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The Research Plan: Two-step Next Steps?

18 January 2014
We find a document. We analyze it. We create a research plan for what to do next, a plan that’s based on the evidence we gleaned from that document. Standard procedure, yes. But, as with everything, the devil lies in the details—particularly . . .

The Center for Civil War Photography

17 January 2014
“Nearly every Civil War soldier had his photograph taken by one of the more than 5,000 American photographers active at the time.” Really? Five thousand photographers? Nearly every soldier? The Gettysburg-based Center for Civil War Photography is convinced—and determined, as well, to make those photographs easily available to all of us. . . .

Good Cooks Do Tinker with Recipes

16 January 2014
Citation templates are so intimidating. Not to mention: demanding. Include a, b, c, d, e. Use italics here and quotation marks there. But don’t put punctuation between ...

Trusty Friends, Next Friends & Friends Who Are Actually Kinfolk

15 January 2014
We've seen the terms in many civil documents: A man gives power of attorney to "my trusty friend." Or a man appears in court saying he is the "next friend" of a married woman . . .

Document Day: Analyzing Church Records

14 January 2014
Problem: You are tracing a freedman in post-bellum Louisiana, one Louis Bellow. A fellow researcher has sent you the attached image, reporting it to be the marriage record of your person-of-interest. Never mind that the record is in Latin. You can still figure out the basic facts. As you analyze the record, what . . .

A Researcher's Mindset

13 January 2014
As history researchers, we do not speculate. We test. We critically observe and carefully record. Then we weigh the accumulated evidence, analyzing the individual parts as well as the whole, without favoring any theory. Bias, ego, ideology, patronage, prejudice, pride, or shame cannot shape our decisions as we appraise our evidence. To do so is to warp reality and . . .

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