Which Document Carries More Weight?

11 March 2014
The heirs of Sam Snodgrass are locked in a court battle for oil rights to the land he left at his death in 1929. Each line accuses the other of ...

Using Wiggle Words (Qualifiers):

10 March 2014
Within sound historical studies, statements about dates, events, identities, places, relationships, and similar matters are frequently prefaced by qualifiers. However, adding a cautionary word, without an explanation, is a cop out. ...

Slashes (Virgules) & Dates

9 March 2014
In common usage, we often see slashes (virgules) used in dates—e.g., 1/5/1777 or 1 March 1747/48. Like many punctuation marks, this one is covered by rules that seem nit-picky until we learn the rationales behind them.

Citing Person-based Files

8 March 2014
Many archives have card files or record files that are arranged by personal name. Because these materials are "loose items," citations to them differ significantly from citations to bound manuscript volumes. ...

Records of the Founders

7 March 2014
Papers of America's "founding fathers" are widely scattered across governmental and university archives. For three of the best online collections try ...

Court Files in 'Burned' Counties

6 March 2014
Last Thursday's tip pointed out the difference between "record copies" held in local government offices and the "true originals" originally cached in packets in the court clerk's office. In counties with record destruction, one court practice provides some replacements. ...

Editions vs. Printings:

5 March 2014
Worthwhile books of a reference nature tend to go through multiple editions and many printings. What's the difference? ...

Laws, Laws & More Laws!

4 March 2014
Do you know the difference between case law, statutory law, and slip laws? Do you know why each is cited differently? Do you know why all this matters to historical research?

Hint: The answers can be found among EE's 200 or so sample pages at

Historical Writing: Establishing a Point of Time on the Verb-Tense Timeline

2 March 2014
For most of us, classroom conjugation of verbs ranked right up there with diagramming sentences as the biggest yawner of grammar classes. The result still haunts us. What we didn’t learn then—or have forgotten since—can make it difficult for others to understand our writing. Here’s a quick tutorial of the type you won’t get from a grammar teacher.