Today’s Tip: Do not overlook Academic journals as a source of some excellent genealogical information.
While it is often easy to assume that the major companies are scooping up all the genealogical information that is available, that is simply not the case. There are millions and millions of records …. that are not a part of their system. Many are esoteric enough that they show up dozens of pages deep in a search. Some are parts of paid subscription sites, so some search engines don’t find them at all.
Just recently I decided to approach a search from a different angle. Rather than just try and find the person in the usual suspects ….. like Keyser Soze … whoops, no not THOSE Usual Suspects, I mean Census forms, immigration papers, draft registrations, city directories, and the like.
I moved off my center focus and aimed a bit outside the bull’s eye. I searched on the subject matter that related to the individual in my search. WOW, was I ever pleased with the outcomes!
First, I found a journal written in a partnership of two Canadian Universities. While it was a bear to get a copy of the article (especially since the citation I found it under was erroneous), it turned out to be the single best article I have ever read on the subject! So not only did I get the information, some new leads, and ideas, but I got a terrific education.
The I found a second reference in the Journal of American Ethnic History, which is published by the Immigration and Ethnic Studies Society. This, too, was an awesome find! Plus it lead me to a new resource that I had been unaware of before reading this article. So it was a two’fer. I got a great article full of excellent information and I got a lead on a new source, author Riis, who studied immigration in New York in the 1890’s. Oh wait …. now that I think about it, actually it was a three’fer! I also found out, with some additional digging that the author was still in the States, I gave him a call and we have been corresponding since.
So …. while those traditional online services are wonderful and excellent ….. don’t sell yourself short and ignore the Mother Lode that can be found for your genealogy work in academic journals!
Onward To Our Past,