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Working with sources: Colonial America

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  • Samuel Arnold (1746 - 1829)
    French Capture, 1831 Amount claimed 2,334.30 Schooner Nancy, owned by Samuel and John Arnold, Captain John Jones Congressional Edition Volume 2168, p. 6* Updated from MyHeritage Family Trees by Smart...

Umbrella project: "working with sources"

Types of sources

Family Tradition

  • Family Bible
  • interviews
  • privately published memoirs
  • family trees
  • scrapbooks
  • ...


  • Birth / marriage / death
  • Military
  • Land
  • Wills (probate, inventory of estate)
  • Immigration (ship passenger lists)
  • Naturalization (denization)
  • Tax
  • Census
  • Business (invoices)
  • Correspondence
  • Directories (membership, address, ..)
  • Newspapers


  • tombstones
  • paintings
  • heirlooms (china, silverware, furniture ...)
  • artifacts (archeological evidence)


  • of all of the above
  • photographs


  • your home
  • flea markets
  • private collections
  • Town Libraries:town histories with genealogies; check surrounding towns. For more recent, Yearly Town Reports give birth, marriage, death, land transfers, many


  • Town Histories: Most have a section that gives the terms of settlement to the settlers; denoting their responsibilities to gain full title of the land and establish a Town.
  • Historical Societies (Town and State)
  • museums
  • universities
  • Genealogies (often also found under archives on the Web)
  • internet providers
  • Small map of USA
  • map of railroad routes

regional differences

"Best of Breed" for ...

  • New England
  • MidAtlantic
  • Southern USA
  • Westward migration
  • more recent Immigrants

language, culture and ethnicity differences


  1. Internet Research: Sorting the Good from the Bad