Wednesday, January 13, 2010

SDGS Saturday Seminar - Post 3: The Afternoon Delights

I summarized Jean Wilcox Hibben's first presentation "Clue to Clue..." at the San Diego Genealogical Society seminar on Saturday, 9 January in SDGS Saturday Seminar - Post 1: "Our Sainted Mother" and Post 2: "Back Door" Deliveries.

The afternoon activities were threefold:

1) Lunch. After observing the two excellent morning case studies that provided much food for thought, we adjourned to a dining room for the luncheon and SDGS business meeting. There was a choice of cashew chicken, mushroom ravioli or a veggie platter. The tables buzzed with talk of ancestors and localities, and Jean’s presentations.

SDGS President Marna Clemons presided over a short business meeting in which she thanked the outgoing board members, welcomed the incoming board members, and presented the President’s Recognition Award to Peter Steelquist for his work with SDGS as President, Newsletter Editor, tax preparer and Queries Manager.

2) We moved back down to the presentation room, ready for more. Jean’s third presentation was “Communicating in Your Ancestors’ Homeland: Understanding Others Cultures can Make or Break Your Research.” Jean defined the terms “Culture,” Intercultural Communication,” “Ethnocentrism,” “Mores,” “Norms,” and “Rules,” and opened the floor for discussion of “Stumbling Blocks in Intercultural Communication.” Those "stumbling blocks" were identified as:

* Assuming similarity instead of differences
* Language differences
* Nonverbal misinterpretations
* Preconceptions and stereotypes
* Tendency to evaluate
* High anxiety

The audience had many examples of ways people react in intercultural situations here in the USA and in other countries. Jean’s points were “What was it like for our ancestors coming to the New World?” and “What was it like for the residents already in the communities they settled in?”

3) After a break, “Appalachian Ancestors: Their Lives, Legends and Lyrics” was part-lecture, part performance as Jean offered Appalachian history lessons throughout history from colonial times to recent times. After each brief lesson, she played an instrument and sang a song representative of the era, accompanied by her husband, Butch, on folk instruments like spoons and a saw.

There were 18 songs on the list, including “Skip to My Lou,” “John Henry,” “Careless Love,” “Tom Dula,” “Shenandoah,” “Will the Circle Be Broken,” and she finished with “Amazing Grace.” Jean’s instruments included banjo, guitar, dulcimer, autoharp, and a limberjack. The audience sang along on several of the more well-known songs, and marveled at the knowledge and skill displayed.

Jean received a well-deserved standing ovation after this last performance.

Summary --

There were drawings after each session for prizes donated by a number of social history and tourist organizations. Vickie Fermil won the grand prize of a seven-day free stay at the Salt Lake City Plaza Hotel, right next to the Family History Library.

All in all, it was a fun and educational day, with some entertainment too. The attendees certainly enjoyed all four presentations and learned some useful research techniques and methods through the Case Study examples. SDGS puts on a wonderful seminar every year.

On a personal note, I even got to see my mother's childhood and lifelong friend, Edwina, whom I haven't seen for several years. We talked a bit, and it was great to see her again. She offered me some photograph copies from her mother's childhood and her own childhood that show my mother and my grandmother. I hope to meet with her, and her son, in the near future.

1 comment:

Geolover said...

"Will the Circle be Unbroken" is the correct name of the song, rather than "....Broken."

Get yourself some Carter Family and Stanley Brothers discs and you can enjoy these songs again.