ancestryink fisherman

Monday, May 2, 2011

Walsh History Room at Camden Public Library

Ask Heather Bilodeau anything.  Not only does she have knowledge of every resource in the room, she will hands on help you out.

The Camden Public Library is an absolutely gorgeous stone-faced structure facing the harbor and flanked by the library's own pastoral, outdoor amphitheater.  The above-ground part of the library houses the Walsh History Room.  The walls of the halls and rooms are printed with ceiling to floor, museum-quality historical images in sepia tones.  The entire experience is like entering a well-designed museum exhibition.

I spent two full afternoons lost in research in the History Center.  The Camden/Rockport vital records books and local information are invaluable.  The cemetery records revealed to me that most of the family I was researching was buried right in Amesbury Cemetery, a stone's throw from the Rockport Library, another wonderful facility, facing Rockport's scenic harbor, and just a couple of miles from the Camden Library.

In my last hour at the History Center, I asked Heather, the Archives Director,  if the local newspaper dating back to the 1800's might have been on microfilm.  Sure enough, the Camden Herald is stored on microfilm there, dating back to the 1870's!  I found two obituaries, 1888 and 1911, solving many ancestral mysteries, and providing further clues in new names to explore.  The microfilm was very difficult to read with the older newspapers, and Heather then informed me that the Camden Herald had also been put into a digital database.  In no time flat, she'd drawn up the same obituaries in that database (which by the way is available to anyone, not just library card holders) and we printed them out in perfect resolution.

Visit the website and see what the Walsh History Center has to offer, from a distance.  But if  you can spare the time, make a reservation at one of the great Camden B&B's and spend a few days playing in Camden, and getting lost in research in the Walsh History Center. I can't wait to go back!

Oh, and P.S. - They also have a small museum and a collection of stunning historical photographs of Camden. Ask Heather where to find them.

No comments:

Post a Comment