Sunday, April 10, 2011
The family and I are on our way to the AAPA meetings in Minneapolis, MN. Except for a few minor snags, we made the first leg of our journey from Binghamton, NY to Fremont, OH (on one tank of gas; thank you, Ford Focus). Curious about the general utility of the internet for historical demography and isonymy research, I decided to do a quick Google search using "Fremont, OH" and "history." I also did a search for Sandusky County, Ohio on Rootsweb. Almost immediately, I came up with Sandusky County Geneaology and History, a USGenWeb page run by Maggie Stewart and Bonnie Walsh. Census records were available for 1820, 1830 and 1850. In addition, the page linked to a series of similar USGenWeb pages for the entire state of Ohio, which included similar census data. These sites are largely volunteer efforts made by dedicated online genealogists, which expand and develop over time into large repositories of historical data. Although I cannot readily assess the content of such pages for the entire country, there appears to be a significant groundswell of genealogical websites housing historical data of potential interest to biological anthropologists. Ideally, bioanthropologists interested in isonymy and historical demography should first investigate what's online in their own back yard.