I’m home from my trip to the New England Regional Genealogical Consortium 2013 conference. Before I settle back into day to day life here at home, I wanted to take a few minutes to review my final day there.
Fortunately, I was feeling better yesterday than I had the day before, so I was able to attend the full day. I started with David Ouimette, CG, going through a case-study of finding a woman’s parents in upstate New York in the 1850s. His research led him from New York, to Vermont, Massachusetts and Canada. It was interesting to listen to his process, and I learned a new term that I hadn’t heard before. He considered the family he was researching to be a “sparrow”, or people who “flit from place to place”, leaving records in many places. I have a sparrow of my own in post-revolutionary New Hampshire that I’d like to track down someday.
My next seminar was about records located in the VermontState Archives in Middlesex, Vermont. The folks there have been helpful to me in the past when I’ve emailed requests to them, and it sounds like a visit to the facility would be no different. Many Vermont records are already online, but it might be fun to spend a day there anyway.
In the afternoon I attended a similar session in regards to the New Hampshire Historical Society library’s collections. I made a note to look into joining the Society. With the amount of family that I have who migrated through New Hampshire, I’m not sure why I’d never thought of it before.
The next session was an interesting look at researching and setting up an online document repository for a community, presented by David Allen Lambert. Lambert set up a website for his hometown of Stoughton, Massachusetts. He spoke about the process of gathering material, posting it, and most importantly, selling the project to townspeople to help get them on board and volunteering time and information. I chatted with him quickly after the presentation to see if posting material online had helped to create a snowball effect of more information coming to him. He nodded and told me a quick story of how someone that had heard him speak about the site at another conference had found him at NERGC and given him some tintypes that she had found. The important take-away from this seminar, for me, was to put your research online, even if it’s not “complete”. It could help with future research.
My final seminar for the day was a presentation by DonnaWalcovy, PhD, who showed examples of gravestone art from the colonial period up to the present. It was clear that she loved the subject, and she was fun-going and relaxed throughout the presentation. My wife and I, a several years ago, had talked about putting together a book about gravestone art. After attending this session, I may have to look into the project again, though I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to look at another flying-skull carving without thinking about “Light-bulb Head”.
Overall, I had a great time at NERGC 2013. I’m definitely going to look into attending the conference again when it heads to Rhode Island in 2015.