Mary is perplexed. As a family researcher, she has found a derivative source (a newspaper account) that mentions an original court record. But diligent efforts to find the original have been fruitless. How does she report this? she asks, in another forum. As usual, she received a variety of opinions. As usual, there were substantial contradictions between them and some confusion over concepts. Let’s try to iron out a few of them.
Gary Gauthier raises a question every researcher faces again and again. We paraphrase here for brevity: "What do we do when we have already constructed a correctly formatted citation and the site provider disappears—i.e., sells, merges, or goes out of business? ..."
It never fails. When I publish an article or present a case study in an educational forum, curious souls ask the same question—over and again. How long did that research take? The answer often triggers a gasp—or dead silence—followed by ...
The answer often triggers a gasp—or dead silence—followed by, “But if I spend that long on each problem, I’ll never get My Project done!”
So? What is the goal of historical research? ...
Clues from a Processioning List: Part Four
This week we've focused on a critical skill for researchers: Taking research notes that do not simply “extract facts” but permits study of the context of those facts. We challenged you to study a “research note” detailing the 1755 processioning of lands. Yesterday, in response to Glenn's and Scott's comments, we addressed clues to landownership vs. leases. Today we tackle the sequence of names and kinship clues.
Mon, 12/10/2018 - 16:02
Clues from a Processioning List: Part Three
Our past two postings have focused on a critical skill for researchers: Taking research notes that do not simply “extract facts” but also allow us to study the context of those facts. Yesterday, we challenged you to study a research note detailing the 1755 processioning of lands in Augusta Parish, Augusta County, Virginia. Focusing on the long and boring list of names, we asked: What clues ...
Mon, 12/10/2018 - 15:16
Clues from a Processioning List
This week's "Tuesday’s Test" presented a published version of a 1755 vestry minute from Augusta Parish, Virginia. The minute represented a list of lands processioned according to colonial law. That test presented two versions. ... EE asked which version you would create in your own research notes—and asked for the reason why. The point was this: ...
Mon, 12/10/2018 - 12:56
Let’s say that you are just beginning research in Augusta County, Virginia, which was organized in 1745. You are interested in James Frame. You find a record for him abstracted in a wonderful 3-volume set of published Augusta County resources. Which of the two following options best represent your notetaking practices—and why?
A friend of this page has a problem. It’s a common problem. An old history of Spanish East Florida has a tale that everyone accepts as fact. And so he poses a research question: "How can we prove that the wife of Hezekiah Humperdinckle was a Native woman, the daughter of the Creek chief Mad Dog?"
EE user Ann C. Gilchrest is a researcher who understands the value of having one’s work critically dissected by outside eyes. Specifically by someone who is both skilled and frank, as opposed to friends who read lightly and praise us supportively.
Is a Database a Source?
Is a database a source? Of course, of course! As researchers, we can use anything as a source. The issue is whether its information is reliable. Before we can reach a decision about the accuracy of any single source ...
Tue, 11/13/2018 - 20:32