Monday, September 23, 2013

The Governor Austin Peay Letter

     Now that the “Genealogy Roadshow” premiered I feel comfortable answering one of the questions. After attending the premier earlier last week I found myself in a question and answer situation; with the number one question being asked, “How and where did you get that letter?”  I would love to tell you it was as easy as clicking a mouse, but that would be a lie. Face it nothing is ever that easy, and if you do come across a document that quickly and easily then you better look at it closely.

     As a genealogist we find ourselves solving those family mysteries of our clients and our own families.  It reminds me of a class lecture and the example I gave to a couple 4th grade classes last year.  Genealogists are like private investigators, Sherlock Holmes if you will. Private investigators use clues, information they collect from witness and family, they research the scene, documents, photos they even look at the DNA. Private investigators use a wide range of tools to help them solve these mysteries.  Computers, reference books, measurement tools, data bases, forensics and yes even those handy magnifying glasses.  They aren't able to sit behind a computer and solve their cases just like genealogist, we aren't able to sit behind a computer and thoroughly research ours either. We also collect information from family including but not limited to, documents, family bibles, family albums, journals and photographs. We then take the information we've collected, lay it all out and the in-depth research begins.  As genealogy researchers we are lucky to have access to many locations that house additional documents to assist us in our search. Of course we can sit behind a computer and begin the construction of our research, through genealogy sites, i.e. ancestery.com, fold3.com, just to name a few.  But they won’t give us all of the answers we are in search of.  

     Back to the question, how I got the letter, and where I found it.  Once I received some of the information about the Albert’s family I laid it all out and began matching names, dates and locations. Yes, I then logged into the computer to collect some additional bits of information to aid in my research.  Once I had it all organized and ready to go that’s when I began the “boots on the ground” style of research. I made many trips to the Montgomery County Library and Montgomery County Archives going back and forth continuously collecting more information, scanning documents, newspapers and more. I even contacted the county court house to retrieve archived court records.  I didn't even stop there I made a trip to a local cemetery, carefully walked the cemetery in search of headstones that held family information. With all of this research it led me back to the Montgomery County Achieves, that’s where I was able to locate the letter. It was in a box that had yet to be cataloged, I had to read it a couple of times before I realized what I was reading.


     This isn't the only post I will make in reference to the research and all of the interesting things that I found during this episode of the “Genealogy Roadshow”. All comments and questions about the research I did for the show please ask and comment away.