Saturday, September 5, 2009

Day 4 at the FGS Conference

Someone didn't look at his schedule for the day, and slept in and missed the first session.

I got there in time for the 9:30 a.m. set of talks, and chose to go to "GPS for Genealogists" by Rick and Pamela Sayre. Now, the GPS here stands for Global Positioning System, not Genealogical Proof Standard. Rick is the hardware expert who understands the technical things, and Pam loves to play with and use the toys. In their talk, they demonstrated what GPS can do for the genealogy researcher. For instance, it can locate the cemetery, schoolhouse, ancestral lands, etc., depending on the features in the GPS unit. Using a gravestone in Arlington National Cemetery, they showed how to use the GPS to find the cemetery, and geotag the gravesite, and geotag photos of the gravesite with the latitude and longitude for upload to a computer. For the State Land system, the website can be used to identify the latitude and longitude of a land plot, and then it can be put on the GPS and found by driving to the site or on a Google map. This talk was interesting for the use of modern technology to find historical sites.

My next experience was Paul Milner on "Effective Internet Use of England's National Archives." The website is Paul took us through most of the top menu line and the associated dropdown menus, especially the "Research and Learning" and "Search the Archives" items. He explained the Catalogue search techniques, and visited the Documents Online area. All of the index items and doing a search on the TNA site are free, but there is a pay-per-download for specific documents, and they accept credit cards. This was a fascinating talk about a website that appears very useful for UK research.

It was noon, so I went to the sandwich cart in the Exhibit Hall, had a cheeseburger, and went to the hotel for an hour of reading my email and writing the Saturday Night Genealogy Fun post on Genea-Musings. I headed back to the Conference site in time for the 2 p.m. sessions.

I chose to attend Thomas Jones presentation of "Solving Problems with Original Sources." Tom went through nine case studies, each of which was solved by finding the critical piece of information in original sources not online, not available in indexed books, and sometimes found in a box of loose papers in a repository. For each case, he described the known information, research process used, the sources found, and how he learned of the existence of the sources. In many cases, he learned about the source from a "how to" book or periodical article. This was a fascinating talk, not only for the unusual cases addressed but the methods used to solve the problems.

I decided that I was done for the day, so I walked around the Exhibit Hall for about an hour saying goodbye to old and new friends, and took some pictures. Then I came back to the hotel and wrote some blog posts for the next few days. At 6 p.m. Linda and I ventured down to Iriani's for a pizza on the trolley. We were back by 7:30. We leave in the morning for the Memphis area.

I did not attend any of the six talks by presenters in a special all-day session today - it was free for conference attendees and walk-ins to attend, (as was the Exhibit Hall). It looked to me that there were about 300 persons in the Ancestry presentations. I think that it was an excellent plan for to execute.

Some people think that there were 900 to 1,000 persons at the conference, but others think the number without the exhibitors was more like 500 to 600. I thought that the Conference was very well organized and executed by Jan Davenport and her team. I enjoyed the talks I attended, and had a great time talking to and getting to know the exhibitors, geneabloggers and many attendees.

No comments: