Doors Opening Wider: Library and Archival Services to Family History

  • Susan Tucker


Within many archives and library special collections, genealogical researchers make up the largest user group. Most studies show that in North America and Europe, they can account for fifty to ninety percent of all users. The paper addresses the historical background of genealogy within our reading rooms and an expanding world of family history via archival and library websites, examining family history as presented on selected websites of archives and libraries in the United States, Canada, England, and Scotland. A website analysis focused on three main objectives: to establish the current state of our most public face presented to genealogical researchers; to identify current areas of best practice and those which require improvement; and to form a vision of what archives could offer on websites to family historians.


Dans plusieurs collections spéciales des centres d’archives et des bibliothèques, les chercheurs généalogistes constituent le plus grand groupe d’usagers. La plupart des études concluent qu’en Amérique du Nord et en Europe, ils peuvent compter pour environ 50 à 90 p.c. de toute la clientèle. Ce texte considère les antécédents historiques de la généalogie dans nos salles de consultation ainsi que le domaine de l’histoire familiale par le biais des sites Web des archives et des bibliothèques, en examinant l’histoire familiale telle qu’elle est présentée sur divers sites Web des archives et des bibliothèques aux États-Unis, au Canada, en Angleterre et en Écosse. Cette analyse des sites Web vise trois cibles principales : établir l’état actuel de nos vitrines publiques telles qu’elles sont présentées aux chercheurs généalogistes, identifier les domaines de pratiques exemplaires ainsi que ceux qui requièrent de l’amélioration et créer une vision de ce que les archives pourraient offrir aux généalogistes sur leurs sites Web.

Author Biography

Susan Tucker
Susan Tucker is Curator of Books and Records at the Newcomb Archives and Vorhoff Library, Newcomb College Center for Research on Women, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana. She is the author of Telling Memories among Southern Women (LSU Press, 1988) and the co-editor along with Katherine Ott and Patricia Buckler of The Scrapbook in American Life (Temple University Press, 2006). During 1999, she was a Fulbright Scholar to Iceland where she first became interested in the way that family history functions in national and international cultures, and in the reading rooms of archives and libraries. She holds degrees in history and librarianship, and is active in the Women’s Collection Roundtable of the Society of American Archivists.
How to Cite
Tucker, Susan. 1. “Doors Opening Wider: Library and Archival Services to Family History”. Archivaria 62 (1), 127-58.
Notes and Communications