I've been trying to blog since April. My life as teacher is the craziest from May through June. But for some strange reason I'm finding July to be that way too. I've had so many ideas to blog during this time...from reviewing old notes, filing your genealogy, and discovering new sources of information have been themes I've been wanting to share. Here are my thoughts on the three...
Reviewing old notes...I'm a huge fan of reviewing what you have. Sometimes putting something away and forgetting about it will help you look at it with a new perspective. I find that when I prepare to teach a class on genealogy and I pull out an example of something I'd like to share, I see new ideas to research. Often it is as I'm pointing something out to newbies that I think to myself, "Hey I need to check that out!" or "Did I followup on that?" Lots of times these new clues help further my research and in directions that never occurred to me.
Filing...I'm a big fan of archival sleeves. Anything I find on the family I put into archival sleeves and then file it in the notebook. Unfortunately this past year I've had too many finds and (gasp!) didn't file it away. While I spent time on Sunday looking for a single piece of paper I did encourage myself to file my things. As a result my "file pile" is down. I am nearly finished. I find that if I file 10-20 things for one half hour per day, my file pile disappears pretty quickly.
New sources of information...While helping someone recently research Civil War documents, I found myself looking at old law books for the state where I live. Although I'm a transplant to this state, looking and examining old law books here has opened my eyes to new sources of information. Some of the things I have discovered are petitions to the state to help widows and children; (This is great if you know your ancestors were poor and needed financial assistance!) Civil War enlistment/bounty dollars and who they were paid to; (I found that CT has some of them listed in their town records; NJ had some listed in both the law books and assembly books) and rights of way for the railroad and highways. (At first you may not think that is not helpful. But think about the possibilities...are there other papers hidden away at the archives or land records that people signed off on?)
Rethink your genealogy and maybe you, too, will discover something new!