Tidbits and Updates

It’s been a busy few months here in the Watson household.

We just ended basketball season. My sister is the head coach of the local high school varsity ladies basketball team. In the past four years, the Lady Cats have won 88% of their games, gone to State tournies all four years, and reached the Elite 8 three of those years. A phenomenal program. We try to get to every game, or as many as is possible. Those Lady Cats put on a heck of a show and we sure are proud of each and every one, coaches and players alike.

On the book end, Rabun County, Georgia, Newspapers, 1894 – 1899 is at the printers. I hope to have proofs in my hand within three to four weeks, and the finished product for sale another three or four weeks after that. For those who are interested, I’ve already put up an index of death notices and obituaries published in the three newspapers covered by this book.

I’ve been working on the second volume in what I hope will be a long series of transcriptions of Rabun County records. This next book will cover miscellaneous Superior Court records, primarily records of writ from 1836 to 1858 but possibly also some of the early court dockets. I’ve just about finished transcribing the first volume of writs, covering 1836 to 1841, and will begin abstracting those soon. These records are really exciting, and add a great deal of detail to the Superior Court minutes, which are at times so truncated as to be confusing. I’m also steadily working on transcribing the county marriage records and the earliest deed books, both of which will take another year or two to finish.

This past January, I registered for Samford University’s Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (Course 3: Research in the South, part 1). I’ve been looking forward to attending IGHR for several years now, and am absolutely thrilled to have made it into this particular course. When I first registered, it didn’t seem real, but now I’m getting very excited about the trip, and in particular about working with some fine Southern researchers.

To round out my formal genealogical education for the year, I hope to attend the Regional In-depth Genealogical Studies Alliance this October. RIGSA is conducted annually by J. Mark Lowe and Linda Woodward-Geiger, two researchers who are also part of IGHR’s Course 3 (Mark as the co-ordinator and a lecturer, and Linda as a lecturer). This year, Mark and Linda will be walking researchers through using the various records located at the Southeastern branch of the National Archives in the Atlanta area. They alternate annual sessions between that branch of NARA and the one in Fort Worth, Texas. It should be a very enriching experience.

If everything works out as planned, I’ll also be registering this fall to take Boston University’s Genealogical Research Certificate Program in January 2013. And, of course, I hope to attend the second part of Course 3 at Samford in the summer of that same year.

All of this push toward completing formal educational programs has a two-fold purpose: First, my own education as a researcher has been largely informal, as is the case for most genealogists. While I have learned a great deal on my own through hands-on research, informal mentoring, and the study of key publications (books, journals, and articles, online or off), it’s past time for me to gain experience through a classroom setting.

And second, my ultimate goal is to earn official credentials through the Board for Certification of Genealogists. Nearly everything I’ve done research-wise over the past decade or so has been leading to that point. I’ve already begun working on the various elements of the application portfolio, which I had hoped to compile over the next year. If I am accepted at BU’s certificate program, however, I will be able to take at least another year to complete the portfolio. According to everything I’ve read by other certification candidates, I’ll need that extra time.

I think that covers everything. In the future, I hope to have more posts like yesterday’s on our adventures finding and visiting the Old Smyrna Church Cemetery in Towns County. Until then, happy hunting.

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