After breakfast, we went off on the Stingrays and Snorkel tour on the north side of the island, passing through the small town of St. Johns and into the countryside, arriving at a beach where we boarded small flat bottom outboard motor boats. The boats took us about a mile out to a fenced in pen with a smooth bottom and sting rays swimming within the pen. We used snorkels to swim along with them. Some of the staff handled the rays and let everyone touch them. We took some underwater pictures. This was 3 hours for about 45 minutes in the water. The drive to and from was pretty quiet – there was no tour guide, just a driver. I talked with several folks about genealogy on the way back. This is a photo of the boats we used:
“Virtual Cousin Research Project” was presented by Cyndi Howells. She had major troubles with the projector hookup – it would skew sideways frequently – but not on the laptop she was using, so it had to be the theater setup. This was one of the best lectures on the conference. Cyndi suggested that the Internet can be used very effectively to conduct a research project among a cousin network by using blogs, web sites, wikis, Google Tools, instant messaging, etc. A project requires a scope definition, a project administrator, a To-Do list, and cousins willing to contribute to and support the efforts. She suggested the project concentrate on a surname, or descendants of a person, or a locality. A blog, either open to everyone or open to only the cousins, can be used as a newsletter and coordination for the project. A web site can be used as a publication site for the project. Google Tools can be used for email to the project members, a home page for coordination and news, saving online documents in Google docs, etc. Cyndi used Terry Thornton’s Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi as an example of a locality blog. Everything she mentioned is free to the users and can be organized to include all of the project members – whether two or a hundred people.
Then it was off for the formal dinner in the Palm Dining Room. We ate with a couple from Pennsylvania and genea-cruiser Alice from Minnesota. Afterward, I came back to the room and ditched my coat and tie and went off for the 9:30 p.m. meeting in Café Caribe.
David Lambert hosted the discussion group on the topic of DNA testing and research. He has had Y-DNA, mtDNA and genomic testing done, and told stories about each of them. Several attendees described their experiences – Hal W. has run a surname project that found no links between three colonial New England immigrants with variants of his surname. I spoke briefly about my mtDNA test and finding exact matches, but have had no contact yet with them. David would like to have a project that collects Y-DNA or mtDNA sequences for specific colonial New England ancestors. He encouraged all to get tested, and to find near or distant cousins that can help fill out a genetic signature family tree. This was a very spirited discussion with many good experiences and ideas. David is very irreverent and humorous, which I appreciate and enjoy.