Saturday, November 1, 2008

Saturday on the TMG cruise

The one day I didn't summarize on my laptop was Saturday. The day started in St. Thomas (US Virgin Islands) harbor with breakfast in the Horizon Court restaurant (usually scrambled eggs, bacon, English muffin or roll, banana, pear halves, and a Danish - hey, we had to get our money's worth! I am not unfat...).

Then we were off before 9 a.m. for our Bumpy fast ride on the top of the waves to Buck Island where we snorkeled in Turtle Cove (there were two turtles there - they spent most of their time on the bottom hiding from snorkelers) and Shipwreck Cove (where I didn't see the shipwreck, but others apparently did). Getting there was a lot of fun - two young ladies driving a 30-foot Zodiac boat (500 hp to twin outboards) - we got a little wet crashing through the tops of the waves at 30 mph or so. The water was fine, but it was rough in Shipwreck Cove. Linda had a hard time climbing back onboard the boat. We were back by 12:30 p.m. and I went up to lunch (cheeseburger, fries, cookie) and ate with Lee and Gene. I was grungy and sunburned, so went to the room and took a shower and put some coolant on my head and shoulders. I took a nap, read my book, and walked around the ship taking pictures of St. Thomas.

We packed our suitcases, and got dressed for the TMG hosted cocktail party at 5:30 pm. I shared some time with Cyndi Howells, Tony Burroughs and David Lambert, and several of the other attendees. I have some pictures of "notables" that I'll post later on when I have Internet access to my files (The Business Center computer doesn't have a USB port available). This was the first time I saw all of the speakers together, and we got pictures to prove it! The highlight was everybody in the room singing "'m My Own Grandpa"with bass John Titford leading us on the microphone and the words on the computer screens. It was fun. This, of course, gives me ideas for my own society... of course someone else would have to lead it - I sing in J-Sharp.

Then it was dinner time (Beef Wellington), and we ate with non-genealogists (we had the Anytime Dinner plan all week in the Palm Dining Room - great flexibility!) with 10 at our table. We talked a bit about genealogy and family history. I had to skip dessert (poor, poor not unfat Randy...) in order to run up to the room and put the suitcases in the hallway, and I grabbed my laptop case with my "elusive ancestor" summaries in them.

My first "One-on-One" was at 8:30 p.m. with David Lambert of NEHGS. I decided to ask for help on my elusive Thomas J. Newton of ME, MA and VT. Dave had some great suggestions for records I don't normally think of - unpublished church records, War of 1812 veterans, 1798 Direct Tax for MA/ME, and divorce records which might be in the Massachusetts State Archives. He even took my writeup to see if he could think of more things to look up. We had a little more time, so he looked over my Elizabeth Horton Dill (1794?-1869) birth parents problem too.

My second "One-on-One" was with Elizabeth Shown Mills, one of the most skilled genealogists on the planet. Elizabeth dissected my Elizabeth Horton Dill problem several ways, and didn't even comment on my poor source citations for several records. She gave me several excellent ideas for further research in original records - not transcripts or abstracts - like the later Barnstable County Deeds and probates, and probates for the sons of Thomas and Hannah (Horton) Dill. We discussed my hypotheses about the conflicts in the evidence I already have - and agreed they might be correct, but that I need much more data to build a solid case. I wish I had a steel-trap mind like she does! Impressive.

My third "One-on-One" was with Sandra Hewlett, who lives in Pennsylvania. I chose her so that I could discuss my elusive Mary Hoax (ca 1768-1850), wife of Martin Carringer. Sandy noted that I didn't really know where Hempfield township was in Westmoreland County, and that I need to consider deeds and probates for the Hoax/Hokes/etc. families in Westmoreland from 1773, and in Bedford County from 1771-1773, and in Cumberland County PA before that. She had a great book called Pennsylvania Line which had a complete listing of all towns, townships and counties, including maps showing how county boundaries changed. She also suggested checking records such as the 1773 and 1783 tax/census lists, Pennsylvania state RevWar muster rolls online at the PA State Archives site, and obtaining Martin Carringer's Bounty Land Warrant from NARA.

The evening ended with the David Lambert round-table - I joined it late and they were discussing tri-racial isolates in NC/VA/KY/TN area - and the Roanoke Colony members that might have left strands of Y-DNA in the area. Megan Smolenyak and Craig Scott were making suggestions and comments too - there apparently is an effort to find ancestral families of the Roanoke Colony adventurers and then find male descendants from those families to establish a Y-DNA database that might match the tri-racial isolates. Fascinating stuff!

All I can say about this conference's "top-notch faculty" is WOW - they are excellent speakers and have a wealth of genealogy research knowledge. The depth and breadth of these folks is tremendous. I really appreciate their sharing with us, especially in the "one-on-ones." That was challenging and fun.

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