Tuesday, March 22, 2016

What is a duplicate original? And what does it have to do with the U.S. census?

“Duplicate Original” © 2011 by woodleywonderworks,
uploaded to flickr, used with permission.

“Duplicate original” is a legal term that applies to two or more copies made simultaneously, each of which can stand as the original document.

When two written documents are substantially alike, so that each might be a copy or transcript from the other, while both stand on the same footing as original instruments, they are called “duplicates.” Agreements, deeds, and other documents are frequently executed in duplicate, in order that each party may have an original in his possession.[1]

We are already familiar with this concept from our everyday lives. Speakers at genealogy conferences sign two copies of their speaker contracts, one for themselves and one for the conference program chair. When we get divorced, both we and our spouses receive copies of the separation agreements and the divorce decree.

Is this legal term used in the same way in the world of genealogy? Essentially the answer to that question is yes. The definition by Elizabeth Shown Mills includes some examples.

Duplicate original: a copy officially made at the same time as the “original.” Examples: The grantor’s and grantee’s copies of a deed, simultaneously made; or the multiple copies of a census schedule that enumerators were required to make in certain years.[2]

Today in the Boston University Genealogical Research Certificate course, instructor Julie Michutka and lead course facilitator Michelle Goodrum posted that duplicate original copies of the U.S. census were made only in certain years and not others. Both noted that, beginning with the 1890 census, only one copy was made, the copy sent to the federal government. They supplied a link to the U.S. Census website discussing pertinent legislation.[3]

It’s a pity that the 1890 U.S. census was the first to exist in only one copy, because that copy was for the most part burned in 1921.[4]

Barbara Jean Mathews, "What is a duplicate original? And what does it have to do with the U.S. census?" The Demanding Genealogist, posted 22 March 2016; http://blog.demandinggenealogist.com/2016/03/what-is-a-duplicate-original.html : <date accessed>).

[1] Henry Campbell Black, A Law Dictionary Containing the Definitions of the Terms and Phrases of American and English Jurisprudence, Ancient and Modern, …, Second Edition (St. Paul, Minn. : West, 1910), 403, “duplicate;” Google Books (https://books.google.com/books?id=R2c8AAAAIAAJ : accessed 22 March 2016).
[2] Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained, Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 2015), 822, “duplicate original.” For an in-depth discussion, see also Elizabeth Shown Mills, “QuickLesson 10: Original Records, Image Copies, and Derivatives,” Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage (https://www.evidenceexplained.com/content/quicklesson-10-original-records-image-copies-and-derivatives : accessed 22 March 2016).
[3] United States Census Bureau, “Legislation: 1830-1899,” History (http://www.census.gov/history/www/reference/legislation/legislation_1830_-_1899.html : accessed 22 March 2016).
[4] Kellee Blake, “'First in the Path of the Firemen:’ The Fate of the 1890 Population Census, Part 1,” Prologue Magazine selected articles, from 28 (Spring 1996), posted on National Archives (http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/1996/spring/1890-census-1.html : accessed 22 March 2016).

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Keeping Records Open in Massachusetts: A Workshop for Genealogists

The Massachusetts Genealogical Council and the Boston Public Library are co-sponsoring a two-hour workshop on Saturday, December 5, 2015, from 10:00 AM to 12:00 noon in the Commonwealth Salon at the Central Library in Copley Square.

Many of the records that genealogists use are generated and stored by the government, from vital records to deeds and court records. To ensure records access, genealogists need to learn what new bills are being introduced on Beacon Hill and what budget decisions are being made. This workshop will discuss the legislative process, focusing on when and where genealogists can get involved to let their legislators know what is important to them.

We will show you how to search for bills affecting different topics, and how to track them through legislative committees and floor votes. We will differentiate between first, second, and third readings, locate contact information for state representatives and senators, and discuss how to communicate clearly.

The workshop will be presented by Barbara Jean Mathews, CG, FASG, a professional genealogist. A Board-certified genealogist since 1996, Barbara was appointed a Fellow of the honorary American Society of Genealogists in 2014. Her passon for records access and preservation has led her to serve as Federal Records Director of the Massachusetts Genealogical Council. She will be supported by other Directors from the Council.

Photograph by Mark Buckawicki and made available on Wikimedia.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Genealogical Evidence Got You Stymied? Can’t Put Your Thoughts in Order for that Report?

Then Come on Down to the Putting Skills to Work BCG Ed Fund Workshop

Tuesday, 12 May 2015, 8:30 AM–4:30 PM
(That’s the day before the NGS 2015 Conference)

St. Charles, Missouri

And Let Elissa and Barbara Give You Some Ideas About How to End that Confusion!

Ever go to conferences and see the presenter do magical things, but then when you sit down yourself, you find it isn’t that easy? Putting Skills to Work is a unique full-day, hands-on workshop limited to sixty participants. The focus is practicing skills needed by anyone who does serious genealogical research whether as a family historian, librarian, dedicated hobbyist, or writer. Materials are geared to intermediate and advanced practitioners and advocate established genealogy standards.

It’s only $110.

The registration fee includes lunch, both in-depth presentations complete with hands-on exercises, syllabus, handouts, and active class participation. NGS Conference registration is not required. You can go just to the workshop – you don’t have to cross-register to go to the conference.
To register for the workshop, pick the choice that describes your registration status:
Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, will lead the session “Tested Strategies for Efficient Research Reports.” If you’ve found writing research reports (whether to paid clients or to your own files) painful, then this is the class for you. Many researchers assume committing research findings to paper is separate from the research process; however, Elissa will share her methodology for using available time efficiently during the research process, resulting in a sharable work product. 

“Tested Strategies for Research Report” will allow each participant to experience (not just observe) an efficient process for making the research report a part of the research cycle. Writing “as you go” saves genealogists the pain of creating a report after the thrill of the chase is complete. Each of us wants to be more efficient in our research and more proficient in our report writing whether for a client or for our own family and files. Without writing down your research plan, analysis, and conclusions, you or future generations may very well repeat them needlessly. Communicating our findings is at the crux of all we do.

Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, is immediate past-president of the Board for Certification of Genealogists. She is co-director of the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), instructs for Boston University’s Genealogical Research Certificate course and at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. She is coordinator of the Professional Genealogy course for the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University. She has extensive experience as a forensic genealogist in mineral rights cases.

Barbara Jean Mathews, CG, FASG, will lead the session “Evidence Analysis, Correlation, and Resolution: The Heart of the Genealogical Proof Standard.” Focusing on only direct evidence creates unnecessary research dead ends. This session addresses weighing and correlating sources, evidence, and information in their many diverse forms for successful resolution of investigations. We will take a family living in the U.S., and work until we know where in Denmark they came from. Where will we look for them? What do the records in Texas tell us about the family? As we go through the documents we’ll ask ourselves new questions and move to new areas of research, much as we would in the world outside the classroom.

We will also evaluate indirect and fuzzy evidence, working together to resolve those issues. So many areas of the U.S. have few records but that doesn’t mean that we can’t make intelligent inferences about family relationships. 

Barbara mentored ProGen Studies Group 7, and GenProof Studies Group 6. She currently mentors ProGen Studies Group 21 and NGSQ Study Group B. She is a substitute instructor for the Boston University genealogical certificate program. She has extensive experience as a lineage genealogist analyzing documents from across the U.S., from the present back to colonial times.

So please join us for a fun day of experiential skill-building and take home ideas and processes that work and help to make us more efficient with our time and money.

Why a confused kitten? It gets people’s attention. This one is from Microsoft and is used under license.

Credit for this posting also goes to Kathy Gunter Sullivan, CG, who posted notices on the BCG Ed Fund page http://bcgcertification.org/educationfund/index.html and as a BCG SpringBoard blog post http://bcgcertification.org/blog/2014/12/bcg-education-fund-workshop-at-ngs-st-charles-12-may-2015/ .

UPDATE 1: Cost after Early Bird registration changed to reflect the fact that the workshop is not subject to a change.