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Monday, May 18, 2015

NGS Day 4 Recap

The last day of NGS was packed.  Last days usually are frantic, energy filled whirling dervishes and this one was no different.

Most of the day was spent in the exhibit hall or corridors talking to friends (old and new) mainly saying our goodbyes or until we meet agains.  That is the bittersweet part.  Sure, many of us converse frequently through email or social media but, honestly, it’s not the same as seeing someone in the flesh.  Goodbyes are hard, I really hate them and many times I wish I could carry my genea-buds around in my pocket.  Oh wait, I do!  It’s called a smart phone!

Of course it took me until day 3 to eat at the food trucks.  Yes, there were food trucks at the conference and I have to say the Mexican one was quite good.  Nomnomnom for the pork mole tacos with mango salsa I ate.  It was so good!

The one lecture I stole myself away to was Michael Ramage’s “Adoption Research for Genealogists and Real Life Case Study.”  I even set an alarm so I wouldn’t get talking and miss it.  Currently I am working on an adoption mystery in my own family plus I have many friends who are adopted and ask me for guidance.  I do what I can to help with the paper genealogy, and now DNA, but at times I still feel like I struggle.  It’s that lost feeling of “is there more I could be doing but don’t know that I can” which the hardest to deal with.  I did pick up some great tips from Ramage and also received validation through the lecture that I am doing it all correct.

Then there was the announcement that everyone who was tweeting could hardly wait for: who would be the winner of the twitter contest and receive a full registration for NGS 2016 in Ft. Lauderdale.  Let me set this scene for you. About 1:30pm I was sitting talking with some friends in the exhibit hall when my cell phone vibrates.  Even though it happens all the time I actually took a moment to look, and that is when I saw the announcement from NGS that I had won.  Well, I jumped up, squealed like I do when excited and showed the message to my friends.  Holey Moley!  My husband was very excited too.  That’s one less thing we have to worry about budgeting for next year.

It was also announced on Saturday that NGS 2017 will be in Raleigh, North Carolina.  That made me very happy too.  Not only do I have to plan to be there a few days before so I can research but it is an easy drive for me from where I live.  Well, easy as long as I-95 doesn’t decide to become the parking lot it likes to be frequently. 

My evening was topped off with about 20 blogging friends for the informal NGS blogger dinner.  We went to a great BBQ place in St. Charles and sat outside on the deck.  At times it looked like it was snowing with the cottonwood floating around.  It was the perfect setting to end my time on the banks of the Missouri.  Good food + great friends = an amazing evening

Later this week after I have a chance to unpack, do laundry and catch up on work I will post more on my overall thoughts about the conference.  There are a few things that are percolating in the brain which I think I need to write down.

Friday, May 15, 2015

NGS Day 3 Recap

Lewis and Clark Memorial

Today was silly day.  If you saw me in the exhibit hall or even the hallways I was a, well, bundle of energy.  All I can say is what you may have witnessed is my state right before I fall over and go boom.  Yes, the lack of sleep and too much caffeine is catching up to me! 

I am working at the In-Depth Genealogist booth for NGS.  If you have never volunteered or had a booth at a conference you should consider it at some point.  Yes, it is a ton of work.  However it is also an amazing time.  I have meet a wide variety of people, shared stories, made friends, been goofy and even had a few very serious conversations.  Working a booth gives you great insight into who is attending the conference and why.  If you are a people watcher there is nothing like it.

Then there is doing yoga behind the table, ask me about it, dare you.

Today I was lucky enough to attend 3 lectures.  Elizabeth Shown Mills “The Problem Solver’s Trifecta: GPS + FAN + DNA,” Michael S. Ramage “Forensic Genealogy Meets the Genealogical Proof Standard,” and Angie Bush “Using DNA as a Genealogical Record.”  Yes, I got my geek on for a few hours today. 

Many of you know that I write, lecture and study DNA passionately.  Which, of course, meant that I had to attend these lectures.  While I knew the subjects I found the case studies interesting.  It was a great way to show those who are not familiar with the subject how DNA and forensic techniques are relevant to the genealogy field.  It would be great if more and more people became experts in these fields over the next few years.  There is more than enough work to go around!

This evening I was happy to have no firm plans.  I was able to walk along the Missouri River with my roommates and have an amazing dinner at a little dinner on Main Street in Historic Downtown St.
Charles.  It threatened to rain several times but just having a bit of decompression time to read historical plaques and explore was fantastic.

Tomorrow is the last day of the conference.  I am sad to see the end, but also happy to be heading home soon to the family.  So, until tomorrow, I hope you have sweet dreams about ancestors to be discovered! 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

NGS 2015 Day 2 Recap

Today was a long and tiring but oh so exciting in many ways.  Not just for me either. My poor 19 year old roomie was appalled when her mother and I got her up at 6 am (we were up at 5 by the way) to head for breakfast.

I was excited to start my day at the Find My Past breakfast.  As usual the members of the community that were there were diverse.  Bloggers, lecturers, younger and older genealogists all gathered for comradery and to meet someone new.  I sat with a great group of people and made a few new friends. 
Of course we got a glimpse into some of the up and coming things at Find My Past.  I admit that many made me excited, and many more reminded me that once again it is a site I need to investigate more regularly.  They are always adding something new (new record Friday!?) and I encourage you to go and look too.  Also, many people are interested to see how the merger with Mocavo is going.  From the booth presence (which if you are here you need to go check out) I can tell that it is business as normal with them.  A fact that I am thankful for since it was a great endeavor on its own!
I was disappointed that I did not get to attend a lecture by Karen Maurer Jones titled “Records Created by New York Towns and Cities: Uncommonly Rich Resources.”  While I showed up 15 minutes early there was not a seat open and per the fire marshal people were not allowed to stand.  Yeah, I was so sad to miss it, but it’s a lesson to all that you never know how fast a class will fill up.

On the flip side I did attend “Building Better Citations” by Alison Hare.  Yes, I know, I teach people how to make good source citations.  However, like I have said several times in the past few days, you never know when you will learn a new idea or technique.  She had some great points and other ways of explaining what could be a very dry topic.  I also have to admit that it was nice to know that the way I think about citations is an accepted way.  My head was nodding frequently in agreement with what she said.  Citations are very much layers and once you understand the layering process it will fall into place.

After sessions were over this evening I was able to join in on the NextGen Genealogy Network meet-Its great fun to get together with younger genealogists (and those who support us) to learn, vent and network.  Dinner, however, afterwards with the Chicago Genealogical Society (roommates and ride home were in attendance!) was the topping on the cake.  Yummy time at the Trailhead Brewing Company in historic downtown St. Charles, MO.

Tomorrow is Friday.  Friday!! I have a couple classes I am really looking forward to tomorrow.  Fingers crossed that I get a seat in those rooms.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

NGS 2015 Day 1 Recap

What a day! What a whirl wind amazing day to be exact.  I saw old friends and ended up making a few new ones.  Always a recipe for a great time don’t cha’ know!  So, here is day one, as I saw it with a few announcements and a lot a fun.

To start, during the opening session we saw many very deserving individuals recognized for their hard work.  Highlights from the award winners announced were (from the NGS press release):

The NGS Newsletter Competition
Family Association Newsletter:
Winner: About Towne, newsletter of the Towne Family Association, Inc., edited by Rae Russell Johnson.
Honorable Mention: The Seeley Genealogical Society Newsletter, newsletter of the Seeley Genealogical Society, edited by Katherine M. Olson

County/Local Genealogical and/or Historical Society, for societies with less than 500 members:
Winner: GRIVA News and Notes, newsletter of the Genealogical Research Institute of Virginia, edited by Sharon Barden Garber.
Honorable Mention: The Newsletter of the Irish Family History Forum, newsletter of the Irish Family History Forum, edited by Patricia Mansfield Phelan, and BIGWILL News, newsletter of the British Interest Group of Wisconsin and Illinois, edited by Karen Glass.

Major Genealogical and/or Historical Society, for societies with more than 500 members:
Winners: Wisconsin State Genealogical Society Newsletter, the newsletter of the Wisconsin State Genealogical Society, edited by Tina Krummel

The President's Citation
The President's Citation is given in recognition of outstanding, continuing, or unusual contributions to the field of genealogy or the Society. The NGS President selects the recipient(s). This year’s the citation went to two outstanding individuals: Pat Richley-Erickson aka Dear Myrtle of South Jordan, Utah, and Dr. Ruth Ann Murray, Assistant Dean of the Metropolitan College, Boston University.

I saw Pat (aka Dear Myrtle) later in the day and she was still on cloud nine from the surprise.  It was such a great response from the crowd (there was cheering and hollering the hall) that I was so happy that I was able to be there and see accept her award. 

Keynote with theater!
After the award winners were announced we were treated to an excellent keynote by J. Mark Lowe titled The Tales of Pioneer Paths: Rivers, Roads, and Rails.  It started with him singing Oh Shenandoah dressed in 19th-century costume.  It was unique and wonderful, which I hope everyone in the room appreciated.  He played a man from the time telling us stories, family history stories, about the characters family.  It was enthralling to hear a man’s struggles (honestly the struggles of many of our ancestors) living on the frontier come to life in front of you.  At one point there was not a dry eye in the room. 

I was able to attend 2 lectures today but most of my day was spent in the exhibit hall meeting, greeting and networking.  One of the main reasons I come to conferences.  Especially since this may be the one time I see many of these people each year. 

My favorite session of the day was John Colletta's "Principles of Good Writing and Good Storytelling."  Mainly I enjoyed it because he touched on subjects that I think are fundamental to good genealogical writing.  Now, this not scholarly writing. They type of writing I, and he, mean is the conversational prose that everyday people enjoy.  You know, like your cousins.  Those people who we want to read our hard work.  Writing well, knowing your audience and putting your research out there in an easily accessible way I feel only helps future generations.

If you want to hear more about my days at the conference make sure you follow me on my twitter account.  In fact, some of the tweets are found here on my twitter roll on this account.  Hint, hint.  Also, follow tweets from the conference by reading #NGS2015GEN on twitter too.

Well, I am off to work out for the night.  Yes, I have had dinner and talked to the family so I really should go workout in the hotel gym.  Or I could watch TV.  Decisions, decisions….

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

NGS Conference 1 week and counting

One week.  One week from today and I will be on a plane to the National Genealogical Society’s conference in St. Charles, MO.  Where did all my planning time go?!

Honestly, I thought I had plenty of time but it seems deadlines, work and other volunteer commitments whittled my spare time to plan away.  Now I am frantically trying to lay out a plan for pre-conference research and what I want to do while I am at the conference.  My spread-sheet is currently blank but it will not be for long!

If you are in the same predicament as I am I hope you have at least been reading the NGS Conference blog.  It contains a wealth of information from exhibitor profiles to local flare.  Really anything you need to make sure you are an amazing trip.

Below are a few highlighted posts you will want to check out.  Of course, this is just a few items from a very long list of blog posts.  I encourage you to go and peruse that site.  You will discover many important pieces of information about the conference.

Airport Shuttle: There is a special rate for NGS attendees but hurry because the offer is only good on reservations made through May 7th!

Conference App:  For those of you who like to be paperless, or just like the convenience, the mobile app for the conference is up and running.  Make sure you have it downloaded and ready to go before you leave!

Convention Center:  I like maps, and this post has a great map to help you pre-navigate the convention center.  It also has information about the center itself and a link to a virtual tour of the site.

Local Attractions: Need to get out of the hotel for a while?  Well, St. Louis has some great sites.  Check out this list for other things to do besides research…if you have the time.

Repositories: There is a large list of local and distant area repositories that conference goers may be interested in.  This list hits major facilities that have collections on items of interest to those with Missouri ancestors. 

Wi-Fi: Of course, in the 21st century, knowing about internet connections can be crucial.  Information on the conference Wi-Fi can be found on this post.  

Friday, April 24, 2015

FXGS lecture this weekend

This Saturday April 25th I am giving a presentation to the Fairfax Genealogical Society about raising children within the genealogy community.  If you don't know it yet, I am passionate about starting early with passing the torch of family history onto the next generation.  Through this presentation I am going to touch on a lot of ideas I have come up with for my own kids but also give some insights into things that I don't think a lot of people really consider with it comes to educating the youth in our lives about genealogy.

If you are interested in attending make sure you check out the FXGS website for details.

“Raising the Next Generation: Engaging and Instilling an Appreciation of Family History in Children”  (FxGS Education Class/Meeting)
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Dunn Loring Volunteer Fire Station 2148 Gallows Road, Vienna, VA 22027
Lecture Description: Kids, like adults, enjoy hearing interesting stories and like to learn why things are important.  Connecting their family history to the history in the books and engaging them in conversation is the key. Learn how to keep their attention after they ask you about your family.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

NGS Social Media and Live Streaming

I like being busy.  Really, I do.  Yes, it can be stressing and overwhelming at times, but there is always a great sense of accomplishment when I get to check items off of the to-do lists.  Then I take a look at my calendar.  Wow, just over 2 weeks until I leave for NGS in St. Charles.  I had better get cracking on all the stuff I need to do in preparation!  All I can say is thank goodness for social media and online planners.

Below are 2 things that I think you out there in genealogy cyberspace need to know about especially if you can’t make it in person to the conference.  I think it is great that NGS is making it possible for those of you who are staying home to participate too. Check these out and see if you can make them work for you.

Don’t miss out on the live streaming sessions.  Hurry though, registration for these presentations ends on April 29th at midnight.  When you register you will also receive an electronic syllabus too.  Oh, and if you are an NGS member you get a discounted members price!  There are 2 tracks you can choose to stream.  Pick one of them or both of them whatever works in your schedule better.  Videos will be available to 90 days after the conference ends (August 16th!) so if something happens at the last minute and you can’t watch it live don’t worry.  Just come back when you can and jump on in!

Social media is always a big thing at these conferences.  Do you know the official hashtag to follow?  For the 2015 NGS conference it is #NGS2015GEN.  Follow it on your favorite social media outlets for live updates and ongoing conference information.

I will be live tweeting again as long as I have a signal.  It’s always so much fun to do that and to read what other people are thinking or saying.  Especially when you are in the same lecture!  Which means follow the conference and then follow me so you can see what I am up to plus my thoughts on lectures, the conference and what fun things I am doing in general.  If you are not already following my twitter account never fear.  Posts are also copied to my TNT Facebook Page as well. 

Let the countdown begin…

19 days to go!