Skillbuilding, NGS 2017: Little’s “Recreating Your Ancestor’s Neighborhood”

SpringBoard, an official blogger for the 2017 National Genealogical Society (NGS) Family History Conference, is pleased to offer a review of this BCG Skillbuilding lecture, presented 12 May 2017.

 F311, Barbara Vines Little, CG, FNGS, FVGS “Recreating Your Ancestor’s Neighborhood”

Reviewed by Jean Atkinson Andrews, CG

Description: When researchers hit a brick wall, the advice is usually the same–consider the neighbors. But first, we have to find them.

 

“Neighbors tell us a lot of things . . . “ where they came from, who they married, and who they were. Neighbors’ stories may tell what it was like for our family.

Barbara Vines Little, CG, FNGS, FVGS

Barbara Vines Little, CG, FNGS, FVGS

Barbara Vines Little is a Virginia research expert, but the contents of this lecture can be used by anyone, anywhere because it focuses on resources and document types applicable to many problems of identity or location. Barbara’s approach has been developed over forty years of experience using land plats, maps, and other types of documents to identify and place ancestors and their neighbors.

Maps–You Need Them . . . and you may have to create your own!

While many ancestors can be traced back into the mid-1800’s with relative ease, before 1840 trails can grow cold, especially in frontier areas. Historical and topographical maps can help. Topographic maps help measure distance, locate the nearest waterways, and show high and low terrain. In the past waterways were roads, not barriers, and people used them all the time.

Also neighborhoods are not only defined by geographical proximity. Churches, collateral relatives, work, and school or fraternal groups can all constitute a neighborhood. Within the lecture, Barbara offers numerous suggestions, resources, and examples of using on-line map tools and websites she has found.

Deed and land maps help us understand when and how an area was settled, and estimate when an ancestor might have arrived. Often settlement in a frontier area begins when wealthy men start buying large tracts for speculation. This is followed five to ten years later by families purchasing smaller tracts, usually along the rivers first, and settling on that land.

Understanding patterns of settlement helps you find out who else may have been there with your ancestor, and who was not. It can also tell you if he was one of the first settlers in an area, or if he waited awhile before moving in. Other documents which may help locate neighbors are tax lists and road orders. Tax lists may help you identify renters, when people moved in and out, or when they died. Road orders can tell you proximity, because residents worked the road they lived on or near.

The lecture ends with many document and map suggestions from Barbara’s decades of research experience. Some of these are familiar, others may be little known to even experienced genealogists. All of them are worth considering to solve a difficult problem.

Information on purchasing this lecture can be found at Playback Now www.playbackngs.com.

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

Skillbuilding, NGS 2016: Little on Weighing Evidence

SpringBoard, an official blogger for the 2016 National Genealogical Society (NGS) Family History Conference, is pleased to offer a review of this BCG Skillbuilding lecture, presented 6 May 2016.

F301, Barbara Vines Little, “On a Scale of One to Ten:  Weighing the Evidence”

Reviewed by Darrell Jackson, CG

Barbara Vines Little structured her lecture around the “fundamental concepts” of sources as original or derivative, information as primary or secondary, and evidence as direct or indirect. The title emphasizes evidence, but since evidence is information viewed in the context of a research question, weighing evidence consists in assessment of information and the source of that information. The most emphasis on a general principle for this assessment was given to knowledge of the law and custom of the time and place. Other principles include the closeness of the source to the event, the involvement and credibility of the person who provided the information about the event, consistency, both internal and with other information, and the number of iterations the source has gone through.

Barbara Vines Little, CG, FNGS, FVGS
Courtesy Scott Stewart Photography

Barbara examined several kinds of sources. Information about land transactions is found in deeds, which may be viewed as the original, the recorded copy, an image of either the original or the recorded copy, or an abstract. Deeds state a date for the transaction. This information cannot be taken as evidence of when the grantee occupied the property. There may be, for example, a land bond that predates the deed, with the deed being executed only when the land was paid for. Or a person may have rented the property for a time before purchasing it.

Death records include many items of information. Some are likely to be more credible than others. Date and place of death may be relied on more than names of parents.

Marriage records include marriage bonds, banns, consents, minister returns, marriage certificates, and marriage registers.  Barbara discussed marriage returns filed by one minister who listed a large number of marriages, with the only date given being the date that he had made the list. That single date is highly unlikely to be the date of all of the marriages, which almost certainly occurred before that date.

Information in tax records is determined both by the law at the time and by the understanding and application of the law by the record maker. In Virginia the age at which white males were taxed varied by law from time to time. Tax commissioners did not, however, always understand or follow the law. Failure to determine the law and practice can create errors in assigning ages to persons listed in the records.

 

Click for more information.

A recording of this lecture may be previewed and ordered from PlaybackNow.

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

BCG Webinar Update

Barbara Vines Little’s February 2016 BCG webinar, “The Importance of Context in Record Analysis,” is now accessible on demand from Vimeo. It is available for twenty-four-hour rental ($2.99) or for purchase of unlimited streaming and download ($12.99).

Go to the BCG Webinars tab at the top of this page for free previews and links to Vimeo recordings of all BCG webinars.

BCG Webinars are generally presented the third Tuesday of the month. Watch SpringBoard and Facebook for notices about two weeks before each webinar.

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

BCG Free Webinar: Little on Context in Record Analysis

Tuesday, 16 February 2016, at 8:00 p.m. EST, Barbara Vines Little, CG, FNGS, FVGS, will present “The Importance of Context in Record Analysis.”

A recording of this webinar is available for a small fee from Vimeo.

Source citations provide context for the information we gather. Was the death date from a tombstone, a newspaper obituary, a county history, a Bible record, or a death certificate? The best citations tell us that the tombstone was contemporary with the death, the Bible record was entered in the same hand and the same ink, the county history was written a hundred and fifty years later, and the death certificate was signed by an attending physician. The details provide background context that helps us evaluate the validity of the information and suggests other avenues for research. But this information only scratches the surface. A full evaluation of any record’s context requires that we explore the complete content of the document. We want to know the reason for the document’s existence; the social, legal, and geographical context behind its creation; and what ancillary documents were produced both before and after its creation.

Barbara Vines Little, CG, FNGS, FVGS,

Barbara Vines Little, CG, FNGS, FVGS, is a professional genealogist whose primary interests are Virginia research and brick wall problems. A former president of both the National Genealogical Society (NGS) and the Virginia Genealogical Society, she coordinated the Virginia track for Samford University’s Institute for Genealogy and Historical Research from 2007–2012. She has served as editor of the Magazine of Virginia Genealogy since 1996. Winner of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly Award for excellence in 2001, she has also written for the NGS Magazine, OnBoard: Newsletter of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, and the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly. She currently edits NGS’s Research in the States series and authored the West Virginia volume. She has published three volumes of Virginia court records and edited others for publication. She has lectured for the past twenty-five years on research methodology, Virginia and West Virginia resources, and writing and publishing.

To register for Barbara Vines Little, “The Importance of Context in Record Analysis” on 16 February 2016, 8:00 p.m. EST (7:00 CST, 6:00 MST, 5:00 PST), go to https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3474700108047285762.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Attendance is limited for this free webinar. Once registered, please sign in early to avoid disappointment.

President Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG, says, “The Board for Certification of Genealogists is proud to offer this new webinar as part of an ongoing series that supports our mission to provide education for family historians. This webinar will address questions regarding the genealogy standards for research. By promoting a uniform standard of competence and ethics the BCG endeavors to foster public confidence in genealogy.”

Please visit SpringBoard‘s webinar page to learn about BCG’s previous webinars.

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.