Bird’s eye view of the city of Erie, Erie County, Pennsylvania 1870. Chicago Lithographing Co.(Library of Congress online map collection)
The Advanced Land Class at GRIP spent yesterday afternoon in the computer lab, and it was probably my favorite part of the week. Pam Sayre led 35 of us through the process of platting property on a historical map using the windows based DeedMapper software, by Direct Line. We practised on both the rectangular grids of Public Domain Land, and the more complicated metes and bounds of the 13 colonies. You can learn more about the software here.
The computer lab at La Roche is set up for 30, so some of us had to double up on computers. The room was also FREEZING so, for future reference, if you’re taking a course that will spend any time at all in the lab….bring a heavy sweater! Walking a (…more)
This morning in Advanced Land Records, we’re learning about the papers of the U.S. Government; a source which is under-utilized and yet rich with genealogical information. Much of the land records referenced in the published record of the U.S. Congress exist nowhere else.
Continental Congress & Constitutional Convention Journals & Papers 1774–1789
American State Papers 1789–1838
U.S. Serial Set 15th Congress 1817–present
To be honest, I knew about these government papers before this morning’s lecture, but had never thought to seek them out. I misunderstood their purpose and content and certainly underestimated their value to my research. Now, thanks to Rick Sayre, I know better!
Rick made the interesting point this morning that, before we had the U.S. government structure we have today, a citizen’s only recourse for complaints and other issues with Congress was to go to congress and tell them. It was a more personal approach; and the journals and (…more)
This was the third day of lectures, and (I’m sorry to say) I’m starting to get tired of sitting still for hours on end. I’m hearing the same from others, which makes me feel better; but (and every one I’ve talked to seems to be feeling the same about this too), the stiff knees and achy backs are worth it because the material is so interesting, and there’s so much learning going on.
I’m also starting to see camaraderie developing among students in the various classes (it’s even more pronounced in our small project groups). More and more, we are walking into the cafeteria alone and finding it easy to sit down at an almost full table, feel immediately welcomed, and effortlessly jump right into a friendly conversation. Unless its a conversation about the food
The grumblings about cafeteria food are getting louder and more frequent. The cereals (…more)
Sometimes what happens OUTSIDE the classroom hits home more than scheduled lectures. This morning I had breakfast with Michael Hait and Craig Scott, two of my favorite genealogists, who I love to hang around with because I always learn something new (and for other reasons of course!) We were talking about my land course. I LOVE it. But, one thing it hasn’t addressed is how to read between the lines of a deed or other conveyance document. Do you know what I mean? Yes, a deed, in any of its forms, is about the exchanging of property. There are books about the legal terminology and land terms. And lots of strategies about where and how to FIND records (eg. this course). But what does the document really say about the people mentioned in it? Is there anything I can infer from the document that wasn’t explicitly stated in it? (…more)
Today, in Advanced Land Records, Pam Sayre talked “All About Deeds.” We also discussed private land claims, and spent a good amount of time walking through the Bureau of Land Management General Land Office website (BLM GLO) [by the by, when I'm typing quickly, my fingers sometimes type the M before the L; so, if I inadvertently write BML, I'm still talking about the Bureau of Land Management ]
After lunch, guest instructor Angela McGhie taught us all about Land Entry Files, and the various ways our ancestors acquired and paid for their land. That was probably my favorite part of the day.
My project group, of 6, started work on the case study that we’ll present to the class on Friday. I must admit, 6 strangers getting thrown together to solve a problem we aren’t sure we have the skills to solve yet, is a little frazzling. But, (…more)
I am so excited to be at my first institute! It’s like a club. I swear, there really are institute junkies. How they do it mystifies me. There are four (at least) institutes held in this county each year, including this, the youngest on the block: Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. They last a full work week. They’re a financial investment. And really, no matter where one lives, at least three of them are probably going to involve air travel. Plus, and let’s be real, they’re staffed by arguably some of the best minds in genealogy today, which many may find, at least a little, intimidating.
Still, I’ve been dying to go to one, and GRIP is practically in my backyard! And who knows…maybe this week will be the start of my own addiction
So….DAY ONE NOTE: This post has two parts and the first is whiny, so feel (…more)
I am at my first genealogy institute! I’ve been wanting to go to one since I first discovered there was such a thing, but the others (In Salt Lake City, Samford, and D.C.) conflict with family commitments. So, I was THRILLED when GRIP opened in Pittsburgh last year. Check-in was today at 3. Welcome dinner at 5. It was really nice to run into friends. The institute is held at Pittsburgh’s La Roche College. It’s fun to be in a dorm setting for the first time in eons, but I’m not liking the looks of the bed….in fact, I’m contemplating sleeping in my clothes, on top of the thread bare sheets, but that’s a bit beside the point, which is- I’m so excited to be here!!
I’m taking the Advanced Land Research course, taught by Rick and Pam Sayre. Deeds and other land records are a big part of genealogy (…more)