Volume 1 Number 1 December 1, 1992
In the spring of this year, I became acquainted with Tom Huff, of Newark, Ohio. He was looking into the origins of his ancestor, James Huff, in Northumberland, Co., Pa. That area was the home of numerous Huff families in the period 1750-1850. I believe in our first conversation he began urging me to start a Newsletter. I had entertained the idea previously, but had serious doubts that (1) I could put together something that would be of interest to other researchers, (2) that I had any writing ability whatsoever, and (3) that there were a sufficient number of persons interested in the Huff/Hough lines to make it worthwhile.
Tom has convinced me that items (1) and (3) are indeed positive. Item (2) will be evident in this initial issue, but hopefully I will get the hang of it as we go along. So . . . , here we go!!
Everyone who sets out to work on their family Genealogy soon learns that they cannot continue beyond a certain point using family and local data. Either the local resources are limited or the family immigrated from another area. Although there are numerous methods and resources available, the most productive is a "Network" of people in other parts of the country that have similar interests. A helpful and interested person can find many times as much information as you could possibly obtain by mail from a County or Municipal agency or library.
The primary purpose then, is to bring together a loose network of researchers who have an interest in the Huff/Hough lines. It should be a reasonably up-to-date list of persons engaged in researching these surnames and of their particular areas of interest. There is undoubtedly a great deal of unpublished data out there on these surnames that has been gathered by individuals. The fact that the information is available will be featured, as well as selected portions of the data itself - with permission and space permitting.
At this early stage, I don't know if we can put an issue together monthly, or if bimonthly will be more suitable. Two primary factors will bear on this decision. One, is how much time it takes to produce the newsletter; and the other is how much material is sent in by subscribers. Although I could probably sustain quite a number of issues with material from my own files, that is not the purpose of this newsletter. I will depend on most of the material coming from the readers.
I propose a format that would have columns on the following subjects:
This should be one of the main reasons for the existence of this newsletter. All queries will be published, and answers also, if they are made available.
2:General Huff/Hough Genealogical Data
I will draw from my files, and I urge others to do the same, both published and unpublished data on these surnames. (With due regard for Copyright Laws).This should include family charts you have made, family bible lists, local records that may not have been published and any other information you may have collected during your search.
It is clear that Personal Computers have advanced the popularity and the research ability of Genealogy more than any factor in history. They have certainly had a profound effect on the availability of information - and we have only seen the beginning of this phenomenon. I believe it is imperative that anyone aspiring to study their family history, become at least familiar with using PC's. The enormous amount of data being made available by the FHL in all local Branch Libraries should be reason enough to learn how use a PC.
This is one area where I have some experience and knowledge. This column may be able assist you in decisions on purchasing hardware - from a basic system, to scanners and C-D Rom devices. PC's are not difficult to use - it's usually much more difficult for people to make good decisions on the exact hardware to buy. It's not always wise to take the advise of a salesman. We find that a great many are not really knowledgeable about what they sell, and they are even less equipped to make a decision on what you really need for your particular task. There are also very large price differentials out there - for essentially equipment that has the same capability. Information here may help you decide what is best suited for you.
This is another area that is a great mystery - at least to first-time buyers. There are only a handful of Genealogy - specific programs and they all do the essential tasks of creating a database of your data and printing that data in a variety of forms. The differences are more subtle, and there are some that are more suited to specific tasks of research and reporting than others. I have used most of them and have formed opinions on their specific capabilities. I hope others will make known their experiences and opinions as well. In addition, there are numerous non-genealogy-specific programs that are useful, and even essential. For example, Operating Systems, Memory Managers, Database programs, Word Processors and numerous Utility programs that make the PC easier to use.
5:A list of Depositories, Book Titles and Collections, pertaining to our Surnames.
We all need a single list that encompasses all of the above materials, and where they are to be found. This will depend entirely on submissions by our subscribers.
A few words about myself:
I am 62 years old - not retired yet, but thinking about it more and more. My work is technical management in Satellite Communications and Navigation. I began working in Genealogy in 1986. An innocent venture (I thought), never imagining that it would consume most of my free time - including my vacations. Until then, I had often proclaimed that I could not conceive of any reason how anyone could justify a Computer at home. Well, I've certainly been reminded of that dumb remark more than once by my co-workers.
I have the necessary equipment and software for doing desktop publishing. All that is lacking is the ability to write something that someone would be interested in reading. But, I'm willing to give it a try and see what develops. Perhaps someone else will volunteer to write the material and let me edit and publish it.
My Huff line is out of Central Pennsylvania - specifically, Cumberland, Juniata, Northumberland, Union, Lycoming, Clinton and Cameron Counties. When I began my search, I noted every mention of every Huff that I could find - not knowing which might turn out to be related. A short time later, I learned to also note all variant spellings; including Hough, Hoff, Haff, Huf, Haugh, etc. All of these were entered into a database, for easy reference. One mistake I made early on was to not document the references properly. After I had exhausted the Pa. references for Huff records, I branched out to New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia.. I was still looking for my own line, but noting and entering all mentions of the surnames. The database has now grown to several thousand entries.
A few years ago I began to correspond with Granville Hough - a most prolific researcher and writer. He has been pursuing these lines for many years and has at least seven volumes to his credit. He and his good friend, Orville L. Hough, have unearthed and documented an enormous amount of data (and also discovered that a well- known work was full of errors). O.L. Hough concentrated on the early Houghs of Bucks County, Pa. and Loudon County, Va. Granville has collected data from all areas - from the early Colonies, to the South, Midwest and the Far West. Granville has presented me with a great deal of his original research notes and material. There are several thousand pages of material that I am gradually entering into a database. When that task is completed, the original material will be presented to the Houston Genealogical Library. The information is currently available to anyone who inquires.
(About the Photo:)
William Jones Huff was my Great Grandfather.
Depicted in his Uniform, as a member of the 20th Iowa Volunteers.