29 June 2011

City of Ottawa Archives open to the public

I was away at a family reunion, so was not able to make it to the official opening of the new City of Ottawa Archives but it was described in the Ottawa Citizen. However, my first shift as a volunteer came up on Tuesday afternoon, the first day that the Archives was open to the public. The first period of time was spent with the Reference Room staff, going over the new procedures and getting a tour of all the facilities.

There were a number of people when I arrived but few were doing genealogy. However, a lady arrived in the afternoon who was interested in something that was close to genealogy and I was asked to help. Another of our volunteers was there for the training, so we set to work. The visitor was looking for a copy of an Ottawa Journal article on an traffic accident that had killed her childhood friend in the 1960s but she could not recall the exact date. Unfortunately, the Ottawa Journal has not been indexed, so she could have been looking through several years of microfilm reels. Instead, we looked in the Ottawa Branch Cemetery Search Database on our branch website (Cemetery Search) and found that friend was buried in Beechwood Cemetery. A check of the cemetery transcription for Beechwood, showed a death in early September 1966, which narrowed the search down. We set the visitor up on a microfilm reader and she scrolled through to find both the newspaper article and the obituary.

It was now approaching closing time, so I re-shelved some of the items that had been used during the day, said goodbye to the staff and headed out into Ottawa rush hour :-)

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