Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What do you do when you run out of documents?

A little imagination goes a long way, but...
when it's all said and done, documentation can leave big holes in your family time line!

From the last known record of Isaac and Rhoda alive on October 8, 1850 to the day in September 1853 when the Justice of the Peace ordered the Sheriff to serve notice for Rhoda's parents to appear in Court with their grandchildren, there were one thousand seventy days...

A lot can happen in the life of a family in two years, eleven months and four days...

Unfortunately, none of the New Bern newspapers between those dates have survived. I suppose I could use a similar tactic in locating news reports from neighboring communities using a method valued in New England when tracking westward migration patterns...by drawing concentric circles, graduated in 25 mile increments...I will be able to more closely identify sources of regional news.

Instead of using paper, pencil and a drafting compass, Google Earth works ideally for this purpose. As you can see below, Vector 1 reached only half-way between New Bern and the next largest cities. 

Vector 2, a 50-mile radius from New Bern, included Jacksonville and Greenville; however, neither of these cities had newspapers published within the time period.

Vector 3, 75 miles from New Bern, included the cities of Goldsboro and Rocky Mt. Neither of these proved of any value.

Vector 4, 100 miles from New Bern, nearly reached the cities of Fayetteville and Raleigh. Of all the cities mentioned above, only Raleigh had newspapers published within the time period of 1850-1853.

The North Carolina Star weekly, published tri-weekly, was published between 1808-1856; also, The North Carolina Standard weekly, was published between the years 1834-1861, and the Raleigh Register semi-weekly, 1840-1855, all  originating in Raleigh, NC. 

In time I will try to request microfilm reels via Inter Library Loan; however, scheduling constraints have generally limited me in that area. Purchase might prove a better plan. I had been advised just a couple weeks ago that the North Carolina State Archives will sell duplicate microfilm for $12 per reel.

So, until then, I will go back through my files and histories to see if I can add any more local data to my timeline.

Until then...happy hunting!

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