Thursday, July 21, 2011

Angelina College Genealogy Conference wrap up

The title of this year’s conference was Family Myths and Realities.  It was held over 3 days July 14-16.  The first day is listed as optional but I really wish I could have made it.  The sessions for Thursday were After the Funeral: Research Within & Without the Cemetery and the second was Statute and Story: Laws and Social History in Family Research.  Next year I will be sure to attend the first day of “optional” meetings.

Friday the 15th

The first session I attended was by Philip Adderley-Aunt Marshaler, Mosely Wild, & Amelia Weistock: Three Persons or One?  The speaker described the evidence, analyzed it, and tried resolve contradictions then left it to us to determine if the subject was one or three different people. I leaned toward the conclusion that she was likely one person however I wouldn't bet a large sum on it.

The second session was Jerry Woodman’s Your Genealogical Software Should Be More Than A Filing Cabinet.  While I knew most of the things discussed, such as if you use abbreviations for states, be consistent and don’t write out the full name on other pages.  I do have a habit of doing such things and his suggestion to write out list of rules that you can access easily and reminds you what abbreviations and the like you use.

Next was Emily Croom-My Dear Children: Letters, Diaries, and Family Bibles & Other Family Papers.  I attended this one because I just recently received from my parents a box of old letters, pictures and scrapbooks of mostly my maternal grandparents.  Unfortunately, my grandparents were not very diligent when it came to labeling and dating these items.  Still they are fun to go through and I did get some good tips on what to do and not do with them.  One project I’m going to start is to put all the photographs on a cd then have my mother look through them and add any names or places she may remember.  I should also send a copy to my aunt to see if she recalls anything my mother may not.

The final session for Friday was David Appleton-The Heralds Visitations.  This covered a little known English source from the early 16th to 17th centuries.  Heralds would visit each English county in order to regulate the use of arms.  Most counties were visited several times during this period.  Those who were allowed arms had them recorded and this included supporting pedigrees.  Unfortunately, I don’t believe I have English ancestors from this period, but it is nice to know about this source in case I find one or am helping someone else in the future.

We then ate dinner and had a speaker, Philip Adderly-Finding Jim’s Mary, A World War II Sweetheart.  Not only did this cover researching people currently living and the resulting privacy concerns, it also gave a good over view of a thorough search.  Several sources I would not have thought of using were effectively demonstrated.  One example would be to use old fire maps to try to jog someone’s memory while virtually touring the city. 

Saturday the 16th

Saturday began with Emily Croom talking about Digging for Roots in Dixie.  Even though many southern records over the years have been destroyed for a variety of reasons, one can still find a lot of information out there; you just have to know where to look.

Session two was also with Emily Croom, this time talking about Oft-overlooked Ancestors: The Other Half/The Mother Half. This talk covered tracing multiple generations of female ancestors.  While this talk didn’t cover specific sources to look in it was an informative and enjoyable overview with examples about the type of information one can discover.

After lunch I attended The Internet and Historical Newspaper Research with John Sellers.  This talk inspired me to delve into newspapers for more than just obituaries.  Mr. Sellers covered techniques for searching newspapers and went over some of the online databases that are available. While the search engines for the databases are not always great, if one tries searching “outside the box” you never know what kind of information you may find.

For the final session I stayed for John Sellers Your Ancestors Own Cousin and Their Value to Your Research.  This covered looking into collateral ancestors.  By using timelines and geographical studies, you can often find information on ancestors that you may not have access if you just stay with your direct line.

All of the sessions were very enjoyable and the speakers were very good.  Even when the afternoon/after lunch drowzies struck, I was able to shake it off and hear what they were saying.  When topics were discussed that I felt pretty confident with, I still came away with a few new things or at least was refreshed on things I hadn’t done for a little while.  All in all it was a very productive weekend and I feel it recharged my genealogy batteries so I’m ready to finish a few things that I let sit on the back burner for a bit.

I was disappointed that there was no Wi-Fi access at the college.  Apparently this was also an issue last year but for whatever reason the school decided not to let us have access to there network.  Hopefully next year this issue can be resolved.

Next years conference is on July 19-21 and I do plan on attending.

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