For a second time, the Louisville Genealogical Society will host Jesse James family historian and genealogist, Eric F. James, at its family history seminar and book fair.
Mr. James recently appeared before the Society to speak about his book, Jesse James Soul Liberty. He reported on the unique research methods the author used to discover and report long lost genealogy of the Jesse James.
The author also recently wrote about the formerly unknown and unrecognized kinship which Louisville’s most famous citizen, Muhammad Ali, shares with the Jesse James family. “The Heavyweight Ancestry of Muhammad Ali” revealed the famed boxer’s unusual and unique kinship that neither Ali or his family had known before.
Keynote speakers at this year’s seminar are Pam Boyer Sayre and Richard G. Sayre. Their lecture topics include the following:
Investigating Your Ancestors
Everyone loves a good mystery, but not when the mystery is, “Who is my great – grandfather?” or “Where did he come from? He just showed up here.” Genealogists can use common techniques employed by criminal investigators to help solve the mysteries of lineage.
One expert defines a criminal investigation as “a thorough, objective search for truthful information,” and that should also describe a genealogist’s quest for the truth about his or her ancestors. Since every case and every family is different, there are no fixed rules for an investigation. However, a good family history researcher, like a good criminal investigator, proceeds in a systematic, organized way, analyzing and evaluating all the evidence, and building a truthful case. Sometimes there is not enough evidence to prove a case, and both the investigator and the family historian must be able to move on to another case or family line. This lecture points out criminal investigation techniques that can be employed by genealogists to effectively search for and identify ancestors, record evidence , analyze and draw accurate conclusions, and write comprehensive but concise reports.
Bounty Land Applications – Federal & Military
Bounty lands were awarded by the federal government from 1788 to 1855 to encourage and reward service in the military. Nine individual states (Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Virginia) also awarded land as part of Revolutionary War compensation. Today more and more of these resources are available online and many records can be easily copied onto disk or digitized by the National Archives.
Mapping for Genealogists
If you want to learn practical applications for a variety of mapping tools (both online and software programs), this is the session for you. Learn about geography, from platting an individual piece of land, to identifying its location in a given area, to mapping an entire community. Learn how to identify the correct courthouse in a given era for the records you need, and how topographical maps can provide clues to ancestors’ occupations
Military Manuscript Collections
For our purposes manuscript collections refer to the unpublished (often handwritten) documents of the government, organizational records, and personal papers of both officials and private individuals. The range extends from the extensive correspondence files of the War Department to the diaries of individual soldiers and sailors. The genealogical applications are endless. These documents are many times the only original record or source of an event and frequently offer primary information about an event or fact. Records of birth, marriage, and death may be buried in these records and almost always these documents add context and substance to our ancestor’s lives.
Eric F. James will focus on the genealogy research produced by the Jesse James family covering 1882 to the present day. He will address its genesis, methodologies, participation, DNA study, discoveries, challenges, peer review, financial costs, continuing burdens, privacy issues, publication and resulting new ancestry, new history and new family.
Much of the James family’s history was lost as the family disintegrated following the assassination of Jesse James. Interest in the family genealogy revived in 1950, through one family member’s slip of the tongue that broke the family’s wall of silence.
Eric F. James will cover what new and unexpected discoveries arose since and the new history that now compels the genealogist to write a five-volume history of the Jesse James family. Eric will preview This Bloody Ground, Volume II of Jesse James Soul Liberty. His second volume focuses on Frank and Jesse’s grandfather, John M. James, his origins in the American Revolution with the Youngers and Pence, and his self-exile into Kentucky with the Traveling Church, which became a predicate to socio-religious communities and political structures of today. Eric will discuss the Spanish Conspiracy that first ruined the James reputation at a point when John M. James had become a political catalyst against bankers and predatory lenders of the early 19th century. Within John’s witness to the Danville conventions, statehood and his founding of Pulaski County, associations were formed that would lead to the infamous James Gang and confrontations of the Civil War era.
The author and genealogist also will sign his Volume I of Jesse James Soul Liberty. Eric last visited the Louisville Genealogical Society in October of 2014.
Here are some afterthoughts following my book signing at the Louisville Genealogy Society Book Fair on Oct. 18, 2014.
This was the first book signing where three people told me they had bought my book elsewhere and already had read it or they were reading it now. Putting aside my salesmanship, always at the ready, we then relaxed into some discussion. The questioning became pretty serious.
Daniel Braxton, president of the Bullitt County (KY) Genealogical Society took this fine picture of me tending my lemonade stand at the book fair. His exhibit was directly to the right of mine. We discussed my doing a talk in Bullitt County in the upcoming year. I’m already looking forward to it.
A pretty young lady then approached me, asking if I knew Jim Sames. “Of course, I do,” I replied. The late Jim Sames will appear in the preface to Jesse James Soul Liberty, Volume II. Jim is a James family relative. He and his family occupied the Black Horse Inn in Midway, Kentucky, where Jesse & Frank’s mother was born. He lived in the historic ordinary for 40 years and restored it in 1995. The young lady then told me she was leaving to get her father. Soon after, the young lady reappeared with her father in tow. Her father had gone to school with Jim Sames, and their family farm backed up to the Sames property in Versailles. I told him Jim won’t appear in my family history book series until Volume II. He purchased Volume I anyway.
The gentleman who installed this store of impressive historic maps came from Fort Wayne, Indiana. His display of maps, all available for purchase, was quite exceptional. What grabbed my interest in particular were his maps of Lithuania, My mother’s family came from Lithuania. His maps actually showed Lithuania’s historic connection to Prussia, which always confounded me when I was researching my Lithuanian heritage. It was a real eye opener to view those old maps.
His Indiana maps also displayed the progression over time of the dissection of the old Northwest Territory into the counties of Indiana. I informed him of my particular interest in the map showing Newton County, Indiana, founded by my second great grandfather Joseph McAlister James, aka Joseph McJames.
My day began at 5 am because I had a to drive from my home in Danville for two hours to Louisville. I realized on days like these I tend to rely on fast food to sustain me. I don’t always get to eat healthy food as I sign books and tend to my lemonade stand. However, the Louisville Genealogical Society made my noontime a nourishing and refreshing surprise. The wholesome lunch they provided was terrific. Whoever catered the food is exceptional. At too many events, nourishment just doesn’t work out so well. My day ended early at 7:30 pm when I fell into bed.
Tonight, I finally get to dig into my swag bag of freebies.
Official website for the family of Frank & Jesse James – Living lives, telling the story. Knowing self.
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