This chapter uses a well-known religious group of the nineteenth century to illustrate many of the ways historical data can be assembled, and many of the problems faced in using online sources to develop a coherent and theory-relevant picture of the past. Originally emerging in New England, the Oneida community was established in upstate New York in 1848, under the leadership of John Humphrey Noyes, a religious leader who believed he had achieved perfection and knew how to lead others to that goal. The example of Oneida allows us to explore with efficiency and clarity the possibilities for studying historical religious phenomena via online resources. Of necessity, this chapter often emphasizes details of research methodology, to alert the reader to problems and their possible solutions, but it also will consider how the data relate to larger theoretical issues.
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