Follow Friday: Historic Pathways by Elizabeth Shown Mills

It is Follow Friday! This is a blogging meme in which authors recommend other blogs, websites, repositories, or anything else. In keeping with the theme of this blog, I will spotlight different resources for professional and aspiring professional genealogists each week: not only genealogy-related, but also others of interest.

About a month ago, I recommended that my readers visit and explore the websites of other professional genealogists. This week, I would like to introduce the new website from one of the most innovative and prolific genealogists, Elizabeth Shown Mills. Just this week, she launched her own website at

According to her biography on the site,

Elizabeth Shown Mills is a historical writer who has spent her life studying Southern culture and the relationships between people—emotional as well as genetic. Published widely by academic and popular presses, she edited a national-level scholarly journal for sixteen years, taught for thirteen years at a National Archives-based institute on archival records and, for twenty-five years, has headed a university-based program in advanced research methodology.

A popular lecturer and past president of both the American Society of Genealogists and the Board for Certification of Genealogists, Elizabeth is the author, editor, and translator of 13 books and over 500 articles in the fields of genealogy, history, literature, and sociology. She has delivered over 1,000 lectures internationally, has appeared on radio and TV talk shows on three continents, and was featured on BBC’s 20th and 30th anniversary specials on the novel Roots.

Many genealogists own and regularly consult Ms. Mills’s work, especially her two books on evidence analysis and source citation, Evidence! Citation and Analysis for the Family Historian and Evidence Explained. The bulk of this new website contains more of her writing from historical and genealogical magazines and journals, including quite a few case studies and articles on methodological issues. There are also one or two chapters that she had written for books. Each one of these is a “must-read” for serious genealogists. I even found a few from various periodicals that I had not already tracked down myself.

Though not new to me, I would like to recommend the two extremely interesting articles published about Alex Haley’s Roots, originally from the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography and the National Genealogical Society Quarterly in 1981 and 1984, respectively. If you are familiar with the book and/or the movie, these two articles discuss the issues with the book from a historical and genealogical perspective.

She also includes several articles about the cross-over between historical and genealogical research, a subject that I am especially interested in, and several case studies involving enslaved families, another subject that is near and dear to my heart.

And of course, Ms. Mills also provides templates for citing each of the articles contained on the site, in the familiar “Source List,” “First Reference Note,” and “Subsequent Reference Note” formats. (I just pray that she does not want me to go back and add all three formats to my blog posts. For now, I will stick with the “First Reference Note” format.)

Visit Historic Pathways by Elizabeth Shown Mills for a real education in how the best genealogists in the country conduct their research.

If you would like to cite this post: Michael Hait, “Follow Friday: Historic Pathways by Elizabeth Shown Mills,” Planting the Seeds: Genealogy as a Profession blog, posted 16 Dec 2011 ( : accessed [access date]).

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