Research Like a Pro Week 4: Locality Research

A locality guide is an annotated list of records available for a particular region. It might be a state or a county. For this project, I chose to focus on Bourbon County, Kentucky, where my Stoker ancestor married in 1822 and where the other James Stokers also resided.

This part of the research process builds from the prior steps, particularly creating the timeline of known facts. Creating a locality guide guides the next phase (research planning) since record availability influences the research priorities. This phase of the process is a good reminder to research smarter and strategically. 

Locality guides are living documents, constantly being updated. A comprehensive locality guide is built over time, so I limited the time I spend on my locality guide to six hours. I also limited it to 1800-~1850 because that is the time period when the three James Stokers appear to have been simultaneously in Bourbon County. I also concentrated mostly on online sources.

I was grateful to discover there are tax books for all of the years I am interested in, wills are available online, and there may be newspapers available at the Kentucky Historical Society.  

I am using a GoogleDoc template provided through the course. I began using GoogleDocs a few years ago and also use GoogleSheets. I am growing to appreciate the formatting and accessibility of GoogleDocs.

Even though I am eager to start researching, the time spent on the locality guide will help me focus my research plan.

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