Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Proven Genealogy Research Strategies

At the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in Little Rock, I tried really hard to attend presentations in every time slot, but there were times when there were two or three presentations in some time slots that I wanted to attend.

This was the case on Thursday afternoon, when I had to choose between going to the Ancestry.com briefing for genealogy bloggers, John Colletta's "Stories that Instruct: Using Case Studies to Teach Genealogy Methodology," David Rencher's "Proven Research Strategies that Transcend Geopolitical boundaires," and Thomas Jones's "Models for Proving Parentage." I chose to attend the Ancestry.com briefing, and reported on it in Day 2 at the FGS Conference - Post 2. But I know that I missed these three excellent presentations that I wanted to attend.

Thank goodness for the syllabus material, which was available online before the conference, and provided on CDROM at the conference, to registered attendees. I printed off the syllabus material for these three presentations (and others) last week and took them with me on my trip to Santa Cruz - I read them at the airport and on the airplane.

By far, the most useful presentation that I missed was David Rencher's, which was the Helen Leary Lecture sponsored by the BCG Education Fund. David's handout was four pages of very helpful information, which summarized much of Helen F.M. Leary's book North Carolina Research: Genealogy and Local History, 2nd Edition, Raleigh, N.C., North Carolina Genealogical Society, 1996.

In this presentation, Rencher summarized research strategies for genealogists - and noted that "When followed, these principles will produce the desired outcomes a higher percentage of times than the Attention Deficit (ADD) approaches many of us believe we don't practice." OUCH - that hurt! He presented strategies for a sound beginning, family sources, vital records, census records, land records, tax records, wills and burned counties.

These recommended strategies are timeless, and do not depend on online databases or microforms - they do require researchers to find resources wherever they may be - in attics, vertical files, book shelves, courthouse boxes, etc.

David's conclusion says:

"Whether or not you have North Carolina ancestral research, you should consider owning a copy of North Carolina Research or locating a copy in your local library or possible purchasing a copy for the library. Studying the strategy sections with a focus on your area of interest will likely illuminate a number of ways you can improve the results of your research and achieve your desired research objectives."

Have you read this book? Does it sound helpful? It does to me! I'm convinced - I found that it is available through www.Amazon.com (although expensive). I also checked www.WorldCat.org and found that there is a copy at the Carlsbad City Library. It sure sounds to me that my Chula Vista Genealogical Society needs to buy this book for the collection at the Chula Vista Library!


Lori Thornton said...

Helen's book is worth its weight in gold. You can order a copy from North Carolina Genealogical Society at http://www.ncgenealogy.org/

bjs said...

Randy, It's a super book. I use the methodology all the time. And when I don't use it, I wish I had because it keeps me from spinning my wheels. Get a copy of your own. You won't regret it.

You can also buy it directly from the North Carolina Genealogical Society, I think, as well as CDs of Helen's lectures -- which are all worth listening to again and again.

Miriam Robbins said...

Thanks for letting me know about this book, Randy. My hubby has lots of North Carolina lines, and I just discovered that this title is in the genealogical collection held by EWGS at my local library!