking in the Poe Parking Garage (attached to the library) requires an hourly $1.20 fee payable by credit or debit card.

For information on the organization or directions to the meeting call Sally Israel at (727) 343-1652.

South Bay meetingBob Bryan will talk about digital cameras at South Bay Genealogical Society's meeting, 11:30 a.m. Oct. 19 at the SouthShore Regional Library, 15816 Beth Shields Way, Ruskin. Lunch will be served at noon and the presentation will begin at 1 p.m.

Participants must register at least seven days before the meeting by sending a check for $13, payable to the South Bay Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 5202, Sun City Center FL 33571. Individuals then should call Russ Kenyon at (813) 642-8155 to make a meal selection.


Sharon Tate Moody is a board-certified genealogist. Send your genealogy questions and event announcements to her in care of Getaway, The Tampa Tribune, 200 S. Parker St., Tampa, FL 33606 or stmoody0720@mac.com. She regrets that she is unable to assist wi

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