Monthly Archive: April 2020

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A Greeting from Best-Selling Author Alexander McCall Smith to Grapevine Public Library

We are very excited that the creator of the well-known No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series and the Isabel Dalhousie series as well as numerous other books has sent a special message to our library from his home in Edinburgh, Scotland at this time when the entire world is sheltering in place. Alexander McCall Smith has fans all over the world and his books have been translated into 46 languages. He has also written stand-alone fiction, non-fiction and Children’s books. Here, Mr. McCall Smith talks about his new Swedish Detective series featuring the likable Ulf Varg and the detective’s lip-reading dog Marten. The author also provides us with a sneak peek into his latest book in the No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, “How To Raise An Elephant” coming out this fall. Our Librarian Romany (Romy) Kadurugamuwa, a longtime fan, met the author a couple of years ago at a Literary Festival...

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Genealogy: Civil War Ancestors

The American Civil War has been referred to the Civil War, War of the Rebellion, and the War Between the States. Whatever it’s called, many genealogists want to know if they had ancestors who fought in it. Today’s post will discuss ways to learn whether any of your ancestors wore the blue or the gray (or both!) between 1861 and 1865. To identify a potential Civil War soldier, determine his birthdate. Most soldiers and sailors were between 18 and 30 years old, and would have been born between 1831 and 1846. However, some of them could have been as young as 10 or as old as 70, so that widens the span to between 1791 and 1854. If your potential soldier died between April 1861 and June 1865 in a Southern state, or he was from a Southern state and died in a different Southern state, this may indicate that...

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Despite Closed Doors, Libraries Continue to Serve Communities in Innovative Ways

Although a recent survey by the Public Library Association (PLA) found that 98% of public libraries have closed their buildings, they are still finding new and innovative ways to provide important services to their communities. Public libraries have had to move services online, offering virtual storytimes and programs, and promoting digital resources and services. Check out this article from Smart Cities Dive that highlights some of the many ways that public libraries are continuing to serve during these challenging times.

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Genealogy: Revolutionary War Research

Many people doing genealogical research wonder if, or have been told that, their ancestors participated in the Revolutionary War, or the American War for Independence. Military action began with the confrontation between British troops and local militia at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, on 19 April 1775, and ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on 3 September 1783. This post will discuss a few ways for you to find out if one or more of your ancestors took part in the great event that started with “the shot heard ‘round the world.” During the course of your research, you may discover a clue that your ancestor might have participated in the war. Depending on what information that clue provides, you can use it to search for additional information that may confirm your findings. Even if you don’t find clues, there are other criteria you can use to determine...

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Digital Collection Quick Guide

Are you interested in using our digital collection but don’t know how to access it? Whether you are using your phone or computer this quick guide will get you to where you want to be. First, you will need to sign in to the library catalog. For Desktop the website is: https://grape.ent.sirsi.net There’s a free app for both Apple and Android users, just search Grapevine Public Library. Second, once you have made it to the catalog you can use a filter to display digital content only. On Desktop, there will be a drop-down menu from where you can search all digital content, or go straight to “eAudio” or “eBooks” Only. On mobile, click “eBooks & eAudio” as shown above. Next you can search any topic and it will only show you digital content. For this example, we searched “cars.” The first option is an eBook. Now we can click the...

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Genealogy: Government Documents

Government documents are a little-known genealogical resource that can yield great benefits to genealogists. If your ancestors interacted with the federal government in some way, there may be records that document those transactions. Some kinds of these are well-known, such as federal census records, military records, passenger lists, and immigration and naturalization records. Today we’ll discuss a few of those records, along with a few that aren’t well-known, and show how you can access them. “A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation” Home page: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/ This free collection consists of a linked set of published congressional records (primary source documents) of the U. S. from the Continental Congress through the 43rd Congress, 1774-1875. All these materials may be viewed on-line as digital facsimile page images; some also have fully or partially searchable transcribed text. Two sets of documents on this site have great genealogical value – The U. S....

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Genealogy: Black Sheep Ancestors

One kind of ancestor that genealogists may or not look forward to finding is a “black sheep” or “skeleton in the closet.” Researchers often chuckle about the so-called “horse thief” in the family. In some instances, there’s “that relative” that everyone knows about but nobody talks about. Black sheep ancestors are people who made bad or questionable choices, committed some kind of crime, or did something considered scandalous or roguish in their day. Several factors can determine how much researchers choose to reveal about such ancestors, depending on the type of misdeed, how long ago it occurred, and the presence and feelings of living relatives. There is no “blanket” answer to this question; each instance should involve looking at the ramifications of sharing. Probably the most important consideration involves living descendants and how discoveries might affect them. Some descendants may be fine with public knowledge of what happened, while others...

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Genealogy: Court Records

Court records are important resources for genealogists for many reasons. They can establish family relationships, places of residence, and provide various kinds of family history information. Unfortunately, they tend to be difficult to use because they’re not usually well-indexed, there are many different kinds of records, and court names and jurisdictions changed over time. Also, researchers will need to learn lots of legal terms and abbreviations in order to understand the legalities in these documents. Fortunately, you can get a good basic understanding of court records and legal terminology by using some resources included later in this post. In the U. S. several types of courts exist. They include federal, state, and local courts, each designed to handle certain types of legal cases. The federal court system was established in  1789, and district courts were established in each state. Some states were divided into two or more districts as the...

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Genealogy: Church Records

Church records can be a valuable asset to genealogical research in several ways. They began in the U. S. in the early 1600s, but civil registration or recording of births, marriages, and deaths was not generally required until after 1900. Sometimes church records are the only records containing vital record information. Therefore, they are a valuable substitute when vital records do not exist. Many churches of different denominations kept such records as births, baptisms or christenings, marriages, deaths, and burials. Unfortunately, many of these records have not survived, but it’s usually worthwhile to check with the church about availability. The types of records kept by churches depends on what mattered most to them in terms of their belief systems. These may include births, baptisms, christenings, communions, confirmations, admissions, removals, lists of Sunday school attendees, church censuses,  financial records, and even newsletters. The kind of information kept by a specific church...

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Readers’ Advisory Tips

Have you found a book that you really love? Maybe it is a stand-a-lone or maybe it is a part of a series. But when you are done you feel like a part of you has gone with it? Here are some tips and tricks for finding other similar books and series to ones that you love. We have compiled a few resources for different readers’ advisory options. Readers’ Advisory is the service normally provided to you by your friendly library staff where they suggest titles through indirect or direct means. Since we can’t be with you from the library we are hoping these help in finding more materials for you from the comfort of your home. The Kitchen Sink RA is a great resource for reading a book similar to a particular movie, singer, or different genres. https://kitchensinkra.com/ NoveList is actually available on the catalog when you search for...