SOURCES VITAL FOR RESEARCH SUCCESS
June 24, 2012
Researching family history is not a mystery; it is just an intense search for facts. Missing a clue or forgetting the basics costs time and money, not to mention unnecessary worry.
It is normal to find an experienced genealogist sitting in a basic beginner class at the national level. I have certainly attended these to observe the lecturer as well as the information presented. Beginner classes are taught on regular bases to those attending genealogy classes or lectures. Whatever your experience level, it is important to review important sources.
Do you use the reference section of the Genealogy Library for guidance? Do you know what books are there and what jewels each of these have within the covers?
The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy by Val Greenwood is a standard general guidance on many facets of family history. Greenwood divides the book into two parts. Part One contains Background to Research. After learning the background for logical research, the second part offers vital information for searching valuable records.
Beginners as well as seasoned researchers value Black’s Law Dictionary for its concise definition and description of legal terms. The older the publication dates for this book the better for genealogists.
The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy is another valuable resource book. It covers many records in detail and is invaluable for all levels of research.
Two other books I use often, in fact they are extremely worn copies, are Dollarhide’s Map Guide to the U.S. Census and Red Book: American State, County and Town Records. The Map Guide shows the changes of the counties for each state (or territory) through the decades. Our boundaries changed often with the migration westward. If you are unaware of the changes, you might be looking in the wrong place. As the boundaries changed, we become lost as to what happened to our ancestor. Alternatively, sometimes it appears he moved every ten years when in reality his property remained static while only the county was simply increasing or decreasing. Red Book has a map of the state with its counties as well as the dates of the formation of counties and vital records. If some records are missing years, it explains this. In the census explanation, it notes whether there is a state or territory census.
Resource books are of major importance to all researchers regardless of the experience level. Make a log of important books to peruse so you do not inadvertently forget. All genealogists have favorite resources and we keep a record of anything that has proven vital to our research. I will cover more sources in later articles.
SAN ANTONIO FEATURES CHRISTINE ROSE: The fall seminar of the San Antonio Genealogical and Historical Society features renowned speaker and Certified Genealogist Christine Rose on October 20 from 9-4 p.m. Her lecture will cover Genealogical Proof Standard, Rites of Inheritance, Bounty Land, and Leaping to Erroneous Conclusions. The lecture site is John Calvin Presbyterian Church. For more information visit the Web site at www.rootsweb.com/~txsaghs2/ or phone 210-342-5242.
VAMPIRE REMAINS: Bulgaria’s National History Museum chief Bozhidar Dimitrov announced two 800-year-old skeletal remains of bodies stabbed with rods have recently been found near a monastery during an archeological dig. Prior to the 20th century, it was believed vampires were only killed after a rod was hammered into the hearts of those suspected to be ‘the undead.’ The skeletons are real. Is the vampire legend real or legend? Are there societies for those proving bloodline descents from suspected vampires? This writer would like to know the answer to this question.
Brenda Kellow has a bachelor's degree in history, teaches, and lectures on genealogy. Before retiring to publish her family’s histories in 2007, Brenda held certification as a Certified Genealogist and as a certified Genealogical Instructor. Send reunion announcements, books to review, and genealogy queries to: TracingOurRoots@gmail.com.