After a long day on Thursday, I skipped the 8:00 session on Friday. That is the only day that I didn’t make the first session and considering how much I hate getting up early, that’s really amazing. I had planned to attend “Reporting the Facts: Record as You Go” presented by Pamela Boyer Sayre. I heard it was very good so I’m sorry I missed it but I seriously needed the extra sleep. (Conferences are great but they are also exhausting.)
The four sessions I attended on Friday were:
“The Genealogical Proof Standard: What It Is and What It Is Not” presented by Thomas W. Jones was another outstanding session. Some of the points Dr. Jones made were: (1) no genealogy source comes with a guarantee of accuracy; (2) just because 2 or more sources agree doesn’t make them correct; (3) timelines, tables and maps are good tools for comparing and contrasting information; and (4) unresolved conflicting information is incompatible with proof.
Elizabeth Shown Mills explained in “Problem Solving in the Problem-Riddled Carolina Backcountry” that the usual research approach of identifying the area where an ancestor lived, identifying the sources available in that area and looking for the ancestor in indexes and databases doesn’t work with backcountry families prior to the twentieth century. She pointed out that topographical maps are necessities in backcountry research because people traveled to the most accessible location to do business and that might not have been the county seat of the county where they lived.
“Turning Information into Biographical Events: How to Build Historical Context” presented by John Philip Colletta was one of my favorite sessions. Dr. Colletta took a marriage record and used census records, deeds, maps, a city directory and pictures to locate the exact location of the wedding and determine how the couple was connected to the person who lived at that residence (they were not related). He even used the local newspaper to determine what the weather was like that day. Some of the methodology he used was: (1) gather the ancestor’s biographical facts; (2) inspect the facts thoroughly; (3) accumulate other sources related to the event; and (4) examine these in light of local history – social, cultural, political, geographic, economic, etc.
In “Framing the Problem for Field and Overseas Research” David Rencher advised that you can’t do everything you want in one research trip (unless you can be gone for an unlimited amount of time) so you must identify your desired outcomes and frame the objectives for achieving those outcomes. If you want to stand on the land your ancestor’s owned then your frame would be different than if your goal is to extend your pedigree chart several generations.
Next up is the 4th and final day of NGS.by