How do you beat yesterday?
Ok, probably don't. But that doesn't mean today wasn't amazing and fabulous.
Day started out with Dr. Colletta teaching on County Courthouses, what types of records are there, how to find out what's there etc. He reiterated that 1/2 the battle is just knowing what records are available. The county clerks are supposed to know everything they have, but you rarely deal with county clerks anymore, and of course as a researcher your best strategy is always to know what you want to find before you make the trip.
So where do you find out what records are available? Some of the best places to go are to published county histories (or county historians). You can also check State Archive websites, Genealogy manuals, either ones for the county/state or something like Redbook or Handybook. The FamilySearch Library Catalog is also a great resource, as they often have indexes etc. to help, even if they don't have the records themselves. USGENWEB is still a great source, though often forgotten about.
The next two classes were taught by Paula Stuart-Warren, CG.
The first class was all about NUCMC (& its "cousins"). What a great resource that I'd never heard of before!!!! And apparently I'm not the only one, Mrs. Warren stated that even most the librarians who have the printed version of NUCMC have never heard of it. NUCMC = The National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections. Think WorldCat for Manuscript collections.
Not every repository participates, but nearly 2,000 do. This catalog (available on-line in many locations, or in printed form at some libraries etc.) may tell you what happened to the pioneer dr's records or the midwives records, or even the family bible that got handed down the "other brother's line" until someone decided to donate it.
Her next course addressed searching the records of old settler's organizations. She said these can really be a gold mine and often contain vital info and familial data, as well as where the settler immigrated from and/or where the emigrated to.
Sadly my kids pulled a trump card so I had to bow out of the last class of the afternoon, which was focusing on the National Archive and how to use it, definitely a subject I wanted to hear more about. (Sadly, they're doing the same thing Friday afternoon, and night so I'll miss another course, and the banquet, but what do you do?) The syllabus does contain a long list of resources and guides so I can do some personal study, and some of tomorrow's classes deal with NARA as well, so maybe I can pick up a few things.