|"Timeless Books", photo by Lin Kristensen|
Frequently in researching your family history, you just need that specific resource. Maybe it was mentioned in an article you read or by another researcher, or perhaps you want something beyond the normal online access to census, Social Security, and similar records. Sometimes, you just need that certain book.
Through the years, while researching my husband’s family, I came across several mentions to a book about The John Pickens Family. A cousin has a copy of this book and has given us copies of a number of pages pertaining to my husband’s close relatives. I had also used copies of the book at several
libraries when I was there doing research.
Last week I really wanted to refer to the book, but I knew it would be a while before I saw our cousin or visited those
Georgia libraries. I went online to see if I could find a copy of this specific book. Google books listed The John Pickens Family as only available for purchase, referring me to a link to purchase it,
$$$. I also tried eBay and found two
copies available, one for $75, the other for $85, a bit more that I wanted to
pay. Copies were listed through WorldCat at a number of libraries, but none were close enough to just drop by one
morning My new favorite book source, HathiTrust, did not have the book among its
holdings, so I ended up googling the title and found it listed as being
available through Archive.org. Finally.
Through Archive.org, I had the choice of reading it online or borrowing a digital copy. I decided to try borrowing the book. From Archive.org I was directed to Open Library where I set up a free borrower’s account. Through this account I was able to borrow a digital copy of The John Pickens Family as a download through Adobe Digital Editions. The copy I borrowed is actually from the Boston Public Library, interesting to me since the Pickens family primarily has
Tennessee and Georgia roots. There the book now is, loaded on my laptop,
where I can read it, add a bookmark when I stop, and type copious notes which I will later print out and file in my Pickens Family File folder. The notes are necessary since you cannot
print the pages of material downloaded through Adobe Digital Editions, although you can do a screen clip and print that. Because there can be only one borrower of the
title at a time, once I finish in the next few days, I will “return” the digital
copy through OpenLibrary so it will be available for someone else to use. The whole process worked the same as downloading an ebook to my tablet through my local public library.
After all, you can never have too many possibilities for locating a specific resource. Digital borrowing was easy and a method I’m sure to try again for genealogy purposes, not just for reading new popular fiction.