Friday, May 28, 2010

New Inspiration For Research

I just recently finished reading the book Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. Although it is intended primarily to promote women’s history, the book contains an important idea for all historians, particularly Genealogists and Family Historians. The point being that we need to search every avenue for clues and evidence of all history, we can’t simply accept the published and written records.

Dr. Ulrich makes the point that in Women’s History there is a serious shortage of records and evidence of the lives of everyday women. Unless a woman made news, most often through some type of “mis-behavior,” the records are sparse. In Family History and Genealogy, this is true for our female ancestors, but also many of our male ancestors as well. The result being that many of our ancestors, particularly the ones that didn't make the news, are quickly forgotten and overlooked. As Family Historians we need to willingly explore every avenue of research and information. Sometimes, we need to think outside of the strict areas of research and be willing to explore unusual records and evidence for the existence of our ancestors.

Well-Behaved Women has ignited new enthusiasm for my own research. I have several ancestors who have completely disappeared. I am determined now to think of new avenues of research. I hope to explore maps, legal documents, newspapers and other materials with a fresh outlook to find new clues about my ancestors and their lives.

Thanks to Dr. Ulrich’s book I have a new source of inspiration to push my research along.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Nampa Depot Restoration Project

I don't have much information, but any news about preservation or restoration of railroad depots is exciting. Although Nampa, Idaho, may seem to be the backwoods, I can attest that this building is absolutely spectacular and well worth saving. On a personal family history note, this is exciting because Dad worked out of the depot for many years with the Union Pacific Railroad.

Read more at:

And thanks to Mary Bennet for bringing this to my attention.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Check Out The Blog From Archivist of the United States

Some interesting blogs have come to my attention recently; one that is particularly intriguing is the blog from the Archivist of the United States, Dr. David Ferriero. In the past few posts he is giving more and more attention to the use of technology in Archival work, and by extension research capabilities.

As he is exploring new technologies and capabilities to make information more readily available, the opportunities seem endless! Although he is writing about big picture issues, such as transparency in operations, and enhancing technology for improved access, his enthusiasm is infectious. He hasn’t yet mentioned the nitty-gritty details for providing transparency, such as the costs for scanning and digitizing the millions of documents in the National Archives. But exploring the possibilities is a good first step in enhancing access for NARA documents.

His blog at: is certainly worth looking at.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Found: 1780s Census

Although it contains limited information, a census taken in the mid 1780's has been found in the papers of John Kean at Kean University in New Jersey. For the most part, the census is simply a total of residents of states, but it also breaks down number of blacks and native americans within each state.

This is interesting information and reinforces the basic idea that we have to continue to search for new resources for research.

Read more at the New York Times pages at:

And thanks to Dick Eastman and Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter for bringing this to my attention.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Revolutionary War Resource

I have been introduced to a very interesting webpage, useful to anyone researching revolutionary war service in the South.

This is a very interesting site that provides transcriptions of pension records and applications from Veterans of the Revolution. This is a very exciting place to visit. This opens up all kinds of access for researchers looking to explore the war in the South.

And, special thanks to Jim Trayler for introducing me to this page.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sharing Information Is The Most Basic of Research Tools

Just the other night I had the opportunity to speak to a group of historians, genealogists, and family historians in a meeting of a local chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. It was a fine meeting. We had the opportunity to talk about different resources for research in North Georgia and share “war stories” about our research time.

After the meeting, as I driving home, it occurred to me that I had participated in one of the most essential of all aspects of family history research. Sharing our information and trading details and research techniques provides an opportunity for camaraderie. In addition it provides specifics about our own research challenges and that way enhance our skills and capabilities. Exchanging ideas makes us all better researchers.

Talking about my own research is one of the most difficult challenges I personally face. I was raised in a family that emphasized modesty, “you never blow your own horn.” People who know me may doubt this, but because of my upbringing, talking about myself and my work is something I have had to consciously struggle to become comfortable with. But, this is something we all need to do to become better researchers and genealogists. We need to share our information and become willing to talk about our research, our achievements, and our failures. Striving for this will make us all better family historians.