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THE EDITORS’ VIEW

When Barbara Holmes looked at the table of contents of the July 2012 issue of THE RECORD, she didn’t see a family of interest there. However, one article, with “Stonecutter on the Erie Canal” in the title, caught her eye. Her suspected ancestor, John Knowles, was a stonecutter in New York during that period, and she thought by reading the article she might learn something about his occupation and lifestyle, as well as about sources for further research. She learned much more than that.

The article in question presented numerous letters to and from James Snowden, who had immigrated from England in 1832 accompanied by John and William Knowles. Barbara recognized the possibility that James’s companion was her John Knowles. Soon she was collaborating with Ron Hill, author of the original Snowden article, who was able to confirm John as her ancestor as well as add three more generations to her Knowles ancestry. John and William were brothers, sons of Joseph, grandsons of William, and greatgrandsons of George Knowles, all from the same ancestral home in Yorkshire as James Snowden.

Granted, this fortuitous outcome is not common. You might read articles for years without ever stumbling onto your own ancestors. But finding information about our own families is only one of many reasons to read scholarly journals. By studying the documentation, we discover records that offer new opportunities for research. By scrutinizing the authors’ reasoning, we hone our own analytical skills. By dissecting the ways in which conclusions are explained in writing, we find models for our own accounts. By losing ourselves in transcriptions of historical diaries and letters, we explore the times in which our ancestors lived.

In the pages of THE RECORD and other peer-reviewed journals, authors share their knowledge, their findings, their analysis, and their enthusiasm for learning more about people of the past. Even if we are not directly connected to those people, we benefit from reading each issue. Barbara Holmes recognized what the journal had to offer, and she was rewarded beyond her expectations. As her coauthor Ron Hill said, “My hope was that such an introduction would ‘turn on the lights’ for others interested in family history, who might just ‘pick a journal off the shelf’ and take a look.”

The articles in this issue present many opportunities for honing research and analytical skills, but you may discover more than that. Each one mentions friends and neighbors of the target individuals. Wendelin Merk’s diary, in particular, contains information on relatives and friends that could very well break through brick walls for descendants. Yes, you should read THE RECORD for your continuing genealogical education. But if you are lucky enough to stumble onto an ancestor as Ms. Holmes did, we’d like to hear about it.

Laura Murphy DeGrazia, CG, FGBS

Karen Mauer Green, CG, FGBS

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THE NEW YORK
Genealogical and Biographical Record

VOLUME 144 OCTOBER 2013 NUMBER 4

CONTENTS

 
JAN AERTSEN VANDERBILT, HIS CHILDREN, AND GRANDCHILDREN
by by Frederick Doren Stone,  PhD, and Laura M. Stone,  EdD, with Harry Macy Jr.,  FASG,  FGBS .......................... 245
 
WILLIAM AND JOHN KNOWLES, NEW YORK STONECUTTERS: THEIR ANCESTORS AND DESCENDANTS
by Ronald A. Hill, PhD, CG, FASG, and Barbara Holmes ..........................  261
 
THE DIARY OF WENDELIN MERK: EPFENHOFEN, BADEN, TO ROCHESTER, NEW YORK
translated and contributed by Roland Geiger ..........................  273
 
CAPTAIN ROBERT DUNBAR’S MUSTER ROLL FOR 1808, TOWN OF WATERVLIET, ALBANY COUNTY 
contributed by Anita Lustenberger, CG, FGBS ..........................  291
 
THE GERMAN ORIGINS AND ANCESTRY OF MARTIN GÖHLER/GALER OF THE BEEKMAN PATENT AND SCHODACK, NEW YORK
by Thomas Austin Gaylord Jr., Richard Galer, and Craig Galer .......................... 293
 
RECENT LITERATURE ON THE DUNCANSON SISTERS OF NEW NETHERLAND
by John Blythe Dobson, FASG .......................... 306
 
ADDITIONS AND CORRECTIONS TO ARTICLES IN THE RECORD ..........................  310
 
VOLUME 144 CONTENTS.......................... 323
 
VOLUME 144 CONTRIBUTORS.......................... 325
 
VOLUME 144 INDEX.......................... 327
 
Regular Features
 
THE EDITORS’ VIEW .......................... 243
 
REVIEWS ..........................  314
Jones.  Mastering Genealogical Proof.  By Nancy A. Peters, CG
Rosenblatt and Rosenblatt, eds.Opening Statements: Law, Jurisprudence and the Legacy of Dutch New York.  By Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL