Monday, September 21, 2009

Methdology Monday with a reminder about unusual sources

Sally Phillips gave a presentation on "little used sources" at the Northwest Indiana Genealogical Society meeting this weekend, with lots of sprightly examples. Have you used yearbooks? Newspapers for more than just vital records? Censuses for more than just the obvious questions in the population schedule, including the fantastically detailed agricultural schedules for 1850, 1860, 1870, and 1880? Letters, diaries, and journals? Newsletters? City directories? (You may be surprised at how small a place supported the occasional city directory.)

In this vein I also call to mind Paula Stuart Warren's presentation at FGS on school records, of which there are more kinds than you ever dreamed.

With the exception of some digitized newspapers and city directories and letters, these sources are not as easy to locate, and not always as easy to use, as the more familiar ones. But they are worth the trouble. I once encountered an entire page that my grandmother had written about the value of studying mathematics, when she was a young woman teaching it in high school in northern Illinois.

1 comment:

Sheryl Trudgian Jones said...

Thanks for the yearbook idea. I hadn't thought of that before. I have read and published a book called "Lillian's Diaries: Whispers of Galena's Past" and it is amazing how much genealogy info I have found in her 1913-1919 diaries. Not only for myself but for several of my readers - where their great grandmother went on her honeymoon, the verbal announcement of a grandmother of her new little grandson, what a family spent their money one, everyone's medical history, who was the minister of what church and how did he measure up! The diaries have made statistics flesh and blood people. Lillian also had a habit of noting in her diaries when the Galena Gazette published information about family and neighbors, which has made my task easy to look up information in the Gazette as I already have the day and date the article was printed. I am missing diaries 1920-1924 and am always searching for them - they have priceless info in them such as my father's birth, Lillian's sister's wedding, etc. Always thumb through the old books at sales, antique stores, etc. as you never know what ancestors wrote their diaries in for one thing and what info is in them.