Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Samford University Classes Day 1

We arrived in Birmingham on Sunday night. We're staying in the Best Western instead of the dorm. I just didn't consider staying in the dorm this time. My daughter is also attending and she is currently in college, so I thought the break from University housing might be what she would prefer. We got checked in before 5 at the University library; picked up the notebook of materials; had the opportunity to get help connecting with the laptop (I bypassed this - how hard could it be - see mea culpa later). The notebook includes the names of those in your chosen class; their names, addresses, email addresses and the surnames in which they are interested - all good conversation starters. We met some really nice people even before the group evening meal. After the meal, there was an orientation session - telling us where and when items for the next day. Check in at the hotel had been fine, and the room is clean and adequate.

Monday morning. We ate breakfast at the hotel. We met a couple of folks at the hotel who were in one of the IGHR classes and offered them a ride - they had flown in from Maryland and Pennsylvania - two more nice and interesting folks.

I'm taking the Level 2 course: Intermediate Genealogy and Historical Studies. My daughter is taking the Level 1 course: Techniques and Technology. The two guys we met at the hotel this morning are in the "Researching African-American Ancestors: Military Records.

My class on Monday covered tax records, pitfalls in research, newspaper research and included an advanced bibliography of resources. Lloyd Bockstruck taught all the sessions except the newspaper session and it was taught by John Colletta. All topics were taught very well. I learned something in each session.

I had connected to the internet from my hotel, and attempted to get onto the secure network on campus before class. All four of us with laptops in the room had trouble connecting and had to ask for help from University personnel. We finally connected, but it was painful. I suggest anyone coming to these classes take advantage of the help in the library on Sunday night for laptop setup [I should probably tell you that I was a computer analyst for MANY years and STILL had trouble setting it up].

I've been doing genealogy since 1977, but decided to take the Level II class becaues it's covering quite a few record types that I've never spent a lot of time with. So far, I've learned quite a few interesting things. As an example, did you know that a FREEMAN in pre 1850 Pennsylvania meant BACHELOR? Did you know that NEAT CATTLE means DEHORNED CATTLE? We learned about the Julian to Gregorian date changes. Did you know that in the 17th and 18th centuries that the term NEPHEW actually meant GRANDCHILD (male or female)? Better reevaluate all those lineage charts, huh? I'll go through and give more examples of interesting things I learned in the middle of learning more about tax records and other genealogy sources.

Time to get ready for day two....

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