Book: The Cloning of Solomon Hays - A Beginner's Guide to Genealogy by Deborah Collincategories: Book, Genealogy Guide, Beginning Genealogy, Family History, Navigating Primary Records, Family History Primer, Organizing Genealogy Folders, The Oral Tradition, Tri-State Tornado, John Quincy Downs, Solomon Hays, William Swiney, Genealogy
Deborah Collinabout this book: When my grandfather died in 1995, I suddenly realized that he had taken a good part of our family history with him. I set out to salvage what I could, armed only with a few names and a handful of facts, appalled by how skimpy our family tree seemed to be. Online genealogy was still in its infancy, and piecing together the remnants of his past was a trial by ordeal. I vowed to recover our heritage, and gradually acquired the necessary skills that made that goal attainable.
It was a hard-fought process -- harder than it should have been. Had I known then what I know now, our tree would have been tall, wide, and leafed out years ago. There's a method to the madness, and the skills are easily learned. It's all in knowing how.
As I waded through the primary records, the census extractions, and the endless stream of photocopied wills and land entries, the subjects of my research began to emerge as living people. As I read through the letters, the court transcripts, and the estate inventories, I caught a glimpse of their hearts and minds. They were no longer "ancestors;" they were "family." I knew these people. I knew what they thought, what they cared about, and who they loved.
"The Cloning of Solomon Hays: A Beginner's Guide to Genealogy" is my way of leaving a path of breadcrumbs for others to follow. It covers everything from how to organize your files to preserving your family heirlooms, including the most precious of all, the oral tradition.
As a society, we have advanced in so many ways, and our lives are richer for it. But we have lost something in the process. So many of us don't really know who we are. Finding our place on our own family tree goes a long way toward bridging the gap between the past and the future.
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