Don't get me wrong. I'm very excited about going to the Federation of Genealogical Society's 2012 conference in Birmingham next week. But there's something to be said about conferences and workshops put together by your local society.
This past Saturday, my local society (Delta Genealogical Society) teamed up with another local society (Signal Mountain Genealogical Society) for the Chattanooga Area Genealogy Workshop. We are two relatively small societies, so when our expected attendance almost doubled in the last 4 days before the workshop, we were pleasantly surprised! We had about 120 people show up.
It went from 9 a.m. until about 3 p.m. Lunch was provided. Sessions ran about 1-1/2 hours and there were two sessions running simultaneously (one was aimed at beginners and the other was more for intermediate/advanced researchers).
There was a session on "Beginning Your Family History from Scratch" presented by Jim Douthat, Vice President of Programs at the Chattanooga Area Historical Society (CAHA), and just this past March was the first recipient of the James W. Livingood Historian of the Year award from CAHA. Also on tap for beginners was "Treasures Hidden in Census Records," also presented by Jim Douthat.
I attended "The Times in Which They Lived" by Linda Moss Mines. She is the Hamilton County (Tennessee) Historian, as well as a History instructor at Girls' Preparatory School here in Chattanooga. (There were a few other things on her resume, but I forgot what they were). What a fantastic speaker! Although we probably had about 75 people in the room, I felt like we were sitting in someone's living room. She really held my attention. Quite honestly, I could have listened to her for the rest of the afternoon.
Unfortunately, I was asked to help with some behind-the-scenes duties that conflicted with the presentation by Rufus Williamson, President of the Delta Genealogical Society. His topic was "DNA - Using Genealogy's Newest Tool."
Our main speaker was George K. Schweitzer, who has his own Wikipedia page. If you ever have the chance to hear him speak, take it. Do not hesitate. Dr. Schweitzer has been researching for over 50 years and has so much information in his head, he rarely had to look at his notes (and even then it was probably just to make sure he was staying on time). His topic was "Searching for Our Ancestors Across the Ocean," which was perfect timing for me now that I'm getting ready to start doing some overseas research. Dr. Schweitzer always presents his topics in character (see lederhosen at left). His presentation was not only incredibly informative, but also entertaining.
I had the honor of meeting Dr. Schweitzer prior to his presentation. He is probably one of the sweetest, cleverest, most personable, and smartest people I have ever met! I was even able to get him to sign the book that I bought!
Overall, the program was very well done, and I'm glad I went. The best part? Only $20 to get in. Yep, local programs rock!
Special thanks to Alona at Gould Genealogy for coming up with the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge!
Do we share any ancestors?
Please email me at lostancestors [at] gmail [dot] com