Sunday, May 17, 2015

NGS2015: Days Three and Four

Friday, May 15 - NGS Family History Conference

Tired from the first two days of the conference, I took things a bit more slowly. When I arrived at the convention center, I ordered a mocha latte and sat down on a couch and rested a bit. When the Exhibit Hall opened, I wandered the tables some more. I spent some time in the area browsing their World Records. I ran into a work colleague and chatted for a few minutes. Neither of us knew the other was researching their family history.

At 11am, I attended the presentation by Robert McLaren (RML) on Scots-Irish Research. My wife has Wallace and Muldoon ancestry, and it's possible I have McGregor or McAlpin ancestry. While it's not clear if our Scottish ancestors were part of the Scots-Irish migrations, I figured the session could provide some useful areas of research. RML led us through the history of the three main Scots-Irish migrations between the late 13th century and mid 17th century, and then the late 17th century, early 18th century migrations to the United States. Then several useful websites were shared, few of which I was already familiar. RML, the Clan MacLaren Society genealogist, also reminded the audience that many of the Scottish clans have Clan Genealogists who can be a great resource.

I had lunch at the food truck, and planned to go to a presentation at 2:30 on organizing one's research, but the presentation was postponed until Saturday. It was raining hard, so I waited for the rain to subside before leaving the conference. I made a stop at the St. Charles County Library to return a library book. (the separate library systems of St. Charles County, St. Louis County, and St. Louis City have an agreement where residents can obtain library cards for all the systems.)

I returned home, and had a relaxing Shabbat Dinner with my family.

Saturday, May 16 - NGS Family History Conference

On the final day of the conference I attended three sessions.

First, at 9:30am, Smiths and Jones: How to Cope with Families of Common Names, presented by Elizabeth Shown Mills (ESM).

The presentation outlined five models to use while conducting research that can help you avoid even the pitfalls of the most common names:
  • The Research Process Model
  • The Research Analysis Model
  • The Identity Triangulation Model
  • The Genealogical Proof Standard
  • The Problem Solving Spiral
These research models can, naturally, be used with any surnames. By illustrating their success in two case studies - one for a Mary Smith, and one for a Joshua Jones - ESM was able to show their usefulness for all research.

At 11am Julie Miller (JM) presented Organizing Your Genealogy Without Losing Your Mind. Emphasizing that "there is no best system, only a best system for you," JM presented the reasons we organize, the items genealogists must organize, and a variety of methods we can choose from. Whatever combination of methods we chose, JM suggested they should be "Simple, Consistent, and Maintainable."

After another lunch at the food trucks, I ended the conference with the session Find Your Civilian Ancestors in Unique Civil War Records presented by Ruth Ann (Abels) Hager (RAAH), Her focus was on two sets of records from the National Archives:
  • Union Provost Marshals' File of Papers Relating to Individual Civilian
  • Union Provost Marshals' File of Papers Relating to Two or More Civilian
RAAH presented what sort of documents one was likely to find in these record sets, and where and how they could be searched or browsed. She also indicated when going through the Individual Citizen records, one would often find index cards that indicate the person is referenced in the other "Two or More Civilian" record set. However, not every person referenced in the "Two or More Civilian" record set has an index card in the "Individual Civilian" record set. And since none of the websites that host the images for these record sets have an index for the second record set, one needs to spend the time going through them image by image.

After this session, I left the conference with the satisfaction that I had learned a great number of new resources, and received a lot of great research and writing advice.

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