Monday, September 10, 2012

Reviewing Research from 2002

In 2002 my wife and I made a memorable joint research trip to Pittsburgh in quest of certain of her paternal grandmother's Boren ancestors. We got acquainted with the Historic Pittsburgh web site, the Carnegie library, the Beaver County Genealogy and History Center, and a motel lobby full of bikers. I wrote up a 40-page booklet about the project (minus the bikers) for family members.

How does it look now? Well, the citations are nonstandard, but at least they're there, as are images of original records. I used a variety of records but didn't always suck all the juice out of them. (And this is a problem that requires that.) Judging from what I found in my old files, I also spent a lot of time printing out census images and retrieving unsourced trees from the web. (They may yet come in handy.) So there's some work to re-do, not too much to undo, and a lot more sources to seek out.

The main problem I see now in that booklet is its logic. I wasn't sure where to start. My wife's great-grandfather's grandfather is the last well-documented ancestor, so (as I know now) that would have been the best place to start work. But there is a fairly plausible candidate for HIS grandfather who made a detailed deposition for a Revolutionary War pension in 1839. It was just too tempting, so I tried to work from both ends. Go thou and do not do likewise!

We still don't know if he's for real (he never got the pension, as his service records were not found), and in the meanwhile I have learned that it's not good practice to skip over that intervening generation. Also in the meanwhile more compiled abstracts have been published, more original records are on line, and I have gotten acquainted with a number of knowledgeable genealogists in the left-hand end of the state. Pittsburgh is in our sights once again.

Harold Henderson, "Reviewing Research from 2002," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 10 September 2012 ( : accessed [access date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]

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