12 March 2012
I love it when genealogical resources arrive in the mail. All work stops for the day so I can check it out. My latest resource which arrived this morning is a belated Christmas gift from my parents. I ordered this from NEHGS before Thanksgiving! The publishing date was pushed back, but I finally got it and it was like Christmas all over.
The "Genealogist's Handbook for New England Research" 5th edition, edited by Michael J. Leclerc and published by New England Historic Genealogical Society is a research guide for those with New England Ancestors. Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont are the states covered in this book. So far, I have ancestors in four of the six states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. I think my afternoon plans have just changed.
The state sections are organized and laid out so it is the same for each state. It starts out with general information about the state followed by: vital records, church records, probate records, land records, court records, military records and other records. There are 'staff picks' included in this section. State repositories are listed next with contact information, including url for their website.
County information follows with great maps that shows the county seat in bold print, and the towns of that county. A statewide map is included showing the county in relation to the state. Further information is given for each probate and land available resources.
Charts for each town provides the reader with information on town name, date incorporated, county, parent town, daughter town, notes, vital records and church records. The parent towns are the towns from which other towns were formed. A separate chart shows extinct towns, the notes section of this chart provides additional information.
The first edition of this handbook was published in 1980. The fact that a fifth edition was published shows the lasting effect of this book. This is my first look at any of the editions and I wasn't disappointed. The soft cover book is organized well, has margin tabs to find sections of the book easier. There is a section on general New England research that starts with Great Migration era research and continues with New England records, genealogical journals, repositories and genealogical societies.
This 418 page book is a handbook of resources available to help you with your research. It is not a book on how to do New England research. Illustrations and historical pictures are found throughout this book.
If you have New England ancestors then this is a book every genealogist will want on their shelf. Enjoy, I know I will.