EE's blog


To What Do We Attach Our Citations?

16 June 2014
A while back, a new EE user posed a question we’ll paraphrase here: ‘I’m writing a biography of a nineteenth-century man. For his birth and immigration, every record has a different year. Do I combine all my sources into just one citation for each event? This would make a ridiculously long and unwieldy citation.’

Name Variants, Creative Spellings & Consistency

15 June 2014
In records created prior to the 20th century, "consistent spellings" of a person's name seem as rare as puppy-dog feathers. When we use published records, whose transcribers or abstractors have misread the names, we seriously compound the problem. So: how do you handle those variants when you compose your narrative? Do you ...

Working with Frakturs

14 June 2014
German "frakturs"—i.e., illuminated certificates of births, baptisms, and marriages—were originally commissioned by families to commemorate events and were prized as both art and family record. When using an original fraktur ...


13 June 2014
Lagniappe. The term means "a little gift" or "a little something extra"—its contents unpredictable but delightful. Today, EE's lagniappe is a handful of our own favorite sites whose riches may help you in your research. ...

The Value of Community-Based Research

12 June 2014
So you don't care about Mr. Merchant? Study him anyway. Ditto for Mr. Lawyer, Miss Teacher, Dr. Whoever, the Rev. Mr. Anybody, and Widow DoGood. Many of these community members were "unofficial record-keepers." When their records ...

Peter-pence, Poll-money, and Poll-tax:

11 June 2014
A tax on one's very existence? Yes, indeed, such taxes were common in the past. Regardless of social or economic status, taxation was a burden that every free person was expected to share. Today's terms cover three of those tax types that have fallen from disfavor ...

TUESDAY'S TEST: Correcting Published Errors—EE's Approach

10 June 2014
The basic question to answer is this: To whom, exactly, would the correction matter? That said, there's another issue to consider: ...

Correcting Published Errors

10 June 2014
You've just read a monograph or an online publication by a well-respected author. Amid a discussion of an event, situation, or social perspective, the author has grievously erred, in your opinion. You have ...

Citing Rural Cemeteries

9 June 2014
When citing a rural cemetery, you will want to include directions for locating it, unless you have already done so in your text. Typically, these directions will reference the ...

Exclamation Points

8 June 2014
We do love our exclamation points. They are so expressive. They can show delight or frustration. They show surprise, or shock, or incredulity. We can make our feelings even more obvious by using ...