Friday, June 7, 2013

You just have to be there

At the end of the day, genealogy is still about local knowledge. Most records are not on line. Most are not even microfilmed. Just as the best fertilizer for a garden is the gardener's footsteps, the best genealogy comes from being where your research targets lived and where their records are now (not necessarily the same place!).

Last week I had the good fortune to visit Warren County in western Indiana. Their historical society in Williamsport -- open only by appointment -- has indexed local newspaper clippings in binders beginning in 1864. They have obituaries indexed through 1950 and after 1969. Three volumes of complete cemetery inscriptions were completed in 1989, with a master index. Most of this material is not on line (some newspaper transcriptions, somewhat searchable, are in the Williamsport-Washington County Public Library's history database). Nor is it on film or in the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center. You just have to be there.

Harold Henderson, "You just have to be there," Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog, posted 7 June 2013 ( : accessed [access date]). [Please feel free to link to the specific post if you prefer.] 

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