Thursday, June 12, 2008

Samford University IGHR Day 3

Wednesday’s topics in the second level class were:
Analysis and Correlation of Information – taught by Christine Rose
Federal Land Records – taught by Claire Bettag
Passenger Arrival Records and Naturalization Records – taught by John Colletta

All of these presentations were wonderful.

Christine Rose discussed:
We used to use Preponderance of the Evidence in determining solutions to our problems. We now use the Genealogical Proof Standard.

Things to ask yourself:
Have you done a reasonably exhaustive search?
Has each piece tested?
Does all the information collected point in the same direction?
If not, is other evidence explained?
Does the accumulated evidence leave no doubt?

We don’t look at a record and call it primary or secondary – we look at the information – the pieces.
For instance, a WILL and its derivatives (copies) are both primary sources, with the original carrying more weight, but either could have errors. You look at the items in each.

Should always know who created the record to evaluate it.

Strategies when stuck:
- the answer is often buried in something we already have
- see if you’ve made assumptions before that aren’t valid
- make list of all the documents you’ve looked at – is there something else I could look at?
- broaden the surname search in the area – they might have missed our guy, but a relative might appear.

Proof summaries:
- use only the info that pertains to the problem
- write it up in cohesive summary
- state the problem
- explains the evidence that helps ‘solve’ the problem
- include it as a part of the compilation, as a footnote, or just a page or two attached to the evidence in your life

Bibles – always photocopy the title page of the bible

When evidence conflicts:
- read/transcribed correctly?
- consider informant
- consider source
- consider motive
- understand terminology
- understand time period (example: son-in-law often stepson)

She covered many other things in an excellent presentation

Land Records by Bettag
This was an intense, fast paced presentation. She covered a HUGE amount of data in an excellent manner.
She discussed in great detail:
Land entry papers
Surrendered bounty-land warrants
Private land claims

She went through the survey system.

Useful site:

NARA has land entry papers (case files) for the public land states only.
Land records at the NARA are in group 49.

Public land states are divided into eastern and western public land states, and the eastern state records are centralized in Springfield Virginia.

She discussed the various congressional acts that affected land acquisition.

The notes she handed out were excellent (as were those of Christine Rose). She also provided a good bibliography for further study.

The section on Arrival Records and Naturalization by Colletta was very interesting.
He gives many examples, using his own ancestors.

He referred us to

He discussed pre-1820 and post 1820 arrival records.
Other topics discussed:
- what you need to start the search
- passenger lists and where to find them
- other resources for potential value: passport applications, homestead files, newspapers of the port of entry, major ports and minor ports.

A reminder to look at these census records:
1820, 1830 census for “not naturalized” column,
1870 “eligible to vote” column,
1900 and later years for immigration info

He provided a very good bibliography.

On naturalization, he covered the key federal laws, state laws, and also provided a good bibliography of materials for this subject.

We skipped the evening presentation. Our choices were:
Manuscripts at the Library of Congress by Bettag and
Planning an Overseas Research Trip by Paul Milner;
We instead, found the mall and my daughter, the handbag queen, now has two more!!

Dinner was very good at Landry’s Seafood, and my daughter was introduced to bananas foster. I think she has a new dessert to add to her “favorites” list.

The weather here is typical Alabama. It's to be 89 tomorrow. As the heat rises in the afternoons it leads to the usual afternoon thunderstorms. Cools the temperatures a little, but makes it more muggy later. This is normal weather for me, but I think it's bothering some of our Pennsylvania and New York attendees in the class.

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