Jun 24, 2022

Mining for Genealogical Gold with Prospector

June 24, 2022

If you’re not already using Prospector, you’re missing out on a great genealogical resource. Prospector is a library book sharing service that includes more than 200 public, academic and special libraries in Colorado and Wyoming. Between these libraries, users have access to over 30 million books. All it takes to access this wealth of knowledge is a library card from one of the participating libraries.


Prospector is not specifically aimed at genealogists. However, most genealogists will find it an amazing tool to locate and borrow books that will benefit their research. These books can cover everything from social history books to how-to genealogical publications. Topics can range from a specific ethnic group to DNA and researching female ancestors.


The local library catalog should always be your first source when looking for a book of genealogical interest. Nowadays, local library budgets are spread thin. Not all the titles you may want to read will be held by your neighborhood public library.


A couple of weeks ago, I was visiting a neighboring genealogical society. The discussion turned to dating old photographs. I remembered a book called Dressed for the Photographer: Ordinary Americans and Fashion, 1840-1900. The book, written by Joan Severa, was written in the 1990s. Despite its age, it still relevant for dating old photos.


Several people in the group were interested in the book. The next day I checked and learned that it was currently out of print. Amazon did have copies available, but the price was exorbitant. Our local library does not have a copy. What should an intrepid genealogist do?


Turn to Prospector, of course! Prospector had copies. They were held at various libraries around the state. A cardholder could order a copy delivered to his home library. There is a special “Prospector” button on the home page of member libraries that walks you through the process. It’s free and simple to order. Books usually arrive quickly. Most can be kept for three weeks and renewed for a further three weeks.


Over the years, I’ve gotten literally dozens of volumes that I wouldn’t otherwise have had access to. Some of them turned out not to be so helpful, but the effort required to access them was minimal. Other times I hit the mother lode.


The next time you see a reference to a book that piques your interest, remember Prospector. You might just strike genealogical gold!


Carol Stetser