Using Microfilm Guides to Find Genealogy Gold
August 05, 2014
Recently, I received a genealogy research request that brought me to a lesser-known part of the Midwest Genealogy Center’s extensive genealogy collection. The customer’s request was for information regarding an ancestor who had been investigated by the Pinkerton National Detective Agency.
I knew right away that I needed to access MGC’s Pinkerton National Detective Agency records. This record set is a part of MGC’s Biographies and Manuscripts microfilm holdings. I was searching through the different rolls of film since I wasn’t sure which roll the information was on. Then it came to me that MGC has guides for these records. I stopped what I was doing and went to the microfilm guides, located on the first floor. In addition to these paper guides, you can also access a digital copy of the microfilm guide.
Wow, those guides made finding information a whole lot easier. I looked up the name of the person the customer was looking for, found him in the index, and then found the roll of film he was on! I could have spent hours going through the 15 rolls of film, but instead my research took much less time!
These Pinkerton records hold great genealogical information. They contain the actual criminal case files as well as newspaper articles, photographs, and administrative files.
In addition to the Pinkerton records, MGC has a number of other great microfilm collections. A few examples include Military Records, Native American Indian Records, and Passenger Lists. You can find digital copies of these guides under MGC’s Resources for Genealogy and Family History.
Sections like the microfilm collection are what MGC staff like to call “hidden treasures.” These genealogy gems are somewhat off the beaten research path but can hold the key to answering many frustrating genealogy problems. MGC even offers a class titled Hidden Treasures at MGC. Visit MCPL’s Events page for the next opportunity to register and take the tour!
Midwest Genealogy Center