The Exhibit Hall opened this morning at about 9:45 with much pomp and circumstance. The Color Guard marched in and that was the sign for the doors to open.
Overwhelmed doesn't even begin to describe how I felt when I walked into the enormous exhibit hall. There are more than 75 vendors with everything from books to DNA and from to maps to apps. I think I only managed to visit about 10 before my first session. One of the vendors I spent a little time with was Saving Memories Forever. It's an iPhone/iPad app for recording your own memories or memories about your ancestors (don't worry - there's an Android app expected around October). I'll have a separate blog post about the app later when I've had a chance to play with it a bit more.
At 11 a.m., Dr. Thomas W. Jones presented "Finding 'Unfindable' Ancestors." What a treat! ("celebrity" moment: I even got to meet him before he got started). I originally participated in his Inferential Genealogy course with our SecondLife group, and I've been waiting quite a while to see him speak in person. Key point from the session: when your ancestor "disappears," broaden your search chronologically and geographically.
I attended the FamilySearch luncheon and Eileen O'Duill presented "Irish Eyes are Smiling." The food was good and the presentation was fun. I never knew that FamilySearch's automatic alternate-spelling feature made it so easy to find Irish records!
After lunch, it was time for "Copyright Law Surprises for Genealogists" with Benjamin Spratling, III. Here's a surprise: I'll never fully understand copyright law. I'd better put an attorney on retainer. Hopefully I'll get a discount for being in the legal profession already. What I did get out of the session was this - currently, copyrights only last for the life of the author plus 70 years. I'm definitely going to have to do some more research on this topic.
Next, was the other speaker I've been waiting to hear in person. Elizabeth Shown Mills presented "Finding Origins and Birth Families: Methods That Work!" ESM told us about the 10 most common traps for researchers, which lead to self-created brick walls. There was a lot of focus on strong documentation and strong analysis. I see spreadsheets in my future.
I decided I needed a break, so I skipped the last session and went back to my room for a bit of a rest. Then I went down to one of the restaurants in the hotel and ate dinner and "rehydrated" with fellow Geneabloggers Thomas MacEntee, Kathy Chastain, Tonia Kendrick, Amy Coffin, Diane Boumenot, and Linda McCauley.
At 7:30, findmypast hosted a launch party for FGS attendees. I don't know who said genealogists are boring, but they've obviously never been to one of these events. Food, drink, door prizes, and karaoke. It just doesn't get better than that! I was one of several Geneabloggers (see above) who performed "YMCA". If anyone has video of that performance, there may or may not be a reward for your original film.
Overall, I'd call this a successful day - especially since I checked two great speakers off my "must see" list. Tomorrow promises to be just as interesting ... I can't wait!
Do we share any ancestors?
Please email me at lostancestors [at] gmail [dot] com