Thursday, August 16, 2012

Professional Work: 96 Deeds, 204 Years

If a picture is worth a thousand words, the second article in the June NGS Quarterly (free with National Genealogical Society membership) is the longest article the journal has ever published. With 21 maps in 18 pages, it's the most visual genealogy argument I've ever seen in print.

The article is a collaboration between the late Birdie Monk Holsclaw, CG, and her literary executor (and NYGBR editor) Karen Mauer Green, CG. It is a fine memorial in itself and one can only hope that there might be more.

George Hachenberger (d. 1830) of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, married Anna Maria Hollinger, but the name is not distinctive enough in that time and place to identify her parents. Anna Maria was identified by tracing the land her husband was reported to own on neighbors' deeds, which in the process revealed much more genealogical information.

To make the case, 96 deeds involving neighboring properties were winnowed down to ten. Each of those ten purchases is portrayed in an individual map and then fitted in to the neighborhood on a second map. But the most hair-raising phrase in the entire article is the statement that the ten deeds required to make the case were recorded between 1766 and . . . 1980.

One moral of the story (the authors give seven): you can't do brick wall research in Pennsylvania and other state-land states unless you're prepared to plat metes-and-bounds deeds.

Karen Mauer Green and Birdie Monk Holsclaw, "'Beginning at a Black Oak...': Hachenberger Evidence from a Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Neighborhood Reconstruction," National Genealogical Society Quarterly 100 (June 2012): 105-22.

Harold Henderson, "Professional Work: 96 Deeds, 204 Years," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 16 August 2012 ( : accessed [access date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]

1 comment:

Cathi at Stone House Research said...

This was an amazing article. Definitely will be a classic.