Valmadonna Trust Library
i read about the Valmadonna Trust Library a while ago. then this week have had a bit of a crazy — wonderful really — connection to the library.
found this cool video over at Sotheby’s, if you are interested in an overview of this truly inspiring collection.
JewishGen psychic family connections!
so anyway, i get contacted periodically via the awesome resource that is JewishGen Family Finder.
for those not familiar with it, the JewishGen Family Finder is a database of searchble surnames and towns (in my case, shtetls) that you can search to try and find your Jewish ancestors.
i have listed the surnames and shtetls in my immediate family on the JewishGen Family Finder. if someone is searching for or has a similar surname and town listed, the Family Finder is a great way to connect with fellow genealogists and try to share share information. in many ways the Jewish community is much smaller than you would ever think, especially genealogically.
so a wonderful woman named Pauline Malkiel is the librarian at the Valmadonna Trust Library. she also happens to be a Segall relation from Nasielsk, Poland!
we haven’t quite worked it out how we are related — i am embarrassed to say i have done very little research on my grandmother’s mother (Rachel Segall) and grandmother’s (Sarah Segall) specifics. i stopped doing my own genealogy to help out my friend Frank and haven’t been focused on the Segall branch’s information at all. i haven’t really been able to focus on Frank’s work much either due to grad school, working too much, grad school burnout, job tribulations, etc. no good excuse really. and the guilt is pretty bad but i don’t seem to be able to harness it towards good right now. i hope to get it together soon. oy vey….
back to the wonderful story though. Pauline contacted me. i am going to send her the information that i do have. she will hopefully share her information too. and i am just absolutely thrilled to learn more about the Segall branch of my family. i love my Segalls dearly.
i fear that it may be an unbalanced exchange of information — seeing as i think she has more information than me (she has gone through the truly awful — and expensive — process of procuring Polish and Cyrillic records from the Polish State Archives and it sounds like she has gotten some of them translated). but i hope to reciprocate in some way.
the fact that Pauline is also a librarian is just a stunner. so excited, really blown away about that. librarians are GREAT people. i kvell!
the value of the hobbyist / collector
which got me to thinking about the Valmadonna Trust Library some more.
the Valmadonna Trust Library is another instance of a hobbyist / collector taking the time and energy and expense to create something that is so rich and deep that it rivals the holdings in traditional libraries and archives. and because the hobbyist / collector owns the works, the issues of copyright and use and access tend to be much less complicated than in traditional institutions.
another example of this is the David Rumsey Map Collection.
i mean really. the image above is insanely cool. plus it is usable via Creative Commons licensing. the Rumsey Collection is amazing database with crazy deluxe metadata. in a word: sublime.
i hope the Valmadonna Trust can do something similar to this.
my friend Debra Jane Seltzer has created something similar to this via her website, Roadside Architecture. based on a passion and moral imperative for documenting disappearing architecture that she loves, Debra Jane has spent countless time and energy and money on taking pictures, researching, and documenting disappearing mid-Century roadside architecture.
i love her blog. have learned what makes a good blog from the effortless way she writes and displays images, creating such a interesting visual stories. and Debra Jane’s flickr photostream is pretty incredible. of course the main resource is her website linked above, but all of these components make an argument for user-generated content, beautifully curated, displayed and shared openly.