Friday, May 6, 2016

NGS2016~Watching Another Conference From My Rocking Chair

Day 1 of the Livestream of the NGS2016 Conference from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. had me once again at home, in my rocking chair, wishing I could have joined my genfriends. 

Thursday's track of live sessions was all about Land Records.

  Mapping Apps for Genealogists presented by Rick Sayre started off by the day.
  Rick presented several different apps for ios, android and web-based platforms that can help with genealogy research.
 There are map apps for just about anything you want to do.
City and transit apps can help plan trips, plat apps can lead you to your ancestor's land and cemetery apps can help plot and find a burial spot.
 The advantage of these apps is that they can be downloaded and do not have to rely on a wifi connection to work. Very handy when you are in the middle of nowhere or even on a big city street.
 Rick Sayre's advice was to experiment with the apps and see what works for you.
 Looks like I've got some fun playing around with apps to do!

   Next up was Pamala Boyer Sayre who discussed Private Land Claims. These records deal with land claims on property that once owned by Mexico, Spain, and France before the U.S. did.
  Pamela's started off by explaining that dealing with these types of land records are "complicated" and quoting Tom Jones, she said that finding them"it depends" on the state, law's and time periods to determine a process of research. Researching Private Land Claim Records is not easy and they can be hard to find.
 Finding Private Land Claims is a"boots on the ground' type of research due to the fact that most are not online.
 The claim process involved a person had to provide evidence of his land claim with a plot or survey; they had to get affidavits from others in the community who would testify that he had lived on and made improvements to the land, and then file the claim with the authorities in the area. This claim could either be approved or denied. The paperwork with their decision was then sent to the General Land Office in Washington, DC. If they approved the claim, then a certificate was sent to the land owner. Some of these cases took many years. Some not being resolved until many years later.
 These land records are held at NARA but other places should be searched too. The State Archives may be able to give you information on Private Land Claims for their state, the BLM GLO website, and Newspapers are great places to begin a search. Tract books may also be available.
 The important thing as Pamela mentioned at the beginning is to study what the laws of the time period for which you are looking for Private Land Claims to help you decide on a research process.

 In his session Are You Lost? Using Maps and Gazetteers for English and Welsh Research, Paul Miner gave some important tips and reasons for using these tools. Although he was speaking about their use in English and Welsh research, it could apply to researching anywhere.
 His first tip was to get all the maps you can for the area you are interested in. Any type of map, whatever is available for all years for the county, parish, town etc. where your ancestor lived.
  One way he has used maps is to be able to "follow" a census taker down the road and discover which house his ancestor lived in. Fire Insurance Maps were used to help the insurance companies to decide rates. These maps will tell you what structures were made of and what businesses were around your ancestor's home that might make it more susceptible to a fire. These maps have a lot of detail about the community and can help you visualize where your ancestor lived.
 Gazetteers can give you a description of the population and town that your ancestor lived in. These are also useful to find out about locations that no longer exist.
  After listening to his presentation, I will be hunting down maps of where my ancestor's lived.

Deed Books-More Than Just Land Records presented by Vic Dunn, CG was up after lunch.
  In this presentation, Vic Dunn showed the many types of records and information that can be found within Deed books.
 Deeds of Sales, Gifts, Mortgages, Leases, Manumissions, Power of Attorney, Marriage Contracts, Depositions, Releases and many other agreements between parties can be found in these books. They also can include documents that don't fit anywhere else.
  Many relationships can be determined by researching Deed Books. Maiden names, Slave families as they sometimes will mention mothers and their children, the FAN club can be identified and ages can be inferred.
 Signatures on documents can also help in differentiating two men with the same name.
 These are useful for discovering family structure as property is passed from one member to another. A sense of how the family lived can also be found by what they are selling, or buying.
This lecture helped me see Deed Books in a whole new light.
He was right! The are just not about the land!

 The last session of the day was from Lisa Louise Cooke who presented Google Earth: Your Ancestor's Footprints Through Time.
 In this presentation, Lisa showed how to use  Google Earth's My Maps feature to make an interactive map to share with family members engage in the stories and history of their ancestors. Lisa calls it a tour of your ancestor's life during a certain time period. 
 Once the story to be told is decided on, a folder should be made in "My Maps" to hold everything that you want to share. 
To add the item on the map where the events occurred, a place marker needs to be added. Clicking on the place marker will bring up a popup box that you can a story, pictures, and video. Youtube videos can be embedded here by copying and pasting the HTML code. For photos and documents, a photo hosting site like can be used to produce a code to put into the dialogue box. 
 Lisa shows step by step instructions on how to make one of these "Ancestor Tour Maps" and discussed ways to share them via email, on a website or blog. 
 So many ideas of tours that I could make to share my ancestor's stories came to my mind as I watched.
What stories would you tell? 

Mapping Apps, Private Land Claims, Maps and Gazetteers, Deed Books and Ancestor Tours with Google Earth. Lots of great information to help with my genealogy research.

Did you watch the Livestream videos from NGS2016? 
What did you learn? 

There's still time to subscribe and watch the records of all the livestream presentations. Go to for information. The syllabus for the entire conference is included. An option to buy audio recordings of all the sessions held during the entire conference is also offered.

Whew! Time to relax and get ready for Day 2! I'll be watching once again from my rocking chair. Will you be watching?

Are we kin? Please contact me. Together we can find our people.

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