Week 15 Project Presentation

I was able to secure two maps, one of the topographical features of Barnwell county in 1919 and the other an unpublished Sanborn fire insurance map for the town of Dunbarton ca. 1932.  Additionally, I was able to find pictures of homes moved from Dunbarton along with the original owner’s names.  In all about 20 pictures are available and they also include businesses.  Unfortunately the photos did not include the Dunbarton address of where they originally stood so I consulted both the 1930 and 1940 census to no avail.  I was able to locate some cross-referenced names of former citizens of where they once lived and where they currently reside.  To my surprise, some of the names matched up with the photographs of the homes I had found.

Originally, I was going to make an ArcMap and layer historical maps onto a present day one, which I also have completed. But I thought I would rather show the area and look at the Sanborn map, and some of the homes that stood in Dunbarton.  Therefore I created a Prezi slideshow that alternates between the Sanborn map and pictures of homes. Even with my name and address lists I was only able to find two homes that addresses matched with the Sanborn map.  Surely the discrepancy is due to 20 years between the creation of the map and the addresses of where people resided prior to the federal government’s seizing the land.  Looking at the Sanborn and some of the pictures I was able to deduce a third picture that shows a dry goods store and post office and locate it on the map.

I was able to learn a few new skills in this unit.  Perhaps if  I had a better project it may have led to using digital history to raise new questions.  But I have found that digital history is excellent for assisting the research process.  First, it was my first experience with Sanborn maps, an unpublished (hand drawn on graph paper) map nonetheless. The color code and abbreviated information that Sanborns typically use was supplemented with a key provided digitally of course, that I now have and will store for future use.  Second, it was my first experience with census data.  Most importantly, it was census data that was released little over a year ago, and has already been digitized.  Currently, the Census Bureau is working on OCR’ing the data to make it searchable by name, but because I wanted to look at an entire town, I was able to review all the records by hand in a matter of a couple hours.  There was one downside however, some of the scanned quality information was somewhat poor, on some pages of census data there was not an option to zoom into each individual line and because the information is hand written, some names and things were illegible.  Digital history has provided researchers the ability to look at these documents once stored in archives and brought them to the home.


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