Wednesday, July 25, 2012

GRIP - Wednesday evening

Today was another busy day. 

While this is my first institute, I understand from talking with other students, that they are similiar in that you get up, have breakfast, go to class, have lunch, go to class, have dinner, go to evening program, and go to bed.  Of course during all of this you are talking, and talking, and talking genealogy, if you aren't listening, listening, listening.  And these classrooms are great since we have power to each table and internet access, so we can go online at the same time we are trying to listen, etc.  Chaos!!!  No, not really.  Tiring?  Yes, to a point.  Exhilarating?  Absolutely!!!

Today, Josh and Paula were in our room (remember Intermediate Genealogy: Tools for Digging Deeper) for two sessions each.  Paula spoke on court and military records.  Oh, my, are there a lot of different names for the same type of court, depending upon where you are looking.   So it's important to know the correct name for the locale in order to be able to get the information you are seeking.  With military records, Paula showed us why it's so very important to look at more than just pension files.  And there are such a huge variety of resources in so many different places.  While I don't know of many ancestors who served in the military, I now have a great number of places to look to find out more about them.

First thing this morning Josh spoke on tax and land records.  No, we definitely didn't go back to sleep.  He reminded us that our ancestor may have paid taxes even if he didn't own land.  To me one of the most important points regarding land was that we need to account for ALL of the land our ancestor owned, and follow it at least two land exchanges before and two after our ancestor owned the land.  And the last date could be decades after our ancestor either died or moved out of the area.  Good things to remember.

For me the most unusual session today was the last one, by Josh,  "Building a Locality Profile."  Now, at dinner tonight, I heard some current and past ProGen students talk about doing this for one for one of their assignments.  But I had never heard of this idea before.  Yes, I have collected a little information about repositories in the area, but nothing to the extent that Josh described.  But I can definitely see the advantages.  Of course, he kept reminding us that while we were putting together this locality profile, we weren't supposed to be researching.  (How many of us will be able to do that completely?)  After listening to Josh guide us through items to include in our profile, and places to find the information, many of us went online and looked at some counties.  There is a lot more information regarding research opportunities than I ever knew.  I think I'm going to have to commit to doing at least one county (or locale) a week, or something like that.  It just makes so much sense. 

We have completed 12 sessions (3 days, 4 sessions each day).  We have 6 more to do since we only have a half day on Friday.  By then I think I'm going to have so much information "stuffed" in my head that I would be unable to find room for any more.  But oh, am I glad I came. 

Now I'm going to see if I can find anything to help a fellow student with a "brick" wall before finish up with some other homework stuff.