Genealogy Tip: Go Further, Go Longer
Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed, is always to try just one more time. - Thomas Edison
A handy genealogy research tip used to be [and still is if we're at the library] is to not pick up a book at the library and immediately go to the index in the back of the book to look up our ancestor's name without looking at anything else in the book. We need to understand why and how the book was created. In other words, we need to understand the context of the book and its information.
And this is a great tip when using Google Books, too. Except the book isn't on a shelf. And we're searching it not by its index but by a search box [usually]. And sometimes we don't have access to the whole book, but we do have a book description. [So the same. But not. But similar. Sorta.]
While researching for someone else, I came across a snippet from Google Books that indicated the persons of interest [of whom I had some interest ;) ] were married in Tennessee in 1829 which is before marriages were recorded in Franklin County; a county whose boundaries have changed no less than 13 times since 1807.  [Both of which make a researcher's head spin so fast it gives us whiplash, no?]
Taking a quick look at the information about the book and its contents, gives me another clue. It tells me a lot of good stuff about the information found in the newspapers included in the book. In particular, these newspapers are on microfilm at the Tennessee State Library and Archives. And, at times, the info found in the newspapers, not just what was published in the book, included the bride's and groom's fathers' names as well as their places of residence.  [Hot. Diggity.]
Then a quick look at the Tennessee State Library and Archives website and their online Newspaper Index tells me they, indeed, have this newspaper and issue on microfilm. [Ohmigosh. The book's introduction did not lie.] However, they only loan these films out via Inter Library Loan to Tennessee libraries. [Bummer 'cause I'm in Texas.] But, alas! With some key information provided they do provide a search and copy service for a nominal fee which is even more nominal for those in Tennessee. [And by nominal, I mean just a couple of fancy schmancy coffees or if you're in Tennessee, maybe just one.]
So, I ordered it. And, like magic, there was more information about Joseph H. Bradford and Maria Christina Spyker in the 1829 newspaper. It doesn't tell me who his father was [Perhaps, he had already passed? Maybe? Possibly?], but it does place Joseph's residence in Winchester and reveals Maria's father was Jonathan Spyker and she was Jonathan's "eldest daughter." 3 lines in the book expanded to 4 in the newspaper and brimming with more possibilities and clues to pursue. And an identification of a father to work with.  [Perhaps, a probate record exists for Jonathan and he listed Maria in his will? That would be nice for corroboration.]
But the point is don't give up.
Go further, go longer.
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11/30/2013 05:36:14 am
Caroline...perhaps we need to talk... Your cousin bait is working today. Joseph H. Bradford and Maria Catherine Spyker were my gggrandparents and I have many good multi-generational leads for you. Suzie
11/30/2013 06:09:40 am
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