Saturday, May 14, 2011

NGS Conference - In Review - Day 1

So the conference is now over and it's time to prepare for the drive back to Killeen, TX.  A bit bummed that I couldn't post every evening, but with Blogger crashing and then acting a bit wonky yesterday I didn't want to risk it.  It doesn't appear that everything is back to 100% (I'm still noticing little things here and there), but I'll try to get this blog out and hope it doesn't fly off into the ether....

Opening Day (11MAY2011) - Already posted about the awesome opening session so I'll touch on the classes I took...and I will be honest about them!

    11am - "Chasing the Poor and Landless in Ireland" presented by David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA - There is absolutely nothing I can say to do this class justice.  It was one of my favorites.  Bottom line, there ARE most likely records on many of your Irish ancestors, you just need to look in the right place!  Workhouses, poor houses, outrage (crime) papers, etc...all those things generated records!  Don't just look for Vital Records.  David E. Rencher is an excellent presenter and if you can hear him speak, take advantage of it!

     2:30pm - "Search for Ancestors in Passenger Arrival Records" presented by Julie Miller, CG - A good class for beginners, but that doesn't mean that I didn't walk away with a nice refresher.  I think we sometimes need to be reminded of the various ways to search different record groups, i.e. - search for just the first name (in case the surname is spelled differently).  Other tips?  Don't stop with the index...find the original or as close to the original as possible.  This was actually a pretty big theme in most classes.  Also, make sure you copy the entire passenger list.  There could be other relatives that aren't listed right next to them or even on the same page!

     4pm - "Solving Genealogical Problems by Isolating Errors in Records" presented by Henry B. Hoff, CG, FASG - a very good class.  Touched on issues that I was familiar with or had guessed were reasons behind differences in records, but he explained the "whys" and that really helps.  Some points - remember how the words were used at the time, i.e. - just because they called someone brother doesn't mean they weren't a half-brother, step-brother.  Also, calling people by relationships that simply did not apply.  We still do this today (I know I'm guilty of it).  Both of my grandparents passed away before I was born.  There was a sweet widow, Hazel Blum, that lived next door and we called her Nana.  When my first son was born we referred to some close Army friends as "Aunt Jaime" and "Uncle Rusty", but there was no relation.  My mom went through the same thing and while she knew that her "Aunt" wasn't a relation, it made things very confusing when I first started the family research!

That was Day 1.  I'd love to talk more about each class, but we really aren't supposed to share too much.  When I start putting some of the things I learned to use, I will be posting about them to be sure.  At least I can share that way!

I've seen people tweeting about being frustrated by the lack of tweets.  So on the off-chance any of them pop on over, I'll explain...Some fellow Geneabloggers and I attempted to tweet and were actually successful in the Performance Center, but as soon as you got near a classroom (or even in many hallways) it was like we hit a dead zone. The result was that with our fully charged phones on, continually attempting to search for Internet and phone signal, the batteries were dead or almost dead by 5pm.  A few of us did try hopping outside to tweet in between classes, but there were simply some classes that if you didn't get to, you were likely to not get a seat!

What made things worse was the Social Media Policy that went out.  We were under the impression that social media was being encouraged, but before each class we were told to turn off (not silence) our phones.  Not that it mattered too much since we had no signal to tweet, but if we had this could have been a bigger issue.  People really need to embrace this whole crazy social media "fad".  It's not going away people.  Get with the program or get left behind.

OK, enough griping :)  It was a wonderful day and there were no classes that made me want to nap!

More tomorrow...there is still so much more to tell!


  1. I am blown away that there is still an issue with the social media thing.

    Although I wonder if some of these folks understand the difference between "turn off" and "silence your phones."


  2. I honestly don't know if it's an oversight, ignorance or intentional. I don't think it's intentional, but you can bet I'll be commenting on it. Everyone that went should have gotten emails asking to review the classes, etc. As soon as I get home tomorrow, I will be all over that! Sorry you couldn't be there, Kerry!