Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research in Houston Texas
Yesterday I was visiting with Susan Kaufman, the Manager at the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research in Houston. I have been meaning to get down to the Clayton Library and talk with Susan for some time and we finally made it happen yesterday. If you’re involved in researching your family tree and you are not familiar with the Clayton Library, you should be!
This two story building located in the Museum District close to downtown Houston houses the extensive U.S., states, and foreign book collections, ready reference material, finding aids, map collection, CD-ROM collection, electronic catalog terminals, and library administrative offices. The library’s microprint collection is located on the second floor of this building. Also located on the second floor is the family history collection of over 5000 family histories, the family history vertical file, and a collection of family charts that are normally housed in the Clayton Home (which is currently closed while undergoing restoration.)
When you visit the library for the first time, you’re given a pedigree chart which you can fill out to the best of your knowledge and shows a hierarchical view of the past few generations of your family. This information gives the librarians at Clayton an idea of what you know and what you don’t know and provides a starting place as they guide you through the research. While the research can be initially daunting, and as Susan explained, “a lifetime project”, the librarians can help you every step of the way to locate some of the easy documents that will give clues about more difficult to find information. Information that isn’t available at the library can be requested from the LDS library in Utah or other national genealogical libraries.
The library provides a monthly newsletter or blog which provides a great resource on what the library can help you with, things that are happening in the genealogy world that you might not be familiar with and lots of ideas for tracing your family roots.
Would that it were as simple as typing your family name in Google and having page after page of information pop up. Be prepared to spend plenty of time at the library. But if you’re a genealogy buff like me, hours will pass before you look up at the clock and realize how long you’ve been there. It’s an exciting detective hunt – all about YOU!
Stefani Twyford is a personal historian sharing life stories, connecting generations and preserving legacies. To learn more, visit her web site, find her on Twitter as @stefanitwyford, visit the Legacy Multimedia Facebook Fan Page, or send her an e-mail.