Pictures and report from our field trip to the Alexandria Library on September 13th, 2003 .
September 13, 2003, meeting of The Imperial St. Landry Genealogical and Historical Society consisted of a field trip to The Alexandria Genealogical Library in Alexandria. A group of the Society members traveled by car, leaving Opelousas at 8:30 on Saturday morning, and arriving in Alexandria as the Library opened its doors at 10:00.
The building was erected in 1907, funded by a $10,000 grant from Pittsburgh philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, with matching funds provided by area businessman, S. S. Bryan. It operated as a public library until the City of Alexandria erected a new, more modern facility.
In 1971, the Alexandria City council adopted a resolution in which the former public library building was named “The Alexandria Historical and Genealogical Library and Museum”. Restored as a Bicentennial project, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in January of 1989. It now houses many genealogical and historical resources, some of which are usually not found except in much larger libraries.
Society members took advantage of the opportunity to make use of the many genealogical materials offered by the library, such as copies of Louisiana Colonial records from the Spanish Archives in Madrid. Members were amazed by the unique collection of maps from around the world, as well as maps of central Louisiana communities and plantations of the past 300 years.
Members searching for information on French Canadian ancestors found a wide variety of resource materials, as did those looking for ancestors of Anglo, Dutch, German and African heritage. They found a mass of materials from the Atlantic states, especially Virginia,North and South Carolina, New York and New Jersey.
The library has an extensive collection of American Census microfilms, miscellaneous microfiche and CDs, in addition to the large book and map collections. Numerous microfilm/fiche readers and printers were available, as well as computers for searching the CDs, or for Internet surfing. There are copiers for making printouts of desired articles.
Sufficient and spacious workspace easily accommodated the local group of 15 Genealogy Society members. Various materials are well laid out and layout charts were available to assist in searching the shelves.
A picnic lunch, eaten on the steps of the historic building, was enjoyed by all.