24 January 2018

SLIG Day 2: Discovery

The second day of my #SLIGExperience began in a bit of a rush as I hurried to collect a hot chocolate and a muffin for breakfast before my class on English research.  Once there, we were treated to a fascinating discussion on paleography by Diane Loosle, which included several increasingly difficult examples for us to decipher.  I discovered I’m actually not too bad at it and have been inspired to work on transcriptions for FamilySearch and other websites as a result.  I guess grading all those freshman compositions years ago were advantageous after all!

The rest of the day passed in a bit of a blur, with the rat-a-tat-tat of English resources coming at us fast and furiously like a genealogical fusillade over the SOM (that’s short for “Somerset,” not the “Somme,” thank you very much). Not surprisingly, most of my class left at 4 pm excited but a little shell-shocked as we all tried to process the sheer volume of information given to us. Thanks to the encyclopedic knowledge of our instructors Paul Milner and Diane, we discovered (among many other things) that England’s Parish Chests and court Quarter Sessions are rich resources rife with all sorts of interesting (and occasionally obscure) lists and documents, including everything from lists of jurors, felons, tradesmen, and members of the military to records on witchcraft and bastardy.  Who knew the Quart Sessions and Parish Chest were such incredible treasure troves??

Speaking of treasure troves, I also spent far too much time and money exploring Maia’s bookstore and discovering all the little gems she had stashed away.

Mistakes were made.

After class, I met up with some friends for appetizers at Fat Jack’s across the street, where we discovered the wonder of “funeral potatoes,” which are based on Mormon Funeral Potatoes, a casserole dish traditionally served during funerals. Fat Jack’s version were large hush-puppy-style croquettes of potato, cheese, sour cream, scallions, and bacon grease crusted in crushed cornflakes. They were sinfully delicious, and clearly one of the main reasons for the “Fat” in “Fat Jack’s.”

After dinner, my companions and I hoofed it down to the Family History Library (FHL), where we spent a joyous evening geeking out over the extensive collection of microfilm housed there and digitally copying as many records as our grubby little mitts could grab. While there, I discovered marriage registers for my birth grandparents, great-grandparents, and a great-great-grandfather’s second marriage. It was difficult not to squee with maniacal delight over each new acquisition, and we left wondering whether or not the staff would mind if we brought in pillows and sleeping bags to camp out there indefinitely. (Something tells me they would.)

Photo Credit by Abby Peart-Camarato 

All in all, it was a wonderful day of many fine discoveries, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the week brings.  It’s already passing far too quickly.

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