The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy by Val D. GreenwoodPresented by Serena Snowfield
Types of Compiled Sources• Family histories and genealogies• Local histories• Compiled lists (dictionaries, directories, etc.)• Biographical works• Genealogical and historical periodicals• Compendium genealogies• Special manuscript collections
Family Histories & Genealogies• Bring together valuable data from many different sources.• Need to verify stated “facts” with primary sources.• Even inferior works might have helpful clues.
Family Histories & GenealogiesKaminkow, Marion J., Genealogies in theLibrary of Congress: A Bibliography WithSupplements and the Complement toGenealogies in the Library of Congress(Genealogical Publishing Co., 2001).Also available as a Google eBookLibrary of Congress Local History &Genealogy Reading Room: TheCollectionshttp://www.loc.gov/rr/genealogy/lhgcoll.html
Local Histories• Include town, county, and regional histories.• Important feature: the biographical section (also called “mug books”).• Can’t find your ancestor? You might find an in-law or descendant instead.• Contain useful information about an area’s history.
Local Histories“No genealogist knows all he shouldabout research in any given areauntil he knows something of thatarea’s history.” Greenwood, p. 187
Local HistoriesFilby, P. William, A Bibliography ofAmerican County Histories (GenealogicalPublishing Co., 1985)Also available as a Google eBook.Library of Congress: Resources for LocalHistory and Genealogy by Statehttp://www.loc.gov/rr/genealogy/bib_guid/states/states_intro.htmlOnline County Histories, Biographies &Indexeshttp://www.genealogybranches.com/countyhistories.html
Compiled Lists• Types include dictionaries, directories, lists, registers, etc.• Compiled from several (usually original) sources.• Considered reliable, though not always complete.
Biographical Works• Found in almost every library.• Usually deal with people who achieved some degree of prominence.• Don’t pass up because your ancestors were “common folks.”• Most of the data are provided by the subjects themselves and are reliable.
Biographical WorksSlocum, Robert B., Biographicaldictionaries and related works: aninternational bibliography of collectivebiographies, bio-bibliographies, collectionsof epitaphs (Detroit : Gale Research Co.,1967, with supplements, and vol. 2, 1986).
Genealogical & HistoricalPeriodicals• Range from scholarly journals to low- budget family publications.• Many are published on a restricted basis.• Don’t overlook “general circulation” magazines that are not genealogical in nature.
Genealogical & HistoricalPeriodicalsPERiodical Source Index (PERSI)Available online at Ancestry.com ($) and Heritage Quest;hard copies in some libraries.Library of Congress – GenealogicalPeriodicals: A Guide for Research :Periodical Indexeshttp://www.loc.gov/rr/genealogy/bib_guid/genperioperi.htmlJacobus, Donald Lines, Index toGenealogical PeriodicalsGenealogical Publishing Co., 2010 – reprint 3 vols
Genealogical & HistoricalPeriodicalsGenealogical Periodical Annual Index(GPAI) – published annually since 1962.Many volumes available for purchase on CD atHeritageBooks.com.
Compendium Genealogies• Usually comprehensive treatises with abstracts of information.• Notoriously inaccurate; data usually not from original sources. “…to compress the lineages contained in thousands of individual family genealogies into a single volume.” Greenwood, p. 196
Special Manuscript Collections• Unpublished materials found in libraries, historical societies, and archives.• Often difficult to locate.• Some are microfilmed.• Search the NUCMC under “genealogy,” as well as surnames of interest, localities, lawyer’s papers (esp. in “burned” counties), military commanding officers’ papers.
Special Manuscript CollectionsLibrary of Congress: National UnionCatalog of Manuscript Collections(NUCMC)http://www.loc.gov/coll/nucmcNUCMC List of Participating Repositories:Fiscal Years 1959-present (replaces thegeographical guide)http://www.loc.gov/coll/nucmc/repositorieslist.htmlDAR Library: Special Collectionshttp://www.dar.org/library/speccol.cfm
Newspapers• Useful source from the geographical area where your ancestor lived.• Did not always report “the facts,” especially older newspapers.• Details are sometimes sketchy.• Current newspapers are helpful for finding living relatives in locations where your ancestors lived.
NewspapersTypes of information to look for: – Obituaries – Birth announcements – Marriage/engagement announcements – Legal/probate notices – Notes of thanks – “Who is visiting” notices – Other news items
NewspapersBrigham, Clarence Saunders, History andbibliography of American newspapers,1690-1820 : including additions andcorrections, 1961 (Archon Books, 1962)Rowells & Ayers American NewspaperDirectory PDFshttp://www.loc.gov/rr/news/news_research_tools/ayersdirectory.htmlGooglehttp://www.google.com
NewspapersChronicling America (26 states)http://chroniclingamerica.loc.govOnline Historical Newspapers (by Miriam J. Robbins)https://sites.google.com/site/onlinenewspapersiteProQuest (connect through some libraries)http://www.proquest.com/en-USGenealogyBankhttp://www.genealogybank.com/gbnkNewspaperArchive (free for SCGS members)http://www.newspaperarchive.com
Limitations of Compiled Sources• Accessibility and availability – limited publication and lack of indexes make items difficult to find.• Reliability – scientific research methods seldom used; clerical errors in copied materials.• Completeness – Compiled without thorough research.• Documentation – Sources missing or from other compiled sources.
Additional ResourcesFamilySearch Wiki: A Checklist ofCompiled Sources & Where to Find Themhttps://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/A_Checklist_of_Compiled_Sources_%26_Where_to_Find_ThemLibrary of Congress: Local History &Genealogy Reading Roomhttp://www.loc.gov/rr/genealogy/WorldCat: The world’s largest network oflibrary content and serviceshttp://www.worldcat.org
Additional ResourcesFamilySearch: Family History Archiveshttp://lib.byu.edu/fhc/index.phpAllen County Public Library GenealogyCenter Cataloghttp://smartcat.acpl.lib.in.us/?skin=genealogyNGS Book Loan Collection at the St. LouisCounty Libraryhttp://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/library_book_loan_collection
Additional ResourcesMeyerink, Kory L., Printed Sources: AGuide to Published Genealogical Records(Ancestry Publishing, 1998).Pfeiffer, Laura Szucs, Hidden Sources:Family History in Unlikely Places (AncestryPublishing, 2000).Google Bookshttp://books.google.com/books
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