A reminder from this RecordClick genealogist for every genealogy researcher: History is all around us. Our ancestors are intertwined with history.
When the genealogy researcher does a little delving, the history lessons are there and easy to find. When this professional genealogist thinks of history, the National Park Service, the historical societies and the museums and all that they provide quickly come to mind. Old newspapers also give us amazing history resources for the genealogy researcher.
AND this genealogist has another favorite: Historical Markers.
These are the actual plaques or other markers, made sometimes of bronze, steel or stone, that are usually on or by buildings. They may be by the side of the road. They may be at the center of town. They are the instant history lesson that provides names and dates in addition to descriptions of historical events. They mark our history. They mark our events. They mark the information that helps the genealogy researcher fill in ancestors’ history. They are everywhere.
Because I don’t have time to walk and drive everywhere looking for historical markers, I’ve discovered an abundant resource: The Historical Marker Data Base.
The Historical Marker Data Base was developed by publisher J.J. Prats. This resource for the genealogy researcher and its number of online pictures of these important markers has grown from 700 markers to over 67,000 markers since it debuted in 2006.
Historical Markers are to be treasured. They tell stories of famous (and not so famous) events, places and people. They tell national stories and many local ones. They may be a recreational event–even turned into an evening walk.
The oldest Historical Marker listed on The Historical Marker Data Base is about Revolutionary War General Enoch Poor.
This Historical Marker was erected in Hackensack, New Jersey in 1780, the year of General Poor’s death. It is within a few steps or shouting distance of additional markers for: The Huguenots; the Archibald Campbell Family; the Historic First Reformed Church; the Hackensack Soldier and Sailor Memorial; the Bergen County Court House /Bergen County Old Jail and the First Reformed Church. This small area in the northeast is an ancestor history gold mine for the genealogy researcher in New Jersey.
For those genealogists who are doing genealogy research in New Jersey or the genealogy researcher looking into Revolutionary War ancestry, for the family history researcher in Bergen County or the Tri-state region, this wealth of Historical Markers is important.
So now you can see that Historical Markers are a great way to find out a little bit about a geographical area, a historic time period, and some genealogical research— while getting some exercise at the same time!
In The Historical Marker Data Base, topics range from Abolition & Underground to Waterways & Vessels. Historic Markers aren’t unique to the United States. There are Canada’s The Arctic Brotherhood in Dawson City, Yukon Territory, Canada and South Africa’s The Bible, in Grahamstown, East Cape, South Africa.
For the genealogy researcher who can’t travel far and wide, The Historical Marker Data Base brings the markers right to you on your home computer. There are indexes organized by both topic and place. The web site is easy to navigate for any genealogist. It is complete with pictures of the Historical Markers. It takes the user off the beaten, and maybe intended, track.
That is entirely acceptable. It is OK for the genealogy researcher to have a little fun.
As this genealogy researcher is both the child and the parent, I have found Historical Markers to be a nice part of the family history travel experience. Historical Markers have provided many a break in our long drives. They’ve provided a family history researcher trip with a chuckle or two. They were a little lesson on a wall. They were the foundation or a marker in the middle of nowhere. The Historical Marker Data Base brings back memories of all of the travels of this genealogist and the historical information and stories that came along with us.
There were a number of times when, as a teen, I’d roll my eyes and try to hide in the back seat of the car when my parents would dutifully stop at a road side Historical Marker and someone next to a window would read it aloud.
RecordClick’s professional genealogists will look off the beaten path for those great Historical Markers that help fill in your family history. Are you looking for genealogy research ideas? The genealogists for hire at RecordClick will help you develop research strategies.