September 18, 2012
The 118th Annual Anderson Reunion was this past Sunday, and a good time was had by all. Especially me, as I had the pleasure of playing with my new cousin, Izzie, who is not quite five months old. Yes, she is adorable, and my only regret is that I couldn’t also spend some time with my other new baby cousin, who is three months old and also adorable. And that is the joy of a family reunion: seeing old friends, and making new ones as well.
If you’re wondering, this reunion is for the descendants of Mansfield and Harriet (Black) Anderson, who lived in Blount and Sevier Counties, Tennessee, before moving to Macon County, North Carolina, before 1850. I’m connected to the family through my maternal grandmother, Ruth (Anderson) Ledford, who was Mansfield and Harriet’s great-great-granddaughter. I’ve spent a little time researching Mansfield and Harriet, but have mostly left them alone because so many others are researching the family, including Roy Duane Collier, who published an article on the couple in 1987,1 and a cousin-in-law, Steve Beck, with whom I corresponded a little in the early 1990s, among others.
After the reunion, I spent some time on the Internet looking through FamilySearch‘s wonderful online database. I thought I’d see if they had any records online in Tennessee for Blount and Sevier Counties, something I hadn’t had a chance to look at yet. Honestly, I was really just piddling and didn’t expect to find anything.
Funny how those things turn out.
September 16, 2012
O. C. G. A. § 50-18-70
(a) The General Assembly finds and declares that the strong public policy of this state is in favor of open government; that open government is essential to a free, open, and democratic society; and that public access to public records should be encouraged to foster confidence in government and so that the public can evaluate the expenditure of public funds and the efficient and proper functioning of its institutions. The General Assembly further finds and declares that there is a strong presumption that public records should be made available for public inspection without delay.
As many of you have probably heard by now, the Georgia Department of Archives and History is scheduled to close to the public on November 1, 2012 due to budget cuts. After that, appointments will be available to those needing access to the Archives’ holdings on a limited basis dependent entirely upon the number of staff available at the Archives to handle such appointments. Since the Archives now has just enough staff to maintain its primary function (processing and storing certain governmental records), it is clear that the number of appointments available after November 1 will be low.
August 25, 2012
Have you ever had that feeling that you’re stagnating, but you’re not sure exactly how to get out of that rut? Well, that’s me with my personal research. I spent some quality time with OneNote a few days ago to organize some of my research, in part looking for possible story ideas for articles, lectures, and blog posts.
I realized, as I do every single time I look through my pedigree, that I’m stuck in the 19th century with many of my lines.
August 16, 2012
Many thanks to the members of the Rockdale County Genealogical Society for the warm welcome at Sunday’s meeting. I very much enjoyed speaking with y’all and discussing some of Georgia’s “poor” records. Y’all made my first professional speaking engagement a relaxed and pleasant experience, and I appreciate that.
For those of you who missed it, the session was “Poor People, Rich Records: Researching Georgia’s 19th Century Poor.” The specific records we discussed were:
June 17, 2012
This whole week has been so action-packed that I’ve had a difficult time narrowing down topics to write about. I met so many people, made friends and important contacts, and learned at least a small something from each topic covered in the course I took. All that aside, I couldn’t wait to get home. This morning was a short one, and once certificates were handed out, goodbyes said, and the car packed, I gladly hit the road eastbound toward home.
June 16, 2012
Of all the things we covered this week, there were a few lessons I learned that had very little to do with Southern genealogy. Case in point: I’ve been invited to speak at the Rockdale County (GA) Genealogical Society this coming August. I hope to have a powerpoint presentation ready to illustrate various items in the lecture, and I know I’ll need to create a really outstanding handout as well. So, I spent a good deal of time studying the format of this week’s lectures, the various types of slides used, and comparing syllabus layouts with the needs of my target audience. I learned quite a bit about the process during this week, but I’m fairly certain our instructors didn’t have those lessons in mind when creating their lectures.
June 14, 2012
I know I’ve talked about Michael Hait a lot in the last couple of posts. While Michael and I have met online and even corresponded a time or two, we had never met in person. He introduced himself Tuesday, and we’ve had several conversations since then centered around, you guessed it, certification and records, in particular records pertaining to slave and/or African American research.
June 13, 2012
One of the hot topics amongst this week’s IGHR participants is certification. This comes up even in casual conversation, and because most of the genealogists here have a certain level of osity toward the subject, I doubt many realize how frequently it’s mentioned.
Tuesday night, Dr. Thomas W. Jones and Elissa Scalise Powell moderated a discussion about certification through the Board for Certification of Genealogists. This particular session deviated a little from the usual more formal format in that certified genealogists who were in the audience were invited to share their reasons for seeking certification. This was followed by a short conversation by Michael Hait and Harold Henderson on how not to submit an application for certification.
June 13, 2012
A few years ago, I attended the Federation of Genealogical Society’s national conference in Knoxville, Tennessee. I had never been to a national conference before and wasn’t sure what to expect. I kept looking around and thinking, is this it? I mean, don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the conference, met some fantastic people, and learned a lot, but it wasn’t the kind of education I really needed. Although a growing number of lectures at national conferences are geared toward advanced topics and/or professional genealogists, most have the beginning or intermediate genealogist in mind. And since the lectures are short (generally 45 minutes in length with a ten or fifteen minute Q&A, although not always), the speakers don’t necessarily have time to give more than an overview of the subject being covered. A really good overview, but not generally the kind of in-depth discussion I was hoping for.
At IGHR, I’ve found that in-depth learning experience. The people here are absolutely amazing, from the institute’s staff to the course coordinators and teachers to the students. In between classes, everyone is in conversation, and most of it centers around genealogical issues. For those who are new to the institute (like me), some of that discussion revolves around getting to know researchers on a personal level, or meeting researchers in person with whom one has only ever corresponded before.
June 10, 2012
Today, I drove to Birmingham, Alabama, to participate in my first Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR), held annually at Samford University. The campus is small but lovely, and everyone seems very nice. Classes start in the morning. I’m taking Course 3: Research in the South, Part 1, led by J. Mark Lowe, the course coordinator. We have a bevy of other good speakers for this course, namely Linda Woodward-Geiger, Deborah Abbott, and Michael Hait. I’m looking forward to hearing what these fine researchers have to say about the records, resources, and history of my native land.