Wednesday, November 19, 2014

ISGS Fall Conference - What I learned, part 1

Some of what I learned at the recent Illinois State Genealogical Society Fall Conference

 I am trying to use technology to simplify my genealogy activities, so I downloaded the ISGS conference syllabus to the GoodReader app on my iPad. Using the outlines entered by the ISGS, I jumped right to the syllabus page of each session, and I highlighted specific sources or text as the session was happening. I took session notes with my iPad on the Evernote app. It worked well for me. Now I can easily review the notes I took from my iPad, iPhone or computer, without trying to remember where the printed syllabus is.

I attended sessions presented by LaDonna Garner, Tony Burroughs,  J. Mark Lowe and learned about migrations into the Midwest and the records these activities created. The topics included tax records, farmers and tenant farmers, early river towns, African American research and land acquisitions. So a few highlights...

Whenever I hear the word, probate, I think of wills or deeds, but I learned probate simply means recording of records. That means many actions fall under probate proceedings. One set of records to search are sometimes called Cash Books, and we have some of those books in our ICGS archives! I didn't know that.

There was an Illinois County tax taken in 1890. I have to look around for those, as they should help with not having the 1890 federal census. We have the 1890 Iroquois County Tax List available from  ICGS publications.

Did you know states controlled state militias until 1903? Prior to this time, the idea of state versus federal control of militia was unresolved. The Militia Act of 1903 began the process for the establishment of the United States National Guard and federal support for equipment and training.

The book, The Emigrant's Guide to the Western and Southwestern States and Territories by William Darby is available in full on Google Books.
Emigrant's Guide
This book was written in 1818 by a member of the New York Historical Society and discusses the rivers, roads, crops, climate, settlements and other interests in these states and territories. I'm looking forward to reading about the life my ancestors lived and how they traveled across the eastern states.

Where did travelers stay? Kemmons Wilson, the founder of Holiday Inn didn't open his first family hotel until 1952 in Memphis, Tennessee.  Where and what did they eat? The term ordinary referred to a tavern. According to, it is a chiefly British term meaning a) a complete meal provided at a fixed price, or b) a tavern or an inn providing such a meal. I'm sure many times food supplies were carried along, an ordinary might be an option when you didn't feel like going out to shoot your supper.

I still have many notes and ideas to share and study and research from the ISGS Fall Conference, but today it's time to start thinking about Thanksgiving Dinner for 2014.