Friday, May 10, 2013

Day 3 at the NGS 2013 Conference

If it's Friday, then it's almost over!  One more day of walking (lots of walking), blogging, kibitzing, visiting and sitting, plus the classes, of course.  Here was my day 3:

Unfortunately, last night I closed the cover on the fully charged tablet that I take notes in Evernote with, rather than actually turning it off.  When I turned it on the battery was at 0%.  Dumb, a lesson learned.  Oh well - back to pen and paper for awhile!

1)  After breakfast at the Paradise Cafe with Linda, I attended Bill Ruddock presentation on "Colonial New York Genealogy."  He systematically covered vital records, Bible records, cemetery records, church records, town records, military records, biographies, compiled sources, public records, tax lists and poll lists, court records, orphan masters, probate records, land and manor records.  Due to a fire in 1911 in Albany, some of the record sets are incomplete.  On the other hand, many record sets have been indexed and published, and many are available on  FHL microfilm.  Some are available online on the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYGBS) website.

I gained more knowledge about record availability in this talk, and gleaned some ideas for research on several of my brick wall ancestors:

*  There are New York Muster Rolls, 1755-1764 in book form - Bill said some entries give an age and a birthplace.  Perhaps there is information about my John Kemp/Camp, who I think as an English soldier in New York,  in those records.

*  There is a book with transcribed tax and poll lists for Dutchess County, 1718-1787.  Perhaps these records will have information about the Knapp families in the County.  My William Knapp was born there in 1775.  The tax and poll lists are also available on FHL microfilm.

2)  I couldn't stay away from the 9:30 a.m. presentation by Elizabeth Shown Mills titled "Trousers, Black Domestic, Tacks, and Housekeeping Bills: 'Trivial Details' Can Solve Research Problems."  Records are filled with trivial details, and many researchers skip over them.  Elizabeth went through a number of estate inventories, tax lists, wills, loose papers, militia roll, and other records that listed items like those in the title, and many more.  She kept coming back to her basic principles that a Researcher is:

(photograph courtesy of Scott Stewart, NGS photographer)

*  Not only a collector of facts, but also an analyst and an interpreter of those facts.
*  A nitpicker, paying careful attention to details.
*  An innovator who seeks new ways to probe records, apply data, connect facts and see patterns that do and don't match.
*  Spends more time analyzing and evaluating the problem, records and data than the time searching and collecting names and facts.

Elizabeth introduced the Evidence Analysis Process Map in this presentation, but did not discuss the details of it to any extent (she did that on Wednesday in another talk).

3)  I didn't go to a class at 11 a.m., I updated my NGS blog compendium and wrote the exhibit hall pictures post.  Then I ate lunch and wandered the exhibit hall.I did stop by the Ancestry display and asked about when we will see the chromosome segment matches on the AncestryDNA results (Kenny said it's not imminent, but they might do it).  I also asked Crista about the wild card problem I and others have noted, and she brought Katherine Nester over to discuss it.  It was good to meet Katherine, who answered my earlier blog post on the subject.  Then it was to talk to Jill Crandell about her ResearchTies program - an online research log application.  I love the concept, and want to try it out.  I also stopped by the FamilySearch exhibit and had my picture taken coming off the dock.  I'll post it if/when I receive it.  Linda had hers taken too.

4)  For the 2:30 p.m. class, I picked Julie Miller's "Would the Real Molly Brown Please Stand Up?"  This was an interesting case study where Julie described finding living relatives of Margaret (Tobin) Brown (you know, "The Unsinkable Molly Brown") and the ancestral lines of her and her husband, John J. Brown.  It turned out that some of the earlier "research" performed and published about her husband's parents was wrong, and Julie figured it out convincingly.

5)  I then went to hear Harold Henderson speak on "'Are We There Yet?' Proof and the Genealogy Police" in the 4 p.m. class.  Harold noted that "name changes are like a genealogical earthquake!"  His research problem was "Who was Blanche Chilcote's husband? Where did he come from? Where did he end up? How do we know when we've figured it out?"

Harold outlined the census and city directory records for Edward or George Chilcote, born about 1875 in Ohio, and residing in Chicago after his marriage in 1898.  Harold eventually found sufficient records to identify the real name, who his parents were, when and where he died, where is was buried, etc.  All the while, Harold fed us his lessons learned from this case.  He also discussed the genealogical proof standard, and noted that "While there are no genealogy police, it's fairly easy to follow the rules."

6)  So I made four out of the five classes today, raising my "batting average" to 11 out of 15 for the conference.  I'm proud of myself, I've only dozed off twice so far!

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Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

Lauri said...

This was easy enough to find, but here is a link to the NY Muster Rolls 1755-1764.