Turning Witnesses into Evidence

Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL
Aug 25, 2023
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2m 32s
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Class Overview
1m 58s
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8m 19s
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Jacob Sessums
13m 58s
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Maggie Whitaker
7m 25s
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7m 40s
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Family Tradition
13m 25s
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The Rest of the Story
8m 10s
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Announcements / prizes
4m 14s
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Questions / answers
16m 45s

About this webinar

Witnesses are not afterthoughts tacked onto the end of documents. Although they filled a routine role for our ancestors, they are significant informants for us—once we learn how to use those names to develop evidence. This session approaches the topic in two ways: theory and application. It explores record types that offer witnesses, ways in which witnesses were used, situations that affected the choice of witnesses, signals that indicate whether a witness would be important to our research, and methods to apply in our development of the clues they offer. A challenging case study presents an unmarried freedwoman, never named in any census, who died about 1817—and applies key strategies to determine her death and burial sites.


About the speaker

About the speaker

Across a long career, Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS, has been an innovator of research methods and strategies. Published widely by academic and popular presses, she edited a national-level scholarly journal for 16 years, taught
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  1. DF
    Denise Fuson
    10 months ago

    What a treasure! This strategy with witnesses has opened a whole new path. Thank you for doing these webinars, Elizabeth.

    And the tour of Coincoin and the Cane River area was so very helpful to understanding how my ancestors lived/worked/bought/sold and died.

  2. ED
    Elaine Drury
    11 months ago

    ESM this was amazing. I am so thankful for you doing these webinars.

  3. DG
    Diana Gill
    11 months ago

    Elizabeth is just so inspirational! I’ve been researching for 35 years but she gets me thinking down new or different avenues. Her presentations just ignite my genealogy research fire. Her case study here shows how important maps are to research, especially in earlier years. They are invaluable.

  4. CD
    Cynthia Davis
    11 months ago

    ESM is 6 or 7 on a scale of 1 to 5. Her methods and research are incomparible.

  5. MK
    Merrell Kenworthy
    11 months ago

    This is the 9th webinar by Elizabeth Shown Mills that I have watched. They are all excellent. I have been doing genealogy for 40 years and I am still learning from webinars such as these. All of the ancestors whose parents I am looking for were married prior to the 1850 census. In all of these webinars by Elizabeth there seems to be at least one inspirational moment when I say to myself, “Why didn’t I think of that?”. Thank you for this series.

  6. RM
    Robin McCarthy
    11 months ago

    Not only is Elizabeth Shown Mills an excellent genealogist and teacher, she is a terrific storyteller, weaving all the facts into a cohesive, educational, and entertaining case study.

  7. CH
    Cynthia Hofmeister
    11 months ago

    I have been dealing with a very tough case for the past several years. During that time, I’ve solved several genealogical questions. Most of these have been done from tricks I’ve learned from furthering my education. I’ve always loved participating in national conferences, in order to learn from the best. Unfortunately, over the years my travel has become less but I still want to learn. This is why I’m so grateful Elizabeth’s has been willing to share her knowledge on Legacy Family Tree webinars with us.

  8. CD
    C Dawn Wheeler
    11 months ago

    This was amazingly helpful. I have a couple (well, you know …) of blocks on my tree about which I question other relatives’ documentation. Now I have insight into how I can satisfy my curiosity without just “accepting” that they knew family lore to which neither my siblings nor I had access. Thank you!


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