This is part of my ongoing series featuring guest authors writing reviews of the courses offered at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. I am excited to to have these friends share their perspective on the institute and the education they received.
Review of "Swing Through the South"
By Charmaine Riley Holley
In Womenfolks:Growing Up Down South [Houghton Mifflin (Trade) (July 26,1984)] Shirley Abbott
“Besides its content and methods, the cuisine devised by squaws and hillbilly women, as well as
slave women, had another thing in common, which was the belief that you made do with whatever
you could lay hands on--pigs' entrails, turnip tops, cowpeas, terrapins, catfish--anything that didn't
bite you first.”
In the 2016 SLIG (Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy) course, Swing Through The South, we may not
have discussed historical Southern cuisine, but we discussed geography, military, research
methodology, and much more. We most definitely missed course coordinator J. Mark Lowe, CG,
FUGA, but the course co-coordinator Kelvin L. Meyers and course instructors Deborah A. Abbott,
Ph.D, Ann Gillespie Mitchell, and Michael Hait, CG, took us through a whirlwind tour.
There were several presentations on general research methodology such as “Wills, Estates and
Guardians” and “Essential Federal Records (Non-Military)”. Anne Gillespie Mitchell taught us how
to be super searchers in “ Where Do I Go Next? Essential Search Skills”. Michael Hait shared the
concept that “Everything happened in a place.” in “Maps, Atlases, and Gazetteers”.
Kelvin, master of all things Texas, presented several of Mark’s lectures but truly shined when
sharing his knowledge of researching the Lone Star State, as well as church records (“How Great
Thou Art! Essentials of Church Records”). We covered seven major time periods in Texas history
from 1519-1865. Kelvin does an excellent job of using his family and client case studies to
exemplify the use of specific records. I hope that at sometime in the future one of the institutes has
him do an entire session on Texas.
In “Finding Records Through the South” Michael Hait reminded us that, not only do we need
records, but we need to know who created the records. Next, we need to ask where are the
original records now. Thanks to Michael and ARCHIVEGRID ( https://beta.worldcat.org/archivegrid/
) I found a Woodford County, KY slave record at Pennsylvania State University in their Rare Books
and Manuscripts Collection.
Anne Gillespie Mitchell is an energetic presenter and covered “Uniquely Southern Military Records”
and “Farming and Other Occupations” along with being our tour guide for North Carolina, South
Carolina, and Tennessee. During her class on “Strategies of the South” she reminded us to start
with a solid research plan and to consult with fellow researchers. We were also provided with many
tips on doing online research along the way.
Dr. Deborah Abbott presented one of the most outstanding case study based lectures I have heard.
Her love of using maps, manuscripts, and special collections was evident in “Learning about
Neighbours, Family and Friends Through Manuscripts & Special Collections” and “People, Places,
and Connected Records” (“black records that white people should look at”- Dr. Abbott), but “Follow
a Case with Land” was mesmerising. Her tenacity and use of maps was extremely enlightening
and the case was fascinating as presented.
Homework assignments were reasonable and instructive, as were the short sessions we had with
Mark Lowe when technology cooperated. I left SLIG with new knowledge, a 188 page syllabus full
of information (thanks Luana Wentz Darby for great hard copies!), and a truism and admonition
from Mark Lowe:
“People die where they are.” (M Lowe)
“We should know our ancestors so well that we recognize them without their name tags.” (M Lowe)
Charmaine Riley Holley has been a family historian and genealogist for more than thirty
years. She is 100% Colonial Southern on her maternal side and has one “Yankee” line
(Massachusetts Bay Colony) on her paternal side. Fascinated with incorporating DNA, Charmaine
has recently been hired to do contract genetic and non-genetic genealogy research with a major
company. She has attended many institute programs and hopes to attend many more as a great
believer in continuous education.