22 December 2012
Maps, Manufacturing and Museums, Oh My!
In my mind, researching your family and their stories means more than just understanding individual life. It also means understanding the general history, economics, diversity and other unique features of a community. And that is why I believe every serious Colorado researcher needs to own a copy of the Historical Atlas of Colorado, by Thomas J. Noel, Paul F. Mahoney and Richard E. Stevens (University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma. 1994). It should be a part of your genealogical library.
The text covers everything from boundaries through land grants and territorial purchases, to specialized museums and tourist attractions, and has proven invaluable more than once in my personal and professional research.
For those looking for their “lost” ancestor who came to Colorado as part of the 1859 gold rush, this is a must have resource. The map and descriptions of “Lost Mines and Buried Treasures” will give many a new lease on “dead ends” from newspaper clippings and other records. They also continue to ignite your curiosity, referring to the “Cement Creek Caves,” where “…stolen loot was found in 1883.” From the map, these are not too far west of my current home, and it’s a tempting summer adventure in the making!
The “Transportation” section includes commentary on mountain passes, fur traders, major stagecoach lines and pioneer railroads. Some of these routes have not been modernized today, and the only way to truly experience them is the same way that our ancestors did: on foot or on donkey. Imagine climbing over 14,000 foot mountains with provisions, a change of clothes or two, and hopefully a pick or shovel. In winter.
Planning a research trip to Colorado? Use the “Denver Metro Museums and Historic Accommodations” section to make it as memorable as possible, and learn as much as possible.
If you have any interest at all in the history and development of the State of Colorado, you should put this text on your list. If nothing else, inter-library loan this so you can see the amazing collection of maps within its pages.
Oh, yes. One last thing.
This post is officially number 200 for my blog! Most of that occurred in 2012, and I thank all of you for reading, commenting, making suggestions and following along on my genealogical journey this year. Have a very wonderful holiday and may we all have an incredible 2013, filled with kind acts, laughter and love.