Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Day Two of SLIG Learning - Canals, Wars, Research and Whiskey

Day two at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) was another full day with more amazing presenters.  John P. Colletta started the day with the topic "Erie Canal Genealogy: The Peopling of Upstate New York and the Midwest." I always find his presentations so full of information, yet fun and entertaining as well.  He really gave us a feel for the amazing history of the Erie Canal and what it meant for people and how it changed their lives for both good and bad.

I didn't realize for example that boats of goods would often come east on the canal and then down the Hudson  River to the New York harbor and then be pulled back up the Hudson River full of immigrant travelers who then would then often continue on via the canals as they head westward.  I also didn't realize that boys (averaging 14 years of age) were the ones leading the horse or mule teams in pulling the canal boats along their scheduled route with included changing teams every 15-20 miles. It was also interesting to hear about the processes involved in the boats passing one another either coming the same way or going in separate directions. See more info at

What surprised me was that I hadn't realized that even though they really seemed to pack people in these long thin boats, they really for the most part experienced good food and scenery.  He showed various illustrations of people hanging out on the boat roof having to flatten down as they approached bridges. He described the "young and adventurous" often jumping onto the bridge running across and jumping back on the boat.  I can sure imagine my eight-year-old son attempting to do this.  He also described all of the businesses and jobs that came along with the Canal and how we can watch for those jobs in the censuses where we find our ancestors.

We then had the opportunity to listen to Craig R. Scott walk us through the "War of 1812 Records" which is one area that I haven't worked much with. Craig knows his stuff and really gave a us a good overview of all the records and details behind them for those who were involved in this war.  As he gave the presentation. I was on my iPad looking through some of the sites like that I hadn't ever explored before. I looked through several of my family names and decided that I needed to explore this more in the future to see if any may have been involved.

Craig then presented "Revolutionary War: Pensions and More" where he discussed how the pension evolved with various congressional acts that either gave or attempted to reduce or take away pension rights.  Apparently one of the main reasons that these pensions took so long to come into play was that many in Congress didn't believe that these "Patriots" would expect anything of their country in return for their sacrifice.  Apparently even back then Congress was out-of touch with their constituents. Can you imagine?!

I attended optional evening sessions by Michael Hait who gave an interesting presentation on the "What is a Reasonably Exhaustive Search" and one by Mark Lowe entitled "Whiskey, Brandy and Family Migration.  

Michael's presentation title of course contains part of the Genealogical Proof Standard.  It is an area that I always enjoy getting someone's take on and especially if it contains a case study showing examples about how as researchers we know when we might have searched enough for valid information and then how to analyze it to determine whether we have looked for all records that might come into play.It is important to remember that this isn't a certain number of records or a majority of the records being in agreement.

The history of what brought people to and from particular areas of Tennessee and Kentucky was the focus of Marks presentation. This was really fascinating to me since I have Bybee, Petty and Layne or Lane families from these areas.  Of course whiskey production was a major industry in the area and he showed us how the type of land, water and crops that could be found or grown in an area influenced where they lived.  We also learned the difference between Kentucky Bourbon and Tennessee Sipping Whiskey. Some in the audience were sad that there weren't free samples, but still thoroughly enjoyed Mark's wonderful sense of humor and Southern charm.


  1. Thanks for the mention, from one (former) AV nerd to another! :)

    1. It was my pleasure Michael. I was happy to finally have seen one of your presentations in person and to get to meet you.