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)
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)