October 18, 2013

Recently Read

Katherine Howe, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (New York: Hyperion, 2009).

I try to read at least a little fiction every week, usually something light, entertaining, and escapist because, hey, my normal reading is non-fiction and not usually any of those things. This book was an assignment for a class I’m taking (long story, nothing to do with genealogy). I enjoyed reading it more than I expected, not only because of the subject matter (Colonial Massachusetts and the Salem witch trials), but also because the author explained the main character’s research process to a small degree. Probate records, church archives, court cases, and obscure 17th century books all have a role in the story. What more could a geneanerd ask for?

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October 16, 2013

It’s Here!

Yesterday, the mailman left a much anticipated surprise in my mailbox: the Fall 2013 issue of the Georgia Genealogical Society Quarterly, which contains an article I wrote, “Georgia’s Poor School and Academy Lists: An Upson County Case Study.”

The article is, loosely, a proof argument, the first one I’ve published. But it’s also a methodology. The key figure is Nettie (Alford) Jamerson, who was the daughter of Pierce Lewis Alford and Amanda (Jenkins) (Alford) Ansley. P. L. and Amanda lived in Talbot and Upson Counties, Georgia. Both died young and left no estates. Nettie’s death certificate listed two different people as her parents, and she was never located on a federal census prior to her marriage to Andrew McDonald Jamerson. So, what to do? The poor school lists were only part of the solution, but they were an important part.

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September 21, 2013

This Week’s Readings

Elizabeth Shown Mills, Gary B. Mills, Jane Fletcher Fiske, David L. Greene, Robert C. Anderson, Henry B. Hoff, Harry Macy Jr., and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking, “Guidelines for Responsible Editing in Genealogy,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 84 (March 1996): 48-49.

I’m sure y’all have realized by now that I’m a bit anxious in my role as the editor of SAGA’s quarterly newsletter, The Appalachiana. Naturally, my solution is to seek advice from other editors when my confidence ebbs low. This article, for instance, was written by some of the top editors in the field at that time, and because I’ve hit my first real snag, I really needed their advice.

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September 14, 2013

This Week’s Readings

This week’s readings covers the past two weeks. The Autumn run of society publications is starting to trickle in.

The Virginia Genealogical Society Newsletter, August 2013, Vol. 32, No. 4.
The lead article of this quarter’s VGS newsletter caught my eye right off the bat. In “What Genealogical Publications Have You Missed?” Eric G. Grundset discusses the decline of “paper announcements” of genealogical publications, such as book-length transcriptions, and the impact this has on researchers. In the third paragraph, Grundset discusses print-on-demand publishing:

Many authors using this type of service do not expect to make money on their publications, and their personal expenses behind the actual book production are fairly small. In addition, because of the lack of an actual print-run, books that are available from on-demand publishers are only sent for review if the author orders extra copies to send to the review media. Consequently, most authors do not do this because of the added costs, and genealogists do not learn through book reviews in journals or newsletters that such on-demand books are available for purchase.

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August 30, 2013

The Unordinary

Michael John Neill recently discussed Accurately Searching for my Ordinary Ancestors. A couple of his remarks were really spot-on, including this one:

The search for those records can take a lifetime, even in the era of the internet. It’s not just about the search for some obscure document that makes a connection or finding as much material as possible. Genealogy is not the accumulation of capital. It is about stitching documents together, fleshing out the unwritten clues in the records, and weaving the written and the unwritten together into a story that is based upon sound research, sound methodology and yet is engaging to the reader. The difficulty for those who strive to accurately document their heritage is that many of those who lived their lives outside the bright glow of fame do not always leave the amount of records that makes telling their story easy.

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August 29, 2013

Editors Edit

We’re in the beginning stages of production for the second issue of The Appalachiana, the quarterly newsletter of the Southern Appalachians Genealogical Association (SAGA). I already have two articles for the upcoming issue, one of which is ready for print. The other is undergoing revisions based on editorial suggestions. When I finished marking up the draft, I thought, as I always do, that the author would be pretty ticked at all the red ink. Fortunately, I’m dealing with an experienced author who understands the editorial process.

The way I see it, my editorial hat contains several tricks, including maintaining a consistent style across the entire publication, finding holes in the article that need to be filled, and, above all, helping the author take a so-so or good article and make it really great. The main objective is to have a newsletter that readers will find useful and interesting. The best way to do that is to have well-written articles, and to achieve that goal, I must pull out my red pen and edit.

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August 28, 2013

Two Upcoming Programs at the Gainesville Branch, Hall County (GA) Public Library

On Friday, 13 September 2013, Hall County Public Library will host Sitting Up with the Dead beginning at noon. The library closes to the public at 5:00 p.m., and no one will be admitted to the program after 6:00 p.m. Researchers will have the opportunity to explore the Sybil Wood McRay Genealogy and Local History Collection all night long with library staff members and fellow researchers. Program details come with the warning that the event is not for beginners or the faint of heart. The cost is $12 per registrant, which includes a boxed dinner, beverages, and a snack. Registration forms are available on the Hall County Public Library web site. Fees and the registration form must be received by Monday, 9 September for all participants.

On Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 6:30 p.m., the Hall County Public Library will host Basic Building Blocks of Genealogy for “first time” genealogists. For more information, call (770) 532-3311 ext. 116.

Both events will be held at the downtown Gainesville branch of the Hall County Public Library system.

August 24, 2013

Who Was Margaret E. Carpenter, First Wife of Henry Harrison Dills?

I have many, many recent ancestors from Macon County, North Carolina, and because those ancestors tended to live near one another, there’s a lot of overlap between families. Henry Harrison Dills and his wife, Henrietta Rosette Nichols, are cases in point. H. H. was an elder brother of my ancestor Samuel Marion Dills; both were sons of Henry and Susan (Stratton) (Furr) Dills. Henrietta was the daughter of Wesley and Susan (Nichols) Nichols, and the niece of my ancestress, Amy (Nichols) Ledford.

I’ve been working on H. H. and Henrietta’s family, and while doing so, I retrieved the records of H. H.’s first marriage. Fortunately, there are three different records for this marriage: the marriage bond, the marriage license, and the minister’s return, all part of Macon County’s loose marriage records as held by the North Carolina State Archives in Raleigh.

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August 23, 2013

This Week’s Readings

Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (Thorndike, Maine: Center Point Large Print, 2012).
There’s too much going on around here for any serious reading, but I managed to finish this book earlier in the week. I learned quite a bit about the current research into personality traits like introversion and extroversion, including their physiological bases. Quiet didn’t change my life; I’m not melodramatic enough to assert that, but it did give me quite a great deal to ponder. This is especially true in regards to my own son, who is more outgoing than I am and not nearly as shy, but still an introvert.

If you are an introvert, or if you live or work with one, then please take the time to read Quiet.

Association of Professional Genealogists, Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly, Vol. XXVIII, No. 2, June 2013.
My copy of the June issue of the APGD came in a couple of weeks ago, but I didn’t have time to do anything more than skim through it until yesterday. I was particularly interested in “A Peek Under the Umbrella: Life as a Professional Genealogist,” a collection of articles written by several top-notch professional genealogists, including practitioners with advanced degrees and/or credentials. Each discussed different aspects of being or becoming a professional genealogist, from the pre-Internet days of research, to the necessity for diversifying one’s skills, to the impact of credentialing on one’s career, and a few things in between.

I also noted the overwhelming number of new APG members, which took up about a page and a quarter. From discussions I’ve had with other genealogists, I gather that this is only one sign of the number of people who are surging into the profession. Only time will tell if this is a positive development for the field.

August 18, 2013

A Sunday Walk Around the Blogs

Archives.com’s Expert Series includes several noteworthy recent additions:

The History Blog shares a German officer’s photo record of World War I, a collection of photographs taken by Walter Koessler, who later immigrated to the United States.

The National Archives is holding a free virtual genealogy fair! Thanks to Angela Packer McGhie at Adventures in Genealogy Education for getting the word out.