Saturday, February 6, 2010


This recent post immediately inspired me to check out the Library of Congress' National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC).  As per Gena's post, I started searching by clicking on "Searching the OCLC WorldCat"  I chose to search all name fields and typed in "Shinn" for two reasosns, 1) because it isn't a terribly common name and 2) because I have an ancestor that I know for sure did keep a diary and that I know for sure is at the Bancroft library at UC Berkeley.  So I went in knowing I ought to get at least one hit - I ended up getting 380!  Most of the hits were academic papers or technical articles for specific profession publications but some of the names were immediately familiar to me.  For instance, there were several mentions of Ridgway F(oulks) Shinn, the great-grandson of my third great-grandfather's brother, John Irick Shinn (so I guess he was my grandfather's third cousin).  Since Ridgway is a unique given name I remembered him as being in my tree right away.  Apparently he wrote "The right of secession in the development of the British Commonwealth of Nations,"  in 1958.  Clicking on "more on this record" gave me more information about this work and where I could find a copy of it.  Here is a screen shot of what came up when I clicked on "more on this record" from the search results:

So now everything I need to know to get a copy of Ridgway's work is available to me.  Also worth noting, if the work is available to view online a link is provided usually.

(NOTE: While it says Ridgway Foulks Shinn was born in 1922 and no death date is given, I know he died in 2006 which is why I was able to post about him)

Oh, and my third great-grandfather's diary?  It was there too:

Although I don't know why it says the diary is in "private possession."  My mother and a cousin were the ones who found it in the basement of the family home in the 1950s and once it was discovered the adults took it away and gave it to the Bancroft library in the 1960s (along with most family papers).

UPDATE:  I spoke too soon.  Immediately after typing that I found a second reference to John:

I plan on doing many more searches, not just on my surnames, but by location (like Gena suggested).  I think this will be a wonderful tool and I thank Gena for bringing it to my attention.

1 comment:

  1. Good find! If you happen to have any Shinns in Pope County, Arkansas, let me know. I'm not related, but they were part of the same community as my ancestors. The Shinns keep showing up in my Williamson papers!


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