A few weeks ago, Michael John Neill sent over a couple sample issues of his Casefile Clues newsletter. I took a look at issue #37, "Pullman Car Company Employment Records," which discusses several employment records from the Chicago-based railroad car manufacturer. My response after reading the issue was "Wow!" This is unlike any genealogy newsletter that I've read before (in a good way).
I like to learn by example, and Michael's approach with this weekly publication does exactly that. He takes actual research challenges that he has worked or is working, and walks you through the discovery process -- each step carefully cited so you can experience them for yourself.
The issues are published in Adobe Acrobat PDF format, which allows Michael to embed images of the documents that he is discussing. But this isn't just a simple show-and-tell, Michael explains how the documents help him move his research closer to the goal (which was stated in the issue I read). He also tries to give you insight into why certain research avenues were pursued over others.
I've always had mixed feelings about case studies, and in the past have found reading about other peoples' success a bit depressing (when I think about my own brick walls that remain unsolved). But the Casefile Clues issues have such a wonderful educational slant to them that you quickly forget who your reading about, and focus on how Michael made the discoveries, and where he suggests to go next (and why).
While Michael states Casefile Clues is geared towards intermediate and advanced researchers, beginners would benefit greatly from seeing how carefully he records the information and their sources. And, for the minimal $17.00 USD he charges for an annual subscription, this is a great way to build up your reference library. You can be sure the next time a research question arises on the topic of Pullman Car records that I'll be re-reading issue #37.
The Casefile Clues web site (www.casefileclues.com) has a lot of additional information about the product, including the types of materials Michael's working on for upcoming issues. The only thing I couldn't figure out, was how does he manage to produce such detailed-oriented newsletter issues in just one week? Remarkable!
After you read the sample, return to this page and take advantage of the 15% discount Michael is offering to Genealogy Today readers using the Buy Now button below. I was not compensated for this review, and receive no payment for subscriptions resulting from the links on this page.