Diamonds in the Rough: Finding and Using Manuscript Collections

Diamonds in the Rough: Finding and Using Manuscript Collections

by Shellee Morehead, PhD, CG

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Diamonds in the Rough: Finding and Using Manuscript Collections

Unique, unpublished materials can be valuable resources for solving those pesky genealogical problems and adding insight and flavor to our family histories. Research is not complete without looking through unusual and one-of-a-kind materials that may be available for the time and place our ancestors lived. Diaries, letters, journals, scrapbooks, and other ephemera can be found in a variety of repositories across the United States. A genealogical society, public or private library, historical society, university, or other entity may have that one piece of paper that illuminates our family’s history. But how can we find it? This lecture describes the types of collections that may be hiding in plain sight and how to access them online and in person. Materials that may be found in manuscript collections include maps, photographs, genealogists’ research notes, unpublished histories, business ledgers, journals, and vertical files. Shellee gives examples of how these materials provide insight into our families’ lives and neighborhoods and provides suggestions on where to find the “diamonds in the rough.”


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Presenter: Shellee Morehead, PhD, CG

Shellee Morehead has a Ph.D. in evolutionary ecology and is an adjunct instructor of Biology at NEIT. She was certified by BCG in 2012, and researches, writes and lectures on family history. Her most recent article is "Thomas Hamilton -- Progenitor of a Colonial American Family: His Ulster Origins revealed using DNA" which appeared in the Directory of Irish Family History Research. Recent speaking events include NGS 2016, The Genealogy Event in New York, the Ukrainian Historical and Education Center in New Jersey, and NERGC 2015 in Providence. She was one of the program Tri-Chairs for NERGC 2015. In 2010, she appeared in an episode of Danish Television's Who Do You Think You Are?


Her specialties include Rhode Island, Italian, and French-Canadian research and genetic genealogy. She is an associate of the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), an active member of the Rhode Island Genealogical Society, American-French Genealogical Society, a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) New England Chapter.

Shellee Morehead, PhD, CG
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