[APG Public List] Background on anywhere at any time...

Kate Foote kate at comm1net.net
Fri Aug 13 14:09:29 MDT 2010

Haven't been following this thread so forgive me if I am repetitious.  

I have found some wonderful information in divorce, guardianship, and church records. Often descriptions of family social structure, finances, and "dysfunction" are spelled out in great detail. Since "Family Courts" did not specifically exist prior to the early 20th century, the records to search are "Circuit Court", as well as probate, of course. Do not be put off because someone died intestate, those estate settlements can be some of the most interesting. Land records will frequently contain provisions for the care of elderly parents (I have seen this pass from sibling, to sibling, to sibling!) And land divisions can be particularly detailed when you have a deceased who was married more than once and there are issue from one or more marriages. 

Church records are valuable not only for birth/christening, marriage, and death; they can relate instances of censure, expulsion, relocation, and even deep discussions re the [acceptability] of individuals for membership, marriage, etc. 

Newspapers should be a given. Even an event that happened in another country could have repercussions on a rural United States community, and the local political and financial news presents a picture of the general parameters of a given society. "Social" news sections can be invaluable in painting the color and depth of community functions and activities. 

It's all out there - the author needs to be wide open to repositories and publications to enrich his, or her, narrative. Good luck!

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Michael Hait 
  To: Ray Beere Johnson II ; APG Posting 
  Sent: Friday, August 13, 2010 11:21 AM
  Subject: Re: [APG Public List] Background on anywhere at any time...

  Another suggestion, if there appears to be a lack of first-hand accounts:

  Estate inventories provide a list of the items that everyday people from all 
  income levels keep in their homes.  Obviously, in any time period no less 
  than today, higher-income families have more "recreational" possessions 
  while lower-income families have just the "necessities."  In-depth 
  examination of estate inventories in the time period in question can create 
  a portrait of exactly what life was like.

  Michael Hait
  michael.hait at hotmail.com

  From: "Ray Beere Johnson II" <raybeere at yahoo.com>
  Sent: Wednesday, August 11, 2010 11:47 PM
  To: "APG Posting" <apgpubliclist at apgen.org>
  Subject: [APG Public List] Background on Darien,Georgia: 1736? - 1760 or 
  Perhaps A Bit Later

  >     This is slightly off topic, but I believe historical accuracy in _any_ 
  > setting serves genealogy well. And there is public relations value in 
  > demonstrating that genealogical research can be helpful in other spheres.
  >     A fellow member of a certain writing site is planning a historical 
  > novel set in Darien, Georgia. She has the dates, facts, names, and so on 
  > that she needs. She is having trouble finding answers to more basic 
  > questions: what did settlers do every day? What was their culture like? 
  > They were often fighting: what was it like to be a soldier in that type of 
  > battle? She wants to _understand_ their lives, but is "either finding 
  > [...] big-picture military facts, or [...] daily life grade school lesson 
  > plans that say 'Colonial life was hard.'"
  >     She would prefer first hand accounts if possible. I've done what I 
  > could, but almost all my research was in New England, and most of the rest 
  > was in New York. If anyone knows of published material, online 
  > transcripts, or anything else that might be useful, and is willing to 
  > help, please send the information to me off list and I'll forward it to 
  > her.
  >                              Ray Beere Johnson II


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