Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Magic Cards for Genealogists

The Magic Card
Aileen Fisher

I have a card that lets me go
to any country that I choose--
to Sweden, Spain, or Mexico--
and doesn't cost a cent to use.
A card? You're talking through your hat!
Where could you get a card like that?
It is a magic kind of pass
that opens up a hundred doors,
like stepping through a looking-glass
to realms of queens and emperors.
A card? I'm curious as a cat.
Where could I get a card like that?
To guess the secret isn't hard ...
Don't keep us both on tenterhooks!
What simple little magic card
will open up the world of books?
A library card!

This was published in "Book Week", Nov. 14-18, 1988, p. 50. Theme: "Wish Upon A Star"

As I was using my Library cards from The National Library of Australia and The State Library of NSW today I remembered this poem from my teaching days a career or two ago.

My two little plastic cards have opened up a world of online books for me today from the comfort of my kitchen table. Using the library's online subscriptions I have searched current and old newspapers for snippets about relatives, found details of family members in Who's Who in Australia and read articles on genealogy in online journals. For the more unusual surnames in my family tree I simply search resources for that name and see what comes up. For those with more common names I do more specific searches coupling surnames with the places where people reside. Using "Tierney" and "Dungog" I have found many articles that mention my gggrandfather, Denis Tierney. I have discovered that he was a member of the rifle club and starter for the local race club as well as being very active in community affairs.

I urge all genealogists to visit the sites of their State and National Libraries and take out a membership that will give them a Magic Card to open up a world of digital resources..

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