The 15 April 2011 meeting of the Genealogy Interest Group – Ancestor Trackers was opened by our chair, Trevetta Wunderlin, who handed out fliers about the Florida Genealogical Society, schedules for OLLI and interest surveys for upcoming programs. She welcomed new and returning members Richard Adams, Sherril Hurd and Susan Millard and asked them to tell us a bit about their genealogical interests. Program Chairman Deborah Adles reminded us that the date for next month’s program has been rescheduled for May 6th because of a conflict with the OLLI annual meeting.

John Phillips, retired engineer, CPA, general contractor and fellow OLLI member was our speaker. His topic for our meeting was “UsingFederalTownship and Land Descriptions to Find Where Your AncestorsOwnedLand.” John began by showing us an intricate surveying instrument called a transit. He was born in what is now Land o’ Lakes, has a great memory and has always been fascinated by mathematics. His great grandfather was the first settler of Godwin in PascoCounty and owned the land that is now downtown Wesley Chapel. John explained the complicated federal township and range system with each section one square mile, containing 640 acres. Understanding the complex numbering of the 36 sections, going from right to left, then left to right may help us find our ancestor’s property adjacent to some neighbor that would not have been apparent before. Then John explained the even more confusing system of metes and bounds that was used in the 13 original colonies along the eastern coast of the U.S. That surveying system might mention a tree, rock, creek or bordering property. John told us that has a very good tutorial on the subject. Trev mentioned other helpful sites and the Bureau of Land Management site

Respectfully submitted,

Rosalyn Davenport Gibbs