The basic theme for today was land and probate records, which of course includes land. So really it was all about land. The morning started out with Elizabeth presenting a lecture on Public Land Records. In the discussion she showed us examples of how tracking land ownership, the placement of land tracts, and looking at land entry files can help you determine relationships and ancestors. I've seen her present similar lectures before, but I still find her examples and the thought process behind them fascinating. It is truly inspiring. In fact one case study Elizabeth shared with us, of how she determined the relationship between two families had all of our heads spinning.
Our next session was "Probate Records: Analysis, Interpretation and Correlation" presented by Tom Jones. He discussed how probate records can be used for genealogical research, the general concepts of them, and how to get the most out of them. We also had two in-class examples to work on. I found this task a little challenging, simply because people were calling their ideas out and it was too distracting. I would have loved to have had a few moments of quiet to study the examples and formulate my own solutions. However, I'm familiar with the methodology Tom was discussing, so I don't feel like I missed out on his point.
After lunch Elizabeth was back with us discussing more about land. This time the focus was on using strategies for ancestors that lived on rural lands, otherwise known as "living out in the sticks." The methodologies she presented are to help with finding that ancestor you think never owned land, or was too poor to own land. The basic idea is that, most people left some sort of paper trail behind. You just need to apply some creative thinking to find that paper trail. Once you figure it out, then you can at least go back another generation or two.
Our final presenter of the day was Rick Sayre, who discussed "Urban Strategies: Correlation of Deeds, Maps, Directories." He demonstrated how using Sanborn Maps along with deeds and city directories can help you identify ancestors and where they lived. Knowing this can really give a better understanding of your ancestors' lives. It certainly can make it more interesting than just birth, marriage, and death dates. Let's face it, everybody's life is more than just three dates. Right?
We had a little extra time today between the last class and our banquet dinner. At this point, many of the attendees are walking around looking a little dazed. We have all been bombarded with information and our brains are spinning with ideas of how we can apply it to our research. Before dinner I tackled the homework.We need to pick one of two articles to analyze and critique. I have scribbled all sorts of notations on mine, and I'm sure there are more to add.
The banquet was nice and relaxing. The speaker was Dr. Larry H. Spruill and his presentation was, "The Lazarus Factor: Genealogy and The Calling Forth of the Dead." He was entertaining and recognized the importance of genealogical work. It's important to recognize and give life to your ancestors. In essence you are an extension of them, as your descendants will be an extension of you.