I like to ask each attendee at my presentations to identify one of their “take-aways”–those ideas or thoughts which resonated strongly with them. These “take-aways” (TA) are often just a couple of comments related to each presentation. By writing them down, the attendee will better remember something about the presentation and I can tell what portion of the presentation was important to that particular attendee. Those thoughts give me ideas about the parts I should emphasize the next time I give it.
So here are some of the sessions I attended at NGS and my “take-aways.” The non-genealogists who read this blog might find the variety of the titles interesting. The genealogist who attended NGS this year might compare their TAs with mine. And, the genealogists who didn’t attend might want to put the NGS conference on their “bucket list” for next year (Fort Lauderdale FL, 4-7 May 2016)
“Iowa: Fields of Genealogical Opportunity” (Marieta Grissom): a general overview of the resources of the state of Iowa presented by the writer of the NGS Series on the States.
TA: there are numerous small repositories in the state but I feel that I have exhausted most of the relevant ones; the author missed the Ostfriesen collection in Wellsburg, Iowa. And you have to love the Iowa censuses.
“Analyzing Deeds and Wills: I See What It “Says” But What Does it “Mean”?” (Elizabeth Shown Mills):
TA: One of the best presentations i attended; she wrings information out of a deed. It gave me lots of hints about how to systematically review a deed for my portfolio.
Transcriptions, Abstraction & the Records” (David McDonald). Transcription and abstraction is a critical skill for a genealogist.
TA: Narrow the focus of the research question associated with the document, e.g “why is the grantor selling the land?” As you do a research plan, make sure you indicate where (repository) you would probably find the information. A “gold star” presentation.
“So You Think You Want to Get Married: Marriage Records, Laws and German Customs” (Baerbel K. Johnson):
TA: Unfortunately what I remember is that the speaker was not feeling well and coughed through the entire presentation. The presentation was on customs of Bavaria, a much different area than Ostfriesland. Ostfriesland’s freedoms, tho’ limited in this same time period (1800s), were more liberal than Bavaria’s, e.g. individuals had a greater ability to move around and had lesser stigma associated with illegitimacy.
“Overcoming Surprising Research Barriers: A Case Study” (Tom Jones)
TA: another memorable session on research plans and their development; this will also be applicable to my BCG portfolio.
“Introduction to Tracing your Czech Roots” (Amy Wachs)
TA: Hubby’s background on his maternal side is Czech. This gave me a great background of some readily available records. Unfortunately, the presenter felt compelled to treat the audience like they had never done any genealogical research and spent the first 45 min. discussing US records. I would have appreciated a little different balance but there were probably others in the audience who felt it was very appropriate.
“A Methodology for Irish Emigration to North America” (David Rencher): Head of FamilySearch and an excellent presenter.
TA: David presented a very interesting statistical approach to determining the most likely parish within a County to investigate to find your ancestor. I am hoping this may help my friend who does not know the parish of birth of her ancestor but knows he came from County Roscomman.
That was the first two days. There were still two days to go! No wonder I came back energized and exhausted.
What I have done since the last posting: I have worked with about 6 or the 8 authors for the next SGS Bulletin to get documents to the editor for proofing. I also set up the template for the Bulletin, changing what I could for this issue, etc. I want to publish before I go to a conference the end of June. Also, realized I had forgotten to send a contract to Cape Cod/Falmouth so worked on that and I submitted my 6 proposals to Ohio Genealogical society for their 2016 conference. Getting excited for Jamboree.
Photo: taken by the author prior to the live streaming session of Alison Hare, “A Time of Cholera: A Case Study about Context,” another gold star presentation. Read the book about the topic: The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic–and How it Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson.