This past week I was able to attend the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. Having so many southern lines, there was no question in my mind when I signed up last June but that I would choose the tract “Southern Research,” with J. Mark Lowe .
I have taken courses from Mark before and I knew that in addition to learning the ins and outs of Southern research, I would also learn about the culture and the mindset of the southern people from a true southerner, accent and all. This week was no exception.
From Mark we learned terms such as “seasoning”, bran dance, and fictive kin and my “Amazon Wish List” grew by leaps and bounds, as did my bookmarks for my “go-to” websites. In addition, Mark taught us the value of “mull and ponder,” a step so many of us researchers overlook in our race to acquire yet more information.
In class Mark compared, overlaid and lined up side by side, topographic, physiographic, soil survey and migration maps, in addition to maps showing historic county boundaries. We learned about the geographic features of the states and how those things impacted our ancestor’s daily lives and ability to travel. Among other things, we learned about wills, estates and guardianship records as well as some of the traditions of the south. Mark taught us the value of knowing our ancestor’s religion and how we can track down the histories and records of those itinerant preachers that may have performed and recorded the important events of our ancestor’s lives. Mark covered Federal claims, road lists, long hunters, tax records and a variety of records that are unique to the South. We even learned the history behind such places as Cheek’s Stand (I wasn’t sure I would sleep that night). And just when we felt our heads might burst, he gave us homework assignments that provided an opportunity to try out some of our newly acquired knowledge.
Michelle & Mark Lowe
But as is typical, Mark’s class wasn’t all work. We enjoyed the opportunity to visit, ask questions, discuss and we laughed…..a lot. Mark helped us to not only know the South, but to feel something of that wonderful Southern hospitality. He is as warm and genuine as he is knowledgeable.
At the end of the class, Mark teased that I held the record for taking his classes the most and I think it just may be the truth. I love my Southern kin, and I long to not only fill my brain with a knowledge of their history, but also my heart with an understanding of their lives. And so I have jumped at opportunities to take classes from J. Mark Lowe, and this week, as always, I left feeling warmly rewarded for the effort.
Follow Mark at http://keepingthestoryalive.blogspot.com/ and http://kytnstories.blogspot.com/
Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2014