You may be lucky enough to have letters and diaries from your family members. These can add an extra dimension of information about the person and family and also about what life was like in that time, place, war, or whatever activity is being described.
If you don’t have any personal papers, you can benefit by reading the letters, diaries, etc. from other persons from a similar place or time or from persons who experienced the same event.
Some materials may be published, either as the person wrote them or edited and having accompanying information.
Letters and Diary of John Rowe, Boston Merchant, 1759-1762, 1764-1779.
- Location: University of Delaware | Library Annex F73.44 .R87
- Location: Google Books
Other materials are available in the manuscript collections of libraries. Example of a manuscript guide:
Civil War Manuscripts: A Guide to Collections in the Manuscript Division of the Library of Congress. Compiled by John R. Sellers. Washington: Library of Congress, 1986.
- Location: University of Delaware | Library Annex LC 4.2: C 49
- Location: Internet
Ways to find published personal papers in library catalogs:
- boston colonial diary
- civil war and diary
- pearl harbor personal narratives
- United States — History — Civil War, 1861-1865 — Personal narratives
- United States — History — Civil War, 1861-1865 — Manuscripts — Catalogs
If you search in the UD Library’s WorldCat Local, the record will tell you if the source is available in Google Books. Look for the Preview option.
You can get an overview of some of the types of narratives available in databases and digital collections by looking at the Library webpage: Full Text Databases.
Rowe, John, Anne Rowe Cunningham, and Edward Lillie Pierce. Letters and Diary of John Rowe, Boston Merchant, 1759-1762, 1764-1779. Boston: W.B. Clarke, 1903.
Civil War Notebook of Daniel Chisholm: A Chronicle of Daily Life in the Union Army, 1864-1865. By Daniel Chisholm, W. Springer Menge, and J. August Shimrak. New York: Orion Books, 1989.
University of Delaware (Morris) Library E601 .C47 1989.