Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Understanding the Law Brings Perspective

It's Wednesday following the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy 2015  and I finally have a few minutes to share my experience. SLIG was a fun yet intense week of studying many aspects of the law with Judy Russell, The Legal Genealogist, and Rick Sayre.  I have long wanted to take a class that would help me understand how the law affected my ancestors' lives and that would teach me how to find those particular laws, so I was excited to take the course The Family History Law Library.

 Rick Sayre and Judy Russell 
As January arrived, I began to worry. Would I understand what was taught? Would I be able to keep up? Would I retain what I learned so that I could use it? Would there be a lot of homework and would I be able to do the homework?

Well leave it to Judy and Rick to ensure that yes, we would understand what was taught and yes, we would keep up
(most of the time anyway). The class was fun and engaging as we learned many of the ways the law impacted our ancestors' lives.  And of course we also learned where to find those laws as well.

With the help of an excellent syllabus and scads of documents in our Google Drive, Judy and Rick made sure we would have the needed resources to help us as we review what we learned and continue in our quest to better understand the law.

And yes, there was homework. It challenged me and made me think, even though my brain rebelled and did its best to convince me that the homework was too hard and that I was much too tired.

Among other things, we covered state courts, Federal courts,  legislative and executive records, state property law, the Serial Set, immigration and naturalization.  We learned about civil law, common law, family law, probate law and military law. We learned about Irish law, German law and  then about French law as we delved into Louisiana.  It was fabulous and exhausting all wrapped up into one wonderful week.

It made me realize how many of the difficult to understand situations in my ancestor's lives are woven in and around the law and I am anxious to dive in and see if applying what I learned can help me to at least understand my ancestors a little better but also hopefully take me a step further in solving some of my never ending genealogical mysteries.

Thank you so much Judy Russell and Rick Sayre for a fantastic week!

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2015, All rights reserved

Friday, January 9, 2015



I have had a lot of personal demands these past couple of weeks and will be attending the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy this coming week.  Rest assured, I have more stories to tell and will be back at it as soon as I can!  

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Looking Back on 2014

Me under the Christmas Tree 
Christmas is over and I've put away the last of the decorations. As I welcome in the new year, I find myself reflecting back on this past year. There have been both challenges and good things in 2014. 

Last year I took advantage of many opportunities to expand my knowledge in genealogy. In January I kicked off the year by attending  the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy’s course “Southern Research,” with J. Mark Lowe. In February I attended Rootstech  and thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of what is touted as the largest genealogy conference. 

Definitely one of the highlights of my year was the trip my husband and I took in May to Richmond, Virginia to attend the National Genealogy Society's Convention where I took many wonderful classes and met new friends. 

In the fall I was invited to be part of the May I Introduce to You team at Geneabloggers and I've really enjoyed the opportunity to work with Thomas MacEntee,  Gini Webb, Wendy Mathias, Jana Last, and Tessa Kough. I have learned so much from each of them.  I have also really enjoyed interviewing and getting to know other genealogy bloggers.

This year more than in the past I stepped out of my comfort zone and did things I may not have done in the past and it has been wonderful! It's been a good lesson to me that risk brings with it growth, new experiences and new friends.

I've also learned a lot about my own family history in the process of writing the posts for this blog. Below are the top visited posts for 2014.

TOP 10 POSTS FOR 2014 

1.  From Murder Scene to Picnic Spot . As I looked at a horrific incident in an ancestor’s life, I was surprised to learn what this site looks like today and how it is used.

2.  Walking theSunken Road.   My trip to Virginia allowed me to visit many Civil War sites. Here I share my experience as I walked on the site where an ancestor had fought.  

3.  For the Love of Tula.  Thanks to several photos in my grandma’s little suitcase, I decided to step into Tula’s world where I learned about my great grandmother’s little sister.

4.  Tula’s First Child’s Casket.  These simple words on the back of the photo compelled me to take time to find the story and learn which of Tula's children lay within. 

5. More Than A Number.  As I visited an unmarked grave in Richmond’s Hollywood Cemetery,  I was taken by the fact that this ancestor's entire life was represented by a simple number, when his life was so much more.

6.  Ernest’s Final Return to Oklahoma. This post tells the story of Ernest Ganus who, after leaving Oklahoma several times to seek work and life in other states, made his final return home. 

7.  A Little Bit of Heaven.  This post was inspired by a picture of my grandpa and his brother on a small raft in the middle of a pond.

8.  Three Brothers, Three Roads.  I looked at the different paths taken by three brothers who were orphaned at a young age.

9.  He Never Came Home.  This tells the story of Reuben Ayers and what came of his family following the Civil War. 

10.  Will Our Children Need Paleography? This post was inspired by the realization that many of today's school children do not learn to read or write cursive. Will they be able to read anything I leave behind? 

Here's looking towards 2015 with hopes for many more good things to come! 

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2015, All rights reserved