Archive for the ‘Follow Friday’ Category

A case for the Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine

For many genealogical writers, the “top of the food chain” is to be published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.

Other journals carry the same weight in the genealogy world: The Genealogist (published by the American Society of Genealogists) and The American Genealogist (founded by Donald Lines Jacobus, published independently) among them. Most genealogists include the New England Historical and Genealogical Register and the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record in the same category.

Then there is the Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine.

The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine was first published in January 1895 as Publications of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, Volume I, No. 1. This early date of publication makes PGM the third longest-running genealogical journal in continuous publication, after the Register (1847) and the Record (1870).[1]

This first issue contained the following message to members of the Society, from the Committee on Publication—L. Taylor Dickson, P. S. P. Conner, and Thomas Allen Glenn:

The Board of Directors of the Society has long thought it desirable to place before you some part of the valuable papers from time to time received, and which, if bound up in the regular manuscript volumes of our collections, might not be so available or interesting as if published. Lack of sufficient funds for such a purpose has prevented printing until the present month, when the following pages are issued at a trifling cost, and will, if approved, be continued periodically.[2]

The second issue under the same Committee on Publication was released in July 1896; the delay was certainly due to the continued “[l]ack of sufficient funds.” It contained forty-five pages of abstracts of seventeenth-century Philadelphia wills, followed by lists of the Society’s officers and members, and the Third and Fourth Annual Reports.[3]

The last issue of the Publications of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania was released in the Spring of 1947. That last issue is a milestone for several reasons.

Firstly, in a “Statement of Policy Concerning Future Publications,” the Committee on Publications submitted nine recommendations, among them that the title of the journal be changed to Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, and that “lists of tombstone inscriptions, pastoral lists of baptisms, marriages, and burials, and similar data be allotted a much smaller space in future numbers of the Magazine than has been accorded them in the past.”[4]

Secondly, the newly-appointed editor, John Goodwin Herndon, described the new mission of the journal on “The Editor’s Page”:

Readers will notice in the current number two departures from previous practices. . . . The second change which our readers will have noticed is the inclusion herein of certain family studies. . . . We hope that all readers who have interesting and carefully prepared articles ready for publication, which relate to Pennsylvanians or their families, will submit them to the editor, so that out of a rich stock of genealogical manuscripts, a fine choice may be made for inclusion in our new Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine.[5]

It is worth noting that Mr. Herndon was elected to the American Society of Genealogists in 1945.[6] It is also worth noting that one of those first two “family studies” was “The Stauffer–Stouffer (Stover) Family of Pennsylvania,” written by Meredith B. Colket, Jr., M.A., F.A.S.G.[7] On his “Editor’s Page,” Mr. Herndon recited Mr. Colket’s qualifications:

Mr. Colket is the associate editor of The American Genealogist, secretary and Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists, governor of the Mayflower Society in the District of Columbia, member of the Pennsylvania Society of the Order of Founders and Patriots of America, and on the staff of the National Archives, Washington, D. C.[8]

Mr. Colket was also elected the National Genealogical Society’s Genealogy Hall of Fame in 1992, the seventh overall inductee.[9]

Thirdly (and finally), this last issue under the Publications title published an address to the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania at its Fifty-fifth Annual Meeting, held on 3 March 1947. This address—entitled “The American Society of Genealogists”—was delivered by John Goodwin Herndon, Ph.D., F.A.S.G.[10] The many significant passages in this published address included:

  • “The American Society of Genealogists was formed in 1940. From then until now its president has been Dr. Arthur Adams, of Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, known to many in this room. Originally there were twelve Fellows. In 1942, the number was increased to 36. The following year the number was constitutionally fixed at 50. All nominations and elections necessary to complete the membership were filled by the summer of 1944. . . . On 30 March 1946 the Society was incorporated under the laws of the District of Columbia. As stated in its charter, its purposes include ‘the association of genealogists for their pleasure and benefit; the encouragement of genealogical research and the publications of the results; and in general the securing for genealogy recognition as a serious scientific subject of research in the historical and the social fields of learning.'” [page 164]
  • “The two most important committees thus far appointed are those on Publications and on Standards in the Genealogical Profession. . . . The responsibility of the latter is to recommend the steps which it believes should be taken to insure to the employing public a guarantee of the capacity and integrity of a certified genealogist.” [page 166]
  • “I said a few minutes ago that the second part of the Society’s program bears upon the establishment of standards in the genealogical profession. The time has come, I am sure most of you believe, when official or other protection should be extended to the practicing genealogist in the same way as standards are set by the American Bar Association for lawyer’s [sic], the American Medical Association for physicians and surgeons, and so on for other professional men and women. Thus we have certifying boards for accountants, architects, engineers, nurses. . . . Such steps were not taken in order to deny freedom of choice of occupation to individuals but to protect the public from misrepresentation and various corrupt practices.” [pages 167–168]

Here in 1947, we see the first stirrings of the creation of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, which would not be established until 1964.[11] Mr. Herndon even used the term “certified genealogist”!

The next issue, that of October 1948, was the first published under the name Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, Volume XVI. That issue contained research articles from Robert M. Torrence, Howard T. Dimick, John Goodwin Herndon, F.A.S.G., and Meredith B. Colket Jr., F.A.S.G.[12]

Volume XVII in 1949 further upheld the new ideals. The June issue included articles by Lewis D. Cook (elected to the American Society of Genealogists in 1949), Milton Rubincam (a founding trustee of both ASG and BCG, elected to the Genealogy Hall of Fame in 2003), and William J. Hoffman, F.A.S.G. The December issue included articles from George V. Massey II (elected to the American Society of Genealogists in 1950); and Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr., F.A.S.G. (elected to the Genealogy Hall of Fame in 2007), and Lewis D. Cook, F.A.S.G.[13]

The following Volume XVIII (1950–1951) included articles by John G. Herndon, F.A.S.G. and Walter L. Sheppard, Jr., and Lewis D. Cook, in the December 1950 issue; and Rosalie F. Bailey, F.A.S.G. (elected to the Genealogy Hall of Fame in 2010), in the September 1951 issue.[14]

Volume XVIII (1950–1951) was co-edited by John Goodwin Herndon and Lewis D. Cook, both Fellows of the American Society of Genealogists. They continued this relationship through Volume XIX, issue 3 (September 1954), when Lewis D. Cook became the sole editor.

With Volume XXIV (1965–1966) the editorship of the Magazine was taken up by Mrs. Hannah Benner Roach, elected to the American Society of Genealogists in 1961 and the Genealogy Hall of Fame in 2002. She served in this role until 1972.

Other members of the Publications Committee during this era included John Insley Coddington, F. A.S.G.,  and Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr. Mr. Coddington was also a former editor of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and was elected to the Genealogy Hall of Fame in 1997.[15]

Most recently, in 2001, Patricia Law Hatcher, F.A.S.G. (elected to A.S.G. in 2000), served as editor of the Magazine. She was joined by co-editor Aaron Goodwin in 2011, who became the sole (and current) editor the following year when Ms. Hatcher retired.

With such a long and illustrious history of publishing quality genealogical research, I must ask: shouldn’t the Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine be included among the “top tier” of genealogy journals?

For more information on the Magazine, see also Aaron Goodwin, “The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine Now Online,” online reprint, Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania ( : accessed  19 April 2013); originally published in American Ancestors, Spring 2011, 18–22.


Note: Digital images of all issues of the Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine (and the preceding Publications of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania) cited below have been viewed in the Members-Only section of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania website ( : accessed 19 Apr 2013).

[1] New England Historic Genealogical Society, “The New England Historical & Genealogical Register,” American Ancestors ( : accessed 19 Apr 2013). “The Record Online,” New York Genealogical and Biographical Society ( : accessed 19 Apr 2013).

[2] Committee on Publication, “To the Members of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania,” Publications of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania 1 (1895): 5.

[3] Publications of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania 1 (1896), no. 2.

[4] “Statement of Policy Concerning Future Publications,” Publications of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania 15 (Spring 1947): 277.

[5] John Goodwin Herndon (uncredited), “The Editor’s Page,” Publications 15: 278.

[6] “Roll of All Fellows,” The American Society of Genealogists ( : accessed 19 Apr 2013).

[7] Meredith B. Colket, Jr., M.A., F.A.S.G., “The Stauffer–Stouffer (Stover) Family of Pennsylvania,” Publications 15: 216–258.

[8] Herndon, “The Editor’s Page,” Publications 15: 278.

[9] “NGS Genealogy Hall of Fame Members,” National Genealogical Society ( : accessed 19 Apr 2013).

[10] John Goodwin Herndon, Ph.D., F.A.S.G, “The American Society of Genealogists,” Publications 15: 161–169.

[11] Kay Haviland Freilich, CG, “BCG History,” Board for Certification of Genealogists ( : accessed 19 Apr 2013); originally published in OnBoard, Volume 7, Number 1, January 2001.

[12] Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine 16 (1948).

[13] Cook, “Commodore Thomas Truxton, U.S.N., and His Descendants,” Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine 17 (June 1949): 3–32. Rubincam, “The Lure and Value of Genealogy,” PGM 17: 33–44. Hoffman, “Jan Willemsz Boekenoogen: An Early Settler of Germantown,” PGM 17: 45–55. Massey, “The Simpsons of Paxtang and Sunbury, Pennsylvania,” PGM 17 (December 1949): 59–68. Sheppard & Cook, “Harris of Cumberland County, New Jersey,” PGM 17: 79–109.

[14] Herndon, “Wiltbanck–Wiltbank Family of Sussex County, Delaware, and Philadelphia,” PGM 18 (December 1950): 3–72. Sheppard & Cook, “Harris of Cumberland County, New Jersey: Supplementary Notes,” PGM 18: 81–83. Bailey, “The Foos Family of Pennsylvania and Ohio,” PGM 18 (September 1951): 87–114; and “Griffith Families of Eastern Pennsylvania Using the Name Joseph,” PGM 18: 115–117.

[15] “NGS Genealogy Hall of Fame Members,” National Genealogical Society.

If you would like to cite this post:

Michael Hait, CG, “A case for the Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine,”Planting the Seeds: Genealogy as a Profession blog, posted 20 April 2013 ( : accessed [access date]). [Please also feel free to include a hyperlink to the specific article if you are citing this post in an online forum.]


Follow Friday: More on the Genealogy Paradigm Shift

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.

Two weeks ago, I posted “The Genealogy Paradigm Shift: Are bloggers the new ‘experts’?” A valuable discussion has occurred both in the comments on that post–which I would recommend that everyone read–and in posts on other blogs. To say the least, not everyone agreed with my observations, and in fact some people read more into the post than I intended, even somehow coming away with an impression that I disapproved of or somehow blamed the online community that I have spent literally hundreds of unpaid hours working to support and help develop.

This Follow Friday, I would like to point folks to some of these other posts. Almost all of them do provide a constructive discussion of the subjects that I broached:

And last but not least, a post that I feel deserves special mention:

In this post, she promises a few blog posts specifically addressing different topics I had discussed. The first of these posts is “What have you done for me lately?” and discusses genealogical societies. She captures a major concern from the point of view of societies. I recommend that all members of the online community read this post and those that will surely follow.

Happy New Year!

Societies, Communities, and Gatekeepers, oh my!

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]).

Follow Friday: Giveaway of the Day

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.

For those of us with limited resources, some of the more expensive commercial software packages can be too much, especially when they are nice, but not necessary. If only there were a site where one could download and install a fully-featured, registered commercial software application for free.

Wait, there is: Giveaway of the Day offers free downloads of commercial software, each for one day. According to their webpage,

Basically, every day we nominate one software title that will be a Giveaway title of that day. The software is available for download for 24 hours (or more, if agreed by software publisher) and that software is absolutely free. That means – not a trial, not a limited version – but a registered and legal version of the software is completely free for our visitors*.

The software product is presented in its full functionality, without any limitations save for those mentioned in Terms and Conditions.

Each software program is generally available for download for only one day. It must be downloaded and installed during that day. (I learned this the hard way when I downloaded a program I waited until the next day to install it.)

Among the programs that I have downloaded in the past are FusionDesk (which I now use for tracking all of my client projects), project management software, several PowerPoint plug-ins, and a demo recorder. A collage maker, a screen recorder, a PDF printer, and a hard drive cleaner have been offered this past week.

Because of the timeliness required to get these programs, I would recommend that you keep up with the site. Of course you can visit every day, but the site also has an RSS feed and a Facebook application, or you can subscribe to updates by email. I use the RSS feed on my iGoogle page. This way you can be sure not to miss that program you need, on the one day it is offered.

Follow Friday: Professional genealogists websites

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.

Today I will not recommend one site, but many.

If you are a professional genealogist or an aspiring/transitional professional genealogist, you need to have a website. Above and beyond anything else, your website will be your #1 marketing tool. I can honestly say that no less than 90% of the research clients that I have had in my career have spent at least some time on my website. How do I know this? Because their initial email to me comes through the “Contact Me” form on my website.

When you are developing a website, look at the websites of other professional genealogists, especially those with long standing careers. What do you like and what don’t you like? How much information do you want to include on your website?

One of the best ways to see other researchers’ websites is to go look to the membership directory of the Association of Professional Genealogists. The APG website allows you to search for a researcher by name, location, research specialty, or geographic specialty, and many of the entries include links to the members’ professional websites.

Take a look at researchers similar to yourself, that is, those researching in a similar location, research specialty, or geographic specialty. After all, these researchers are your direct competition–though in the genealogical community, there is rarely animosity (and often cooperation) among competitors. All the same, a potential client looking for a researcher is as likely to find their website as yours. How can you make yourself stand out? It all starts with your website.

Below are a few examples of websites belonging to professional genealogists. There are both positive and negative aspects of all of them. Some are better than others. Some have great content, but lack in design. Some have great design, but little content. I am not espousing any of these researchers over any others, and cannot vouch for any of their research skills. Not all of these professionals accept research projects. Not all of them are members of the APG.

Still, take a look:

I had to slip that last one in. 😉

If you are a professional genealogist, please feel free to add your site in the comments (but please no advertising). What do you like most about these or other websites?

Follow Friday/A Friend of Friends Friday: The Dead Librarian

I normally do not mention genealogy-specific blogs in my “Follow Friday” posts. But when I have the opportunity to combine my two favorite Friday blogging memes–Follow Friday and A Friend of Friends Friday–I will make an exception.

This week I would like to highlight the blog of a librarian in South Carolina that I met at the Institute for Genealogical and Historical Research at Samford University in 2010: Debbie Bloom’s Dead Librarian. She was able to attend the Institute that year as awardee of the

The specific reason that I want to bring attention to Debbie’s blog, however, is that she recently discovered how to create blog pages. You can read about this discovery, and the page she has now created, in the post “Dangerous Dead Librarian.”

Specifically, she has created a new page on her blog called, simply, “SC Slave Marriages.” She describes the birth of this page:

Brent Holcomb’s SC Marriages book includes slave and FPOC marriages but those names are not indexed.  A very skilled and devoted librarian (not me!) indexed all those missing names.  Brent Holcomb kindly told us about some other resources he published and the next thing I know is we have a nifty new index with almost 400 names for helping African American genealogists.[1]

What the librarian (not Debbie!) indexed appears as a link to a Google Docs spreadsheet from the “SC Slave Marriages” page. The spreadsheet is not as user-friendly as one might hope, unfortunately. The owner’s names are listed in a single column by first name, or more often by “Mr.,” and are not alphabetized. The spreadsheet is alphabetized by the first name of the groom. This is probably the least helpful way to organize the information. Any children born as a result of these marriages (and therefore probably the route through which one would encounter these ancestors) would have, by law, belonged to the owner of the mother. A spreadsheet alphabetized by the first name of the bride would be more helpful to researchers. It would also be far more helpful to remove the “Mr.” and “Mrs.” titles, and list the owners of both groom and bride surname-first. This would make it far more easy to scan the list for the name of a specific slave owner or slave-owning family. The spreadsheet is also locked, making it impossible for researchers to resort the data by the column of their choice.

Another weakness with both the blog page and the spreadsheet are the poor and incomplete source citations. The blog page cites the sources as follows:

1. SC Marriages by Brent Holcomb
2. Fairforest Presbyterian Church Records: SCMAR Vol. 13
3. First Presbyterian Church records: SCMAR Vol 35, 36

As readers of this blog (as well as my “National African American Genealogy” and “Baltimore Genealogy & History” columns on know–I am a stickler for full, accurate, and consistent source citations. Here are reconstructed citations, based on what little information I have to go on. Details for the “SC Marriages” book are from the catalog of the Library of Congress. What few details could be discerned for the journal articles were taken from Brent H. Holcomb’s webpage for the South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research. Of course the specific details, where unknown below, should be added.

  • Holcomb, Brent H., compiler. South Carolina Marriages, 2 vols. Baltimore : Genealogical Pub. Co., 1980-1981.
  • Holcomb, Brent H., compiler. [article title unknown, but possibly “Marriages Performed by the Rev. A. A. James, Union County (1851-)”]. South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research 13 (1985): [pages unknown].
  • Holcomb, Brent H., compiler. “[article title unknown].” South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research 35 (2007): [pages unknown].
  • Holcomb, Brent H., compiler. “[article title unknown].” South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research 36 (2008): [pages unknown].

Despite these few weaknesses, however, we are still provided with free access to a much-needed resource for information on slave marriages!

Thanks Debbie and the librarian who compiled this index (not Deb), for making this information available! I certainly wish that others would do the same.


[1] Debbie Bloom, “Dangerous Dead Librarian,” The Dead Librarian blog, posted 18 October 2011 ( : accessed 22 Oct 2011).

Follow Friday: Design Woop

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.

I was surprised this past week, that the post with the most views was “21st Century business card designs,” despite having two recent posts on source citations (usually a popular subject) and one about the book Evidence Explained. The uptick in visits came as a result of mentions in two other popular genealogy blogs, ClueWagon and Olive Tree Genealogy. Apparently this is a topic that genealogists find interesting.

With that note, I would like to share another blog about design: Design Woop.

Design Woop generally discusses minimalist design, with popular posts like “18 Best Minimal WordPress Themes” and “20 Minimalist & Typographic Brochure Designs.”

But the blog discusses other aspects of design as well. My favorite ongoing series is the monthly business card design series:

Other interesting recent posts include:

If you are at all interested in design, and how it can affect your business marketing (as well as other aspects of your business), take a look at DesignWoop.

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