How to Research in “Closed” Libraries–Searching for John Clark Holbrook

How to Research in “Closed” Libraries–Searching for John Clark Holbrook in Pike County Kentucky
Pikeville College Special Collections is the repository for genealogy materials from Pike County KY as well as several communities in the surrounding countryside.  And it is closed much of the time–available only by appointment because the Librarians also have other responsibilities within the college academic system.

I carefully studied the college website and emailed ahead specific collections we wanted to see.  Mindy Robertson, the Medical Librarian, agreed to open the collections on Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm–and we needed all of that time to go through their rich holdings for Pike County ancestors: specifically John Clark Holbrook, a resident of Pike County, who died in the early 1930’s.

Among the collections we researched for his life were these:

  1. Names in 1822 law suits for Pike County Residents, checked against 1823 tax lists, 1810 Floyd County Census, and marriages to 1865.  This is a card index compiled by Claire Coleman-Kelly.
  2. Old Regular Baptist Annual Reports, 1886-1940. John Clark Holbrook lived in Long Fork District in 1930 and died in 1932.  I looked for an obit–which the Baptists do better than any other church denomination–in the Union and the New Salem Association reports.  I also had access to a book of obits taken from these reports, being prepared for publication in 1981.  (The book never appeared because the author, Mrs. James G. Hobbs, died.)

As we drove away from this friendly campus archive and library in eastern Kentucky, we encountered some of the most astonishing highway engineering we have ever seen!  Bridge after bridge constructed over mountain chasms and whole mountains cut-through so the freeway system could flow from one place to another without hindrance.  In some states the roads tunnel through the mountains.  In others, the roads wind around and around until you almost get dizzy.  In Kentucky, they go over the top of the mountains or cut-through the mountains and the landscape is completely changed forever—even the rivers changed course.  Your favorite Kentucky genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS  Small Kentucky colleges and universities usually have local history and genealogy collections. Stay tuned–I’ll describe some of those I have personally visited and the treasures I found.


About Arlene Eakle

I trace your family tree; or, teach you how.
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