Sunday, May 12, 2013

Day 4 at the NGS Conference (That's all, folks!)

It's over - four days of fun and learning at the National Genealogical Society 2013 Family History Conference at the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.  Here are my final thoughts:

1)  The conference venue was excellent with the exhibit hall close to the pavilions (class rooms), the pavilions had many seats in every one, and the free NGS wireless Internet was available right in the central area near many pavilions.  The food cart in the area next to the Exhibit Hall had pre-packaged sandwiches and pastries, and fresh fruit, and was fairly expensive.

The Blogger/Media area (it had a low fence around it, so the passers-by could talk to us and occasionally throw stuff at us) was fine, with enough Ethernet connections to permit at least ten geneabloggers to be online simultaneously.  I shared my round table with Valerie Elkins usually, and we got to know each other, which was fun.   It also had an electric outlet strip that was very useful in charging my three devices - a laptop, a tablet and an iPhone when needed.

My major complaint was the Conference Program, which was, I think, the only printed material that had the class room numbers - it was in very small font size - I had to guess what they were.  I later discovered that the later version of the Conference App had the room numbers.  My major mistake was not checking the Program more carefully for some of the evening activities - I would have enjoyed Craig Scott's "Last Man Standing" contest, I think.

I heard a complaint from a friend that most of the handicapped seating (for those in wheel chairs and motorized carts were at the back of the pavilions, often with dozens of empty row in front of them, and they could hardly see the speaker or the slides.  I also noticed that most of the screens were not completely filled by the speaker's presentation, so they could have been moved back a bit to improve viewing from further back in the pavilion.

2)  My Saturday morning started with the MyHeritage invited breakfast at 7 a.m. with about ten other geneabloggers.  I summarized my experience in MyHeritage To Announce Record Detective Feature.  

3)  I missed the start of the 8 a.m. classes, so I read my email, read my blogs and talked to friends in the wireless area before the Exhibit Hall opened.  When it did, I set up in the Blogger pen, then went off to talk to folks in the exhibit hall, took some more pictures and missed the 9:30 a.m. classes as well.  So I did some blogging by updating the compendium.

4)  I attended the 11 a.m. presentation by Robert Charles Anderson, FASG on "The Elements of Genealogical Analysis."  I had never heard him speak before.  His talk was fairly general, and he presented it first about 30 years ago, and has updated it.  The slides were all black and white and gray...and almost all text.  He noted that his book on this subject will be published later in 2013.  

Anderson quoted his Two Fundamental Laws of Genealogy:

*  "All statements must be based only on accurately reported, carefully documented, and exhaustively analyzed records.
*  We must have a sound, explicit reason for saying that any two individual records refer to the same person."

He noted that the first law pertains to "Evidence" and the second to "Proof."  He said that there is not just one way to do this work, but that this way works.  

There are three analytic tools that should be used:

*  Source Analysis (detailed examination of a source, which may contain many records)
*  Record Analysis (detailed examination of a single item within a source)
*  Linkage Analysis (working with two or more exhaustively analyzed records to determine if they pertain to the same individual)

He also identified a five step problem solving sequence:

*  Problem Selection (select one carefully defined problem to work on)
*  Problem Analysis (perform a literature search on existing work, and perform a reverse linkage analysis to determine it is sufficient)
*  Data Collection (create a plan for collecting appropriate records, abstracting or transcribing them, and sourcing them)
*  Synthesis (subject all evidence to the Second Fundamental Law of Genealogy)
*  Problem Resolution (Subject record linkage decisions to tests to support or reject conclusions, and document your conclusions).

5)  It was lunch time, so I walked over to the SportsBook Deli and had a cheeseburger - I ate with an SDGS member and her sister from Seattle.  Then back to the Exhibit Hall (it's a long walk, I got great exercise this week!) to talk to exhibitors and then wrote my blog post with pictures.  I was happy to see Denise Levenick win the NGS 2014 Conference registration for her efforts in the NGS Tweet contest - there were at least ten bloggers there cheering her on.

I debated going to the 2:30 p.m. session, but I stayed in the Hall until it closed at 3 p.m.  I adjourned to the wireless area, read my email and blogs, and talked to Diane of SDGS and several others that stopped by.  I left at 4 p.m. for the room, and rested my eyes a bit while having the TV on the news for the first time all week.  It's the same in Las Vegas as it is anywhere else...

6)  So I attended 12 of the 20 class sessions, and blogged about each of them.  That's 60% (which is better than the 5% I did at RootsTech 2013!).  I think that I held up my end of the Official Bloggers deal!

7)  Linda and I freshened up, and left at 6:15 p.m. to be picked up outside the hotel by Eileen, our daughter's good friend (from high school) who lives in Las Vegas with her teenage daughter.  She treated us to dinner at the Outback (Linda knew she could eat the food there) and we had a great time talking about her life since high school, her daughter's achievements and goals, and Eileen's career in the medical devices field.  She has done well, and we're really proud of her.  She asked about how easy it would be to trace her ancestry, and I said that she would be able to do it if she knew her grandparents names and approximate birth years.  Her parents are deceased, and she only knew the name of one grandparent, but she is still alive.  She has 10 siblings, so she may be able to find more information from them.  We had fun talking with her, and she dropped us off at the hotel at 9 p.m.  We went to bed early since we had to be up at 5 a.m., so I didn't write this post last night when I should have.

(Linda and Eileen at Outback Steak House, Las Vegas)

8)  We had a 9 a.m. flight on Southwest from Las Vegas to San Diego on Sunday, and we were home before 11 a.m.  I watched the Padres game to the bitter end (we lost 4-2 to the Tampa Bay Rays).

9)  The other technology thing that worked really well was our Samsung Tablet , which we used to read Linda's email, take notes in sessions using Evernote, and to serve as an Internet hot spot while I was in the hotel room (instead of paying $14 a day for Ethernet or wireless service).  It was adequate in performance (I didn't load more than one picture at a time!).  I will use it again when I need to at conferences and seminars.  The keyboard is larger than my iPhone, but I still make many mistakes.  I did learn that I need to intentionally turn it off before closing the lid on it - I charged it Friday night then unplugged it and closed it, and it was dead in the morning.

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Copyright (c) 2013) Randall J. Seaver


Angela said...

Randy, Thanks for summarizing Robert Charles Anderson's presentation. He was speaking at the same time I was, so I missed it.

Lisa Suzanne Gorrell said...

I want to thank you, Randy, for attending and summarizing as many of the presentations that you did! They helped me decide to order a few JAMB recordings since I was unable to attend this year, even though it was nearly in my back yard (on the west coast at least).