Monday, December 5, 2011

Conceptualize Content

For some of us, references and texts are not always dull and boring. [They call us genealogists!] However at times, even the best reference gets a little tiresome. One way to help is to conceptualize the content in a way that makes it interesting or important to you and your tree climbing. Just what do these references contain? How might they be utilized? What content is hidden among the pages?

For me, such was the case with Cavaliers and Pioneers, by Nell Nugent. See post:

They ended up being a seven volume set of information on the abstracts of Virginia land patents and grants. Seven volumes mind you! Over time, they ended up being one the most helpful references in my own family's tree climbing. Along the way it was helpful to ask just what information did they offer, and how was this organized. It became clear that the English way of doing things was transferred to these new colonies. Land ownership was the goal of many younger sons as they came across the great pond. Each entry followed the same pattern, and soon it became evident that the content was repeated in the same manner for each entry. They were:

Name(s) of Individuals Responsible for the patent,

Number of Acres surveyed,

Geographic Identifier, usually a county or river course

Date [not always given],

Description of Survey

List of individuals transferred [total numbers not always given in abstract].

Wow! So if any of these items surfaced during my tree climbing, I would know if this group of references would help. For example, if the name of a river or county appeared, I knew that I could use the index to each text to help locate those who might have landed along this river. If a term like "Jones Creek" and a date would appear, I would know that these references would list all the creeks that were listed among the abstracts. What a deal...conceptualizing content.

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