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Thursday, August 22, 2013

FGS, Indiana, and my trip so far

Well, we made it!  Sorry that I have not posted since last week, but I had family needs arise that caused me not to be able to write like I wanted to.  Not a problem, let’s play catch up now shall we?

After much discussion we left last Friday night. Why drive it all in one day (Virginia to Indiana) if you don’t have to.  Left home on Friday evening and drove to the half-way point, Charleston, West Virginia.  That made a much nicer drive as we arrived into my hometown just after lunch time on Saturday.   The next 4 days where a whirl wind of family visits, library hops, and history opportunities for me and my kids. 

Sunday I actually drug the whole family around Martin County visiting 5 different cemeteries. It should have been 7, but I was nice and didn’t make them backtrack to the 2 we accidently skipped.  The boys thought this was fascinating.  We found ancestors that were Revolutionary war Soldiers, War of 1812 Soldiers, and Civil War Soldiers.  I showed the boy the “howling cat” tomb, which, incidentally, is a lot smaller than I remember it!  Seeing these markers for myself was a moving experience.  Yes, I had seen them in other people’s pictures and on find-a-grave, but there is nothing, NOTHING, like seeing these stones for yourself.

Monday was Daviess County day.  The morning was spent driving though Oak Grove Cemetery looking for my father’s ancestors.  We didn’t make it to the second cemetery, St. John’s, as we spent 4 hours at the first one.  Amazingly the caretaker was there mowing.  He rode over after he saw us wandering around (we knew where some of the markers are) and asked if he could help.  After talking to us for a few minutes he went and retrieved the “dead books” from his home.  One was the index, by last name, of every stone in the cemetery which appears to be updated every 10 years.  The other was the burial registry of all internments after 1955.  He wouldn’t let me take images of these pages (I asked…3 times) but I did get to see my grandparents’ entries and several aunts, uncles, and cousins entries. 

GRC Memorial
Vincennes, IN
After the hot and humid walk through the graveyard my dad, my boys, and I went to the local library.  This is where I made a couple great finds.  First off, lots of local indexes, records, and resources for multiple counties that I needed.  Most amazing of all was a typed up family history of the Brothers family, which was done by a local resident.  It looks amazing because, you know, it contains citations and footnotes!  I have not made it through the 150 page document, yet, but it looks like it gives me good sources and leads for 4 generations I didn’t know about!  This helps with my mother’s line, and made the family dinner with her cousins that night very interesting.

Tuesday was Knox County day, and the only thing I wanted to get on my whole trip, the Eliza Jane Manuscript.  For those of you have read my blog on and off you may recognize this name.  Eliza Jane was the baby sister of my great-grandfather.  She was the family historian that my grandmother received all her information through. In the genealogy library in Vincennes, Indiana there is a typed copy of her research journals that a cousin of mine created.  I skimmed it while I photocopied it and I can’t wait to devour it later.  Lots and lots of good things!

We took the boys over to the George Rogers Clark Memorial also.  They loved it, and I have to say it always takes my breath away.  If you get to go make sure you watch the video and have the ranger on duty take you inside the monument.  The murals inside are breath taking.  Plus, how else can you learn about the amazing capture of Fort Sackville during the Revolutionary War?

Wednesday was the drive from Southern Indiana to Fort Wayne.  My parents, the boys, and I registered quickly that afternoon and explored a bit.  They were all tired from the trip so I sent them back to the hotel while I stuck around the conference center.  I enjoyed meeting up with some fellow IDG people and being talked into writing a lot more.  I know, more, can you believe it? 

We all went over to the opening night social and had a good time talking.  I meet quite a few people, heard some interesting things, received good advice, and laughed so much!  The down side was that my kids did not get to bed (because I made them go) until after 10pm.  This was not a good thing as they were up at 7am.

Thursday, today, my first full day at the conference, and there is a lot of stuff!  We missed the keynote but it was more important for me to get my kids up and fed than it was to rush them here.  All 5 of us wandered around the exhibit hall and quickly checked out of the vendors.  I received my honorable mention certificate in Category II from the ISFHWE and had my picture taken. (WHOOT!)  Next we wandered over to Family Tree Magazine where I met Diana Haddad and Allison Dolan in person.  It is always great to meet people in the flesh after you have talked to them over email and phone in the past. 

My parents decided to take the DNA track today.  Dad said it was so he could understand what I was doing better.  Mom went with him even though she already knew all this.  She is a doctor after all.  The boys attended 2 lectures with me.  They were well behaved, I was thrilled.

First up was Tom Jones’s “Planning and Executing Efficient and Effective Research: A Case Study.” Even with the technical difficulties around the projector, it was a great presentation.  I enjoyed just sitting and listening to him present the family history, the evidence, and taking us step-by-step through the process.  It reminds me a lot of his new book.  Which, I absolutely love.  I had planned to have him sign a copy of my Mastering the Genealogical Proof, but I forgot it in the hotel room.  Good thing I have 2 more days.

After lunch I took the boys to the BCG Certification seminar.  This is something I really want to do.  I can’t explain it, almost like I want to prove I can do it.  Also, in my gut I feel like this can give the “new kid” some credibility.  I may be completely off base here, but I did learn a lot that will help me make that decision later. 

The boys did fine until about 4pm when they completely crashed and burned.  8 hours in a conference is pretty good for any small person you have to admit.  We were killing time in the exhibit hall waiting for my parents and the final straw was the brother on brother brawl at The Irish Ancestral Research Association.  You have to admit, that is kind of funny considering their ancestry.  However I had one in tears and the other fit to be tied after I grounded them from TV and video games for the night.  Luckily the grandparents showed up just then and whisked them away. 

So here I sit, in the media hub, getting ready to go wander around the booths again and waiting for the door prize drawings.  Feeling like I should go grab a drink too, after all someone has to come back and get me in a few hours.

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