Friday, June 17, 2011

Developing a 4-Pronged Research Plan

I am a planner by nature so developing a research plan was top on my “to do” list when I decided to move ahead with the Herstory, Stories of the Women of East Haddam through the Centuries series. This is something I suggest anyone starting a big project take the time to do. Relying on my journalistic background I saw a research plan as basic who, what, where and when.

The 4 points of my research plan were facilities, organizations, reference books and the Internet. Today I will talk about the facilities that have resources available to me.

For researching local family histories and women in history, you have to start with libraries and   historical societies that have family/local histories and genealogies in their collections. For instance, my series of books is about the women of East Haddam, CT. That does not mean my research will be restricted to East Haddam. Especially when you are talking about the seventeenth century, I have to cast a wider net than that. Especially considering I am writing about the female unsung heroes that no one has written about or in most cases paid any attention to in print.

I put together a list of the top 10 resource facilities I would want to visit.
Rathbun Library History Room  (
East Haddam Historical Society
Haddam Historical Society (
Godfrey Memorial Library (
Middlesex County Historical Society (
The Connecticut Historical Society (
Connecticut Society of Genealogists (
Hartford Public Library History Room (
Connecticut State Library and Archives (
Meriden Public Library History Room (

Each of them has materials that pertain to the settlers of East Haddam. Names like Cone, Hungerford, Brainerd, Lord, Chapman, Gates, Olmstead and Spencer to name just a few.

The next step was to make a list of telephone numbers, addresses and contact person for each place. Then I was ready to start making appointments. It is always a good idea to call and make an appointment so the individuals you will be meeting with have an idea of what information you are seeking.
My plan was to start close to home at the Rathbun Library History Room. Rathbun has such extensive local history records that I could just hole up there for months. I will detail my experiences at each of these resources in later posts.

Next post, I will talk about some of the organizations I have joined, and why that is important.

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