Wednesday 18 September 2013

Wordless Wednesday - occupations

I have a large collection of old (and comfortably out of copyright!) books, many of therm with illustrations. In fact, I bought quite a few of the books for the illustrations alone. I have scanned some of them, although there is still a long way to go.

Just for fun, I thought I'd share some of them. I've chosen a selection from my collection depicting occupations. I had forgotten that I had a picture of a diver, which would have been topical a week ago, when Sarah Millican's episode of Who Do You Think You Are was shown. Oh well. So here is the diver, and pictures of a few other occupations that your ancestors might have followed.







Tuesday 17 September 2013

Copac update: The National Archives Library added

Copac National, Academic and Specialist Library Catalogue
I'm a big fan of copac* and I use it a lot to find resources in UK and Irish libraries. Of course I use Worldcat, too, but if you are based in the UK or Ireland there are obvious advantages to using copac* to search only libraries in our two countries. The contents of many major British and Irish libraries are listed on both sites, but some are only on Copac. The two sites offer different search experiences, so where a library's holdings are on both, you might choose to use one site or the the other, depending on your requirements at the time.

Here is today's announcement:
Copac is pleased to announce that the Library holdings of The National Archives have been added to Copac. The collection serves primarily as a research library for users of the archive and holds approximately 65,000 books and journals as well as online resources. It is open to visitors and staff of The National Archives.
 The Library holds publications from the 17th century onwards and is still growing. Primarily a history library, its collection includes local history record society series, military history especially covering the First and Second World Wars, family history and directories including London Post Office directories. It also houses complete sets of the published State Papers and other calendars of public records, a good collection of Acts and Statutes and a range of academic journals. A growing number of online resources are also available.
 To browse, or limit your search to the holdings of The National Archives library, go to the main tab on and choose ‘The National Archives Library’ from the list of libraries.
This is a library that I know well, because I have the good fortune to work in the building where it is housed. I often think that if it was a standalone library it would be very impressive, but it is somewhat overshadowed by the millions (yes, millions) of documents in The National Archives. The library used to be in its own area of the building at Kew, behind a discreet pair of double doors leading off the old Microfilm Reading Room. I suspect that there were regular users of the archives who never even realised that there was a library. The library is still in pretty much the same location, but the doors have gone and the wall has come down, so it's hard to miss now if you are in the open-plan Research and Enquiries Room.

It's still not used as much as it should be, and you could be missing out if you aren't aware of some of the treasures it holds. The books, periodicals and other resources support and complement the archival holdings, and they include many volumes that are effectively finding aids to the documents. There are also many works that are the fruits of authors' research in The National Archives. These books and articles can be really useful; one of my favourite tricks is to consult works in the same general area as my own research and look at the footnotes and references. Good authors always cite their sources comprehensively and accurately, don't they?

So if you are planning a visit to Kew, or any other archive, it's a good idea to check out the library Books are my bag campaign to promote bookshops
catalogue as well as the archive catalogue. It's a good idea to check out library catalogues anyway. It just is. Quite an appropriate piece of news just after the launch of the