Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Midwestern genealogy in New England Ancestors

New England Ancestors is to the New England Historic and Genealogical Register as the NGS Magazine is to the National Genealogical Society Quarterly -- more popular, less formal and scholarly. NEA and NGSM have less prestige but wider appeal and more flexibility. This quarter NEA is featuring western New York (an important and complicated feeder to the Midwest among other things), but two articles touch immediately on our area of focus:

The regular feature "Diaries at NEHGS," by archivist/editor Robert Shaw, excerpts and puts in contxt the diaries of Diadema (Bourn) Swift (1812-1888), who after enduring her husband's long absences on whaling voyages, after his death emigrated to Benton County, Indiana, and then to Des Moines, Iowa, in hopes that her sons would not follow the sea.

Jim Boulden takes on a difficult task in "Betting on Land in Missouri: A Family Story" -- chronicling his Ely and Hyde ancestors' rarely investigated pioneering of Marion, Alexandria, and St. Francisville in northeastern Missouri (just across the Mississippi River from Illinois). Previous family genealogists ignored failure and defeat, and it can be difficult to research when the records were lost with the enterprise. But a family history that is all good news is unfaithful to the reality of our ancestors' lives.

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