Many of the records maintained in America’s courthouses—records that historians and some other fields generically call “primary” sources—are duplicate originals or record copies rather than true originals. Does it matter? For the next several postings, we’ll consider the processes that created these legal records, the reasons why differences matter, and characteristics by which we can recognize the type of record we are using.
A follower of EE's Facebook page has just inquired about how to identify the "author" of a database. That prompted another follower to ask whether "author" was the appropriate term for the creator of a database. EE, of course, addresses that. Let's consider a couple of passages here …
Evidence analysis is the proverbial thorn in the thumb for many history researchers. We’d love to gather blossoms from the rose garden and make beautiful bouquets from them. But those darn thorns have to be dealt with in the process.
As a researcher do you create ancestor-descendant charts for the geographic areas that you research? Those charts pay dividends. In Fairfield County, South Carolina, the earliest probate book carries the label ...
10 Ways We Build Our Own Brick Walls
We hear it everywhere: “I’ve hit this brick wall!” ... Or worse, “I’ve hit this brick wall. This problem just can’t be solved!” ... Or even worse, “I’ve hit this brick wall. There’s nothing more to be found. So I’ll just make a decision on the basis of what I already have.” Ah, yes. Frustration, hopelessness, and folly.
Mon, 12/17/2018 - 11:53
Mary is perplexed. As a family researcher, she has found a derivative source (a newspaper account) that mentions an original court record. But diligent efforts to find the original have been fruitless. How does she report this? she asks, in another forum. As usual, she received a variety of opinions. As usual, there were substantial contradictions between them and some confusion over concepts. Let’s try to iron out a few of them.
Gary Gauthier raises a question every researcher faces again and again. We paraphrase here for brevity: "What do we do when we have already constructed a correctly formatted citation and the site provider disappears—i.e., sells, merges, or goes out of business? ..."
It never fails. When I publish an article or present a case study in an educational forum, curious souls ask the same question—over and again. How long did that research take? The answer often triggers a gasp—or dead silence—followed by ...
The answer often triggers a gasp—or dead silence—followed by, “But if I spend that long on each problem, I’ll never get My Project done!”
So? What is the goal of historical research? ...
Clues from a Processioning List: Part Four
This week we've focused on a critical skill for researchers: Taking research notes that do not simply “extract facts” but permits study of the context of those facts. We challenged you to study a “research note” detailing the 1755 processioning of lands. Yesterday, in response to Glenn's and Scott's comments, we addressed clues to landownership vs. leases. Today we tackle the sequence of names and kinship clues.
Mon, 12/10/2018 - 16:02
Clues from a Processioning List: Part Three
Our past two postings have focused on a critical skill for researchers: Taking research notes that do not simply “extract facts” but also allow us to study the context of those facts. Yesterday, we challenged you to study a research note detailing the 1755 processioning of lands in Augusta Parish, Augusta County, Virginia. Focusing on the long and boring list of names, we asked: What clues ...
Mon, 12/10/2018 - 15:16