RELEASE DATE: DECEMBER 6, 2015



KINSEARCHING

by

Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825
kinsearching@gmail.com
 

     Technology has aided in the advancement of genealogical research in recent years by making census records readily available on the internet. Having easy access to the population schedules online, however, can have its drawbacks. A researcher, for example, can type in the name and place on the census where a specific ancestor resided and the information instantaneously appears. But, due to the ease of obtaining the data, a researcher may also overlook or not be aware of valuable details elsewhere on the schedules that can furnish crucial clues for further research. In other words, a genealogist may focus only on the “snapshot” of a specific family or individual on a census sheet and ignore the “mural” of neighboring friends and relatives, which would help place the family in context. Because of this omission, they may not fully understand how people fit into the community at large. Excellent examples of why “snapshots” are not enough abound in the new publication, SHENANDOAH COUNTY, VIRGINIA, A STUDY OF THE 1860 CENSUS, COMPREHENSIVE EVERY-NAME INDEX, VOLUME 11, the final installment of the series by Marvin J. Vann and Paul D. Stoneburner.

     Deciphered and presented as a companion piece to the 1860 Shenandoah County, Virginia, population schedule, the first ten volumes reproduce data taken from the original census. As expected, the information includes the names, ages, race, and sex of each person in a household as well as occupation and value of property. Often the authors also supplied supplementary details about many individuals. In this final volume, the authors continue that practice by including material, such as instructions to the marshals conducting the polling, biographical sketches of known Shenandoah County soldiers and likely combatants killed during the Civil War, a list of deaths organized by the military unit in which the Shenandoah soldier was serving when he died, a list and brief sketch of free blacks and slave owners, and several pages of corrections to data in the previous volumes. The authors also offer analyses of census statistics, such as age distribution, occupants per dwelling, and slave owners.

     Volume 11 is especially notable since it contains a comprehensive, every-name index to the entire 1860 Shenandoah County census. Another valuable feature that can pertain to other resources, too, is a list of surname synonyms. Since Germans make up a large portion of the county’s population, knowledge of how surnames can vary in spelling and pronunciation is essential. A few examples are FARBER/FABER/FAUBER/FAUVER/FAWVER, GRAF/GRAFF/GROF/GROFF/GROS/GROVE, GRAVES/GRAVE/GESS/GRESS/GUESS, HAMAKER/HAYMAKER, HELLER/HOLLAR/HOLLER, and HAAN/HAHN/HANN/HAUGHN/HAUN/HAUNS/HUAN.

     Vann and Stoneburner are to be commended for all the hard work and extra research that went into compiling SHENANDOAH COUNTY, VIRGINIA, A STUDY OF THE 1860 CENSUS, COMPREHENSIVE EVERY-NAME INDEX, VOLUME 11. The publication provides a worthy conclusion to the series.

     The 506-page book has attractive soft covers of an unusual color, a foreword, maps, charts, illustrations, errata, two epilogues, and a full name index specific to the volume. It costs $40.00. To the price of the book, buyers should add the cost for shipping charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $7.00 for one book and $2.50 for each additional book. The volume may be purchased by check, money order, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express from Heritage Books, Inc., 5810 Ruatan Street, Berwyn Heights, Maryland 20740. For phone orders, call toll free 1-800-876-6103; fax 410-558-6574; e-mail  Orders@HeritageBooks.com ; website  www.HeritageBooks.com ).


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