Thursday, October 30, 2008

Quoth the Raven . . .

On January 16, 2009, the U.S. Postal Service will issue a 42-cent commemorative stamp featuring Edgar Allan Poe, "one of America's most extraordinary poets and fiction writers," to honor the 200th anniversary of his birth. The event will take place in Richmond, Virgina, Poe's childhood home. Poe's stories are those often told this time of year, and with good reason -- the psychological horror in his works are chilling. Poe's stories are often thought to be a reflection of his own life. . . . fact or fiction? One of the most interesting stories about Poe took place after his death, befitting the master of mystery. The article, "Quoth the Raven," provides insight that might cause you to rethink Poe.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Memoirs Versus Written Family History

Summer is the time for getting out and doing research, visiting family, taking a trip, visiting a local library, cemetery, or courthouse. As fall sets in, followed by a long winter, it's a good time to reflect and get started on your family history. In his article, "Memoirs Versus Written History," Alan Smith lends encouragement and addresses some of the questions. Just one step at a time, and come spring, you efforts could produce into a solid piece of work to share with others.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Gold Between the Census Returns

We've all heard about "gold fever," mining boom towns, those who made it rich and those who went bust. But who were these miners? In her article, "Gold Between the Census Returns," Judy Rosella Edwards suggests local biographical histories as one resource for identifying those who tried their luck but then returned and took up their lives. By way of example, the article points to just one resource in Livingston County, Illinois that profiles a number of former minders. Local county histories also contain biographical sketches, and even if you ancestor is not profiled, the histories and the sketches mention many other people, as well. The value of these histories is that so many exist, published in earlier time periods when the subjects themselves or someone closely related provided the information. It was from one fo these biographical sketches that we learned from a son's biography that his father came from Ireland to America as an indentured servant in the early 1700s. As the article points out, "While the stories are brief, they probably are not documented anywhere else." Truly, there is gold in these resources.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Boilerplate biographies may prove enlightening

As researchers, we are always happy be made aware of little known or under-utilized resources. This week's article by Judy Rosella-Edwards, "From Apples to Oranges: Portrait and Biographical Albums," brings attention to just such a resource, the "Portrait and Biographical Albums" of Chapman Bros. and Chapman Publishing, which contain valuable personal accounts of early immigrants and pioneers in select states and counties. The article discusses the benefit and limitations of these "boilerplate" publications. What I think is particularly interesting is even though an account may not be your own family member, the experiences within a given locality or time period may reflect experiences that parallel that of your ancestors, as the article points out. Certainly another resource worth exploring.

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