Millers, Millwrights, and Migration – Two Lectures

April 5th, 2018 by National Genealogical Society Blog Editor

TITLE: Grinding Out a Living: Millers and Millwrights
TIME & DATE: Thursday, 3 May 2018, 9:30 a.m.

Mills were among the first businesses to locate in new communities springing up across the United States. Millwrights designed and built these essential enterprises. Millers operated them. Many types of mills sprang up, but this presentation focuses primarily on grain mills, specifically flour and grist mills.

The lecture examines the land, buildings, and equipment used in mills, using records such as deeds and inventories. Taxes and account books and ledgers explore the finances of mills. Laws and court records provide insight into legal matters. A variety of other records, such as population and manufacturing censuses, newspapers, diaries, patents, and other published and unpublished works, provide insight into the lives of the millers and millwrights. A brief case study demonstrates pulling sources together to build a profile for men serving in these professions.

Persons whose ancestors worked as millers and millwrights will discover new sources to understand their lives and profession. Others will find an interesting assortment of records including some in which ancestors residing in the community may appear.

TITLE: Moving North: Migration from the Carolinas and Tennessee to the Midwest
TIME & DATE: Thursday, 3 May 2018, 4:00 p.m.

Many North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee residents made their way to the Midwest, particularly Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, during the 19th and 20th centuries. Reasons for moving differed depending on time, religious beliefs, and ethnicity. The lecture examines a variety of resources regarding these northward movements, including information about transportation and roads, travel diaries, and other records. It also discusses resources for studying ancestors in the Carolinas and Tennessee. Print, electronic, and archival resources will be included. A couple of short case studies will be shown.

Researchers whose Midwestern ancestors migrated from these Southern states will benefit. However, those interested in resources for migration studies and those with ancestors in the North or South Carolina and Tennessee, regardless of migration path, will profit as well. By applying principles discussed, attendees will tell their own ancestor’s story in a more engaging manner.

ABOUT: Lori Thornton works as an academic librarian and as a professional genealogist specializing in Southern states research. She authored Research in Mississippi for the NGS Research in the States Series.