Friday, August 5, 2011

Records Contemporary to the Events

Conference Learning, MoSGA Part 1

The Missouri State Genealogical Association's 30th Annual Conference carried a strong theme: Remember that there's irreplaceable value in using resources that are contemporary to events. Or best said "try to reference the originals." Hank Z. Jones, FASG, Mary Celeste, MLIS, and Evie Bresette, CG, all carried this theme while sharing different expertise and examples.

Brother John
In "When the Sources Are Wrong!" Hank Z. Jones reminded us that with each version, edition, reprint or reorganizing of written materials, there's an aggregation of errors. Moral to the story, there's nothing better than the original source. 

Now that doesn't mean the original source is accurate.  We are all familiar with inaccurate information scribed on original death records in spite of being recorded at time of death, or errors on marriage applications, or misspelled names on census records. But, have you taken into consideration how many mistakes are added when these same documents are extracted, transcribed or indexed? Our ancestors sometimes purposefully gave erroneous information, but then there's the issue of misunderstanding cultural or religious references.  Was Brother John a friar, or blood brother?

Not Just Adobe Acrobat
Keeping the theme of using sources "contemporary to events," Evie Bresette, CG, shared one of my favorite genealogical tools: historic newspapers.  Although I consider myself an online newspaper guru, Evie's Researching Historic Newspapers: Free Online Databases gave a few new tips. My favorites were related to Foreign Newspapers like Xooxle Answers for Ireland and Wales Newspapers, but Evie also explained newspaper viewers, informing us that we are no longer limited to Adobe Acrobat.  Are you familiar with Olive Active Paper Archive or  DjVu (pronounce deja vu) Viewer Lizardtech?

Flat Stanley to Visit Genealogy
Mary Celeste, MLIS, liberally shared links that help genealogists on the topic of "Fleshing Out Your Civil War Ancestor: A Case Study to Guide You." Using a case study of an ancestor Mary shared topics and resource links of "Nicknames of our ancestors," and" Ethnic naming patterns." A review of historical medical terms reminded us not to apply 21st century meaning to 17 and 18 century terms.

A fun part of this presentation was the briefing of how to engage the young ones.  My favorite was her family's ancestral Flat Stanley that was designed based on historical physical descriptions and photos.

State Historical Society of Missouri
There were also two other speakers that I did have the opportunity to hear: Gary Kremer of the State Historical Society of Missouri: Vast Collections for Researchers, and Carole (Meltzer) Goggin - Making the Most of Your Cemetery Visit.  If you don't know of the Manuscript Collections and Newspapers of this State Historical Society, you may be missing your ancestor's Missouri activities. This is one of the first resources I turn to when working with Missouri families.

Dowsing Graves and Then What?
In reviewing the syllabus of Making the Most of Your Cemetery Visit, by Carole (Meltzer) Goggin, I can easily surmise that attending this presentation benefited the participants.  I particularly want to peruse the websites referencing "Icons and Symbolisms."  I think I'll leave the grave dowsing to others!
Reason to Attend Conferences
It's not fair for me to give the full workshops, but as I mentioned at the top of this post, documents contemporary to any event gives us a focused look at our ancestor. However, if you want more visit The Columbia Daily Tribune article Genealogy Expert Shares Trade Secrets by Janese Silvey.

Kathleen Brandt

1 comment:

  1. Excellent summary. It is difficult to chose which track to attend.