In each class, workshop and presentation I encourage genealogists and family historians to create a minimum of three questions for each document/evidence/newspaper clip, etc. they touch. In a recent presentation, I was asked to give an example. The idea is: each document leads you to not only answers, but your next set of questions.
Here is an example (a reprint from 2010) from a one sentence newspaper article. This lengthy sentence gives us a plethora of clues, hints and information. So many more keywords, questions and research ideas could come from this one sentence, but let's start with a few.
As an aftermath of the recent melee which took place in the Dunbar club, a society of colored men of Tonopah, Dewitt Morris was bound over under $5000 bonds to appear begore [sic] the grand jury on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon, it being alleged that he shot his brother, Schuyler Morris, in the leg during the heat of excitement.” Nevada State Journal, Reno, 11/12/1915
- There was a melee, which indicates there might have been an opposing side to the “society” or they were attacking one another.
- There was a Dunbar Club. Who owned it? Who frequented it? Was it the known meeting place for “melees.”
- There was a “society of colored men of Tonopah.” Was membership based on social standing? Were they recognized by the community and periodically mentioned in the paper?
- Tonopah in 1915 must have had a way of sustaining “social clubs.” What industry or resources were in the area? Was this common behavior for Tonopah’s citizens?