Established Patterns

The Editors’ Corner points out that the December 2012 issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly has a theme, Six Degrees of Separation. Editors Melinde Lutz Byrne, CGSM, and Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CGSM, CGLSM, discuss using established patterns and networks to find not only relationships but also records. Burned courthouse? Remember that attorneys using that courthouse also kept records. Lost vital records books? Remember that midwives, ministers, and gravestone carvers also kept records.

The last issue of the 100th volume is rounded out by contributions from other Board-certified genealogists:

  • Michael Hait, CGSM, “In the Shadow of Rebellions: Maryland Ridgelys in Slavery and Freedom”
  • George Findlen, Ph.D., CGSM, “Resolving Duplicate Roman Catholic Parish Register Entries: French Canadian Examples”
  • Allen R. Peterson, CGSM, “Living on the Edge: A Hyde Family of Cheshire and Derbyshire, England”
  • James W. Petty, AG, CGSM, “Black Slavery Emancipation Research in the Northern States”

Michael blogged about the genesis of his article, which tied as a winner of the 2011 NGS Family History Writing Contest. Read his story here.[1] His co-winner was F. Warren Bittner, CGSM, “Without Land, Occupation, Rights, or Marriage Privilege: The Büttner Family from Bavaria to New York,” published in the previous NGSQ issue.

Records Access

Melinde and Tom remind us that records — including workarounds for missing records — are only part of problem resolution. Access to those records is also critical.

Identifying active nexuses is not enough to complete the workaround. The archivist, descendant, institution, or government that preserves records is the final component. Without repositories in every sense, activities that greater nexuses chronicle might as well never have happened.[2]

Budget issues regarding the Georgia Archives and high-tech solutions to accessibility at the National Archives were highlighted in social media this week.

  • The Records Access and Preservation Committee reminds us that the Georgia Archives is a budget line item and attention from genealogists is still needed on this issue. RPAC wrote directly to Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia about the need to preserve the historical record.[3]
  • David Ferreiro, Archivist of the United States, was interviewed about NARA’s evolving use of digitization. The post and a sequence of short videos can be found here.
  • Pamela Wright, NARA’s Chief Information Officer, appeared at the 2013 Summit: Advancing Citizen Engagement, which was part of Social Media Week 2013. A blog posting NARA’s use of social media to create better records access is available here.

[1] Michael Hait, “Writing the Ridgeleys,” Planting the Seeds, posted 17 Feb 2013; viewed 22 Feb 2013.

[2] Melinde Lutz Byrne and Thomas W. Jones, “Editor’s Corner: Six Degrees of Separation,” National Genealogical Society Quarterly 100 (Dec 2012): 243.

[3] Fred Moss, “Georgia Archives — RPAC Letter to Gov. Deal,” Records Preservation and Access Committee, posted 3 Feb 2013; : viewed 22 Feb 2013. The letter to Gov. Deal, signed by Janet Alpert, the RPAC chair, can be viewed at .