Friday, September 3, 2010

My Favorite Aunt Arlene

Arlene Eakle Arlene Haslam Eakle (say “E-cull”) is the favorite aunt you always wished you had. I love the mixture of home-spun wisdom, professional knowledge, and bravado that makes her a favorite aunt. If you don’t follow her blogs, you will want to check it out.

At the Salt Lake Family History Expo I attended her class, “Close to Home: Genealogy Resources in Northern Utah and Southern Idaho.” The topic is near to my heart, since five generations of my family of every single line lived in that area.

Family History Centers (FHCs) in the area have more than microfilm. In her presentation, Eakle went city by city telling us the records available in each. For example, the Cache Valley Regional Family History Center at 50 North Main Street has genealogy volumes on their shelves that are out of print and available no where else. They also have an extensive card index—the old kind written on real cards.

“How long they will continue to operate this way, I don’t know. But they have specialized materials that the Salt Lake Library doesn’t have.” Since FamilySearch is scanning Idaho Falls FHC paper-based materials for access over the Internet, the future is uncertain.

The state of Utah has created an online library. It is at http://pioneer.utah.gov . Accessing  fee-databases requires your library card and a code from your public library. Contact your local library for the code. She like the HeritageQuest scans of the U.S. census since it was indexed by native English speakers. It gives a second copy independent of Ancestry.com. Search results are organized geographically, state by state and county by county.

Eakle herself has a library. How she got it is quite a story.

British Isles researcher, George Sherwood, accumulated a lifetime of information. His collection contains transcripts of many records, and in some cases the original documents. He told Eakle that he had made adequate arrangements to preserve his files after his death.

“What he didn’t tell me,” said Eakle, “is that he had willed it to me.” Upon his death she learned that she had inherited a 6.5 ton collection.

“When the semi truck showed up in our driveway, my husband said, ‘Oh my. we’re going to have to buy a building.’ ” The Eakles purchased a 10,000 square foot library and founded a library. Since then she has happened upon many other collections and added them to her library.

It was a fine presentation. Thank you, Aunt Arlene.

1 comment:

  1. I have attended several of Arlene's presentations since meeting her about 3 years ago. She is a consummate professional but always so down to earth when one is speaking to her. Her knowledge is unmatched and she gives great info in her syllabus handouts. A true treasure in the genealogy world! There is also an Aug 15th article about her on our blog: The You Go Genealogy Girls.

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