Looking back on this semester, I have genuinely gained valuable information and experiences from this class alone. First, I would like to thank Professor Soldani for all the help, advice, and patience you showed me I would be eternally grateful. In the past, history classes never grasped my attention or challenged me I felt as if I taught myself the material because my teachers would hand out textbooks, assign readings, and go over the material that I already read and researched myself. Entering Professor Soldani's class this past fall was a complete 180 compared to what I was used too. She genuinely took the time to mastermind the perfect plan to teach her students in an order that everyone could understand and relate too, in addition to her genuine, hilarious personality made the class even more enjoyable. American history opened my eyes to the grand scheme of all the tragedies and victories that shaped the world around us. Dr. Soldani broadens my horizons on what it truly means to be a historian and how to investigate and make connections in people's lives. From her teachings, my fellow students and I will never judge a book by its cover you have to open the book and read in between the lines to unveil things that are truly groundbreaking.
Throughout the course of the semester, I have worked on numerous projects that were all extremely challenging and equally confusing. For casefile investigation #1, I conducted my research on Vera Verrill, a middle-aged female murderer. Vera got into a physical altercation with Kenneth Verrill her husband's mother Ethel B. Verrill which escalated rapidly. Vera and Kenneth were dealing with marriage issues which ultimately lead to Kenneth filing for divorce and moving out. After Kenneth's departure, Vera moved in with her mother in law and sister in law Florence. Vera blamed Ethel and Florence for her marriage failing, resulting in an altercation leaving one dead and another wounded. According to the chief of police, Vera admitted to hitting Ethel with a revolver and engaging in an argument with Ethel Verrill. Ethel kicked Vera, then Vera slapped her and punched her with the pistol. However, she doesn't remember firing the gun. This all took place on January 12, 1934, Vera Verrill shot and killed Ethel Verrill her mother in law, in addition to shooting at her sister in law Florence Verrill twice the bullet grazed her hip. After digging more into the life of Ethel Verrill, I learned that Ethel's maiden name is Patton and had an unusual occupation. Ethel worked at the Universal Law School of California. Naturally, I was curious, so I google searched the name of the school. I learned that no such school exists in California. Ethel B. Patton was a teacher at the school of Christian Science, where she taught the teachings of Scientology. According to newspaper.com, Kenneth moved away to become a student, but a student where? Kenneth Verrill moved away from his wife and family to devote his life to learning the practices of Scientology. To my knowledge, Vera's accusations of blaming Ethel and Florence for her separation with Kenneth was accurate. Throughout the term of conducting my research, I've spent countless hours researching and making connections to events. You could spend months upon months reviewing your researching, but I believe you can't place a time limit on research because it continues even after the project is over.
For instance, while investigating into the lives of my family members, I realized the process of unearthing new information is continuous, it is never-ending there is always something to discover or analyze. Even after turning in my casefile investigation I'm still finding further information to examine and more questions to ask. I decided to closely monitor my family's Native American roots and how my multicultural family got separated over the generations. The source of it all was my great great grandfather, Charley Footman Sr. Charley was an extremely busy man, given that he had numerous children with multiple women of different backgrounds which explains the separation of the family. Plus, I was fortunate enough to discover Millie Footman, Charley's daughter in law and his wife Amanda Ransom were both Native American belonging to the Cherokee tribe. Just learning about my family's history helped me gain an understanding of how my family came to be and how to proceed in research.
According to Martyn Shuttleworth, research is an ongoing process of perfecting and refining your hypotheses and predictions. I agree with Shuttleworth's statement with every project I always go back and revise my hypotheses to follow along with the newfound information I find. With my first case file project, I had no idea how to read mugshots or US Federal censuses however with practice I am now able to read information from a mugshot or a registration and make connections to an event or person. In addition to, how people interpret information differently and how it creates a ripple effect into the pond of history. You have to acknowledge the past to understand the present.
With the use of modern technology of today's world, we have access to thousands of records at our fingertips. The advancement of research helps us understand and fill in gaps in history that we were able to connect before. Without advanced study, we wouldn't have nearly as much as we have information."I believe that the more you know about the past, the better you are prepared for the future.", Theodore Roosevelt once said.