For complete seminar information, driving instructions, and trip planning, view or print this handy guide.
About the Presenter
On Aug. 5, Gerald H. “Jerry” Smith, CG, will bring to KGS Seminar 2017 a wealth of experience in research of Pennsylvania resources. Because that state was “on the way” for people heading south and west from the colonies that became the eastern United States, the state was part of common migration routes for many ancestors – including those who came to or through Kentucky. Smith has planned four sessions focused on researching Pennsylvania ancestors without going to Pennsylvania.
Smith researches on-site at the Pennsylvania Archives, State Library of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State Law Library, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, military repositories (including David Library of the American Revolution and US Army Military History Institute), religious and denominational repositories, county courthouses, and local historical and genealogical societies. Southern border county research includes frequent on-site visits to repositories in Baltimore and various Maryland counties, West Virginia, and Virginia.
He is a speaker and educator for local, regional, and national events including the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research and Salt Lake Institute for Genealogy. He has written books and journal articles and is an expert in Proprietor and Commonwealth land records, mapping, and land placement.
1) “Researching Pennsylvania from Afar.” Common migration routes took our ancestors through Pennsylvania to many parts of the United States. With most records at the county-level, and 67 Pennsylvania Counties to choose from, researching Pennsylvania from a distance, or planning a research trip to Pennsylvania is intimidating. This presentation covers: Pennsylvania history and its impact on records; state-wide holdings that can help you determine on your county of interest; major repositories (and some of the most important are not well known!); finding out where the records are (have those county records gone to the state archives?); making the most of published resources (print and on-line); finding the early Pennsylvania laws that impact your research; the importance of state-level land records in early Pennsylvania research; obtaining your county records remotely; hidden gems available from a distance; creating an effective research plan for your road-trip. As well as discussing effective use of these resources, this talk exposes a number of lesser-known tools.
2) “Using Colonial Church Records.” This presentation provides tools for investigating the existence of Colonial Church records of interest. A short history of church records and the histories of state churches in the colonies provide a backdrop for researchers. The practices of the major Colonial denominations explain when to look (and when not to look!) for various types of records. Lesser-known quirks of certain denominations provide significant genealogical resources that are often overlooked (such as Moravian biographies). Proper analysis of these records may require familiarity with church beliefs and customs. Church records also comprise more than the register kept at the church; histories, regional combined records, building dedications, and other ancillary records have genealogical value. Examples taken from published church abstracts illustrate the importance of delving into the originals and not stopping at the published abstracts. Locating and using denominational repositories, and the lesser-known records they contain should be part of any complete Colonial research plan.
3) “Land Plats Solve Genealogical Problems.” Are you in the habit of skipping over those land descriptions that start at the rock, go to the tree, and contain lots of numbers and directions? Don’t. They are a valuable and under-used genealogical research tool. This session uses real research examples to show how these records can solve otherwise tough genealogical problems. The discussion introduces land plats (boundary drawings made from land descriptions) and goes on to show how plats and surveys provide evidence for a variety of problems, including kinship! Plats can differentiate same-name individuals, locate private cemeteries, provide clues for the wife’s maiden name, and provide a sense of community and family associates. Connected tract maps are shown and explained, The session concludes with an introduction to tools that plat land and tools that locate ancestral land on modern maps.
The KGS Seminar location is the Brown-Forman Room of the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History in downtown Frankfort. Doors will open at 8 a.m. for sign-in and vendor shopping. The program will begin at 8:45 with a welcome and sharing of general information. The first session will begin at 9 a.m. The event will end no later than 4 p.m.
Last Update: 7 Apr 2017
4) “Bastards, Bridges & Bawdy Houses: the court of Quarter Sessions.” Quarter Sessions Court records are an often overlooked, but rich record set that spans individuals from all strata of society. This ancient court came to the early colonies are part our their British heritage. The court had both criminal and administrative responsibilities. As well as miscreants and officials, the records contain the names of the common citizens that served on juries. Session topics include the history of the court; locating these records; records resulting from common criminal and administrative procedures of the time; examples of records; the importance of these records when dealing with illegitimate births; the capturing of historical events and civil disobedience; insights into African-American ancestors in these records. Several case studies illustrate the value of these records.