State Land States, Public Land States, and Hybrid States

21 July 2014
Today's image is a land map depicting part of early St. Clair County, Illinois. When you looked at it, did you say, My stars! What happened to Illinois? !! Historical researchers who use land records tend to mentally divide ...

Proof Argument vs. Proof Summary

19 July 2014
"Proof" is a loaded word. Different fields define it in radically different ways. Some even argue that proof cannot exist in historical research because none of us can say with certainty what happened in the past. All we can do ...

Taking Historical Notes

17 July 2014
Four basic rules should guide our notetaking when we do historical research. Just four. If you can remember these, you can avoid all kind of needless heartache, dead ends, and charges of plagiarism.


15 July 2014
No, we're not talking about a clownfish or Jules Verne's Prince Dakkar. We're speaking legalese. To quote ...

Overlong Citations & Discursive Notes

13 July 2014
Few readers like them. Even among lawyers and attorneys, who are often rapped for their dense prose, we hear complaints about the "inelegance" of overlong citations and the "burden" of footnotes filled with substantive matter that divert attention from the text itself. ... Two practices can help us reduce the "burden" of overlong citations. ...

Sweating & Swift Witnesses

11 July 2014
Both laws and legalese offer no end of quaint terms that had real, everyday, significance in past centuries. Today we look at two bits of legal slang invoked when witnesses gave cause to question their character ...

Source Citation: The Right-Uniform Principle

9 July 2014
It's a simple concept: Citations, like a lot of professions, have distinctive "uniforms." So dress 'em right! The police wear uniforms that identify them as law enforcement. Doctors and nurses wear uniforms that identify them as medical personnel. If we need a police officer, we don't look for somebody in a scrub suit, do we? Citations are also 'dressed' certain ways to identify what they are ...

Image Copies: Originals or Derivatives?

7 July 2014
The debate continues. When we use an image copy, do we consider that to be an original or a derivative? As with all other aspects of research, it depends—which means it is a judgment call we make on the basis of a thoughtful evaluation of what we're using. That judgment is ...

Identification of Places in Non-Fiction Writing

5 July 2014
What trumps what when writing place names? Where do we draw the line between redundancy and clarity? ...

Jewish Research in Galicia?

3 July 2014
What a wonderful site! ... DNA projects, census and passport projects, cadastral maps, landowner projects, archival inventories, and much, much more. ...