By Don Taylor
There is one resource I know that I don’t use enough, WorldCat. Every time I do use it I am amazed at the wonderful information I can find out about my ancestors.
WorldCat is the world’s largest network of library content and services. It itemizes the collections of 72,000 libraries that participate in the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) global cooperative.
Last Fall I was researching my maternal grandfather’s youth. His father, Arthur Durwood Brown, located with his parents and siblings from Saline Michigan to North Dakota in the early 1880s. From there Arthur and his siblings disburses through the area. Arthur settled near Robinson, ND. His brother, Clifford Gerome Brown, settled near Tappen, ND, about 25 miles away. My grandfather, Dick, was originally born Clifford, apparently named after his uncle Clifford. I also had been in contact with a third cousin, whose great grandfather was Clifford.
Delilah Brown c. 1924
Zona Brown c. 1924
Ellwyn Brown c. 1924
Photos cropped from: Tappen, 1878-1966: eighty-eight years of progress.
Pages 388, 390, and 389 respectively
North Dakota became a state in 1889, so folks that settled there before 1889 are often thought of as pioneers. With that in mind, I wondered if there were any books regarding Tappen, ND.
A Google search of: Tappen AND “North Dakota” AND History yield over 365,000 returns. Way too much to even think about. I searched just Google Books and received over 3000 returns. Still, too many things to look at. Then I thought of WorldCat. A quick search on WorldCat for the keywords, “North Dakota” and “Tappen” in the title –Twenty-seven results. Much more manageable. Several of the results were clearly not of interest to me, however, several other books clearly were potentially interesting.
One of the many nice things about using WorldCat is that it shows if the book you are looking for might be available locally. That is really good. Also, if not, it provides all of the information you will need to request the book through an interlibrary loan. Finally, WorldCat also provides citation information in 5 different formats. (I use Chicago but many people I know use APA or Harvard.)
Clifford Gerome and Louella Lillian (Bean) Brown
Source: Tappen, 1878-1966: eighty-eight years of progress.
1966. [Place of publication not identified]: [publisher not
identified]. Page 237
I decided to order Tappen, 1878-1966: eighty-eight years of progress through interlibrary load. Sure enough, a few weeks later it arrived. With the Christmas season my focus directed elsewhere, I pursued the book, saw quite a few things that were of interest. I didn’t have time to deal with it then, so I just jotted down the page number of pages that were of interest, then I photographed those pages with my iPad for further investigation.
The files languished for nearly six months, but I finally got back to them. Very interesting filler information for Clifford Gerome Brown and his family. A photo of Clifford and his wife, Louella. Photos of various classes during the 1924 school year showing most of Clifford and Louella’s children. All images that I never had before; there were photos of the schools and churches they attended.An amazing amount of background information.
The process I recommend is:
1. Search WorldCat.org using advanced Search
Under Keywords enter state and history, such as: “North Dakota” History
Under Title enter the city/town/county of interest.
2. Select a book that is of interest.
3. Check/search Google Books and/or Google for the book.
4a. If available for free through Google books, review the book there.
4b. If available from a local library, review the book there.
4c. If not available electronically or locally, order through Interlibrary loan via you library. Use the information from WorldCat to request the book.
Certainly WorldCat.org is a resource I don’t use often enough and it is one I should use more. I’ll bet you’re like me and should use it more, too.