Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Day At The Local Genealogical Seminar

On Saturday I spent my day at the 25th Annual Genealogical Seminar hosted by the Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society and Tennessee Historical Society. I went last year and learned a lot, and this year was just as informative.

The first session was presented by Elizabeth Shown Mills titled, "Problem Solving in the Problem-Riddled Carolina Backcountry." Elizabeth is a wonderful speaker and a wealth of information. It is impossible to attend any of her presentations without walking away more knowledgeable. Although the talk was focused on the Carolinas, many of the research techniques for finding information could be used elsewhere. One idea she presented a few examples of, is to always look at the original document. Many times there are abstracts or indexes that don't include information that could be key to solving questions or problems regarding your ancestors.

Next, after a quick break, was "Inheritance Laws and Estate Settlements in the Carolinas" presented by J. Mark Lowe. I'm always impressed at the variety and knowledge of topics Mark presents. Again, although the focus was the Carolinas, there was much discussed that could be applied elsewhere. The main idea being that when conducting research it is important to understand legal lingo, the laws, and how they apply to the area you are researching.

After lunch two sessions were presented by Charles A. Sherrill titled, "Service Records are Just the Beginning: Finding Your Family's Whole Civil War Story" and "The Late Unpleasantness: Research in Civil War Records Created After 1865." Chuck discussed many different resources for finding information on your Civil War ancestors; Union, Confederate, and civilian. There are just too many sources to list or discuss in this post. However, if you like maps then you may want to take a look at "Official Military Atlas Of the Civil War" by George Davis. It contains detailed maps of the areas where battles and marches took place. Another obscure source was "The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion (1861-1865)" published by Broadfoot Publishing Company. There is a 3 volume index listing the case studies of wounded soldiers by name and unit too.

By the end of the day my brain was full of new information and ideas. I have all sorts of new research plans forming in my mind. My list of things to read, sites to explore and microfilm to look at has grown. It was a good day.

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