If you’ll recall, my paper was entitled “Tell me who I am”: Finding Personal Identity and Connections to History Through Genealogical Research. The thing I am most pleased about with my research was that I got to interview two of my sources. John F. Baker, Jr. is the author of The Washingtons of Wessyngton Plantation. I first met Mr. Baker when he spoke at the Society of Tennessee Archivists 2011 annual conference. This was before I had decided upon the exact direction of my research. I bought his book, read it, and plastered it with sticky notes. When the idea came to me last summer to interview him, he graciously agreed. He was FANTASTIC and I am so lucky. If I hadn’t gotten a scholarship to attend the conference, I never would have met John Baker.
The other interview I conducted was with Brittany A Chapman. Brittany was my mentor for the second week of my June 2012 practicum at the Church History Library in SLC. I asked her for a copy of her Master’s Thesis, which was centered on the life of her great-great-grandmother who was a Mormon Pioneer from England and a suffragette. I used the thesis as one of my sources and also interviewed Brittany. Her feelings about personal identity and connecting to an ancestor’s life, time, and achievements were critical to my paper. If I hadn’t performed my practicum at the CHL, I never would have met Brittany.
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__________________. Faces of America: How 12 Extraordinary People Discovered their Pasts. New York: New York University Press, 2010.
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