|Lorine & Kathleen, Guelph Civic Museum|
Kathleen was waiting at a long table when we arrived. There was a large box opened at her side and she was looking through a book. Two extra pairs of white gloves lay on the table for hubby and I to wear and Kathleen turned another book over to me.
The two books Kathleen had ready were the Acta Nostra Yearbooks for Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute which both my parents attended. Several aunts and uncles as well as my grandmother's and grandfather's brothers also went there. So the odds were that I'd find something in them that related to an ancestor - and perhaps even a photograph!
|Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner|
A lot of the museum holdings are indexed which makes searching a bit easier. So in the case of some of the yearbooks, Kathleen knew that my mother's name was somewhere in that 1933 book. We just didn't know what page so it did require careful scrutiny to find.
I found out quite a bit that afternoon. I learned from a 1929 GCVI Yearbook that my father had graduated from High School and was working at Holman Luggage. I never knew that. A 1927 Yearbook gave a little light-hearted description of my dad which I really enjoyed reading. My father died when I was 14 so my memories of him are limited and the yearbooks enabled me to get a better sense of him as a teenager.
|1909 Guelph Fire Department|
|Joseph McGinnis 1909|
And as he died long before I was born, I never knew him. In fact only one photo of him taken circa 1916 existed in the family, so seeing him 7 years earlier was a thrill. Kathleen was a font of knowledge about Guelph - its buildings, its history, and she informed us that 1909 was the first year that the Fire Department became an official paid organization. Prior to that time it was a volunteer department. Imagine! My grandfather was one of the first paid Firefighters in Guelph! I'm thrilled to know this.
We looked at many items during the next 3 hours. The Museum is moving to a new location so I could not see all the physical objects they hold which have some relation to my family, but I was able to view many on their computer. Kathleen kindly printed out several interesting documents and photos for me and I'll go back in September when they are settled in their new location.
Here is my advice if you decide to hunt for ancestors at a local museum:
1. Email or phone the museum to ask about their services and fees.
2. Provide a brief list of the names (with dates) of ancestors who you are searching.
3. If the museum has information or documents, ask if you can reserve a time to visit and view the holdings that relate to your ancestors. Perhaps you will be as lucky as me and find a Kathleen who is willing to assist you.
4. Show up on time if you have a pre-arranged appointment.
5. Take your genealogy notes (preferably on a laptop, iPhone or iPad), paper, pencil, pen and your Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner if the Museum allows it. Ask first! I was able to scan many items of interest at the Museum.
6. Thank the museum staff and leave a generous donation even if they have a set fee for research services. Most museums need money to continue acquisitions and hire staff. Usually their research fees are minimal so please leave a donation above and beyond any charges. Kathleen gave us quite a bit of her time, and was enormously helpful. I felt it was well worth $100.00 so that is the amount I gave. As well my husband dropped some bills into the donation jar at the front door. It was money well spent
Kathleen has continued to send me photos and information via email and I am one overjoyed genealogist!