Friday, September 2, 2011

I'm almost ready now to go research!

In How do I catch up to 13 years of genealogy sloth? I lamented that I had fallen behind in keeping track of the genealogy and family history resources that I have in my possession, and knowing what resources were available to seek out for my ancestral families.

Please understand that much of my "research" is really finding what has already been published, hopefully by competent researchers.  My "real research" uses that information as a starting point, and tries to find original source records to verify the information, and to find new information (especially probate, land, tax, and other records not available in online databases).  I tend to rely on "authoritative" and "reliable" sources for ancestral families (e.g., The Great Migration Begins, Mayflower Families), especially those in the early colonial time period and before.  There are not enough years to check all of the records available in New England and England personally! 

Two weeks ago, I set a goal to get my "Source Reference Lists" in order, and to update my "Books and Journals to Review List."  I finished those today.  I took these steps:

1)  Went through my piles of "to-be-filed" papers and entered the source on my Source Reference Lists. 

2)  Used Martin Hollick's book, New Englanders in the 1600s, to add content for my colonial New England families and most of my colonial New Jersey families.  Martin's book indexes published genealogical research from 1980 to 2005 for New England families, and is invaluable!  I added items to my "Books to Review: list, noting author, title, and volume/page numbers.  I did the same thing for periodicals, separating them into three categories - the New England Historic Genealogical Register, The American Genealogist, and all other periodicals. 

3)  Edited and printed the lists, and put them in my master research notebook.  They are also in a file on my flash drive and my laptop, which is going to the Midwest with me.

What I don't have is a complete listing of resources by family before 1980 or since 2005.  Oh well, I only had two weeks! 

I don't have listings of resources for non-New England locations for my surnames either, but nearly all of my ancestral families, and brick walls, are in New England, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 

I am going to check PERSI (the Periodical Source Index) for my brick wall surnames (well, not Smith...) and for many of my localities outside of New England and see what is available.

The primary research repository on this trip is the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where I plan to be on Monday, 12 September.  I only planned for one day, so I'm going to go for the "low hanging fruit" of the periodicals that I cannot easily access here in San Diego, and the recently published books that I find to be authoritative and well-sourced.

At the Watertown, Wisconsin Library and the Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, Community Library, I'm going to search for local newspapers in the 1840 to 1870 time period that might have information about my Devier J. Lanphear Smith and the Samuel Vaux family.  I'm particularly interested in Devier's marriage in 1861 and his name official change in 1866.  Perhaps there will be leads there about his birth parents.  Or not.

At the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison, I will ask about the court records for Devier's name change in 1866, look for "vertical files" for my Smith, Vaux and Seaver families, and search local newspapers for information about my wife's Norwegian families, plus cemetery transcriptions and information about the towns they settled in (Cottage Grove and Deerfield.  I only have one day here, so I will do a survey first and then search the most promising leads.

Then we will visit the towns where the Leland/Natvig homesteads were located, and visit the churches and cemeteries that they worshipped in and are buried in.  I need to look for local historical societies also, if they exist.

Finally, we'll visit Old World Wisconsin in Eagle, Wisconsin where the Ranslow Smith Four-Mile Inn has been relocated and refurbished in their living history collection.  Ranslow Smith was the adoptive father of Devier J. Smith.  Devier grew up in this Inn, and ran the livery stable when he was a young man.  I hope that they have the stable at OWW! 

I'm almost ready to go!  Blogging may be light...


kinfolknews said...

Congratulations on your accomplishment, Randy!! Enjoy your research outings!!


RBrass189 said...

Sounds like you have everything planned out. Hope your research turns up some interesting things. September weather is usually pretty good here in Wisconsin, so you should have a great time.