Civil War Prisoner & Hospital Records

1 July 2014
Among the particularly valuable resources published by the National Archives is the preliminary inventory to Record Group 109, the so-called "Captured Confederate Records." On occasion, in one teaching venue or another, EE has invoked this guide. On occasion, then, a student has expressed dismay ...

Analyzing Compiled Material "On the Fly"

27 June 2014
You have accumulated a body of "findings" about an issue you are investigating—or you have received one from another researcher. Have you streamlined a process for analyzing that material to identify its weaknesses, warts, and opportunities? Here's one that may help ...

Do You "Just Trust" Citations Offered by Digital Providers? . . . EE's Take on the Subject

26 June 2014
Those of you who accepted yesterday's challenge—here at the blog and at our FB page—caught several good points, especially the misidentified microfilm publication. ... Beyond that, EE’s suggested model reflects several other citation needs ...

Do You "Just Trust" Citations Offered by Digital Providers?

25 June 2014
EE hopes your answer is "no." Today’s image demonstrates why. Not only do we need to double-check the factual details, but we also need to consider whether the “ready-made citation” actually covers all essentials. The census enumeration maps offered by one of our most-valued providers of digitized records suggests ...

Six Questions to Ask of Published Diaries and Memoirs

23 June 2014
We love them—but can we trust them? When we're fortunate enough to find diaries or memoirs that relate to the subject of our research, we should pose at least the following questions ...

Calendars! Calendars! Calendars!

21 June 2014
Calendars! History researchers have dozens of them to contend with as their research leaps across time and space. The Nameday Calendar and the Book of Hours. The Advent Calendar. The French Revolutionary Calendar. The French Republican Calendar.

Peer Review Doesn't Have to Make Us Cringe

19 June 2014
Peer-review is not just a mark of excellence, it's a pathway to excellence. It's also a path with dual lanes. As researchers, we need peer review to help us identify our blind spots, remove our warts, and sharpen our ideas. As we gain expertise, we’ll also be called upon to give that peer-review to others. Are we ...

Devise vs. Devolve

18 June 2014
Civil laws, across time, have created all sorts of legal words for the ways that property can change hands. Each term carries its own nuances, and clues often lurk within those shades of meaning. Knowing these, when we encounter them in a record, can shape the outcome of our research. ...

"Duplicate Originals" of the Federal Censuses

29 June 2014
It's a frustration we all know much too well in our census research. Whether we use an online provider of digital images or consult the old-timey microfilm, we find the needed county and state, search for our person of interest, and find nobody by that name. In fact, we find nobody with names—at least not given names. Page after page, there's nothing but initials—not just for heads of households, not just for grown males who may have preferred to be called I.J. rather than Ichabod Jehosophat, but for wives and children to boot. What's the problem? What's the fix? ...

Using Evidence—A Four-Step Process

17 June 2014
As researchers, we move from inquiry to conclusion in a four-step process. Below, we give you three of those steps. What do you think is missing? ...