Saturday, January 13, 2007

SDGS Program today - Nancy Carlberg

The San Diego Genealogical Society annual luncheon and seminar program was today at a local hotel. I did not make a reservation because of my house remodel project and the uncertainty over the Chargers' playoff game time. I went down there anyway, hoping to be able to at least hear the Nancy Ellen Carlberg seminar. They let me in for $20 (the member cost with lunch was $35).

Nancy Ellen Carlberg presented four lectures today -

1) Differences Between English, Irish, Scottish and US Research

2) Midwest Research

3) What I Learned Working with Alex Haley

4) Protecting Your Genealogy

I saw the first two lectures from the back row of a large meeting room - there were about 110 in attendance. The overheads were taken from Nancy's research files - mainly examples of records that supported her verbal presentation. I couldn't read a word from where I was seated, and I doubt that more than 25% of the attendees could either. Nancy had a lot of books to sell - she is quite prolific, but much of her material is pre-Internet. I didn't buy any, but got a book list for our society.

Nancy is an excellent speaker - very easy to understand and she uses humor effectively. The two lectures I heard were full of research suggestions - I was amazed how much information she presented in each hour.

She covered the comparison of English, Scottish and Irish records by outlining what civil registry records were available, and where; she did touch on parish, cemetery, census and probate records. The main point I heard was that a researcher in the US should exhaust the Family History Library microfilms and online databases before going across the Atlantic to research in record offices in those countries. Also, that everything you need to find is not on the Internet. However, accessing the birth, marriage and death records using the online databases (which charge a per-unit fee) is more cost effective than obtaining them by mail or by hiring someone there to do it for you.

The second talk on Midwest Research was similar - lots of examples, some migration and settling maps, many good tips, and essentially the same message - use the FHL Research Guides, check the FHL microfilms, plus online resources.

I left at lunch time and visited the Family History Center for a bit - looking for Tennessee resources to help me with my UFO (Thompson family) problem. I didn't find much on the shelf or on the CDs to help me.

Then it was home to watch the two football games, take a nap, and get ready for the Chargers-Patriots game tomorrow. My mind goes back to 1963 when my Chargers romped 51-10 over the Patriots in the AFL Championship game - that was the year I worked at the Chargers summer camp. Will it be that "good" tomorrow? Heck, I'll be happy with a 1 point victory.

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