SCGS Genealogy Jamboree – Day 2

Day 2 is just starting and I am back in Pavilion 2 to listen to Crista Cowan from Ancestry. First, I need to say that this tent is a totally different experience from yesterday. There are huge portable fans or air conditioning units going and it is actually chilly in here. Chilly or not, though, it is 1000% improvement over yesterday.

Crista’s talk is titled “Successful Searching on” She moved along quickly, but demonstrated the multitude of ways to search through the Ancestry databases. Each search tab produced different type of results and rankings of hits that might relate to one’s ancestor. She shared that researchers are not searching for people, we are searching for RECORDS about those people and search strategies need to vary accordingly.  This was a good beginner to intermediate level overview.

Session 2 today was with Sharon Hoyt, another new-to-me speaker. Her topic sounded like one we have all come across – “What a Story! Evaluating Family Traditions and Genealogical Sources.” I have my own version of that story. My grandmother to,d me that my grandfather went to Harvard, but he didn’t graduate. I figured Harvard had records back to the beginning of time so I wrote to the registrar’s office. They said no one by the name of Vernon Tarbox Adams had ever attended Harvard at all. I left that story behind and moved on. Years passed and the World War I draft registrations appeared online. Included was one for Grandfather. He entered the Navy near the end of the war and was sent to boot camp —–at Harvard!!! So, yes, he “went” to Harvard and, no, he never graduated. Grandmother was absolutely right.

Sharon shared three case studies that had family stories or traditions that needed to be verified. She shared the techniques and resources that were needed to prove or disprove each.  The Genealogical Proof Standard was used to evaluate and work through the issues in each story. Her case studies were each very different kinds of family traditions and the steps needed to resolve each were very interesting. I really enjoyed this presentation.

The final morning session I chose was Michael L. Strauss’s talk, “Refugees, Claims and Conscription: Your Ancestors During Reconstruction.” This is a new topic for me and many of my husband’s family were Southerners.

First was an overview of the historical period immediately following the end of the Civil War. Next, lesser known record groups that covered a variety of social situations near the end of the Civil War and in the Reconstruction era that followed.

I had never heard of most of these record sets, other than the Confederate amnesty records. Many of them were originally only available at the National Archives. Today, some may be found online through public libraries, FamilySearch and several subscription sites.

This is the session in which I have learned the most. Excellent presentation!

After a nice lunch break and visit around the exhibit hall, I went to find a seat in Jill Morelli’s “Blog Your Family History: Eating the Elephant One Bite at a Time.”

Yes, I already am a blogger, but I’m always looking to learn new tips and tricks about blogging. Jill first reviewed publishing options for those genealogists who are considering publishing their family history and stories.

Second, she talked about the many different reasons for writing and shared examples of types of writing that have been published.

From that viewpoint, Jill moved on to the experience of setting up and writing a blog, with a focus on setting up a free blog site with WordPress. She continually stressed that no decision was permanent – changes can be made everywhere from choosing a theme to editing blog posts. The ability to customize one’s blog was introduced with several simple examples. To close, she shared examples of several different blogs, analyzing how each blogger opted to set his or her blog up.

Jill’s introduction to blogging was well organized and clearly explained step by step. There may be a few more genealogy blogs popping up soon online!

There were two more sessions left for Day 2. I have enjoyed hearing lots of new presenters, so I chose a session by another familiar blogging name, but a lady who I have not had an opportunity to hear, Peggy Clemens Laurizen, who talked about “Apprentices, Indentured Servants, and Redemptioners in America.”

As in several other sessions, Peggy began with a short overview of historical conditions that existed as settlement in the American colonies began. She then shared the  experiences of apprentices, indentured servants and German Redemptioners.

She continued on by defining the waves of groups that were forced into transportation and told of the conditions under which these people had to live, or die, as many did. Peggy presented the realities of the daily lives of the many poor immigrants who were transported from the earliest years of colonial settlement. Interesting talk and, again, I learned something new.

The final session of Day 2 started at 5:00 p.m . Yes, these days are very long, but fun and the hours seem to fly by. Sharon D. Monson was the last speaker of the day. All of the 5:00 sessions were geared to ALL or Beginners and Intermediates audiences and none of the topics were related to any of my current research, so Sharon’s talk on “The Faithful:Early U.S. Church Records” I thought might come in handy for helping the members of the genealogy class that I teach.

The talk centered on an overview of techniques to use to locate records of both individual churches and denominational repositories. Some records are not housed by churches themselves, but are located in various archives. Some of these records are starting to be digitized and available online. Sampling multiple websites demonstrated the wide variety of church records available today.

6:30 p.m.- Day 2 has finished. It has been a long day, but very rewarding.






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