The Family Atlas
a monthly column by Jen Baldwin
Our first visit to the northeast, and we’re stopping in New Hampshire! Home to the first state constitution, the first primary (and in an election year, how can we leave that out?), Robert Frost, President Franklin Pierce, and current best-selling author, Dan Brown. When thinking of New Hampshire, images of amazing fall colors come to mind, towering over historic and quaint covered bridges. The first to bring us a state lottery and the first free public library, Dublin’s Juvenile Library, opening its doors in 1822; it’s also the first state we feature that will begin with Facebook.
Initial research quickly led to the New Hampshire Genealogy Research page on Facebook, a page sponsored by FamilySearch. The list of resources that have been posted to this page is incredible, and is well worth your time. Literally within the first five minutes on the site, the list of available websites and resources discussed was long and varied. The group is a must if you are researching in New Hampshire.
An interesting look at history in New Hampshire is brought to us by Sarah Shea Smith, in her book They Sawed Up A Storm. Telling the story of a group of women who operated a U.S. Forest Service run sawmill after a 1938 hurricane swept the area.
Since the state has one of the longest histories in the U.S., historical societies abound. Make sure to visit Hampton Historical Society, for a look at local Rockingham County resources, including several new books, tours and workshops, and a long list of archived newsletters available to read online. In 220 years, the Westmoreland Park Hill Meeting House & Historical Society has accumulated a lot of information, and their colorful website will allow you the opportunity to explore some of that for yourself. For those working on ancestors to the north, the American-Canadian Genealogical Society may be able to help. The library collection alone will keep you busy for some time; and the society features an online message board, providing a collaboration forum unique to their organization.
There are a handful of blogs that focus on the New Hampshire area, and of a quality that it was hard to choose just one. Instead, here are three: North Country Chronicles, by Marcia Gulesin; Nutfield Genealogy by Heather Rojo; and Epsom History produced by the Epsom Historical Association. Ranging from one end of the state to the other, the blogs cover the foothills of the Northern Presidential mountains; the communities of Londonderry, Derry and Windham; and Epsom. All three provide fascinating and personal stories; images that include historic photographs, maps and current day scenes.
Does content quality come before quantity? In most cases, very much so, and that’s what you will find with the sources available on New Hampshire genealogy. Specifically, the list made available on PublicLibraries.com will certainly impress, allowing one easy way to find local libraries with their own archives. And you certainly cannot afford to overlook the New England Historic Genealogical Society site, American Ancestors. A series of databases to explore awaits you there, and if that doesn’t help, check out their research services also.
New Hampshire may be small in geographic size, but it’s rather large genealogically speaking. Enjoy the journey, and we’ll meet you back at the map next month!
© The Jen Balwin 2012
This article originally appeared in the August 2012 issue of The In-Depth Genealogist. Receive The In-Depth Genealogist free by subscribing HERE.