Western History & Genealogy Blog

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Dewey Moved My Cemetery!

Denver researchers have heard stories of the relocations of Acacia, Mount Prospect and Calvary Cemeteries. Now they are asking where have all of the cemetery books gone?

Books are cataloged and classified in most libraries. We use the Dewey decimal classification system. Books are not just unboxed and placed on the shelves in libraries. In order to facilitate the location and retrieval of these materials librarians do several things to the materials you use. We like to handle the materials before they are placed in your hands. We open them up and look at them, on occasion we even read a bit of the text and that helps in the description or cataloging of the item.

Next we create a call number or classification number for each item. Researchers will find most of our materials have a G or a C prefix before the call number, G for Genealogy or C for the Colorado and Western History materials. Many genealogy books have the Dewey number 929. The 900s are for History, 920s are biography, so personal biography or genealogy is 929. We then break the material down further using geographical subdivisions. For Colorado and other western states, that set of numbers fall within a few clusters. On your next visit to the library pick up a cheat sheet at the WHG reference desk with the root numbers for each state.

Right now let us be concerned with Colorado cemetery books. You may have found them located with other Colorado subjects in the G929.3788 area. Several years ago the folks who sit around all day thinking about Dewey Decimal numbers decided that 929.5 would be a good place to fit all books dealing with cemetery, graveyard and burial records. As new cemetery books came into the library they were cataloged and classified in the 929.5s. Over the past year our catalogers have been re-classifying all of our cemetery books from 929.3…to 929.5… So the next time you want to research your grandparents Colorado burial records you will find them at G929.5788.

It is easy to find what books we own and their complete call numbers when you visit denverlibrary.org and scroll through the catalog.

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