Deadlines are a writer’s friend, and I desperately needed one if I was to transform an octopus of a research project into a finished story. Analyzing my mother-in-law’s old book, The Mine Foreman’s Handbook, for heirloom status had proven to be a daunting task.
The editor of my local genealogical society newsletter reminded me each time I visited their library of my promise to contribute a story. This past spring I committed to pressing “send” by the summer solstice. And the account of Martin Corrigan’s book flowed out, line by line by line.
I urge all you family history lovers to venture out from tree shaping and blog posting. We all have some big stories to tell. Find a genealogical or historical society near you and make friends with their newsletter deadline.
Here is an excerpt of Inside Out: Judging a Book By Its Cover, which begins on page 11 of the summer issue of Northeast Pennsylvania Genealogical Society’s newsletter, The Heritage.
“In 1887 Martin Corrigan was granted a Certificate of Service by the Pennsylvania Mine Foreman Examining Board, an alternative certification which recognized men who had served as mine foremen for at least one year prior to the 1885 Mine Safety Act9 . Martin Corrigan did not own this book in order to take the Mine Foreman Exam himself. Martin may have originally purchased the book for his own private library, consulting its contents in his role as mine boss for Augustus S. Van Winkle’s Milnesville collieries. But Martin also loaned this book out. The words “Please Return” were found inside the front and back covers, and on one of the first pages someone inscribed the words: Martin Corrigan No. 90 North Wyoming Street Hazleton.”