By Diane L. Richard, NCGS Journal Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy New Year everyone! May your genealogical journey in 2018 be bountiful and enjoyable.
I always encourage your submissions to the Journal. In the last issue of Journal Jottings we talked about how you can contribute photos. In this issue, I spotlight a type of contribution that a few of you might consider: a Case Study. These are typically longer pieces focused on a particular genealogical issue (separating out like-named individuals, tracking seemingly unidentifiable parents, finding someone who went missing, using DNA as a tool, and more). Case studies are in-depth explorations. A key aspect of these pieces is that they are well documented and logically presented. Though these contributions tell us a story, they also inform us. Each piece of information presented, whether historical context or genealogical in nature, must be supported by documentation, i.e., a source citation is provided. I mention this because if a case study is submitted with no or few sources, it will be returned with a request for more references (aka sources) to be called out and identified via footnotes. If you are unsure how to create footnotes, please ask.
Additionally, though case studies can be incredibly informative, they can be challenging for most readers (and I include myself in this category). I strongly suggest that you create sidebars to accompany your case study. Sidebars are short and sweet. They graphically draw the readers eye to them and most importantly, they emphasize something you want the reader to walk away with. Sidebars can include relevant historical tidbits, challenges faced, lessons learned, surprising research outcomes, great resources discovered, and more. The key is that if someone just skims the article and reads the sidebar, will they learn something? Additionally, these sidebars can entice the “skimmer” to actually go back and read the case study.
And, don’t forget to send along some images to accompany your case study.
Otherwise, the only requirement is that the case study be related to North Carolinians, either as individuals, a family, or a community.
I have become fascinated by mine records recently. Did you know that North Carolina had a gold rush? Though gold was discovered in 1799 (eventually leading to the creation of the Reed Gold Mine), the boon was really the 1820s until the 1840s when the California Gold Rush shifted interest west. In spite of that shift, mining continued in North Carolina until later in the century. In addition to gold and copper, other precious metals were mined. A future edition of the Journal will explore the records of the Rich Fork Mine, Davidson County, and those employed to mine copper.
Guess what drives my interest in mines? If you guessed their records, you are correct! Besides being a fascinating piece of history, the mining that occurred in North Carolina employed many people who either worked for small local concerns or for larger out-of-state entities who bought land in North Carolina for the purpose of it being mined. Did your ancestor work as a miner or own a small mine?
I would love to include some data in a future journal about those who worked for or owned mines. Knowing what our ancestors did to earn money to put food on the table and a roof over their head is compelling.
I’m not sure if there are many records about mine employees to be found, but let’s take a collective look. If you know of possibly relevant records held by your family or in a repository, or you are willing to check out the holdings of an archive, please do so! Maybe we can find some of these fascinating records to publish in a future issue of the Journal. Or, if you know your ancestor worked in a North Carolina-based mine, please share with us about that individual – a story, a photo, a document, etc.
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Thanks again to all who have helped and to those who will volunteer in the future. It does take a village to create a journal. As always, I can be reached at email@example.com to answer your questions and to receive your submissions and suggestions.
Go Journal Team!
You may also view a printer-friendly pdf version of the January 2018 Journal Jottings.
(Image source: “Mining Matters in North Carolina” from The Weekly Observer, Raleigh, NC, 17 September 1878, Page 2, scanned photocopy from microfilm, State Archives of North Carolina, Public Domain.)