Our first lecture of the day was slightly disappointing. The subject was NARA Records with Civil War Medical Information. I was really looking forward to this topic. However, it was presented with more of an historical slant than direction about what record groups to explore and how to use that information. The following two sessions were about immigration and naturalization presented by Marian L. Smith, who works at USCIS. Marian is extremely knowledgeable about this subject. If you ever have the opportunity to hear her speak...Go! Next up, was Pension Records at the National Archives present by Marie Melchiori. Marie is also a wealth of information about military records. Between yesterday and today her presentations have given me some ideas. Finally, Patricia Shawker presented Citing Records of the National Archives. It was a brief session and I think the title pretty much explains it.
So what records did I dive into today? Land baby!! Oh what a fun and exciting time I had. I copied a total of 16 land files today. I've put in requests for even more. Now if anybody ever tells you not to bother pulling land files pre-1840.... ignore them and do it anyway. Why do they tell you not to bother? Many of these pre-1840 land records are 2-3 little slips of paper stating land description and who bought it. However, I noticed a number of these records had additional information in them. Some of the files were thick compared to the 2-3 itty bitty onion skin type paper files. I didn't have the thick ones in this category. What I did have on the back of one file, was the name of the bank and a dollar amount. Cool stuff! Do you know what bank your ancestor used in 1836?
The later land records I got into were Homestead records that told me a wealth of information. Witnesses gave testimony and answered questions about my ancestor. These would have been people he knew, liked, and were friends/associates. My ancestor also had to answer questions about himself. There were newspaper clippings stating that he was getting this land, who the witnesses were, and the title of the newspaper. NowI know what newspaper to look at for any other news regarding my ancestor. One file was a widow applying for a Homestead. I had suspicions about her relationship to my ancestor, but had no proof. She states who her husband was, which I didn't know until I read it today. I now have her connection to my ancestor... she was his daughter-in-law, not daughter as it was stated on a census.
There are still more gems that I discovered, but it is getting late and I need to prepare and figure out what other items I can request. Tomorrow we head out to Archives II in College Park. Another fun day to be sure!