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Top ten genealogical repositories in America -- have you been there?

In a recent FamilySearch Blog post on 25 October 2010, DiltsGD offered a list of the top ten genealogical repositories.
There is no doubt that the libraries on the list offer huge
genealogical resources, but the most important question for researchers
is how accessible are the collections? What access is there to the vast
stored material? How much of what the library contains is original
source documentation and how much is just copies of what is available
from other libraries? None of these questions is easy to answer.

One way of looking at the collections is to rate them by the level of
availability. For example, the Library of Congress is undoubtedly the
largest library in the U.S. but how available are it contents to the
general public (including all the genealogists)? Not very. The huge
collection in Washington D.C. and surrounding areas is not generally
available outside the library. A search of the Library of Congress
website on the term "interlibrary loan"
returns no results. Likewise, the Family History Library has limited
provisions for sharing its materials outside of the library itself in
Salt Lake City, Utah.


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