The first thing I find out when I wake up to get ready for two days of the NGS Virtual conference is that our internet is out! Yikes! I get on my phone and check the outages for our area, and it says it will be back on by 12:30. NOOOOO! The conference starts at 11:00 a.m. I signed up for a text message to tell me when the problem is fixed. I never got one. I just asked my friend Alexis for the time and discovered it was working. Time: 11:05. Whew! I only missed a couple of minutes of Kathryn M. Doyle's welcome.
By the time the Opening Session, "Beyond the Blue Mountains: They Came with a Dream, Their Descendants Followed" I was up and running. Barbara Vines Little presented a particularly good session on the migration of people to Virginia, via rivers, roads, and canals. She used excellent maps as she told the story of Virginia growth. Her syllabus provided many resources for Virginia researcher to check out. It left me wishing I had Virginia ancestry.
National Genealogical Society (NGS) awards were presented next. The first one to the host society, Virginia Historical Society for their help with the virtual conference. The 2021 Hall of Fame award was given to John T. Humphrey (1948-2012). A wonderful tribute to John can be found on The Legal Genealogist blog.
Elizabeth Shown Mills presented "Elusive Ancestors: Never Too Poor to Trace." I was sure she was talking about my ancestors. Elizabeth dispelled stereotypes about researching the poor and talked about cultural reasons for not owning land. She provided numerous resources for records where, no matter the income amount, they may be found. Her syllabus included a Ten Step program for your research and a large check sheet of records to look for.
Special Guest was Dani Shapiro, author of "Inheritance", a memoir detailing her family secret discovered through DNA. If you haven't read the book, check it out. I found it to be well done and enjoyed reading it.
NGS Awards for Excellence were announced. Awards were presented to:
- Kyle Hurst for her book, "Ancestors and Descendants of Charles Le Caron and Victoire Sprague.
- Honorable Mention to Michael Grow for his book, "John Grow of Ipswich, Massachusetts and Some of HIs Descendants: A Middle-Class Family in Social and Economic Context from the 17th Century to the Present.
- Elizabeth Shown Mills for her book, "Professional Genealogy Preparation, Practice, and Standards.
- Honorable Mention to Peter J. Malic for his book, "New Haven Town Records, 1769-1819."
- LaBrenda Garret-Nelson for her NGSQ June 2020 Article on "Parents for Isaac Garret of Lauren, South Carolina: DNA Corroborates Oral Tradition."
The next session was with Thomas W. Jones' "Writing About and Documenting Genealogical Conclusions Writing DNA Test Results." He broke his writing suggestions down into the beginning, the middle, and the end. He recommended using charts to help readers understand relationships. I need to understand my own DNA before I start to explain it to others! The syllabus included fifteen peer reviewed case studies to read as examples. Always remember to get the permission of the test taker before sharing.
Writing awards were announced and the following were recognized:
- Amy Larner Giroux for "The Many Names of Frances Ellsworth."
- Newsletter Award given to small societies (less than 500) to "The Irish Family History Forum" newsletter
- Honorable Mention for small society newsletter went to "Our Endicott Heritage Trail."
- Newsletter Award given to large societies (more than 500) went to "The Traces", the newsletter of Hamilton County Genealogical Society
- Honorable Mention went to the Virginia Genealogical Society newsletter.
BCG Skillbuilding: Establishing Identity and Kinship with Military Records with Craig R. Scott session ends the educational part of the day. Scott went through four case studies that showed records which identify family members by using NARA, Ancestry, and Fold 3 examples. He named several of NARA record groups and showed finding aid books for these records.
Throughout the breaks door prize winners were announced. Gifts were given by the sponsors of the conference. Gifts included DNA test kits, MyHeritage subscriptions, RootsTech gift bags, registrations for NGS 2022 conference and more.
The day ended with the NGS Annual Meeting.
Today was a jam-packed day of powerhouse speakers. It was a great start to the conference. Things looked so seamless and easy from my standpoint, but I know it takes a lot of work from a lot of people to get to this point. Thank you NGS!