“…chasing footnotes” a very useful genealogy research technique

Glancing through an article in a recent issue of East European Genealogist: Journal of the East European Genealogical Society, Volume 18 (Winter 2009): 6-21, the phrase “chasing footnotes” caught my eye.  So I stopped to read an amazing article written by Jay M. Orbik, entitled “‘Forest Guards’  in the Podlasie and Masovia Regions [Poland].”

This is a well researched, thoroughly documented, and illustrated article about a precise and specific occupation–strzelec lasow.

Orbik  describes  his search for the meaning of the phrase and how his discoveries increased his knowledge and his pedigree:

  1. Careful study of Polish gazetteers and map resources for specific places, including Google Maps.  Several maps are reproduced in the article, including both historical and modern coverage,
  2. Local parish registers on microfilm through the Family History Library’s nearby center which he searched, as well as records which he found in government archives in Poland.
  3. Legal responsibilities of government and private officials for the conservation and preservation of the ancients forests–a matter of keen interest on the part of the government even today.
  4. Jurisdictional levels for both government authority and private ownership in this region of Poland.
  5. Definitions in Polish, English, Russian, and Latin–with special nuances and meanings attributed to the specific functions and duties of forest personnel–pages of these. 
  6. Levels of society entitled to supply candidates for these positions and what skills were required by the functions and duties of the job–including benefits and exemptions from taxes, rents, and upkeep of landholdings.
  7. The importance of the footnotes he found in technical and historical materials led to write an article titled “Chasing Down Footnotes from Polish History Books to Find Records in Polish Archives,” East European Genealogist 16 (Summer 2008).

I commend these two articles to you–whether you have Polish ancestry or not–for the model they provide on how to identify, find, and use specific facts about your ancestors to trace them to their origins.  And to extend your pedigree, when vital records are incomplete or non-existant.  Additional documentation can be found at http://www.orbikfamily.com/orbik/strzelec

Your favorite genealogy evidence guru of choice, Arlene Eakle   http://arleneeakle.com

PS  Hang in there–have I collected an arsenal of intriguing genealogy evidence and research examples to share with you.  WOW!

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