A few months ago, I became interested in geography and geographic information science (GIS) so I enrolled in a GIS class at a local community college. Later I wanted to learn more about how geography and GIS could be used with genealogy so I typed in the keywords "geography and genealogy" in YouTube. Through this search, I discovered the work of Mr. Bernie Gracy who specializes in located-based genealogy.
Location is a huge part of a genealogists' quest; afterall we spend numerous hours trying to locate an ancestor's whereabouts and movements. Sometimes if we examine an ancestor's surroundings and location, we may discover numerous bits of new information. For example, I took Mr. Gracy's advice about focusing on location from his interview with Lisa Louise Cooke (see below) and scanned through an 1870 census in the Matoca townshop of Chesterfield County, VA focusing on the occupations of residents of that county. This census was used only because that was my research focus at the time I discovered the videos by Bernie Gracy. I was researching Charles Lundy, the alleged second husband of my slave ancestor Ellen Moore of Greensville County, VA when I discovered the videos below. During my scanning, I noticed a large number of people in Charles Lundy's community with the occupation labeled "works in cotton factory." Charles' occupations, however, was listed as Farm Laborer on this census. Further research validated my assumption that there a cotton factory in the community where Charles Lundy was living in 1870. I also learned through my research that there were several cotton factories in Chesterfield County, VA during this time.
I was thrilled to learn recently that Mr. Gracy will be presenting three workshops at the 2010 Atlanta Family History Expos. I look forward to attending these workshops as well as meeting him. The three workshops are:
- An Introduction to AncestralHunt.com
- Breaking Down Brick Walls with Location Based Genealogy
- Technology and Techniques for Conducting Location
Based Field Research
Below are several videos of Mr. Bernie Gracy in which he explains location based genealogy.
The First Law of Geography
Interview of Bernie Gracy by Lisa Louise Cooke, Part 1
Interview of Bernie Gracy by Lisa Louise Cooke, Part 2