Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Speaker Spotlight: Tim Pinnick

Few people are more thrilled than Tim Pinnick about the upcoming NGS Conference in the States, but the event is not without its drawbacks. “This is my first time presenting at NGS, which is very cool, but at the end of my second presentation at 5:00 on Saturday, I immediately jump into my car and head for Birmingham, Alabama where I need to check in on Sunday afternoon for IGHR!” [Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research.]
Read More About Tim Pinnick

But Tim is usually on the run, often in the pursuit of African American coal miners both online and off, which is what led him to the Slavery Era Insurance Registry, a portion of which can be accessed online through the California Department of Insurance: http://www.insurance.ca.gov/0100-consumers/0300-public-programs/0200-slavery-era-insur/slaveholder-names.cfm. After over half a dozen trips to California to conduct extensive research into all the documents collected from insurance companies by the department, he has put together a very popular presentation on his discoveries, entitled Slave Ancestry Research: The Slavery Era Insurance Registry and Its Supporting Documents, which he will give at 11:00 on Saturday.

Tim’s fascination with coal miners is personal. A native of Lockport in the far southwestern suburbs of Chicago, he was shocked to find that three of his four great-grandfathers mined coal about 20 miles south of there in Braidwood, Illinois. “So as a result, I have been conducting research in coal mining records for about the past 15 years” he claims, “and you can amass quite a bit of knowledge in that period of time.”

It is from this accumulation of wisdom and material that he has prepared his second NGS lecture, Coal Dust in Your Veins: Tips, Strategies, and Resources to Bring Your Coal Mining Ancestors to the Surface. “I am very excited about this presentation because of its impact on present and future researchers,” he says. “Coal mining was huge in Illinois, and thousands upon thousands of our ancestors, of practically every race and creed worked these mines. So, this presentation, once given, will be out there when others uncover, like I did, that coal miner in their past.”

In the wake of the recent coal mining accidents and the associated media attention, we will look forward to Tim’s last lecture so we can perhaps gain a better understanding of the present through the past.

To learn more about his research on African American coal miners, check him out in this month’s issue of Family Tree Magazine.


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