Wednesday, July 25, 2012

GRIP :: Day 2 of Classes

Tuesday - July 24th - This was our "variety" day.

First up was Tom Jones with Transcribing and Abstracting documents. I've done more than a little transcribing of wills and deeds but now realize that I haven't always been doing it quite right. The main thing is to take your time and refer to helpful references for unfamiliar terminology.

One of the recommended references was the 4th edition of Black's Law Dictionary. Why the 4th edition? Well, after that edition was published in 1967 the next and subsequent editions had to purge some of the old terminology to make room for the new! A paper copy of one of the earlier editions may be hard to come by and rather expensive. If you Google "black's law dictionary 1st edition" you'll find several online versions. This site has links to the individual pages that have been scanned, but also has a full download of the scanned version - but be aware that it is a very, very, very large download.

Abstracting documents has always been rather tough for me. It's hard to decide what to leave out, especially when the document has rather colorful spelling. But it really comes down to eliminating the non-essential terminology to get to the basic information it provides. Dr. Jones said "If in doubt, leave it in." It isn't an exact science although there are some "rules" to follow.

After a short break, Claire Bettag, talked about Archival Research highlighting the differences between an Archive and a Library and the types of collections they have. She also discussed the how you find materials in each - Libraries have Catalogs and Archives have Research Guides that define the various record groups and what they contain. Of course, there was far more to it than just that!

The first session after lunch gave us Rick Sayre on Military and Pension Records. Then Clair came back to discuss various types of Government Documents (aka "Gov Docs") and where to find them. And we got our first homework assignment... thankfully it wasn't difficult.

As if a full day of classes wasn't enough, I went to the "Google Earth" presentation by Rick and Pamela Boyer Sayre. It is pretty incredible what all can be done with it. If you have a chance to see their presentation, I highly recommend it.

And, it all begins again... another full day awaits.

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