Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Gold Between the Census Returns

We've all heard about "gold fever," mining boom towns, those who made it rich and those who went bust. But who were these miners? In her article, "Gold Between the Census Returns," Judy Rosella Edwards suggests local biographical histories as one resource for identifying those who tried their luck but then returned and took up their lives. By way of example, the article points to just one resource in Livingston County, Illinois that profiles a number of former minders. Local county histories also contain biographical sketches, and even if you ancestor is not profiled, the histories and the sketches mention many other people, as well. The value of these histories is that so many exist, published in earlier time periods when the subjects themselves or someone closely related provided the information. It was from one fo these biographical sketches that we learned from a son's biography that his father came from Ireland to America as an indentured servant in the early 1700s. As the article points out, "While the stories are brief, they probably are not documented anywhere else." Truly, there is gold in these resources.

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