Friday, November 11, 2011

Georgia Family History Expo 2011 - Day One

I made the decision to travel to the Expo this morning because registration didn't start until 1 p.m. I arrived in Duluth around 10:15 and grabbed breakfast at Chick-fil-A (I love Chick-fil-A, but never get a craving until Sunday when they're closed, so this was a special treat for me). And this is what makes CFA so awesome: as I was leaving, one of the servers asked if I would like a refill of my sweet tea to go. Well, of course I would! Sweet tea runs through my veins! She must have seen it in my eyes, and I didn't even have to ask!

So, a chicken biscuit and 45 minutes later, I headed over to Gwinnett Center for the Expo. I found a warm spot indoors to wait out the next 2 hours and try to make some final decisions on what sessions I would attend. 

Incidentally, after I got registered and spent some money on some books, I ran into fellow Geneabloggers DearMYRTLE, Linda McCauley (a Blogger of Honor), Valerie Craft, and Tonia Kendrick; as well as Valerie's mom Ruby and Linda's 23-and-Me cousin Christa.  I also ran into Kathy, a fellow member of the Delta Genealogical Society.

There were so many choices for classes, it was difficult to choose! This is how it ultimately turned out: 

The Power of DNA in Unlocking Family Relationships (Anna Swayne, GeneTree)
I've heard about a lot of people using DNA as a research tool, but never quite understood how it could help except in a very broad sense.  After this class, I not only have a better understanding of how it works (thanks to Anna for taking the time to explain it to me with colorful pictures and stuff), but also how it can help my research - particularly where my adopted grandfather is concerned!  (Heads up, family -- I'll be calling on you very soon!)

Census Techniques and Strategies for Finding Elusive Ancestors (Joan E. Healey, AG, FamilySearch) 
I really didn't need this class except as a refresher.  We learned the several reasons why a person can't be found on the census, and ways to get around them.  So basically, unless your person didn't exist or the census records don't exist, you should be able to find them by the time you employ all of these techniques!

How to Plan and Organize a Family History Book (Biff & Nancy Barnes, Stories to Tell Books) 
I didn't think I was anywhere near ready to start writing a book about my family history yet, but I just might be closer than I thought!  Biff & Nancy did a great job explaining the different ways to present your history and how to determine whether you have enough information to get started.  I'm feeling very motivated now ... I'm going to need another to-do list.

The Clothesline Approach to Documentation and Analysis (DearMYRTLE)
This was probably the most interesting concept on analysis I've seen yet.  Leave it to Ol' Myrt to put an interesting spin on such a mundane task.  I can't wait to get home and put this technique to the test.  It should really help out while I'm creating my research logs!  In case you're wondering ... here's how my notes looked:

I was so jealous of Laura when she won the big prize at the FGS conference in Springfield.  But turnabout is fair play.  I'm a winner too!  Take a look:
Seriously though ... after day one, I finally got back to my hotel room with a pile of loot that would make Cap'n Jack Sparrow jealous:
It would have been perfect, except that I realized I forgot my pajamas.  Good thing I won a t-shirt.  It was a long day, but tons of fun.  I can't wait to get up and do it all again tomorrow!


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