Saturday, October 12, 2013

Society Saturday – GSV Fall Meeting

Today was the Fall meeting of the Genealogical Society ofVermont (GSV), which took place in Rutland, Vermont.  I joined the Society last year, but wasn’t able to make it to the Spring meeting, so this was my first exposure to the group outside of reading the newsletters and a couple of interactions with the Facebook group.

I was very pleased with the meeting.  There were just under 30 people in attendance, most of who seemed to have known each other for some time.  Despite being a newcomer, I didn’t feel unwelcome at all.  I chatted with a few people, and found some common research interests.  The highlight of the meeting, however, was definitely the three presentations that were given.

The first speaker, William Powers, Jr., gave numerous examples of the importance of finding several sources of documentation before coming to a conclusion.  Cases ranged from incorrect tombstone inscriptions to census records with similar, but not correct names.  The presentation was entertaining, and the speaker was excellent.

Michael Dwyer gave the next presentation, which was a summary of his search for third great-grandmother’s husband, Silas Hall.  Again, the speaker was entertaining and the information interesting.  He showed how some ancestors “flavored” their stories, sometimes making them more difficult to track down.  In some cases the flavoring may be an innocent embellishment of facts.  In other cases, such as Silas Hall, the flavoring may be more purposeful (such as having three wives).

The final presentation, given by Jim Davidson of the Rutland Historical Society was my favorite.  Mr. Davidson outlined numerous sources available for information on the Rutland area, beginning with the late 18th century and working up to the early 20th century.  Many of the sources have been put online by the Historical Society, or are available either at the Historical Society building or the Rutland Free Library.  Since my wife’s family is from the Rutland area, I now have several new options to check out for information.

After attending this meeting, I’m looking forward to attending more next year and possibly becoming more involved with the Society as I get to know the organization more.

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