Amateur Tips

None of the tips I throw out mean that I think I have a “best” answer to anything. What they usually mean is that at some point I discovered something I wish I’d known/figured out years before. So I post it to (hopefully) save someone else a little time or help him or her learn a bit more effectively. And PLEASE, if you’ve discovered something you think might help others – including me – please post those in the comment section. If I get enough, I may include two sections; one for my suggestions and one for those from others.

Posted February 23, 2014 – Embarrassing Amateur Moments Supplement. I heard something on the radio which I thought perfectly illustrated the theme of my December 31, 2011 Embarrassing Amateur Moments post.

Posted January 26, 2014 – Why I’m Not a(n) Historian. I’m not sure if this is exactly a tip but I wanted to explain why I do not consider myself a historian.

Posted September 29, 2013 – Were Medievals Just Like us? The idea that Medievals were pretty much the same as us is something I’ve run across fairly frequently. I think it’s an important topic so I decided to offer my thoughts.

Posted December 31, 2011 – Embarrassing Moments as an Amateur. I’ve interacted with professional historians a bit and am occasionally guilty of making big errors – real whoppers. Here’s my advice for what to do when something similar happens to you.

Posted January 15, 2011 – Tracking Sources. This is extremely basic, but something I haven’t done; keep track of source materials I have in my possession.

Posted October 30, 2010 – Why Study History? This explains why I feel that studying history (including methodology) is important, whether you intend to pursue a career in the field or not.

Posted September 26, 2010 – Useful Links. These are a few links to source materials including maps, images of artifacts and text sources which I’ve found useful.

Posted August 13, 2010 – My book buying technique. Or road map, guideline, or something. This is how I figure out what books belong on my shelves and which I can leave to reside on a bookseller’s.

Posted May 11, 2010 – My record-keeping system. A possible way of keeping track of information you’ve picked up. You might also want to take a look at a post from Jonathan Jarrett on how he and some other historians keep track of information they’ve read.

Posted April 19, 2010 – Mythbusters. Don’t fall into the trap of believing some of the common errors associated with the Middle Ages.

Posted April 16, 2010 – Library tips. The majority of people will know this already but your local library is often much more than just a place where they store books.

Posted March 31, 2010 – Is Historical Revisionism a Dirty Word? I frequently run across people who want to criticize newer books as engaging in “Historical Revision.” This post explains why I think revising history not only isn’t evil, but is necessary and even desirable in most cases.


6 responses to “Amateur Tips

  1. Joe Rexroad

    June 28, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    can you tell me why medieval names are often preceded by a cross and the letter ‘S’ ?

  2. Joe Rexroad

    June 28, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    I have several old seals from German ancestors. One example I just received from the Germanishces National Museum begins with a maltese cross at the top, follwed by an S, a 5-pointed asterisk and then his name “cunrada . de . reckerode” then another (more oddly shaped) S and 2 other characters I can’t quite make out. I can send an image if you’re interested. I’ve seen this countless times and just thought it was something standard that you history buffs would recognize.

    • Curt Emanuel

      June 28, 2012 at 10:39 pm

      It’s a bit later than my period but in heraldry the cross generally had religious significance, ranging from a family wanting to be considered faithful to membership in an order. Certain forms of crosses would be associated with certain orders. For example, here’s a seal from the Teutonic Knights. There were dozens of different orders and family heraldry is even broader.

      Someone who studies heraldry could probably narrow this down for you quite a bit more. Some folks are really into it.

  3. Joe Rexroad

    June 29, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Thanks Curt, That website gives me a good starting point to figuring this out. I am intrigued at the idea of these folks being part of some religious order. Lot’s to research!

  4. Curt Emanuel

    June 30, 2012 at 12:03 am

    No problem Joe. Good luck and have fun.


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