Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Computers and Mapping

Well the Wednesday session of the Maps class (Course 8) we were really able to get down to exploring the world of maps from the many maps that can be found online, to the many resources that are available.  The most fascinating thing for me to was to see that the world of genealogy and geography do mix quite well.  I am still more amazed than ever to note how many maps are now becoming available for researchers online. So many sites from government sites to universities and to repositories are now digitizing rare maps and there are so many more.

The day began with an interesting session on Military Maps.  I really enjoyed this session because it focused on so many things that can be learned from maps.  I was especially interested in seeing a number of interesting maps from the Civil War.

Civil War Map reflecting battle sites.

Rick Sayre gave two excellent presentations on the use of maps in research.  The military maps session was very interesting as it showed how some maps were created to reflect what was taking place, and other maps were created in fact after the war, when a certain political stance was intended. Many of these maps were often created  years after an event occurred.  In the afternoon, he presented an amazing case study using maps, city directories and other resources to solve a genealogical puzzle from his own research. 

 Military Maps Session Underway

In many cases maps can tell a story. Well, one particular map caught my attention--it  was a map that told the story of Camp Nelson.  Many who study Civil War history know that Camp Nelson was a major site where US Colored Troops were trained. In addition---it was also a contraband camp during the Civil War.  I was quite interested to note that the actual contraband camp was reflected on the map itself.

Map of Camp Nelson 

The map was one created during the war, and this particular map actually reflected the location of the contraband camp---a place for refugee slaves who had fled plantations when the Union line was close. They found refuge at the contraband camp.

Detail from Camp Nelson Map Showing Contraband Camp
The Camp Nelson Map was actually surveyed in 1866

We had a number of exercises throughout the day, including analyzing Sanborn maps, under the direction of Malinda Kashuba, and many of us during the breaks were anxious to get a chance to explore some of the wonderful websites that we learned about in the classes.

Exploring some of the new site presented in class.

The day ended with all of us anxious to get back to our rooms to pull out our laptops to explore new sites, try some new methods, and to see what else we can do with maps to more effectively tell our stories of the people and places that we research. 


Professor Dru said...

How exciing to see a map of a place which applies to your research.

Tina said...

I really need to take this course! Rick is a great instructor.