Title Page and Introduction

Genealogists' Guide to North America

Posted Dec 12, 2012
Last Updated Dec 19, 2012

A Genealogist’s Guide to North America


Robert W Penry

Copyright 2012 - All Rights Reserved  

Introduction and Overview

In any course of study, there are a series of basic questions that may be asked - who, what, where, when, why and how.  For instance a geography teacher is concerned with where and describes a place based on its physical characteristics.  A history teacher is event oriented, asking when, where, and who.  A history professor may be interested in the why an event happened.  

The genealogist is interested in who, where and when.  For instance Uncle Joe was born in Brooklyn on 12 Feb 1940.  The Family Historian wants to know how Uncle Joe got to Brooklyn and why did he go there?   

Since I am a history teacher, my first inclination was to write a publication that was event-oriented.  However, I soon realized that what I wanted to do was provide a publication that identifies locations, who settled each location and when did particular nations occupy that location.

It is, therefore, a publication that answers those questions.  It is a geographic history of North and Central America including islands of the Caribbean. 

As a history teacher, I was required to teach events with associated places, dates and people involved. However, I always felt that more important than these details was to understand why the event occurred and if the event was inevitable. A teacher can spend a whole year teaching about the battles of the American Civil War and still never address the basic question: "Was the Civil War inevitable, and if so, why?” One of the greatest failures of educators is teaching bare facts and not teaching students to reason.

I hope that the information presented will help the genealogist (Family Historian) go beyond the basic facts of this publication and search events in their historical context, thus becoming a better researcher and more appreciative of family history. I prefer the term Family Historian instead of Genealogist and throughout the remainder of this publication will use Family Historian.

Chapters include the formation of colonies and territories within North and Central America, including the Caribbean islands.

Credits:  Since the World Wide Web has become so important in family history research, I used it extensively in preparing this publication. Commentaries, for the most part, are my own composition.  For  factual dates, Wikipedia was my major source.  I found it invaluable for gleaning basic information.  I have included links back to the article since I seldom included any article in its entirely, but extracted information pertinent to this guide.  Please click on links to read the entire article and find more information useful in your family history research. When  I could find the source for an image, I included it with the image.  My thanks to family members who reviewed the guide and made recommendations.  

A special thanks is given to Master Web Designers who designed the Webonizer software used in preparation of this guide and to Andrew Penry of Master Web Designers whose technical assistance was invaluable.

Disclaimer:   Any resemblance of persons mentioned in this publication to persons living or dead is intentional, although it is highly unlikely that any living individual is mentioned. Nothing but my sleep was harmed in preparation of the guide.

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