Thursday, December 11, 2014

Heritage Books Genealogy Cruise - The Genealogy Activities

Linda and I were on the 7-day 10th Annual TMG/Heritage Books Genealogy Cruise last week aboard the Crown Princess from Los Angeles (departing 29 November 2014) to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, and return to Los Angeles (arriving 6 December 2014). 

In this post, I will focus on the genealogy-related activities.

1)  The venue for all of the genealogy presentations and the one-on-ones and "Stump Craig" sessions was the "Conference Center" on Deck 6 of the Crown Princess, pretty much amidships.  When we first arrived on Saturday evening, the room was split into two smaller rooms by a removable wall, which was quickly removed.   

The speaker's podium was in the middle of the room, with large-screen (not large enough!) television screens in each half of the room.  Attendees sat at tables with three chairs each, with highly variable lighting which made it difficult to take pictures or see the syllabus material if you weren't under one of the lights.

 2)  The five speakers were:

*  Craig Scott
*  Cyndi Ingle
*  J. Mark Lowe
*  Bill Litchman
*  Angie Bush

Here is a photo of Cyndi at the podium:

And a photo of Bill Litchman ant the podium:

Angie Bush at the podium:

I failed to get photographs of Craig and Mark at the podium.  My bad.  

My summary  of the speakers and the talks:

*  Angie Bush presented about DNA tests - the available tests, how to interpret the results, applying test results to the Genealogical Proof Standard, and using the results in your genealogical research.  Angie presents extremely well - she is very animated and clear, with excellent graphics.  

*  J. Mark Lowe presented about research in the South, using mortgages to construct an ancestor's life, the pre-1850 census records, and shaping a profile of a farmer ancestor.   Mark is a fascinating presenter, telling stories throughout the talks with humor and folksiness.  

*  Cyndi Ingle presented on Advanced Googling, The Hidden Web (web pages not searchable), Evernote for genealogists, and finding the silver lining in the cloud.  Cyndi's presentation style is enthusiastic with lots of information.

*  Bill Litchman presented on the underpinnings of the Genealogical Proof Standard (highlighting mathematical, legal and genealogical proof examples), two methodological and analytical case studies, and proper research log use.  He is relatively laid back and methodical in his presentations, typical of a retired chemistry professor. 

*  Craig Scott presented researching a Revolutionary War Hessian soldier, epidemics and pandemics, A Confederate soldier case study, and using military pension ledgers, vouchers, last and final payments.  Craig's presentations are forceful, providing lots of information about relatively obscure NARA records.  

I enjoyed all of the presentations, and have the 80 page syllabus to remind me of the details of each presentation.  

One of the highlights of all of the sessions was the repartee between the speakers.  Craig, Mark and Cyndi have known each other for decades, and get along well.  The funny and often snarky comments and questions kept everybody in stitches.  

3)  Each evening, either "One-on-Ones" or "Group Discussions" were scheduled in the Conference Center.  

I had a one-on-one with Cyndi Ingle and J. Mark Lowe about my Thomas J. Newton challenge, and they offered useful tips, including "follow the money," use timelines and maps, and consider militia and town records I had a one-on-one with Bill Litchman about my Devier James Lamphear Smith research challenge, specifically addressing using the GPS to sort out his birth date and adoption research.  

The "Group discussions" devolved to "Stump Craig" - asking Craig Scott about specific record types or Craig talking about his experiences with military records, especially at the National Archives.

4)  Each morning at 7:30 a.m., some of the attendees met in the Horizon Court buffet for breakfast.  We shared laughs, experiences, family, and genealogy over our meal.  These didn't last very long because the presentations started at 8:30 a.m. on the "at sea" days, and when we were in port there were onshore tours to enjoy.

5)  There was a welcome cocktail party on Saturday evening, which we were late to attend because of our fixed dining room schedule.  There was also a Farewell Cocktail Party on the last night, where Craig discussed future cruise plans, thanked the speakers and attendees, and we took a group picture which I haven't seen yet.  

Here are some cocktail party pictures:

*  Mark Lowe sat with us - here he is talking to Linda:

*  Cyndi bnrought her 17-year old son Evan with her on the cruise;

*  Finally, here is Craig Scott addressing the assembled crowd:

6)  Lastly, J. Mark Lowe (, Cyndi Ingle ( Denise Sproed ( have uploaded pictures to their Facebook feed.  There may be others that I have missed!

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

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