The Arizona State Capitol closed its genealogical library on July 31, 2015. Some of the resources were moved to a new Genealogy Center and others were placed in archival storage. The rest was going to be removed from the collection entirely. Fortunately, FamilySearch has stepped in to help digitize the genealogical resources that would otherwise have been lost.
The most popular (and most frequently used) items that were in the Arizona State Capitol genealogical library were transferred to the Polly Rosenbaum Archives and History Building. The majority of the rest of the items were divided up between various genealogical societies. A small fraction of the collection was made available online.
There was concern that the materials that had been relocated would no longer be available to the general public. Fortunately, a partnership was made between the State of Arizona and FamilySearch. As you may know, FamilySearch is a popular genealogical website that is provided as a service of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
FamilySearch is going to digitize the Arizona State Library and Archives records and books so that people who cannot afford to travel across the country to obtain those resources will still have access to them. FamilySearch will digitize 5,000 of the records that were not available on any online resource.
In order to do this, the genealogy resources would have to be transferred to the FamilySearch headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah. FamilySearch said that the entire process of digitizing the resources should not take very long – estimating that it would take about six months. After the digitization process is completed, FamilySearch will send the physical resources back to the Arizona State Archives building.
The books that had stories and histories of Arizona families are among the highest priority for digitization. Books that depicted local history are also among the top priorities. The majority of the collection included family histories and locality books from other parts of the country. Those resources can help patrons identify the migration patterns and histories of their ancestors leading up to their arrival in Arizona.
Overall, this is a “win-win” type of situation. The books, records, and resources that would have been removed from the original collection will be saved. FamilySearch’s help with the digitization process means that people who do not live in or near Arizona will soon have access to genealogy resources that would have otherwise been lost.
Image by Joseph Novak on Flickr.
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