Context: A Powerful Tool for Problem Solving (a 2021 Reisinger Lecture)

Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL
Oct 8, 2021
Free through October 31, 2021
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2m 11s
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Speaker's Introduction
1m 04s
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11m 32s
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Internal Context
17m 33s
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External Context
23m 28s
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1m 34s
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6m 50s

About this webinar

Raw facts do not tell a story. They may not even tell the truth about what they do relate. As researchers, we seek original documents that offer us “the facts.” But facts are impish devils, and historical records do not speak for themselves. They cannot explain themselves. They are inert objects created by individuals of a different time, a different culture, and who-knows-what mindset. If taken at face value, records and their “facts” can deceive, mislead, or confuse us. The only voice that documents have is the voice we give them. With every document we find, and every story we tell, we have a choice:

  • We can take what we see at face value, report it devoid of context, and run the risk of misrepresenting the circumstances. Or …
  • We can seek the context we need to understand the record, the event, and the person.

About the speaker

About the speaker

Elizabeth Shown Mills is a historical writer who has spent her life studying Southern culture and the relationships between people—emotional as well as genetic. Published widely by academic and popular presses, she edited a national-level scholarl
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  1. HM
    Heather McLeland-Wieser
    3 days ago

    As always Elizabeth is amazing. I’ve been her student in institutes, conference and webinars for more than 30 years. She raised me genealogically!

  2. SB
    Shelley Bishop
    7 days ago

    Thank you, Elizabeth, for your countless contributions to the field of genealogy. Your teachings and legacy will continue to inspire all of us. Wishing you all the best in the years to come!

  3. BL
    Barbara Leamer
    1 week ago

    Wonderful reminder of what good genealogists must do. I loved your lecture in using DNA to figure out the structure and relationships of families in (I think) Alabama and Georgia.

  4. CL
    Cynthia L Heidorn
    1 week ago

    Congratulations on your retirement, Elizabeth! We have all benefited from the generosity of your spirit in sharing your research and expertise. Your efforts to professionalize genealogy by teaching us historical research skills have improved the quality of our family histories and made genealogical research accessible to all. Enjoy your retirement!

  5. MT
    Margaret Tull
    1 week ago

    Thank you, Elizabeth! I have loved reading your research for many years and have enjoyed hearing you speak several times over the years! Please enjoy your retirement!

  6. JR
    Jane Rock
    1 week ago

    What a genealogical icon. Am so appreciative of her body of work, her generosity in sharing it, her dedication to robust research, and her contributions to the advancement of education and standards in genealogy. A true treasure!

  7. LM
    Lynn Musial
    1 week ago

    Thank you Elizabeth for all that you have given the world of genealogy. I really enjoyed this presentation and I learned how important “Context” is to researching my ancestors. Your live presentations will be missed. Enjoy retirement!

  8. LD
    Laurie Desmarais
    1 week ago

    Wonderful!! Will miss her live presentations. Thank you for all you have done!


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