Tuesday, August 6, 2013

8/6/13 Report - Genealogy Research For Finding Good Detecting Sites.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of treasurebeachesreport.blogspot.com.

Small Gold Seashell Charm 
Beach Detecting Find.
The most meaningful metal detecting, in my opinion, is done on ancestral grounds and uncovers some of your personal history.  If you've ever been able to go to the home where you grew up and dig up some of your old toys, your father's old tools, your mother's old ring, or those of your grandfather and mother or great grandfather and great grandmother, you know how interesting it can be to dig up some of your personal history.

History belongs to each and everyone of us.  That is true in a sense that I think the academics and archaeologists forget.  Your ancestors and mine created history.   History is not just something about somebody else that is read in history book.

Detectorists often comment on how they feel when they dig up something old and  "touch a piece of history."   It is even more awesome when you can put it into a context that is meaningful to you.  One way of doing that is researching your ancestors so you know what they were doing at that time in history.

Having more knowledge allows you to connect more things so that more things are seen in a more meaningful context, and that makes more things personally meaningful.   I'm sure that sounds repetitive, circular or redundant, but that is not just one more example of my hurried and poor writing - it is actually what I want to say. 

The point is that you can gain a greater knowledge of history by doing genealogy research and finding out what your ancestors were doing at different times in history.  In the process you will generate good leads to productive detecting sites.

Some people will have an easier time finding their ancestry than others, but I think most everybody will be able to find some interesting family history.

Let me interject a couple of things here.   The main problem of education is to make information personally meaningful.   Could you imagine if school children actually saw how their academic subjects were personally meaningful to them?  That is what a teacher needs to do, and that is why some children are on fire to learn while others do not see the relevance.  Many of those that are not interested in education see what is offered as education as a personal offense.  It offends and alienates them.  Not because it should, but that is the way they see it as a result of their experiences.  The challenge is to make it personally meaningful.

People were made to seek and find.  They were given eyes and brains that were made to explore and discover.  They will do it more naturally than a rat in a maze.  There is no effective or productive way to stop it.  Rather it should be guided, channeled and exploited.

I didn't mean to get off on the solution to the problems of education and archaeology, but I had to say it.

Back to what I started on.   Genealogy research can be a very productive tool for the treasure hunter or detectorist. 

Talk to  older relatives about family history or do some genealogy research on the internet.  You might be able to come up with some very good leads.  You might find some detecting sites that are still in your family.   And you might find it easier to get permission to hunt detecting sites that were a part of your family history, especially those that are still in your family line.

Not long ago I stopped at the house where I grew up, which my father built, and the lady that now lived there was very accommodating and even invited me in to look around.

I've been able to hunt some of the areas where I grew up, including the yard of my old home and that of my grandparents. When I hunted those areas, I had more knowledge about where things happened than anybody else could possibly have.  That is a huge advantage.   I knew exactly where I played decades ago, exactly where I used my toy trucks, and where all kinds of activities took place.  I knew where things were even if they had completely disappeared.  That gave me a real advantage when it came to metal detecting.

As another example, I visited a baseball field where I played and was able to walk directly to where the benches and concession areas were even though there is no longer any sign that the baseball field ever existed.  And I found proof that I was exactly right about the locations.  I found coins and bottle caps where they sold soda pop around the concession area, for example.   And I found coins appropriately dated where the benches were. 

When you research your past and hunt a part of your personal history, you'll have knowledge that is not a part of generally published history, and that will give you a big advantage.

I'm not talking only about hunting those areas though.   Genealogy research can provide a lot of information about history that is not in the history books.  You'll be surprised by the details you can find.

In a relatively short time my wife has been able to trace my ancestry back to the 1600s on multiple lines and back to England, Wales, Ireland, and Germany, and through Maryland, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and California.  It includes the Revolutionary War, Indian Wars, and early settlements and homesteads.

You'll discover interesting things.   Some of it will be of a very personal nature and some of it will connect to well known events of the past.  For example, one of my ancestors on my fathers side went west into Pennsylvania on a surveying expedition with George Washington.  That is how his family ended up in the area where I was born.  And on my mothers side, I found where one brother made some money by selling buck-wheat cakes to Washington's troops that were camped nearby when they came to put down the Whiskey Rebellion.   Another brother followed Daniel Boone on westward into Kentucky.

I'm sure you will all find some things that connect to well known events if you spend the time doing the research.   But you'll also find out more about your family and personal history, and as I've said, that can put you on some great metal detecting sites. 

You might even be able to find old wills and property records.

If you live in an area where your grandparents or great-grandparents lived, or can travel there, you will have a real advantage.  But if you don't, you can still learn a lot that you can't find in history books about what was going on during different times in history. 

Of course you can also use genealogy research to get leads on detecting sites by following the lines of families other than your own. 

To summarize some of my main points, 1. genealogy research can provide information that you can't find anywhere else, 2. genealogy research can provide very good leads, 3. metal detecting your past can be both interesting and productive, and 4. history belongs to the people in a very personal sense.  Your ancestors were directly involved in creating history. and that is a big part of the story of who you are and where you are today.

Here is a quote that I found somewhere.  If I knew where I would give credit.  I'll try to relocate the source.

Genealogy is about enabling our ancestors to live again. It is history, but very personal history. The people who really made us who we are and this country what it is, were not only the ones the history books record. They are our people, with much the same needs and wants as we, the same faults and foibles. I guess, for me it is much like Pogo would say..."I have met our ancestors, and they are us!

I went back and improved what I wrote yesterday a bit.  I sometimes do that because I often write in a hurry and don't refine my posts before posting them.  Sorry about that.  They usually need a lot of fixing, but I focus more on getting the info out than my writing. 

The poll that concluded last week showed how important metal detecting is.  It showed that a lot of people travel to the Treasure Coast and spend money here, and even become part-time or full-time residents because of the detecting beaches we have.  The purpose of that was to provide data for those who want to write to officials or legislatures about metal detecting rules and regulations.

On the Treasure Coast today, the surf is supposed to be down around one foot, and nearly the same tomorrow, then increasing later in the week.

Low tide today is around 2:30 PM, but I'm not expecting a real low low tide.

Try some research.  You might be surprised what you learn.

Happy hunting,