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County histories that include biographical sketches can provide a wealth of information; however, caution must be taken. These biographies were generally provided by the subject so any information, especially about their parents or grandparents, may not be accurate especially if the person being interviewed didn’t know the facts. Generally, the location is listed as part of the book’s title. The date of first publication is also needed in order to put a biography in a historical context. Many of the biographical sketches in my files contain data about previous generations within the text of their own story. If I had not been meticulous in extracting data, I could have become quite confused. Below I have provided a biographical sketch and shown my steps for extracting the information.

John Goul Biography

At first glance, this entire piece seems to be related to the subject at the very beginning of the paragraph: John Goul. Let’s take this step by step.

John Goul Biography names highlighted

First, call out each person’s name. In my example above I made each name bold with a different font color. On paper or on in word processing software, you can do this by highlighting or underlining each name. The names within this biography are: John Goul, Christian Goul, Ruth (Lawson) Goul, J.R. Ware, Thomas Lawson, Adam Goul, Elizabeth Leetz, and Susan F. Coffenbarger – a total of eight!

John Goul Biography colored

Then, keeping the paragraph intact, I highlighted the part that pertained to each person. On a portion that was about a person listed before but did not include a name, I entered the name in red bold faced font enclosed in parenthesis.

john goul biography bulleted

Next, I took each highlighted section and made it into a bulleted list for each subject named within that paragraph.

john goul biography bulleted color

Now it’s time to combine each person’s facts together so they aren’t spread out over more than one bulleted list. I did this in the example above. I took all the facts relating to John Goul (subject of the sketch) and combined them into one bulleted list. In areas where the name of person wouldn’t be clear, I added that in red bold italics and underlined it.

Finally, it is time to create an easier to read biography from the facts culled out in the previous examples. The book’s name is The History of Champaign County, Ohio by W.H. Beers & Co.; Chicago; 1881. This is how a restructured biography about John Goul would read:

JOHN GOUL was born in Union Township, Champaign County, Ohio in 1832 the second child of Christian Goul and Ruth Lawson. At the age of two or three, he moved with his parents to Mechanicsburg. He has lived in this township most of the time since then. Mr. Goul was reared as a farmer and remained at his parents’ home assisting with the duties of the farm until adulthood. In 1854 he married Susan F. Coffenbarger. During the Civil War, he was a soldier serving with the 134th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, most of the time on picket duty at the siege of Petersburg, Virginia. His pursuits include farming and stock-dealing, and in politics he is a Republican. J. Goul is a member of the I.O.O.F. and for the last twenty years, a member of the M.E. Church. He has two farms under the best modern improvements. The farm that he lives on is of 150 acres and the other farm, located in Union Township, is 84 acres in size. John Goul’s wife, Susan, is a native of Maryland but has been a resident of Champaign County since she was nine years old. The couple had two sons and three daughters but two of the daughters have died.

Mr. Goul’s father, Christian Goul, was born on September 6, 1804 in Rockbridge County, Virginia to Adam Goul and Elizabeth Leetz. He moved from Virginia to Champaign County with his parents when he was thirteen years old. Christian Goul was a shoemaker by trade and a farmer by occupation and contributed his life’s labors to the development and improvement of Champaign County. C. Goul was married Ruth Lawson in March 1828 by J.R. Ware who officiated their wedding. They celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in March 1878. John Goul’s father, Christian, died on his 75th birthday, September 6, 1879. John had two brothers and four sisters, all off whom are still living.

Mr. Goul’s mother, Ruth Lawson, was the daughter of Thomas Lawson, who came from Pennsylvania to Ohio in an early day and two years following the move, became a pioneer of Champaign County. Mr. Lawson located on the same land where John Goul now lives.

Mr. Goul’s grandfather, Adam Goul, was a native of Germany and came to America in an early day. He and Elizabeth Leetz were married in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During the Revolutionary War, Adam Goul was a teamster. He was a shoemaker by trade and was careful to teach each of his four sons, including Mr. Goul’s father, Christian, the same trade.

Mr. Goul’s grandmother, Elizabeth Leetz, was a native of Germany, just as her husband.

In the next installment, I’ll pick this biography apart even more in order to determine the facts when it comes to research.

 

(In some of the examples, the date of Christian and Ruth Goul’s golden wedding anniversary is listed at 1879 – erroneously – instead of 1878 – that was an error on my part but after creating images, I wasn’t going to go back and fix all the images!)

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This is my submission for the 56th Carnival of Genealogy being hosted by Lori Thornton at Smoky Mountain Family Historian. The topic is 10 essential books in my genealogy library.

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to buy a lot of the books I really should.  Some I’ve checked (& re-checked) out of the local library.  Others I’ve been able to find on Google Books.  So without further ado:

1. The Hollister Family of America.  Compiled by Lafayette Wallace Case M.D.; Chicago, Fergus Printing Company; 1886

2. The Genealogy of the Loveland Family in the United States of America from 1635 to 1892. By J.B. Loveland, Fremont, O., and George Loveland, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; Vol. 1; Freemont, Ohio; I.M. Keeler and Son, printers; 1892.

3. The Risley Family History.  By Edwin H. Risley of Utica, N.Y.; The Grafton Press; Genealogical Publishers; New York; MCMIX; Copyright 1909 by Edwin H. Risley.

4. The Treat Family, A Genealogy of Trott, Tratt and Treat.  By John Harvey Treat, A.M.; Salem, Massachussets; The Salem Press Publishing & Printing Company; The Salem Press; 1893.

5. Genealogy of the Bigelow Family of America.  Gilman Bigelow Howe; Worcester, Mass.; Printed by Charles Hamilton; No. 311 Main Street; 1890.

6. Historical Sketches and Reminisces of Madison County.  John L. Forkner and Byron H. Dyson; Anderson, Ind.; 1897; from the Press of Wilson, Humphreys, & Co., Fourth St., Logansport, Ind.

7. A Genealogical Record of the Descendants of Martin Oberholtzer.  By Rev. A.J. Fretz; Milton, N.J.; Press of the Evergreen News; Milton, N.J.; 1908

8. Marriages of Coshocton County, Ohio, 1811-1930.  Miriam C. Hunter; Compiled from marriage records, Probate Court, Coshocton County, Ohio; Coshocton Public Library, Coshocton, Ohio; 1967.

9. History of Coshocton County, Ohio: Its Past and Present, 1740-1881.  Compiled by N.N. Hill, Jr.; Newark, Ohio; A.A. Graham & Co., Publishers; 1881; Carlon & Hollenbeck, Printers & Binders, Indianapolis, Ind.

10. Historical Collections of Coshocton County Ohio; 1764-1876.  By William E. Hunt; Cincinnati; Robert Clarke & Co., Printers, 1876

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(I’m a day late with this post!)

Lori Thornton at Smokey Mountain Family History asks: What’s your favorite bookstore? Is it an online store or a bricks-and-mortar store? How often do you go book shopping?

I’ve loved all book stores since I was a child.  Most of the books I bought when I was growing up came from the book and magazine area of local stores.  Unless it’s a book I really want to own, I generally try to find something at my local library (I’m all for free!). 

Today I generally go to Borders or Barnes & Noble to purchase books.  I love wandering through our Half Price Bookstore as well looking for new releases for half price.  One of the malls also has a Books-A-Million but I only go there when I have to be at that mall.  Up the road a few blocks in one of the strip shopping centers is a discount book store.  It is privately owned and very small.  Over the 20+ years I’ve lived in the area, the book store has changed hands many times.  One owner had cats that would be curled up at various locations in the store.  They even used to host book signings by local authors.

When Barnes & Noble came to our area, I was fascinated with the concept of a book store having chairs and sofas available for people who just wanted to read.  Excuse me?  I used to get chased out of stores because I was reading the merchandise instead of buying it.  What a great concept!  Instead of deciding on a book because of the back cover, I could read a few pages to see if it was going to hold my interest.  Not only that but there was a coffee shop (most have Starbucks) as part of the atmosphere as well. 

When my husband and I were first married, we spent three hours at a bookstore in Dallas.  It was huge and also had a large “technical book” area which my husband loved.  The store was in a shopping center close to what used to be Prestonwood Mall (now both the mall and the bookstore are out of business). 

For our family going to the book store is a family affair.  Everyone wants a new book.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a separate “library” room so we are always being over run by all the books we buy (another reason we hit the library more often!).  We tend to go book shopping at least once a month, but if I’m out and about and have to be somewhere close to one of the stores I enjoy, I will stop in and browse.

I’ve ordered books from Amazon because they generally aren’t in any of the book stores close to me, but I’d rather ask my local store to order it if they can (to save on shipping).

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I was very excited several months ago when I came across “Google Books” – especially since there are many books that you can see the Full Preview.  If there are any other search engine sites that have this feature – please alert me so I can check them out as well. 

If you type “genealogy” into the search box at Google Books, there are 49,700 hits – some are full books, others are Limited or Snippet previews.  For myself (as an example), I want to see full books so in the box next to the word “showing” – I want to use the scroll down menu to show “Full View Only”.  Then the hits are 12,300.  Still too many to look at.  I’m interested in Indiana Genealogy so I qualify by search terms to “Indiana genealogy”.  That only shows 1 item – not anything I am interested in.  Let’s take the quotes out and see what happens.  Without the quotes it returned 1032 hits.

Try it with surnames that you are researching.  When I research my HOUSE ancestors, I actually have to add a first name or I’ll get a lot of hits having to do with actually houses.  Let’s try “Lazarus House” (my 3rd great-grandfather).  I receive 53 hits with that search term.  Some of them are talking about “the” Lazarus House which seems to be a hospital or clinic.  Others are talking about the Biblical Lazarus’ home.  These hits: “New England Historical and Genealogical Register”, “Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society”, “Genealogy of the Loveland Family”, “Glastenbury for Two Hundred Years” – all mention my ancestor. 

I’ve also tried it with “Madison County History” Indiana, “Brown County” Ohio, and others.  It’s another good research tool to be used.

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