Publisher of Quality Genealogy Materials
Volume 9, Number 1 Mountain Press, P.O. Box 400, Signal Mountain, Tennessee 37377, 1-423-886-6369 January 18, 2017
Publisher's Notes In this article we discuss taking time in the New Year to go over research and decide where to focus your attention this year. It is so important to set back and look at all your notes because you may be able to piece something togeher that you had not thought of before. We wish you the best in the coming year!
James L. Douthat
HAPPY NEW YEAR I’m sure you have heard Happy New Year many times in the last couple of weeks. The New Year, like a new sun rise, can mean many things to many people. For me, it is a time to stop my research and take a break to review all that I did last year and decide where to focus my efforts in the coming year. I advise all my genealogy buddies to take a few days and just pull out all of those notes, scrapes of paper/envelopes on which we jotted down a name or date or location, and even those napkins you wrote on during lunch with Cousin Joe.
Take the note you wrote that your Great Uncle Lou suffered from mustard gas most of his later life. Is that important at this time? Have you checked the military records for men in the World War 1? This was the time mustard gas was used on the men in the trenches. Looking into these records might become a dud or a eureka moment. If it is a dud, then throw it away and move to the next note. Take each piece and give them about one minute of time. Decide whether it needs more research or is it useless and then head to the next note.
If you are like me, you have a huge pile of these scrapes of paper and notes so this is not an act of futility. There just might be something in there that will lead you down the path to success in getting the information you need for your family tree. They all must be checked out and verified, however.
In going through the census records for various time periods and various persons, do you have pages like me of the extra persons that did not match at the time? You should have more information now than you did at the time you found the information. Do any of the other names found in the original census meet the needs of your family tree? Do you find a spouse hidden in the neighbors on the census? If you do, you are lucky. You found the young lady living four doors down that married your ancestor. Check out her family, especially in the will books to verify that she was the same “Sally Jones” that married your Jonathan Kiffer. Remember you did not have her full name when you first went through the census records.
Don’t forget to dig out those boxes of old photographs. Your grandmother kept all of them for years as they were important to her. You just have to discover the “why” with additional research. Perhaps you have gotten some new photographs that have been identified from Uncle Jim or Cousin Louise. Use these to go back and identify others. I was lucky with the photographs since I started so young in the process that many of these folks were still alive when I could ask the “why” question. I do have boxes and boxes of photographs and in going through them just last week, I found a photo of my father when he was just a baby with his parents. I had never seen it before or at least I did not remember seeing it before. It was such a treasure to find since I have only a very few of my Grandfather and Grandmother together and only about that many more with him by himself. He died while I was just about a year old and I never really knew him. so it was important to me.
If you have been researching for a long time, the process has changed quite a bit since you jotted down all of those notes. We do not have to travel to all those court houses to find the records. Many of them are right there in your local library. Many libraries now have access to some of the major genealogy websites available for their patrons free or at a reasonable charge. Also many libraries have access to the e-book connections where many of the older classic volumes are online and you can access them right there, if they do not have a copy of the shelves. This is a boon to the researcher especially when the original has been misplaced or even defaced. I have been ask on several occasion to bring a copy of a particular book to our local library so they can copy pages that have been cut from their copies of the books. One in particular, someone tore out about 150 pages from a local genealogy book. This volume was vital to hundreds of families in the area and so now, you have to request the book from the back room and staff all but stand guard over your reading of it.
If your local library does not avail themselves of this research material, maybe it is time to enlist the help of the any local societies, either historical or genealogical, to make this a project to help the local library. Most libraries want to be of service to the public, but funds have been cut so badly they are able to just keep the light on in many towns. In the long run, you are the winner. Make this New Year count in every way possible. Decide where you need to focus your research in the coming year and hopefully you will find some more missing pieces of your family puzzle.
McKenzie's Fighting Fifth - CD
Includes five volumes detailing the Fifth Tennessee Cavalry Regiment of the Confederate States of America. It is over 1,200 pages of information for this Regiment.
Special Presidential Pardons - CD
Includes over 15,000 Confederate soldiers that had to ask the President for general amnesty since they were excluded after the end of Civil War.
Early Georgia Records - CD
Includes 1840 Georgia Census Index and the early Colonial Georgia Marriages from 1760-1810.
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