Friday, June 14, 2013

Tour the Pacific of 200 years ago in the April NYGBR

I shouldn't have been surprised -- but I was when I opened the April 2013 New York Genealogical and Biographical Record and found myself plunged into a series of trading voyages around and across the Pacific Ocean in the early 1800s, in the first installment of Edward E. Steele's lead article on Capt. William J. Pigot. Pigot and his family were New Yorkers all right, but he at least did not stay put. Steele combined a great story with great genealogy detective work to make sure the right story was being told about the right people.

(Those who read Steele's article will understand why this is the first genealogy article I ever read that brought to mind John Updike's early story, "The Blessed Man of Boston, My Grandmother's Thimble, and Fanning Island," in Pigeon Feathers; now also in The New Yorker's subscriber-only online archive for 13 January 1962.)

More conventionally, I was pleased to find a crop of Midwesterners in the first installment of George R. Nye's account of the Preserved Fish Deuel family, with locations including Minnesota (Cottonwood, Faribault, McLeod, Brown, and Ramsey counties), Illinois (Lake County), Wisconsin (Waushara, Marquette, and Green Lake counties), and Iowa (Wright, Kossuth, and Osceola counties).

It's not a slam on the article to say that I enjoyed the footnotes just as much. As the author notes, the article "demonstrates the types of sources and analysis that can be used to document a family" even when vital records are few and far between. Among the alternatives employed were the hybrid township-military records created by many New York town clerks during the Civil War, documenting not only the service but genealogically relevant facts about soldiers from their area.

East-central Ohio (Coshocton, Licking, and Fairfield counties) also was a landing place for one descendant of the Pine-Pettit-Dorlon connection documented in the concluding part of Robert J. Meyers' account.

Edward E. Steele, "William J. Pigot, Captain of the Forester," New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, vol. 144, no. 2 (April 2013), 85-100.

George R. Nye, "Children and Grandchildren of Preserved Fish7 Deuel of Cambridge and Massena, New York," New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, vol. 144, no. 2 (April 2013), 123-39.

Robert J. Meyers, "A Pine-Pettit-Dorlon Connection: Untangling the Family of Elias D. Pine (1793-1866) of Hempstead, Long Island, New York (concluded)," New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, vol. 144, no. 2 (April 2013), 140-54.

Harold Henderson, "Tour the Pacific of 200 years ago in the April NYGBR," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 10 June 2013 ( : accessed [access date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.]  

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