Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Those Places Thursday - The NGS Conference

The Exhibit Hall

It was such an exciting day!  I know other genealogists and I attempted to send out tweets early in the morning during the Opening Session and were relatively successful, but after the Opening Session concluded and we went around to the Exhibit Hall and other classes, social media seemed to take a permanent dive.  The sad result was that the battery to my phone was almost completely drained by the end of the day since it was trying to catch a signal.  So if the tweets are few and far between it's certainly not from a lack of information to relay! 

The first big news of the day was the upcoming NGS conference dates/locations.  It was common knowledge that next year's conference was going to be in Cincinnati, OH (OK...I just found out the other day, but I tend to live in a box sometimes!) on May 9-12, 2012.  Then this morning NGS released that the 2013 NGS conference will be in LAS VEGAS, NV!  Get ready for Sin City!
Charleston Police Pipes and Drums

We were treated by some bagpipe music from the Charleston Police Pipes and Drums (very cool...I love a good kilt!) and then the Knights of Columbus conducted the flag ceremony.  The attendees were polled and asked that those who never had been to an NGS conference to please stand.  I would guess that at least half of us stood up.  We were then asked to stand if we were members of NGS.  It was so great to see that the majority of people stood up.  It was hard to see anyone sitting from where I was!

Knights of Columbus
Tributes, awards/honors and prizes were handed out and then our sponsor,, came out and talked to us briefly about who they are and why we should check them out. wants to be able to make family history more affordable and seeks to add records to their collection that are not being offered on genealogy sites.  I haven't really dealt with before and the thought of being asked to pay for another membership so I can view records made me cringe a bit.  After all, I auction off my first born annually for an membership...OK, a little melodramatic, but it's not cheap to go around to all these various sites and shell out cash here and there!  Well, sweetened the deal for us.  The NGS attendees that visit their booth are given a card with 6 months access to the site free of charge!  You can be sure I'll be diving into that and giving a review at a later date!  Thanks!

Next we were treated to a talk by no less that the Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero.  He talked to us about changes that are going to be occurring at NARA which should streamline operations for the staff as well as for researchers.  NARA is being brought into current times with blogs, a YouTube site, Flickr photos, Twitter (@archivesnews), Facebook, etc.  With all the changes that are being planned, make sure you're checking out one of the social media sites mentioned so you will be on top of all the great stuff that will be on its way!  A final word by archivist Ferriero...spread the word about how important these documents are.  Make sure funding isn't cut, that they get preserved properly and that the public continues to have access to them!  Make sure the people making these decisions know that these documents and records are important to you, your work and to our country's history!

Buzzy Jackson
Jenn Woods, Buzzy Jackson, Ellie Woods and me

Finally, we were treated to another presentation, this time by Buzzy Jackson about her book Shaking the Family Tree: Blue Bloods, Black Sheep, and Other Obsessions of an Accidental Genealogist.  She was absolutley the most animated and entertaining speaker I have heard in quite so time!  I think the majority of the attendees left saying, "I've got to read that book!"  What's the book about?  Well, having just gotten my signed copy this evening, I can only give you a little taste of what Buzzy gave us!  She was not always interested in genealogy.  A PhD from Berkley in History, she seemed to know all about history...except her own.  She did have a brief encounter with genealogy before her son was born, but it wasn't until after that she really began to wonder who her people were.  I've got to say that if her book is anything like her presentation, it will be a hit!  I will be sure to post a review as soon as I get it read!

I was intending on telling a little about the classes I took today, but I've already posted way too much and if you've made it this far you deserve a drink on me!  So go and crack open a cold one (beer, iced tea, etc) and enjoy!

I will share some of today's classes tomorrow and leave you with this...I got to meet DearMYRTLE!  Pat Richley is an absolute sweetheart and I would have loved to talk to her for hours!

DearMYRTLE (Pat Richley) and me