A resource often overlooked
Today many of us are interested in researching historical data and finding out facts about long forgotten times. Most people start their studies on the internet and often there is more than enough information to be found there - but for really indeep studies a visit to the local historical society might be interesting...
When you want to study historical information, you'll find that the holdings of historical societies are mind-boggling. There, you can find state census records, city directories, yearbooks, county histories, biographical sketches and family histories—some of which exist in no other facility.
Most of the historical society libraries are open to the public. If you can't do on-site research, societies will perform research for you for a minimal fee; unfortunately, in most cases, research is limited to one-half to one hour. Some of the historical society libraries participate in interlibrary loans. Check with the individual society for more information on obtaining books or microfilms using the interlibrary loan system.
Even though you'll have to contact historical societies directly for specific research requests, don't ignore their online resources. Some historical societies provide Internet access to card catalogs, newspaper indexes and historical data.
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The science of history
How historical events are recorded
At the first glance it seems to be easy to write down facts about the past and to record historical events - but in reality it is quite hard to distinguish between correct and false historical texts and documents...
The meaning of the word "History"
The word history comes from the root weid, which means "to know" or "to see" - from which also come Greek idea ("appearance" or "kind"), Latin evidens and visio, Italian vista, English wit, wise, and wisdom, Sanskrit veda, and Slavic videti.
Ancient Greek historia means "inquiry" or "knowledge from inquiry", from histor meaning "to judge" (from the Proto-Indo-European agent noun wid-tor: "one who knows"). It was in that sense that Aristotle used the word in his Perì Tà Zôa ?istoríai ("Inquiries about Animals"). The ancestor word histor is attested early on in Homeric Hymns, Heraclitus, the Athenian ephebes' oath, and in Boiotic inscriptions (in a legal sense, either "judge" or "witness", or similar).
Gathering historical data
Different methods for data analysis were used during history
In the beginning history was seen as an art and not a science and therefore the analysis of historical data was (compared to todays standards) very uncritical. But this has changed in the last centuries...
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Ancient Times, Historical Information
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