Using Standard Histories to Find Elusive Relatives
with George Findlen
Many of us have studied only political and military history, both at the K-12 level and later undergraduate level of our education. If we studied history at the graduate level, it was of our occupation with courses like educational history, music history, the history and philosophy of science, and so forth. As a result, when we work on our family’s history we often overlook industrial, regional, and local histories as sources of information about our families. (And this is not to mention the rich resource of social histories, which describe different aspects of how our ancestors lived daily life.)
In this presentation, I will tell the story of Michael Findlen. Living Findlen elders know only that he just left town. Period. Traditional genealogical documents (vital records and census records) helped to track his movements from Maine to British Columbia to Montana to Washington and finally to Alberta. However, state histories, industrial histories, and local histories all proved useful in helping me explain why he moved and pin down exactly when he moved. In one local history, I even found a photo. Without these histories, I'd only have a set of footprints, not a story. Hopefully, Michael's story will inspire listeners to turn to this rich resource more often than before.
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