Executions in the United States, 1608–1976

9 May 2014
The Death Penalty Information Center offers a unique resource for historical researchers: a database of executions that occurred in the United States between 1608 and 1976. The Center describes itself ...

Compiled Military Service Records

8 May 2014
To study soldiers in a particular war, researchers frequently begin with carded records maintained by the National Archives. As their name implies, these Compiled Military Service Records (CMSRs) ...

Donatio Inter Vivos vs. Donatio Mortis Causa

7 May 2014
For biographers and personal historians, donations are the crown jewels in every trove of legal documents, because people donate to others and causes that are dear to them. As researchers, it is important for us

Tracking the Urban Poor

6 May 2014
We all know the problem. At least we've heard about it, even if we haven't experienced it firsthand: The urban poor—newly arrived immigrants, uneducated laborers, tenement dwellers or at least renters ...

Legislative Acts and Bills vs. Legal Codes

5 May 2014
The statutes published for each session of Congress—and for the corresponding state legislatures—contain laws that did not eventually make their way into the compiled "codes ...

Hyphens vs. Dashes

4 May 2014
A single hyphen should never be substituted for a dash. The hyphen's purpose is to connect. The purpose of a dash is to separate. In days of yore when ...

Correcting & Clarifying Titles

3 May 2014
If you add words to a publication's title, to clarify it, you should place the addition or correction in square editorial brackets. In the first example below, a place was added because

Free African-Americans along the Atlantic Seaboard

2 May 2014
On the eve of America's Civil War, roughly one out of every eight African-Americans was considered free—either freeborn or emancipated from slavery. The census of 1860 identified 488,079 Americans as ...

Vital Records, Revisited

1 May 2014
When citing unpublished vital records, we have four key issues to consider: :

Uterine vs. Agnatic

30 April 2014
Such quaint terms! We seldom see them, when doing American research in relatively modern times; but when our research pushes back into Europe or the British Isles ...