Even though CGSI has members all over the US and in several other countries, we are always hunting for ways to help members with their research. One way to do that was suggested at the 2005 annual membership meeting when a member proposed that part of CGSI’s large library might “travel.” And that’s how the Traveling Library started.
Research at the Traveling Library
The library consists of about 70 of CGSI’s most popular, basic materials. Dictionaries, Czech, Slovak and German, and additional sources of words commonly used words in documents on graves and in family papers. Maps with indexes to help find even the tiniest villages. Gazetteers which list all the names a village may have had through its long, complicated history. Lists of arriving ship passengers with Czech or Slovak names. Surnames which CGSI’s several thousand members report they are researching. Huge volumes containing indexes of the land and religious censuses of the 1600s. And, of course, materials that are specific to the local areas where the library is traveling.
Local sponsors of the library’s appearance help supply a location with good light and quiet work space for an all-day session. Just as important as the materials are knowledgeable volunteers to travel with the library. Volunteers in each locality soon learn to help others because materials from CGSI’s vast library are easily accessible to visitors. Complex and foreign language materials necessarily have to be left behind, although some can be searched, on request.
The first stops for the Traveling Library were Hillsboro, WI (2006); Wilber, NE (2007); Tabor, SD, Clarkson, NE, Ord, NE and New Prague, MN (2008), and Hutchinson, MN (2009). Although very successful in terms of providing members with new information and attracting new people to the exciting field of family history, appearances of the traveling library require a lot of support. Volunteer leaders must be free to travel, copies of appropriate materials must be obtained, the budget must cover mileage and lodging costs, and local support (both financial and volunteer) must be found.
Bringing basic family history resources to locations outside our central location is an opportunity CGSI continues to support and, with the help and interest of our members, expand in the years to come.