Monday, October 27, 2008

Reading Manuscripts

Last night I sat down with my daughter and read a manuscript from 1844. It was a description of the Civil disctricts of Lewis County Tennessee. We marveled at the peculiar hand writing (the two slanted lines that were intended to be a capital M) and the use of words that my daughter never hears (i. e. thence). We had fun picking through the photo copy the manuscript library made for me.

I wanted to know where the people I found in the census actually lived, or at least close enough that I could get a feel for where they lived. Of course, it doesn't always go the way you want it. The map was nearly useless. The boundries were clear, but the was no point of reference. No cities, no rivers, nothing; Just the boundries. So we picked through the descriptions. In truth they were only a little better. "Follow along the old Wayne county line" only works if you knew where the old Wayne county line was. "Then along the road between Thomas' house and the widow's property." I'm sure they still live there.

But the process was fun. I spent an hour or so with my daughter working on a puzzle of sorts. And although I didn't come away with a closer understanding of where these people lived, I came away a little closer to the people who matter.

5 comments:

Amy said...

Very nice write-up of an adventure in history! I should take your good example and get some of my kids involved in some history or family history projects instead of keeping all the fun for myself. :-)

BruceC said...

Thanks for the comment. It can be hard to find age appropriate history and family history activities. My daughter is the only one who has expressed an interest in Mormon History. She reads the old newspaper articles while I type. It is faster than transcribing it alone and it always leads to a discussion on something in the article she found interesting. My 10 year old son's only interest is to sit with me when I watch one of those shows on ancient Egypt.

Jon W. said...

Great stuff Bruce I always like reading how people research stuff. At present I guess I am in the same category.

One nice side about being an Amateur is that I get to choose whatever interests me at the time rather than getting locked in for months or years on one subject.

BruceC said...

I agree, it is great not being locked into one project for months or years. The down side is being accused of having an attention deficit disorder. Which is total nonsence. If I had that I wouldn't be able to finish sentences without....
Hey, I have great joke. What is a pronoun? A noun that lost it's amateur status.
Now, what was I saying?

Jon W. said...

Yeah well to be fair, I would probably still like to be doing my MA rather than doing this but hey. Whatever works.