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This is not quite the diary I had intended ... I had intended to write about some of the entertaining gems I've found in genealogies published 100 years or more ago. But I had a hard time narrowing the topic to a manageable coherent open thread-sized diary. It's clear it is going to have to be split up into a couple of diaries devoted to cranky researchers ... the trials and tribulations of people trying to do good research in the days before the internet, home computers, and digital cameras.

Still, that didn't solve the problem of getting this week's diary done ... so I thought I'd share some of the "fun" stuff that really doesn't fit into either of the other diaries I've got going. Join me below the fleur de kos for crankiness about the high cost of research.

We have all spent a fair chunk of cash in our hobby -- and we all complain about it. Photocopy fees, fees for vital records, fees for, search fees, gas for roadtrips, the fancy new scanner, the latest in genealogy programs. Filing cabinets. Faster broadband fees.

But what about the old time researchers ... did you ever wonder what they spent? Some of the old genealogies I've looked at from the late 19th and early 20th century quote extensively from old parish and colonial records, with texts of wills and deeds transcribed, not to mention transcripts of records from England, France, Germany. Surely this would have cost a fair amount of cash.

Willard Goldwaite Bixby was happy to share that information in his 1914 family history:

Yowza -- that is something like $300k in today's dollars!! Now, I have to say that this particular book was a fabulous resource for me ... and includes information my 2g-grandmother sent to the author ... clearing up six little mysteries between 1860 and 1870 (man that was a painful page to read).

Nevertheless,  I've discovered a little tidbit about the author and his business

that was "interesting" but not mentioned in the book. He mentions in the book that he used company letterhead during the research process. o_0  What is the deal with guys named  "Willard" and their casual attitude about money? I hope that the services that were "freely given" were not funded by the cash-strapped from S. M. Bixby & Company.

Well, that is all I have time for today, and so am turning the floor over to the open thread. Due to the great orang satan being blocked at work (no posting on politcal sites), I will only be able to check in for a few minutes via my nook, so much of the mojo updating will need to wait until I get home.

Originally posted to Genealogy and Family History Community on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 09:05 AM PST.

Also republished by J Town.

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