For this week’s installment of the Leatherby Librarians at Home blog series, Archivist for the Oskar Schindler Archives Tiana Taliep shares pointers on an excellent genealogy resource, and catches us up on her quarantine reading.

1. What has been the most challenging aspect for you of working from home so far, and how did you overcome it?

When we first started working from home, I could not find a comfortable workspace. I didn’t have a proper desk, and working from my couch or kitchen counter wasn’t helpful. It was about the second week that I brought in my patio bistro table and set it up in front of a large window. It’s been the perfect space to focus and watch the birds I’ve been feeding.

Photograph of a laptop on a table facing a large, open window, with a patio chair and cushion pulled up to the table

Tiana’s home workspace

2. What is your favorite remote resource for students and/or faculty?

Ancestry Library Edition – it’s a helpful resource I often use when I don’t have information on the collection I’m processing. It has helped identify individuals and trace where Holocaust survivors have emigrated. In the Betty Sara Goetz collection, there is an emigration form dated December 2, 1940. That is the only document in the collection, and I didn’t know any more information on Ms. Goetz. Using the Ancestry Library Edition, I found a Passenger List where she successfully emigrated from Nazi Germany to the United States. It’s also an excellent resource for genealogy. You can build your family tree while you’re isolating!

3. What book(s) have you been reading recently?

I am currently researching for my final paper for my Readings in War and American Society class. I’m writing a paper on Mexican-American women on the home front during the Second World War. The books I’m using are From Coveralls to Zoot Suits: The Lives of Mexican American Women on the World War II Home Front by Elizabeth R. Escobedo, The Power of the Zoot: Youth Culture and Resistance During World War II by Luis Alvarez, and Cannery Women, Cannery Lives: Mexican Women, Unionization, and the California Food Processing Industry, 1930-1950 by Vicki Ruiz. For leisure reading, I just received the new issue of Bon Appétit, and I can’t wait to dive into that.

4. What is the most interesting change you’ve made to how you do your job in the past few weeks?

As an Archivist, I’m tasked with preserving historical material, which is hands-on work. I’ve brought home a few smaller collections, but I have found myself working more on the computer. Since we started working from home, I have been making progress on the Oskar Schindler Archive website, writing blogs, and I’ve worked with Dr. Marilyn Harran in establishing Leatherby Libraries as an access site for the Fortunoff Virtual Archive for Holocaust Testimonies.

5. What is your number one piece of advice for students learning remotely and/or faculty teaching remotely right now?

My advice is not to put much pressure on yourself. The transition to learning or teaching remotely is stressful alone. Besides my to-do list, I’ve been writing down all the things I’ve accomplished, even the small things! It is rewarding to see what you have completed.