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Analyzing Records to Find Our Answers

26 November 2014
We have a research problem. Records of the right type exists for the time and place. We search them, page by page. No record has the information we seek. What then? We have two choices ...

Editorial Negotiations

23 November 2014
An EE user once described her task that day as: "Editing my editor's edit. I'm sure it has a name, but I don't know what it is." "Editorial negotiations" is a good way to describe it. As researchers and writers, we write what we intend. We think it's clear. The editor disagrees and attempts a rewrite--and we're aghast ...

Punctuation, Schmunctuation: (When) Does It Matter?

20 November 2014
Mark Twain famously feuded with his editors over punctuation. But, of course, eccentricity was his stock-in-trade. Does punctuation really matter to all us common folk who are reporting history rather than creating it? Yes, no, and not necessarily. Let’s consider some options ...

Non-working URLs, Stable URLs, and DOIs

17 November 2014
The online world is still a wooly marketplace of conflicting acquisition and distribution systems. For simple sites, citing the URL will suffice. However, higher-quality content is often available only through suppliers whose sheer size and proprietary systems often complicate our citations and leave users wondering exactly what identification schemes need to be included. ...

The Academic's QuickGuide to Family History

14 November 2014
Academic historians and family historians till the same soil. Yet, all too often, they work in separate worlds with little exposure to or discussions about the standards of each discipline. For academics uncertain of the standards by which genealogical work should be judged, here's a quick tutorial ...

Is That Website Really Reliable?

11 November 2014
No EE reader would ever utter the words "I saw it on the Interweb." But when we find online historical accounts that relate to our subject, are we appropriately critical? Or do we yield to the temptation to use the material, cite the site, and let our readers make their own judgments? At websites, our critical analysis should start with these four questions ...

Loose Language vs. Word Nerds

8 November 2014
Wits and sages across the ages have admonished us to "Say what you mean and mean what you say." It's a wonderful habit to be in. If we think in this groove, it doesn't mean we're a word-nerd. It means we're careful researchers and writers. When we identify our sources, we do need to ...

Wednesday's Words: Anachronisms & Presentism:

5 November 2014
All of us who navigate the world of history have to watch for shoals. Today, we feature two on which well-intentioned researchers too-often founder.: anachronism and presentism. ...

Proving Identity

2 November 2014
The identity of each and every historical person is proved at the intersection of their persona, their relationships, and their origin. How do we find that intersection? ...

Marriages: Handfast, Morganatic & Left-Handed

30 October 2014
When is a marriage not a marriage? Most researchers are well familiar with the term common-law marriage (which did become a marriage, with longevity, in most societies), but historical records yield other delightful terms that can undermine our conclusions if we are not familiar with the practices involved. Today, we examine three of those. ...

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