Wednesday, January 23, 2013

IGHR Registration Roundup

If you were interested in registering for IGHR at Samford, yesterday was the day to do it for the most part. Facebook was full of announcements with who got into what course, and who was waiting for their course of choice to open up for registration.

The course I was most interested in was Course 8: Understanding Land Records. I'm happy to say that I got into it. Originally I had considered a different course, but decided that taking a class that focuses on land only, fits better into my education plan right now. Dealing with land records in Tennessee can be a bit tricky at times. Plus, I like dealing with land. It's concrete. Unlike one's ancestors, land doesn't move... well, usually.

So if you are interested in IGHR, there are 3 courses still open as of this writing. Another opportunity to register for an institute is GRIP on February 7th. Institutes are a great experience. Not only is it a week long in-depth learning experience on one subject, but the camaraderie is wonderful as well. I'm excited for June!

Monday, January 14, 2013

First Family Lineage Societies

Today I was looking at the First Families of Tennessee lineage society description, and decided to look at requirements for other states. I was not only surprised and impressed by how many states have these sorts of societies, but some of them have different qualifying categories based on arrival time of your pioneer.

I popped over to Colorado, to see what they had to offer. They fell into the group of offering different qualifying categories. I was excited to see that they also had a list of pioneer families that had already qualified in their different categories. With excitement I pulled up the list and found.... my ancestors weren't listed anywhere. I was disappointed but also strangely sad as well. The same sadness came over me after the same results with another state. Why?

Joining as many lineage societies as I can is not necessarily one of my priorities. I am interested in commemorating my ancestors and leaving a roadmap of sorts for future generations. After some thought I realized my sadness was from the lack of recognition for my ancestors' bravery, hardship, sacrifice, sense of adventure, and ambition. These were people that either came to this country to make a better life, or moved west into the wild to claim land. They deserve to have someone remember them. So this task has now been added to my ever growing list of projects.

If you are interested in First Family Lineage Societies, a good place to find a list of them is on Cyndi's List. She has 3 pages of links to look at. Or, if you are like me, you can Google it. Good luck!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Do You Have SLIG Envy?

I've been reading posts on Facebook from some SLIG attendees. I have SLIG envy. What is SLIG? It is the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy held in Salt Lake City, Utah every January. I've never been, but I'd like to go. There are 11 different courses offered. The course I would pick is Tom Jones' class, which is sold out every year. No surprise there. I expect as the week goes on I'll read more about SLIG on Facebook and various different blogs.

So instead of attending SLIG, I'm pouring over the IGHR website and looking at the course offerings there. IGHR stands for Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, held in Birmingham, Alabama at Samford University every June. Often you will just hear this institute referred to as "Samford." Registration begins on January 22 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time. Looking through the list of choices, is like standing at an ice cream shop trying to pick out just one flavor... to have for the whole week. It is a tough choice.

Course registration times for the various courses are staggered so the system doesn't get overwhelmed. This can be problematic. For example, say your first course choice is at a later registration time (say 11:30 a.m. CST), and your second course choice is at an earlier registration time (10:30 a.m. CST). If you don't get into your first choice it is very likely your second choice is already sold out. This is a situation I'm facing. So I've also made third and fourth choices. This lets you know how good the courses are at IGHR. You really can't go wrong with any of them. I'll let you know on the 22nd how it turns out.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Why Volunteer?

I recently read a very good article in the APG Quarterly by Harold Henderson titled Genealogy Education on a Shoestring Budget. Harold writes about the many different educational opportunities that are available. The price of these programs range from free to upwards of $500. I have experienced many of them and they are wonderful suggestions.

Another educational opportunity to consider is volunteering at your local archives, library, or genealogy society. As I've written about before, I volunteer at the Tennessee State Library and Archives. When I first started to volunteer, and for each subsequent project I've worked on, my request was simple: I want to work on a project I can learn from. Another words, I didn't want to be delegated to a constant stream of filing, copying, or pencil sharpening. It has been a rewarding experience so far.

My first project took 18 months to complete. I was assigned with going through the surname vertical files, scanning any bible records/pages I came across, and create a database of these images. This was an amazing project. Admittedly some vertical files didn't have much in them, while others had a wealth of information, and some gorgeous original color bible pages. I also discovered original discharge papers from the military in 1890. Those have since been transferred to the manuscripts collection. Going through the vertical files was like going through someone's attic. Eventually, this database will end up online. When it does, I will certainly let you know!

The next project was to proofread an index/database that was created from Acts Passed at the Regular Session of the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee. This project wasn't as exciting as the bible project, however I learned about a whole new set of records and what they contain. This database is organized according to the Act. It would have been a nice addition to cross reference with individual names that are contained within these records. I actually found two ancestors mentioned in one volume. Exciting stuff!

Currently I'm working on a set of Provost Marshal records. Specifically the records are, Union Provost Marshal's File of Papers Relating to Two or More Civilians. This is a project that has apparently been in the works for a while, and been across a few desks. As a volunteer, I don't have the distractions of meetings, phone calls, and patrons to attend to. It's also a really big project and I love it. Each microfilm reel takes me about 3-4 hours to get through. My responsibility is to go through the reel, find the records that pertain to Tennessee, scan them, and record the document number. Eventually, I'll go through the images and create an index of the names mentioned in the documents. This last part has been started, but I doubt will be finished by the time I'm done scanning. I believe this project is slated to go online at some point. So far the documents I've seen are; women being prosecuted for providing liquor to soldiers, individuals wanting compensation for livestock or weapons that were seized, testimony by several people regarding a murder of a 12 year old slave boy, and a soldier making a reference to an informant by name that " the way is a cripple and a German."

Volunteering doesn't cost anything other than your time. If you are not close to an archives or you are unable to travel easily, many archives have volunteers that work from their home. Records are sent via email to transcribe or index. So if you are looking for ways to give back, learn something, and be involved with a genealogy related project consider volunteering. Believe me it is a rewarding experience for all.