The power of libraries and genealogy

I focus again on a fictional library, a genealogical challenge, and genealogy, archives, and libraries news!

Hello everyone! I hope you are having a good week.

The first post I’d like to share is a continuation of my series looking at depictions of libraries in popular culture, with a strong focus on animated series, although I’ll look elsewhere later on. This week I wrote about the power of card catalogs and libraries in the well-regarded Japanese anime, Revolutionary Girl Utena, which aired on television over 22 years ago in 1997. This series is very unique in that there are so many episodes with settings in libraries (with one of these scenes shown above), more than any other animated series I’ve seen to date, perhaps apart from Futurama.

With that, we get to the second topic of the newsletter this week. I began researching into the enslaved people owned by Zachariah Packard, a slaveowner in New England of all places, which is curious considering, compared to Virginia or North Carolina, slaveowning in Massachusetts was much rarer, although not impossible. I felt disappointed at the end of the post, but Matthew Stowell, of the Plainfield Historical Society, found some records, and I went down a rabbit hole, finding much more!

With that, I’d like to mention an article by a fellow genealogist, Adina, challenging the social customs in the genealogy field that you can only be of a “certain age” to do genealogy, clear ageism which can easily be disproved without question. As I said on Twitter, my favorite line is, “so what is the right age to begin genealogy? The right age is whenever you're ready, and the earlier the better.” Its so true!

Apart from that, I’d like to mention the Library of Congress (LOC) hosting a page showing how the Supreme Court has interpreted the Constitution over the years. If you haven’t looked at their page, I’d highly recommend you check it out. Also, while this article is a bit old, I loved this article by Brad Houston who noted that a records center is not an archives (since some records were semi-active), which counters what Samantha Cross, an archivist said: that it was a “physical archive” in her short review. Additionally, there are some great articles about librarians fighting rises in e-book pricing, Audible putting captions on e-book narrations without getting the go-ahead from book publishers, focus on Spanish legal documents held by LOC, and an article noting that the oldest continuously operating library in the world is located in…an Egyptian monastery, which honestly is not much of a surprise.

That’s all for this week! Hope you all have a great rest of your week!

- Burkely