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Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society seminar to be held Saturday at Brentwood Library


For Brentwood Home Page
The 24th annual Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society (MTGS) seminar, “Discovering Our Ancestors: Maps and Newspapers” will be held Saturday at the Brentwood Library from 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In all Middle Tennessee counties, MTGS sponsors an annual seminar that covers a wide variety of topics of interest for genealogists and is open to the public.

While pre-registration to attend the seminar is now closed, seminar committee co-chair Suzanne Rainwater says walk-ins will be accepted if space is available for $60, but with no lunch or handouts provided.

The seminar entails one morning presentation and two in the afternoon by certified genealogists Rick and Pam Sayre.

"We're bringing two of the great minds in genealogical research this year,” said MTGS board member Mark Lowe. “Pam Sayre is known for her knowledge of online research and facilities in the Washington DC area. She also brings her knowledge of Southern research to Tennessee. Rick has travelled across the country studying great map collections. His military background will enhance his discussion of military and topographic maps. Together they have developed a cutting-edge approach to demonstrating Google maps and its features for genealogical and historical research."

The seminar begins with a two-hour live demonstration of how Google Earth can be utilized to map historic structures that no longer exist, find ancestors’ communities and see where they were located on modern Google Earth maps. The presentation includes a demonstration created with Google Earth tools and 3D modeling to track the countrywide travels of a Tennessee-born Civil War soldier who fought in the Battle of Franklin.

Rick Sayre, a genealogical educator and researcher also known as the “Map Man,” will present “Using Topographic and Other Maps,” which highlights how the use of maps and other technology can help locate forgotten cemeteries or other obscure locations and help find settlement patterns.

“What I like in particular with maps, is that, to a genealogist, they’re like an artist’s canvas. Genealogy involves time and place and where people were, and maps help you put people in context and visualize them. It’s like seeing your family history on a map. From that, you build an understanding of where they lived their lives,” Rick Sayre said.  

Pamela Sayre, also an educator who helps clients research their family trees, will present “Newspapers and Periodicals at the Library of Congress.” The presentation will show how the newspapers and periodicals of the Library of Congress can be researched online, and how the archives can “bring your ancestors to life,” she said.

“I think what genealogy entails is that on any given day I may go to the national archives and look at handwritten records created 150 years ago, or I might be going to a cemetery to look for a particular tombstone. It’s a combination of using old and [new] resources,” Pam Sayre said.  

Rick Sayre added that the seminar will emphasize how old and modern tools can be used together to better pursue family history.

Pam Sayre said she will arrive in Tennessee Wednesday to research some of her own Tennessee roots prior to the seminar.

“I think people will come away with an excitement about what it means to discover who you are by finding your ancestors and understanding what their lives were like. They were just like we are; they just lived in a different time,” she said.

The event is co-sponsored by Tennessee Historical Society and Historic Brentwood.

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