Welcome to the First Families Project

The First Families Project focuses on the "publishing" of family and local history. The First Families Project will always be about documenting our sources and writing historically accurate local histories, but our objective is to tell the stories in a compelling and engaging way that everyone will enjoy reading.

Won't you join us?

Visit The First Family Project

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The First Families Project Status - February 2, 2011

Today marks the first full month of The First Families Project and I'm happy to announce that we now have 2 volumes available.

The First Families of Edgefield County, SC

The First Families of Newberry County, SC
Each of these are available on Amazon for the Kindle and in other formats via our website.

Eleven more volumes are in the editing stage and should be available shortly.

First Families of Baldwin County, GA (Milledgeville)(2 vols).
First Families of Clinch County, GA (2 vols.)
First Families of Cobb County, GA (Marietta)
First Families of Columbia County, GA
First Families of Pulaski County, GA (Hawkinsville)
First Families of Richmond County, GA (Augusta)
First Families of Alexander County, NC
First Families of Edgefield County, SC (2 vols.)
First Families of Newberry County, SC (2 vols.)

We now have 25 County websites in the works and are looking for people who are interested in helping out. 

Several people have dropped me a note saying "I am involved with XYZ project.  Can I also participate in The First Families Project?"

The answer is YES, ABSOLUTELY.  The First Families Project is about Publishing Historical Research.  It goes a step beyond what most "projects" are trying to accomplish in that the final step in the Historical Method of Research - or any other method is "Publish Your Findings."  Whatever your area of interest we can work together to take it from lists and web pages and notes to publication.

This yields an interesting and important note regarding preserving your work.  I think given the fluid nature of the internet there is virtually no guarantee that ouw work will be preserved even ten to twenty years out if this is our only place it is presented.  Publishing your work gets it into a form that, not only, can be offered for sale to other researchers, but also that we can preserve in the Library of Congress and other archives for future generations.

The publishing process of editing, proofing, indexing, page layout, etc. is a lot of work, but something most all of the "Xyz project" members are familiar with to some degree.

We invite you to join us.  Stop by and take a look and particularly browse our showcase site, Edgefield County, SC, then drop me a note if you're interested in giving a hand.

John Rigdon

The First Families Project

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Welcome to 2011

Happy New Year and welcome to 2011.

Today marks the official launch of The First Families Project although we have been hard at work in the background getting things ready to go.

We now have ten community projects underway and three First Family books are in the final stages of editing.

First Families of Edgefield County, SC
First Families of Baldwin County, GA
First Families of Alexander County, NC

It's a start.  We're very proud of the job folks have done so far, but there are millions of stories yet to be told and we invite you to join us.

Many people spend their entire life researching their family history, only to have the stories lost because they fail to publish their findings.  The First Families Project is about helping and supporting the publishing of your research.

Get rich quick - certainly not.

Get rich slow - probably not.

But we'll enjoy the journey together and have the satisfaction of seeing our work help others along their quest.

Human beings look separate because you see them walking about separately. But then we are so made that we can see only the present moment. If we could see the past, then of course it would look different. For there was a time when every man was part of his mother, and (earlier still) part of his father as well, and when they were part of his grandparents. If you could see humanity spread out in time, as God sees it, it would look like one single growing thing--rather like a very complicated tree. Every individual would appear connected with every other.

- C. S. Lewis

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sometimes I Thinks and Writes and Sometimes I Just Writes

Today while chasing down my ever elusive Leroy I was reminded once again of the lesson I should have learned twenty (almost) years ago.

When the Internet was in its infancy - before the World Wide Web actually, I worked with Dr. Bob Fernekes on  "How to Do Research on the Internet" - a set of lessons that emphasized the importance of FIRST forming a thesis, then gathering your working bibliography, before jumping in to start "researching".

I spent a good three hours clicking on links and finding interesting stuff about folks that weren't my kin before going back and reading my previous notes and forming a "thesis" of what I really wanted to find.  Once I reread my notes, I immediately knew where I needed to look and was able to zero in on the available data and review it within minutes.

Well, I found Leroy's brother Frank, so I was close which goes to prove my oveall thesis anyway.

"Collect 'em all.  Let God sort them out."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Enormity of the Available Data for Research

While reviewing the notes I made some ten years ago in preparation for posting on The First Families of Edgefield County, SC, I have been overwhelmed with the enormity of the data now available.  It has also brought to light the errors in earlier research and new details on people and events not previously known.

As an example when I began this project in the mid 90's my only resource for verifying Revolutionary War Soldiers was a book, "Roster of South Carolina Patriots in the American Revolution" which listed names and regiment only.  Now there is an enormous, wonderful site My Revolutionary War with detailed timelines of the battles,   Almost 10,000 pension applications are on file at Southern Campaign.Org and the SC State Archives has over 11,000 early wills on line (1035 from Edgefield County), all indexed and transcribed.  Additionally you'll find over 51,000 land grant plats all indexed (2012 from Edgefield County).

So why can't I find MY Leroy Hammond?

Perhaps I have.  I just discovered two new leads this morning which I now must dream about and ponder while I'm off to my daughter's house to gorge on turkey.  I'll have to share later what I find.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Why the First Families Project

In the early days of the World Wide Web we laid out a White Paper for The USGenWeb Project that envisioned among other things:

"Together, the USGenWeb sites provide a foundation for the publishing of family histories on the Web. As the library matures, more and more researchers can cite the on-line references in their own research, and actually link to the source documents which are on line."

Fifteen years later this goal remains largely unrealized.

It is not my objective to analyze the past here, or discuss where and why The USGenWeb Project lost its fervor and initiative, Many - indeed most researchers today had no interest in genealogy when the USGenWeb Project began. If the saying is true that most genealogy researchers spend about 3 years in the endeavor, then either find what they want to know or give up on their brick walls, then it has been 5 generations now since the genesis of The USGenWeb Project.

It is NOW TIME to systematically publish our family histories on-line. The "First Families Project" is about pursuing that goal. It is our objective to tell their stories in an interesting and compelling way while at the same time documenting our sources to aid other researchers in their efforts.

It's a rock soup kind of thing and will benefit all researchers greatly.

Families generally migrated together and married close neighbors. As each family is documented it will help to tell the story of the overall community. For any given community there were some couple of dozen "First Families" followed by hundreds, then thousands of pioneer families.

So, why focus on "First Families?"

While we may not now know the connection, the "First Families" form the basis of all of our research. The Civil War is our great disconnect. Most families today can easily remember or document their families back to the war, but lose them in the prior 100 years from the founding of this country in the mid to late 1700s. We find ourselves constantly churning through these hundred years of records not knowing who else has done a similar search and how these all fit together. If we can document these families and their migrations, we can create a foundation for all future researchers to build upon.

Let's join together to make this First Families Project a reality.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Welcome to the First Families Project

We welcome you to the Research OnLine First Families Project. We are excited about this new project to identify and document the first families to settle in communities all across the country.

We need your help to make this site a success. Contributors will receive compensation based on the sales of the books and other revenue generated by this site. Our ultimate objective is to publish a series of "First Family" books and if you would like to be the author of one or more volumes contact us at jrigdon@researchonline.net.

The First Families Project is located at