The July-August 2003 issue of Ancestry magazine contained an excellent article by Robert S. Davis on “Research in the Deep South.” The author’s premise is that Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi, “on the way to becoming the states of today, made such different histories that these six states only sometimes share a common past.” To support his assertion, Mr. Davis has written an essay on each state of the region that summarizes that state’s genealogical characteristics and dispels myths along the way.
We recently featured a number of scarce German passenger list books compiled by the late genealogist Clifford Neal Smith from rich but obscure sources. Mr. Smith derived many of his passenger records from “buried” secondary works–including historical monographs written in German–books that even the conscientious genealogist was unlikely to discover.
Chapter 16 in Professional Genealogy. A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians, edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills, covers the topic of Note-Taking. Entitled “Transcripts and Abstracts,” and written by Mary McCampbell Bell, this chapter offers rock-solid guidance on the taking of genealogical notes. It’s sorely needed by every researcher—professional or not—because everyone takes research notes. To quote Ms. Bell:
“Reliable research, reliable conclusions, reliable reports, and reliable publications all rest on one foundation: skill at note taking . . . This chapter focuses upon the two most essential note-taking skills: transcribing and abstracting. Both require familiarity with the mechanics of editing words. Both require us to understand the records we use and the boilerplate we find in them. For abstracts, we must also be able to distinguish between crucial details and excess verbiage. Toward that end, this chapter reviews note-taking principles and presentation styles. Examples from a variety of legal documents demonstrate how to transcribe and abstract—with step-by-step illustrations of how an abstract evolves.”
An expert on 19th-century emigration from Germany, Clifford Neal Smith was keenly aware that a large percentage of German passenger lists (for the port of Bremen in particular) had perished during World War II. Intent upon making the surviving records available to researchers, he set himself the task of transcribing and publishing passenger records from “hidden” sources. Smith derived many of his passenger records from “buried” secondary works–including historical monographs written in German–books that even the conscientious genealogist was unlikely to discover. Smith compiled scores of books consisting of obscure German (and to a lesser extent English and French) ships’ passenger lists. The records found in his books CANNOT BE FOUND in any other publication: not in print, nor in electronic format.
The “Guide to Quebec Catholic Parishes and Published Parish Marriage Records,” consists of county-by-county lists of parishes within the Province of Quebec. All known Catholic parishes are listed to 1900. Each list gives the names of all the parishes within that county, arranged in order of formation, with the date of the oldest records for that parish. A reference letter and name after the parish indicate the compiler and publisher of a marriage register for that parish, or whether the marriages for that parish may be found in the important Loiselles Marriage Index.
Image credit: Ascension of Our Lord Catholic Parish, Westmount, Montreal, via Wikimedia Commons.