The Heritage Gazette

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Genealogy Books
Fort McHenry
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     During the War of 1812 at the battle of Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland Francis Scott Key was inspired to write our national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner. 
 
     Following the British burning Washington D.C. and the White House in 1814, Vice Admiral Sir Alexander Cochrane and Major General Robert Ross, took their British soldiers up to Baltimore, Maryland to attack the port city.  They believed there were a lot of American privateers stealing their shipments.  On September 12, Ross moved his 4,500 men to Baltimore. He soon encountered American Brigadier General Stricker who was suppose to delay the British so that the city fortifications could be finished.  Ross was killed during the Battle of North Star and the British stayed on the rainy field over night.  At Fort McHenry Major George Armistead, who was the garrison commander, had 1,000 men.  On September 13 at 6:30am, Fort McHenry was attacked.  The British ships bombarded the fort at night and in the process gave away their positions.  They finally withdrew after suffering heavy losses.  In the morning the shelling of the fort did little damage.  The fort still stood and the flag was still there. 
 
    Francis Scott Key had gone to a British ship to secure the release of Dr. William Beanes.  He ended up staying on the ship during the attack.  Here are a couple of links to names of soldiers who were  there and saw it happen.
http://maryland1812.wordpress.com/2011/03/29/defenders-of-fort-mchenry-september-13-14-1814/    
http://maryland1812.wordpress.com/2011/12/09/the-garrison-of-fort-mchenry-september-1814/
                
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     Books on families are a very important source of information for genealogists.  The books are a very valuable resource.  These books don't have to be labeled genealogy books.  They can be history books or books on different time periods for different counties, towns or states.  They can be books on rivers, tails, deeds, land ownership, and how people lived their lives in the past.  Just about any type of book (except fiction) are very helpful as long as they have names of people in them.  Another type of book used by genealogists are self-published books on one's own family tree. 
 
     Self-publishing books are important but when you find information in these books make sure it fits for you and that there is documentation to support the information.  Documentation should be some kind of record not just a notation that says this information came from another's family tree.  Sometimes genealogists will just make a note that they found the information on a family tree.  That is not documentation.  It just indicates where they found the information.  If it is not documented, then it should have a disclaimer that the information might not be correct.  Self-
published books might not have all information documented.  Other books might have the same problem. 
 
     When using books for our research we assume the information in  books are correct.  But to be on the safe side, if you find information on your ancestor in a book look for footnotes or a bibliography that says where the information came from.  If the information came from a self-published book by another family, that is not documentation unless they have indeed did so in the book.  It is best to make sure the information is correct.  No one wants to put something in their family tree and then years later find out that it is incorrect even if it comes from our treasured books used for genealogy books.