The Everton Handybook for Genealogists and its Imitators–Part II

Two principal imitators are:  1.  Ancestry’s Redbook:  American State, County, and Town Sources.  Revised Edition 1992.  Edited by Alice Eichholz; maps by William Dollarhide.   The revised edition corrected some chapters, expanded others, and completely replaced–with new authors–some chapters.  Reviewed in this issue of the Genealogy News Sheet.

2.  Family Tree Resource Book for Genealogists:  The Essential Guide to American County and Town Sources.  2004.  Edited by Sharon DeBartolo Carmack and Erin Nevius.  Described as “the most comprehensive, easy-to-use guide for researching your family history.”  To be reviewed in a subsequent episode.

Each chapter has an author–22 of them.  And the introduction acknowledges the contributions of an additional 156 professional genealogists, state archivists, and their staff members to the overall accuracy of the contents for this revised work.

Thirteen record and resource categories are included in each chapter:  Vital Records, Census Records, Background Sources, Maps, Land Records, Probate Records, Court Records, Tax Records, Cemetery Records, Church Records, Military Records, Periodicals, Newspapers, and Manuscript Collections, Archives, Libraries and Societies.  Special Focus Categories–Immigration, Naturalization, and Ethnic Groups pertinent to the state–consider other important recommendations.

The county-by-county charts include specific dates when record categories begin as well as the date the jurisdiction was created and its parent counties.  There are few website URLs because few counties had websites in 1992.  This is the advantage that the Handybook has–more frequent editions where essential changes can be recorded.

What the Red Book Gives to Your Genealogy

The Red Book provides expanded jurisdictional coverage.  For example, South Carolina includes “counties in districts” and ‘townships and parishes.”  With dates.  With standard county identifications for each district, township, and parish–so you know where to seek the records.

North Carolina includes discontinued counties and references where their             jurisdiction and records are assigned.  There is little direction to us concerning the counties in districts in this state.

Virginia includes a description of the various courts and their jurisdiction with the courthouses where district courts records are deposited.  The county-by-county chart includes independent cities and which counties/cities have suffered record loss.  There is no reference to the work of Mary B. Kegley, F.B. Kegley, or Lewis Summers for Southwestern Virginia.  [see my, post 23 April 2008, “Name Lists for Virginia Frontier.”  I judge most Virginia guides by whether they list these writers.  You can’t research the Virginia Frontier without their early settler lists and marriages.]

Differences in coverage are normal in a work with multiple authors.  Even when they follow the same basic outline with the same record categories.  And all of the chapters are good, useful guides to your county and state of genealogy interest.

What is generally missing in these chapters is a discussion of the unique research challenges you will encounter in these counties and states.  Some authors have anticipated your research needs and what they, themselves in their own research experience, have found significant.  These items they include:  Virginia omits references for Native American backgrounds,  and includes Black Americans.  North Carolina omits the large-scale German populations who settled the back country–some who came through Pennsylvania and Virginia and some who came through South Carolina directly from Europe.  It includes an expanded section on Native Americans.

My recommendation:  Always use the Red Book chapters along with the Handybook chapters for your states of interest.  They complement each other.  Their maps supply different details.  Their county-by-county charts provide supplementary facts.  The record suggestions include annotations that are helpful in determining which to search when.   Your favorite genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS  I have finally read the comments and the links that have come through for past issues of this Genealogy News Sheet.  They are now posted online and some of them are quite provocative.  You might find a review of these past issues relevant to your own thoughts and research objectives.

PPS  As you may recall, my first priority for my time has been to complete the research projects I contracted for before my husband Alma became ill.  And I have made incredible progress.  I still have a few projects to finish, including 2 family histories.

PPSS  Once I finish these outstanding (and outstanding) research assignments, I will begin to publicize my research services more.  Watch this blog for a listing of the research completed, including new projects I have been asked by readers to take on.  I spend 60-80 hours each week doing research for clients.  It is the most rewarding work I do outside of my family.  Each day I awake alert and ready to take on the research where I left it off.  And putting together a family that has been a 20-year puzzle to solve is especially fun!  Many thanks to all of you for your confidence in my research skills.  AE

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