Several years ago my husband and I (along with my parents) made a genealogy trip to Trinity county, California. We wanted to visit the area where Horace Fitch lived and ran Fitch's Ferry. We stopped at the Trinity County Historical Society in Weaverville...hoping they would have information on Horace and his family. Much to our disappointment the docent said they didn't have anything.
Before leaving, we all strolled through the various displays. I notice in the back of one room there were some card files. They appeared to be a card catalog of the Society's holdings in alphabetical order by surname. Even though we had been told that there was nothing on the Fitch family, I decided to check the card catalog. Imagine my surprise when I saw a card for Horace Fitch and also one for Oscar Fitch (Horace's brother)!
The card for Horace referenced a photo in the Society's collection of Horace and Oscar taken in about 1907.
The back of the photo identifies Oscar in the front riding "Ted" and Horace in the back riding "Jim." On the porch is Oscar's wife, Louisa (Plank) Fitch, and his granddaughter, Dorothy, is on the right edge of the photo. We were allowed to photograph the front and back of the photo.
The catalog card for Oscar referenced a diary or memoir he wrote of his Civil War experience. We weren't allowed to photocopy or photograph it (darn!). So we transcribed what we could.
The moral of the story...don't take NO for an answer. Ask if the agency has a card catalog of their holdings. You never know what you might find!