Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Guide to MRL's Genealogy and Local History Resources


            In the Main Branch of the Massanutten Regional Library a special room is set aside for genealogy and local history research. The Room holds primary and secondary resources related to the Rockingham County area since settlement in the 1730’s. Some of the holdings contain information on where settlers migrated from (often Pennsylvania) and where they migrated to (often Ohio and Kentucky). The items in this Room must be used in house. Copies of some of the books are on the circulation shelves and can be checked-out.

The following outlines the topical arrangement of the resources in the book sections for genealogical research. The information below is indicative of the materials found in each section. As you enter the room, to the far left and far right, are enclosed bookcases, some of which are locked. The Research Librarian can help you if a resource from these cases is needed. Each bookcase section is lettered starting with “A” being on the left-hand side.


Left-Hand Side: A - F

A:  Genealogies at the Library of Congress; U.S. Local History holdings at the Library of Congress. 

B:  Church and Religious Histories; Passenger and Immigration Lists Index 1600-1800.

C:  Continental Congress Records; Government Studies and Records.

D and E:  Donated assorted high school and college Yearbooks.

F:  College Histories; Work Histories; Scientific Studies.

The wall you face entering the room: G – Y

G:  Architecture in Rockingham County; Art and Music histories relating to the Shenandoah Valley.

H:  Harrisonburg City Directories from 1937 to the present. 

I:  Biographies of Virginia Political and Military leaders;  John W. Wayland’s “Men of Mark”.

J:  Personal recollections by local residents (some are available in “921” section on the second floor).

K – P:  Family histories and genealogies – arranged alphabetically.

Q:  Clans and Heraldry; Burkes’ Landed Gentry; Valley Tombstone Inscriptions (excluding Rockingham County); Bonded Passengers to America 1615 – 1775.

R:  Daughters of the American Revolution Patriot Index; compilations of local residents in military service from the American Revolution War to the Vietnam War.

S – V:  Civil War Histories; “Men in Grey” from Page, Rockingham, and Shenandoah Counties.

W:  Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia (formerly Virginia counties) Histories before the Civil War.

X:  Virginia History from 1607 – 1924, most volumes deal with the Colonial Period.

Y:  Virginia Census Records from 1787 to 1910; Virginia Marriage Records from 1779 to 1860.  

Right-Hand Side:  Z - DD      

Z AA:  Virginia Land Grants; Local Virginia History, e.g., Eastern Shore, Richmond, and Falls Church. 

BB:  Shenandoah Valley History: Rockbridge County, Augusta County, and Scotch Irish settlement; area Church and Family Cemetery Documentations.

CC:  Harrisonburg Telephone Directories from 1923 to the present; Histories of Rockingham County, Bridgewater, Singers Glen, and etc. 

DD:  Histories of counties in the Shenandoah Valley: Page, Shenandoah, Frederick; Histories of Ohio and Kentucky.

            Entrance Wall and Center of the Room

            Along the entrance wall of the Genealogy and Local History Room are locked, glass- enclosed cases.  One case holds some family records and a compilation of Virginia soldiers of 1776.  A second locked case contains the recorded interviews and publications that are the local contribution to the Library of Congress’ Veterans Project.  Also in this case are the recorded interviews relating to the MRL’s documentation of the Vanishing Farms of Rockingham County and Valley Changes Series interviews with individual local residents who provide a unique insight into the history of the area.  The metal file cabinets hold microfilmed Census Records and local newspapers dating from 1823 to the present.  Microfilm readers are next to these files. 

            In the center of the Room are maps and atlases, including the 1885 Atlas of Rockingham County, Virginia.  Also, in the low shelves in the middle of the room are periodicals that may be of interest to genealogists:  Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, the William and Mary Quarterly, Virginia Genealogist, Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Virginia Cavalcade, and Virginia Genealogy. 

            The Library’s old and rare holdings are kept in a vault.  Its collections of pamphlets, maps, and photographs also are not kept in the Genealogy and Local History Room.  Notebook binders kept in the center of the Room contain the indices to these special collections.  If you need an item, ask the Reference Librarian for assistance.  Lastly, to preserve the holdings, the temperature in the Genealogy and Local History Room is maintained at approximately 66 F degrees.   If you plan to spend some time working at the study tables in this Room, we recommend you bring an extra layer of clothing.   We hope this guide helps you in designing your research plan.   If you need further assistance, please ask a Librarian.

C. Metz and D. Rafuse

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