more to fulfill the role of family historian.
Sometimes we can feel the responsibility to help fill the gaps in
history when we get together during holidays or special occasions. We are not able to provide answers to every
question that arises about those who came before us, and the records we find
give place to even more questions. So
where can you turn to learn more? How do
you put your family history into perspective for the upcoming generation?
among local history. You do not have to
feel like you are wandering in the dark alone looking for the pieces of a
forgotten past. Clues await you if you
are clever enough to find them. Once I
opened myself up to local history, my research took on a life of its own. I have never run out of directions to take in
my quest to discover more about my family.
may be drifting along without the valuable resources that could very well
provide the insights you need to the resolve research challenges you face. Are you feeling frustrated?
Joan Dils, “need to set their patch into the wider context or their work just
becomes a collection of facts. The “why” and the “how” are just as
important as the “what” – so if we channel our personal interests and
connections in this direction, we help national historians construct a richer
and more meaningful story of our country.” See Local history helps to
unlock the secrets of our identity.
explore the resources situated in the local areas where my ancestors
lived. It has always been worth my time
and effort to visit the local history department of county libraries just to
learn more about their holdings. Some of
helpful resources I have found include:
- Cemetery books
- Biographies and oral histories
- Newspapers that are only on microfilm
- Church histories
On numerous occasions, I have run into people who knew members
of my family that I never met before.
Most of the time local librarians have a great deal of knowledge about
historical records that exist in their area, how to access them, and what they
contain. Many of these records are not
available online. It’s for this very reason that we created Genealogists.com. That is, to make the world’s records available to everyone regardless of where they are physically located even when the records are not online.
museums helping me to learn about local organizations, events, and people
during different time periods. A couple
of years ago, I visited the Union County Museum (SC) where I offered to do a
presentation on African American genealogy.
I had been researching this area from afar. I spent time there to learn about their
resources. They collect published family
histories, and they have a vertical file on local families. To my great surprise, they gifted me with a
book of oral histories that they knew contained the history of my
ancestors. When it comes to sleuthing,
you need set the sky as your limit. You
never know what or how your discoveries will manifest themselves.
university library just to browse the local history and check out the
manuscript collections. Browse the
bibliographies for the cited sources. You
will be surprised to discover historical records that you have not considered
County Library (SC)
move to the area where my ancestors lived in the mid 1800’s. In addition, I have committed myself to
volunteering in the local history room two hours a week indefinitely. The Lawrence Room at the Greenwood County
Library (SC) is a treasure trove. I have
access to experts who know the history of the area, and the room is full of resources
waiting to be tapped.
- Submit a research request to Genealogsits.com. They have over 350 professional researchers with access to over 700 of the world’s archives.
friends with other people who live and research in an area (the volunteers at
the local family history center).
- Follow repositories on social media (Facebook or
Twitter) to read what they share about local history.
- Search Google
Books, WorldCat, Internet Archive, and Amazon for books on the local history and
families in a specific area. I have actually found ancestor’s names in books
through these places.
- Review the online catalogs of libraries and
archives to learn about special collections.
I was excited to recently discover information on my family
in a periodical among FamilySearch
Books where you can find over 100,000 digitized publications containing a
vast array of local and family history.
The publications open easily in an online reader.
Genie (Louisiana), v.41 Ark-La-Tex Genealogical Association (Shreveport, Louisiana)
will add dimension to your research resulting in a greater understanding about
the life of your ancestor. Your family
will be fascinated by what you will have to share. Who knows?
You may even light the fire of the next generation family historian.
by Robin Foster © 2014, Genealogists.com. All rights reserved