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Example of Research

Research Outline, Example and Citation


  1. Look around. Look at any place you want to study either on the map or in person around town. Perhaps you live or work in a historic building, or know someone who does, or an ancestor did etc.
  2. Look at the map. If the place is described on the 1865 then you have found the pin location. Take note if there’s a name adjacent to it – the owner of a residence or a business, church, or school – even an empty field or pasture.
  3. Take names and start your search. Go to the Museum’s website to search the small search bar in the upper left hand corner for any photo or document relating to that name, business or place.
  4. Continue research. Go to websites like the New York State Historical Newspapers (more sites listed on Pin Point Potsdam website). See if there’s any information on a person’s birth, marriage, death, newsworthy actions, etc.
  5. Optional sites with a fee. Search the name on sites like the County Court House in Canton to browse records of sale relating to the name or the property.


You can do these things while honoring all the protocols of protection from COVD-19. You are likely to already have enough facts on hand for you to tell a story relating to the place as it was owned, and used in 1865, and have learned a lot about what someone's life was like in the Village more than 150 years ago.  Submit the story to PPP (Pin Point Potsdam) 1865. An edited version will be sent to you for your approval. Your pin will be added to the map. You will join a modern community project to draw a picture with ever expanding detail of what the Village of Potsdam was like long ago. 


Example Research Topic: 

Here's is a description of how one Pin already on the Site developed--by the author of "Thomas Hickey Passes By" Jan Wojcik.

"I became aware of and fascinated by Thomas Hickey while attending an exhibit at the Potsdam Public Museum, a decade ago.  Cabinets displayed his uniform, his wife's wedding dress, a canteen, his Bible. Captions told his story. He worked as a mechanic in a Fall Island Mill. He wrote a poem on Valentine's Day to his eventual wife Joanna when they were both 16. He recruited a regiment of Irish Americans to fight for the Union in the Civil War. He was mortally wounded at the Battle of Cold Harbor. His body was brought home to be buried in Saint Mary's Cemetery.

Now--obviously--I had a head start.  Five years later I made a presentation about Thomas Hickey's Civil War service to the Saint Lawrence Historical Society's Civil War Round Table. It was derived mostly from photos, letters, and diaries available at the Potsdam Public Museum.

But the Pin is much more simple. The 1865 Map shows a property on Depot Street owned by "Mrs. Thomas Hickey" his widow. Why her name--not his? Finding an answer to that story begins by reading his diary--available at the Museum. He describes his last visit home in the Spring of 1864. During that time, he hires a local lawyer William Wallace to help him purchase the building on Depot Street--which he says, he intends to use as a rental. A Record of the purchase is found in a book at the County Court House.

The Historical Newspapers of Northern New York describe his fatal wounding, and the shipment of his body home by train, to be conveyed from the RR Depot right past the building he had purchased only four months earlier. His funeral was at Saint Mary's, his burial at the Saint Mary's Cemetery. 

So--information comes from letters, diaries, photos the Museum's Web Site, the Historical Newspapers of Northern New York, on line archives at the Court House. It took two days of looking things up, and a few hours putting together the pin. I took a picture of the building on Depot Street that he purchased as it looks today.

I don't have the advantage of many of the citizens of the Village. Many were born here, and have family history here. But I found someone to admire who did."




Go to Carleton University Chicago Style site for formats on Images. *

Go to Chicago Manual of Style site for information on all other forms of citation. *


*- These are just examples of sites you can use. Chicago Style for citation when submitting a pin is preferred.