I’ve been thinking lately about why I take the time to write and publish Digging History Magazine every month.  Yes, I have subscribers and thus I must write!  I also want to continue writing (which entails a lot of digging and a lot of work!) because I’m finding it’s not only a good discipline, it makes me a better researcher for clients who hire me to find their ancestors.

Case in point:  The July issue included an extensively researched article about a long-forgotten event in early American history, the so-called Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.  I stumbled upon this document and its premise while conducting ancestry research for a client about a year ago.  I made a mental note — that would make a great article!  Little did I know just how beneficial it would be.  While conducting a short research project for a client this past week I was studying a Revolutionary War record, a list of soldiers who were members of the North Carolina Rangers.

In addition to spotting a possible ancestor of the client’s, I observed a couple of other surnames which just might lead to clues as well.  I recognized the surnames of Davidson and Brevard, two names prominent in Mecklenburg County and surrounding areas during the Revolutionary War — not to mention a possible association with the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence.  Other researchers had placed my client’s ancestor farther west in Buncombe County, which by the way wasn’t organized until 1791.  Many trees on Ancestry.com have perpetuated this for so long that I now consider it a brick wall which needs to be bulldozed in order to find another path to discovering the real story.

For those who think ancestry research is easy because they can just copy from other trees on Ancestry.com (or any number of other sites), think again.  Genealogical research is not for the faint of heart and it should never rely on the “research” of others unless they have provided adequate (and credible) sources.  In the case of my client, his distant cousin seemed to be guessing at best, or had copied (and thus perpetuated) a research myth about this potential ancestor.  Based on studying the Revolutionary War record I already have alternative theories for finding the real story — theories which I have formulated based in part on researching and writing the article about Mecklenburg.

And, you know what?  I hope those who take the time to read Digging History Magazine become better researchers as well, or even just more informed about history and how our world has been influenced (good and bad) by the people and events we write about each month.  Are you a subscriber?  No?  Would you like to try an issue before deciding?

Receiving a free issue is easy.  Just go to the magazine site and scroll to the bottom of any page and find the “Subscribe to the Blog via Email” box.  Type your email and subscribe and a free issue will soon be on its way to your inbox!  Subscriptions are easy to purchase and available in varying lengths depending on your budget:  month-to-month, 3-month, 6-month and one year.  One year subscriptions are a better deal when using the discount code “2OFFSUM18” at checkout.  This discount code expires on August 31, 2018.  NOTE:  If you read this article after that date, contact us for another code — always happy to welcome more subscribers on board via special discounts!


Sharon Hall, Publisher and Editor, Digging History Magazine


  1. This is one of my favourite magazines. I know how hard research is. I started with a death notice/obituary off of the door of a church in Charte France my grandfather gave me while I was in college. He wrote down what he remembered and I started from that for my father’s side and basically the stories my grandmother told me and named my mother’s brother had. It was pretty accurate as he did the footwork as it was pre computer and website days. I will not use a tree if there is no historical data showing the basis of his/her tree.
    Your Mecklinburg story was well written (as that is your style) and well based on actual history.
    I am not good at sharing how much I enjoy the magazine and look forward to it. I wish other readers would follow suit. Don’t give up on the lack of responsiveness. You do an awesome job, and I really appreciate your research and the time spent information gathering and writing.
    Virginia is fascinating and full of research too as are other states. I just happen to be in Virginia now.
    I read county histories…so far, every state where I have had a chance to research , generally has a section dedicated to that County, it’s history, and important facts about people. Ripley County, Missouri was astounding and I gathered a ton of inf. If anyone reads this…Look up county records. Never take anything for granted..READ everything you can get your hands on.
    In Virginia, I found many records in the Friends meeting minutes, and a lot of my research has come from “The Valentine Papers” that the Valentine Museum, Richmond,Virginia presented so much Colonial history, a virtual a treasure trove of history is written there, and one can read them on line.
    Shsron, thank you for your writings, advice regarding research and so many other things you have taught us.
    I learn so many interesting and we’ll researched things (including what your biography indexing offers in way of resources)! I read a lot more.
    I do not know if anyone else has this problem, but I is Ancestry.com and love it, but seem to end up with a ton of duplicates which take up valuable that I could be resesrching, instead of merging. I just cannot seem to get a handle on the duplications!!! Any other readers have this problem and is there a so!ution?
    Again, thank you Sharon especially for sharing the proper examples of basic researching.
    Lin Dickerson

    • Thank you Lin for your kind words. I intend to keep researching and writing no matter what! I figure those who don’t read the magazine just don’t know what they are missing 🙂
      Speaking of researching and writing, I best get back to working on the August issue — we’re going to the Klondike!



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