Saturday, January 26, 2013

Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection

One of my FAVORITE  Colorado on-line research sites is the digitized Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection (CHNC) There are over 500,000 digitized pages from 163 newspapers, primarily between the years 1859-1923. 

Some of the Central Colorado newspapers I've used are the Buena Vista Herald, Buena Vista Democrat, Colorado Democrat and the Colorado Republican (both Buena Vista), Fairplay Flume, Herald Democrat (Leadville), and Saguache Chronicle. The Rocky Mountain News, Denver Tribune, and the Colorado Weekly Chieftan (Pueblo) have also been beneficial. 

CHNC offers several ways to search the collection. 

BROWSE: You may browse a newspaper by selecting a newspaper and a date from the drop-down menus.

Click on the desired date to view the newspaper:

Click on the article you want to read to view it in a separate window. 

SEARCH: Using the search option, you can search for a name or a place in one newspaper or the entire collection.

Type a name in the "search for" box. To use a first name and last name, click on the AND button between the names. If you use the AND option, It will bring up all of the first and last names, not specific to the combination. Click on the name of the newspaper you wish to search or click on the box beneath the list to "Search in all Publications." Click on "Go" in the top right corner.

Click on the article and it will open up in a new window.

The articles in this post are related to Ernest Christison, my great-great-uncle. He was among the prisoners who broke out of jail in January 1884. And Roy Christison, the unfortunate lad who broke his leg, was his son. 

Newspapers are being added to the collection. I discovered the article about Roy today when I noticed new Buena Vista papers had been added since the last time I researched. 


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Pikes Peak and Mt. Princeton

I have a mountain. In my opinion, everyone should have a mountain. My mountain happens to be Pikes Peak. It's the first thing I look at in the morning. Is it clear? Is it cloudy? In the winter, it is covered in its resplendent winter coat, kissed with the rosy hue of sunrise.

My mountain is there, standing steadfast and strong whether I am having a good day or a bad day. It grounds me, centers me. Reminds me of God and his infinite wisdom and strength.

I like to believe my great-great-grandmother, Elizabeth Christison also had a mountain. For many of her central Colorado years, Mt. Princeton would have been the mountain in her view. Did she look at it first thing in the morning to see what the weather would be for the day?

Mt. Princeton is Steve Garufi's mountain and he has a website for pictures of it. He featured my photograph of Mt. Princeton in the header of Colorado Reflections - the mountain framed by low, hanging clouds and trees with new spring leaves - this week on his website,  Be sure to visit the website and enjoy the beautiful pictures of Mt. Princeton.

Do you have a mountain? I'd love to hear about it.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Creating Space and Energy to Write

Today is the first day of my new journey. I worked my final hours at the Elbert Public Library last night. I have been a librarian for six years and I loved it! I loved helping patrons find just the right book to read, answering questions, and giving advice and teaching how to do genealogical and historical research. 

Why did I leave a job I loved? Simple answer - it is time. Time to focus on writing the historical fiction book based on my great-great-uncle's cattle rustling story. It is the time to be available to do more genealogical and historical presentations. It is the time to write new songs and perform. And it is the right time to leap into wholehearted living. 

"Creating space and energy to write" is a comment Women Writing the West member Dawn Wink left for me on Facebook after reading my plans. How fitting! Yes, I am creating space and energy to write the book of my heart and share the story. 

Today I sit in my writing space and write. I am surrounded by photos from my son and daughter-in-law's wedding, a photo of my daughter and son with their shotguns, pictures of John Wayne,  vase bought on our 25th wedding anniversary trip to Arizona, a walnut bowl turned by my father, "boot hill" salt and pepper shakers from Jane Kirkpatrick, an oil painting of Bob Womack that connects my husband's family to my Women Writing the West friend, Linda Womack.  

The guitar and mandolin wait to be picked up and played. Words and melodies waiting to be woven together.  

This is my space and this is my time. 

It also seemed to be the right time to give Colorado Reflections a makeover. Please explore the pages at the top to learn more about my new adventures. I am thankful for my supportive husband, John,  who is joining me on this journey, particularly in our new music ventures.

Thank you, my friends, for your support and encouragement. I wouldn't be who I am without you! 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Organizing Historical and Genealogical Research

This is all of the research for the book I am writing, with the exception of maps. Notebooks are the backbone of my organizational system. I started out by keeping everything in one notebook, but when the newspaper articles filled the notebook I divided it into two notebooks.

The Newspaper Notebook on the right contains copies of newspaper articles gleaned from hours of staring at the microfilm reader at the Salida Regional Library and at home from the Digitized Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection. Each article is placed in a page protector and arranged in chronological order.

I also have a computer database sorted by date, name, place, event and source. Each article and court event is documented in the database.

The Biographical Notebook contains photographs and genealogical information on all of the people involved in the story. This includes my great-great-uncle, his partner who was lynched, the widow, the cattlemen behind the lynching, the judges, and the lawyers. Census records, land records, cattle brands, obituaries, anything that could be used to glean more information is included in this notebook and organized alphabetically by name.

Because the story involves more than twelve court cases, trying to make sense of the records and organize them was key. I discovered legal-size expanding wallet files in various colors and began using them. I gave each county a color. In the upper-left corner, I wrote the county and the court (county or district) and the case numbers included in the file. The name of the case is in the center - The People vs. Ernest Christison et. al. In the upper-right corner, a short description of the documents in the file helps me locate important documents.

Inside the court case files, I typed up a brief for each case that includes the date, the type of document or court action, and where the copy of the document can be found. Some of the documents are in the research notebook and not in the file.

Notes and other information that didn't necessarily belong in the categories of one of the notebooks are now contained in a clear plastic box. Also early drafts of some chapters are here.

Finally, I have a purple Research Notebook that has the photo of my great-great-uncle Ernest Christison on the front. This is the notebook I take with me when I do research. It is divided into sections.
  • Section 1 is a bibliography of every book, manuscript and court case I've researched.
  • Section 2 contains addresses of archives, museums, and libraries along with operating hours, phone numbers, and a map of how to get there.
  • Section 3 is a print-out of the events from my historical research database.
  • Section 4 contains a page for each research repository and what information I am looking for there. Sometimes I can find information on-line through card catalogs or databases that give me an idea of what to search for there. This also keeps me from looking again for information I've already attempted to find.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Genealogy and Writing Be-Attitudes for 2013

Fireworks on Pikes Peak January 1, 2013
On January 1, 2010, I wrote these "non-resolutions" for the type of genealogist I wanted to be. When I looked at them today, I realized they are exactly who I want to be in 2013 as a genealogist and writer.   
  • Be curious and see where the next computer click, phone call, e-mail, turn in the road will take me.
  • Be courageous and follow up on what I find. Make the phone call, set the date, make the drive, meet new people.
  • Be faithful and stay on track. Write the book, do the research, enter the data.
  • Be true to myself. Write the way I write, research the way I research, and don't compare myself to others. 
  • Be open to new opportunities, new people, new ideas. 
  • Be courteous to others and respect their stories. Remember that the pioneers I research and write about have family today who may not know the whole story and who have their own family stories.