Indian-White Relations During Colonial Times and Your Genealogy

First the Bibliography

Shannon, Timothy J. Indians and Colonists at the Crossroads of Empire: The Albany Congress of 1754. Published by Cornell University Press and the New York Historical Association, 2000. pp. 268.

Trelease, Allen W. The Indian Affairs in Colonial New York: The Seventeenth Century. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1997. Originally published by Cornell University Press, 1960. pp.379.

Weidensaul, Scott. The First Frontier: The Forgotten History of Struggle, Savagery, and Endurance in Early America.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. pp. 474.

Why a Genealogist Reads a History Book:

  1. Choose a history of the area where your ancestors lived. Read the Introduction, Preface, Footnotes, and Bibliography.  If these are not present, choose a different history! You need these scholarly trappings to know the work you are about to study is authentic. Don’t waste your time on undocumented theories. Your own work will be thorough and filled with FACTS. Facts are true; there are no false facts. You need new indexes, newly recovered sources not used before on your lineage, little-known records whose evidence is applied directly to ancestors which might belong to you.
  2. If you have already started a timeline, create a whole new record: go to and download, as a Word document, the timeline designed by Holly Hansen. You can write on it or, type your data directly as you go. Take note: you are creating a new genealogical record! Include the date the county was organized, the actual date when the county officials were appointed and when they showed up for work—this is the beginning of the records. Note the parent counties, and counties created from that county. Include call numbers for the sources you reference, so your timeline can serve as a research guide for others and for yourself if you have to re-trace your steps at any time.
  3. Find a map. Watch for detailed maps—showing local place names, rivers, and streams, where towns and cities are. After a bit, your files need to include maps for each major time period and each location where your ancestors resided, conducted their business, moved around, and so on.
  4. Look for a periodical that covers the area, the county, the town where your ancestors resided. Most genealogical societies publish a quarterly and a newsletter or a bulletin. And these publications are now appearing online. If you don’t have a library nearby that subscribes, you can get your own subscription so you can access all of the issues that have been published. I prefer to begin with Volume 1, Number 1 and read them all. But, I read whatever issues I can get. Read the articles and documents that apply to the period of time you are looking for your ancestor, whether they mention your ancestor or not. You will learn, in a short time, about the people who settled that place, where they came from, who they came with, when they arrived, and where they went when they left. And you will discover how they are inter-related to each other.

The three works listed in the bibliography above, supply the information and the sources to begin your in-depth study. What you want are answers and where to look for the specific data on your ancestors–this is one of the easiest ways to find these. You don’t have to spend years searching in records that do not apply to what you need. You will have titles, and dates, and places to look. Your favorite New York genealogist, Arlene Eakle

PS Isn’t it about time you begin researching efficiently? What have you got to lose? The Internet is a resource of great utility when you search it realistically.

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