The ADD of History

Going through my thesis materials has my head spinning! I have found stuff I’d forgotten about. I’ve found stuff I have no idea why I have it. I’ve found stuff that I question why I don’t have more of it. I’m talking to you, Canebrake Plantation Records!!!! I have two pages that I copied from microfilm 15 years ago but just those two pages. And not even two pages of important stuff. These two pages to be exact!!!

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The record film and the first page of records, Canebrake Plantation. From Records of Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations from the Revolution through the Civil War. Series G. Part I. (Reel 11 of 44)

My best guess is that at the time I was more focused on Airlie Plantation. KCB was born at Airlie in Carroll Parish, Louisiana in 1853 and I just needed to know what other plantations her father, James Green Carson, owned. Canebrake and Oasis in particular. So when I ILLed the plantation records for Airlie and Canebrake, I wasn’t interested in the plantation records as much as I was interested in any information they might give me about KCB or her father or her family.

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Doing historical research is like the worst case of ADD. I consider myself a pretty focused person. And a really focused and organized researcher. But I don’t remember the ADD being this bad in the past. I’m having a SOMETHING SHINY moment every other second! You know what I mean – one second I’m looking at plantation records and the next second I’m off on pictures of a dress or a secondary sources that I can’t remember exactly what it said. I mean it took me a good 10 minutes to find the picture of Hammy the Squirrel from Over the Hedge to illustrate my thought!

Maybe doing the research the first time was easier. I didn’t have anything so everything was a possibility. And once I outlined my subject, I had a path. A root system to work from. In a lot of cases, I was working on a firm deadline – end of the semester because it was due and had to be turned in. The majority of the DAR research was done as an independent study so I had a narrowish topic and a firm deadline!

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Now the questions are coming faster than I have a time to research and answer them. And when I am researching, it’s like going down the Facebook wormhole every time! You know what I’m talking about! You get on Facebook (or the internet in general) to look for something specific and an hour later you’ve liked 12 posts, watched 6 videos and can’t remember why you were there in the first place!

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