Thursday was a really long day. I arrived at the conference center about 7:30 a.m. and didn’t leave until after 8:00 p.m. (except for a quick lunch break). Here’s how I spent all that time.
Brent Howard Holcomb’s “South Carolina’s Colonial Records” was full of information for anyone with early SC ancestors (like me). One of the biggest things I learned is that the South Carolina Department of Archives and History’s website has indexes of State Land Grants Plats 1784-1868 and Wills 1782-1855 among other things. Check out their On-line Records Index.
Helen Leary presented “Ancestors In Hiding: How to Help Them Emerge from Statistical Census Returns.” She is a legend and her presentation lived up to that status. She pointed out that many researchers are missing out by not paying attention to the “extra” columns on the statistical census. My favorite comment: “You can’t depend on ancestors to age 10 years between censuses.”
“Analyzing Deeds and Wills: I See What It Says But What Does It Mean” was the second of the four sessions presented by Elizabeth Shown Mills. (Yes, I went to all four.) This was probably my favorite session of the entire conference. Instead of using actual records, she created a will and a deed that had elements commonly found in those records (but not necessarily all in any one record) to illustrate her points. Among the points she made were: (1) every document tells a story but sometimes it’s a puzzle; (2) “Trustee friend” was a legal term and doesn’t rule out a relationship; and (3) variations in name spelling in a will and signature indicates a scribe wrote the will, not the person themselves.
“Five Proven Techniques for Finding Your Ancestor’s European Origins” was also the second of four sessions presented by Thomas W. Jones. (I also went to all four of them.) To identify your ancestor’s origins it’s necessary to study records of your immigrant ancestor, his family, collateral relatives and his neighbors.
I skipped the 5th session of the day and spent that time in the Exhibit Hall and relaxing a bit in a comfy chair in the hall waiting for the two later sessions I had selected.
Next on my schedule was “NGS American Genealogy: Home Study Course Roundtable” with Patricia Walls Stamm. I have received the 1st CD in the course and started the first lesson but haven’t completed the assignment yet so I was interested to hear what people had to say about the course. There was a good cross-section of people at various levels of the course present so it was an interesting discussion.
And last but not least was “Making Technology Work for Genealogists: Tools and Gadgets that Maximize Your Time” presented by Anne Roach. There was a great crowd for this session considering it was 7 – 8 p.m. One of the gadgets shown was a solar charger from Solio. Much of the focus was on text-to-speech, speech-to-text software and uses – like reading records and letting the software transcribe them. Anne tweeted links to most everything she discussed so you can find that information on her Twitter page.
My use of the camera seemed to pretty much come to an end after the first day but I forgot to add this next one to the post for Day 1. The Plantation Singers were drawing such a crowd outside the Exhibit Hall during the grand opening that I had to stop by later to get close enough for a picture. Click on the link to visit their website and even hear clips of them singing.