Kudos to Google

While searching for a photo of Lafayette Head (an early day Ute Indian Agent), I discovered he had a Wikipedia page. “First Lieutenant Governor of Colorado, serving from 1876 to 1879 under JOHN LONG ROUTT” was the sum total of information about the man. I knew more about him that that! I set aside other projects to give Mr. Head his due.

My research files focused on his work as Indian Agent. Colorado history books added tidbits including his participation in drafting Colorado’s state constitution. At Ancestry.com I connected with a descendant of Lafayette’s sister. He supplied information about the Head parents and grandparents who were Missouri pioneers.

Two out-of-print books provided the most interesting material. In a 1908 volume, Life of the Right Reverend Joseph P. Machebeuf, D.D., I learned that Head was a Catholic convert baptized by BISHOP LAMY and a settler of the Guadalupe community on the Mexican CONEJOS LAND GRANT. The 1890 History of Nevada, Colorado, and Wyoming, 1540-1888, outlined Head’s military experiences during the MEXICAN-AMERICAN WAR (1846-1848).

What amazed me was not the information I found in these two books but the fact that I read them on my computer screen. The volumes were digitized by Google from New York City and Harvard University libraries. I recalled the active debate when Google announced its digitization plans. I admit I was a skeptic, imagining a negative impact on book sales from this program. Yet, had it not been for these digitized volumes, I would have missed intriguing details of LAFAYETTE HEAD‘s life.

Thanks Google, for bringing such valuable research material to my desktop! 

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Published in: on October 8, 2008 at 12:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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