Talk:Indigenous Peoples of Maryland

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Here's a little feedback on the article so far:

  1. I like how the article breaks up information with headings. Makes it easy to scan.
  2. When I read wiki pages, I try to put on the hat of someone in Member Needs and ask of each paragraph "How does this help me find my ancestor?" I'm having trouble answering that for paragraph 1 because it feels really general.
  3. Having read the full article, I'm asking myself "Okay, if I had a Maryland Indian ancestor, how would I trace him?" I don't know where to start. I'd love if the article would tell me what sorts of records I should use for various time periods, and where those records are. Are there records of trading posts? Would correspondence between white settlers have anything on Indians they knew or encountered? Court records? Military records or military correspondence? Would newspapers talk about Indians that traded with, were friendly to, or attacked settlers? Were there any circuit rider records of Indian baptisms?

-- Ritcheymt 22:36, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

Michael, you have discovered something I've been trying to hide. ;-) There is a limit to my knowledge about Indians. I can research and summarize information about the history of tribes in given localities. Much of that has been researched and written by scholars. The records are another matter. The few that are still extant, especially for the colonial period in the U.S., are scattered and have not been described, even in many of the records depositories that have some of them. I'm sure there are more records than we know about (OK, than I know about), but it will take lots of research and people who are knowledgeable about their specific area to dig them out and describe them and where they are. My generalist background doesn't allow me to do that kind of research in a timely fashion, especially for a barn-raising. I'm not making excuses, just stating facts. Given time, I'm sure we can flesh out information about existing records for the Indians of the colonial time period. It's not so bad, once the Office of Indian Affairs was formed and the federal government became involved. Many of the records of the federal period have been inventoried, microfilmed, and even some have been digitized. That's why I have been focusing on Indians in the western part of the U.S., to make the availablity of those records more readily known in a shorter period of time. After we get them in a format that can be used by researchers, then we can focus on digging out the earlier records.

Let me know if you want me to take a different approach. I can make some general statements summarizing the above, for the colonial time period. Maybe that would at least identify the problem.

Jbparker 19:01, 24 January 2009 (UTC)