January 25, 2018

SLIG Day Three: Crimes and Misdemeanors

My morning started with yet another rushed start for me because I am a night owl who struggles to get up for morning lark classes. Or, if you prefer, I put the “pro” in “procrastinate” because I value those extra ten minutes of sleep more than my life and consider any morning which starts before 10 am a crime against nature. I may need to work on that.

Today’s class began with a fascinating talk by Diane Loosle on Crime and Punishment, during which we learned about the different levels of the English Court system and the types of records each produced; of particular note to me was a discussion on transported prisoners because I have one in my family tree—he was transported from England to the colonies after being arrested for larceny, so feel free insert any relevant puns about “stealing away” to America here.

Paul Milner, teaching on English probate records.

The afternoon sessions were run by the delightful Dr. Ronald Hill, who spoke to us about English Chancery records (more crime!) and later about deciphering Elizabethan script, which extensively uses contractions, abbreviations, and simply drops letters.  In fact, one of my classmates, Rosanne Ricks, even referred to it as “Medieval texting.” Well-played, Rosanne!

The evening was spent once again at the Family History Library (because how can any genealogist worth his or her…Salt…be near Genealogy Mecca and not take full advantage? While there I took a course with Julie Stoddard, who provided several helpful resources for researching early American ancestors, then I spent a few minutes playing with the Library’s iPad docking stations, where I quickly learned that I am distantly related to several presidents (including George Washington), Thomas Edison, Elvis Presley, and Emily Dickinson. Turns out I’m even related to a couple other SLIG attendees, include my 11th cousin Sara Cochran! I have to confess, I found it all very entertaining.  I don’t know how accurate the linkages are (have they followed the Genealogical Proof Standard in determining these connections???), but really, isn’t this joy of discovery what we as genealogists are all about?  Doesn’t matter whether we’re discovering in a class, or in a set of records in some dusty archive, or even in an interactive display in Salt Lake City.  It’s all about the hunt, and the gratification of discovery. #SLIGExperience

On the way home, my SLIG buddies and I joked about cutting class to spend more time at the FHL, though of course we wouldn’t.  Time in class is just as valuable as time at the Library.  I never did decide whether skiving off would count as a crime or a misdemeanor, though…I’ll have to check with Diane tomorrow. ;)


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