Taxonomists routinely question plant names and places, as well as the personal names and histories of the botanists themselves. Genealogy shares the common challenge of locating information about personal names, vital statistics, residences, and histories. Ancestry.com™ provides a virtual interface into centralized, archived records previously of limited availability. Various names of historical botanists and collectors associated with Harvard University Herbaria were queried resulting in U.S. Census data, U.S. draft registration cards providing handwriting samples, U.S. passport applications including two with photographs, ship manifests, and border crossings. Researchers can locate previously unavailable information about personal histories to help answer questions and uncertainties, and to confirm existing records about botanists' lives and travels. Additionally, Ancestry.com™ provides teachers with a helpful tool for students to better appreciate the lives of individual botanists within the larger context of history.
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