Friday, May 13, 2011

NGS 2011 Conference: Days 2 and 3

As many of you know, Blogger was down last night so I couldn't put out a post, and now I can't even remember what we did yesterday!  It was our long day - 12 hours - and it's pretty much a blur now.

I took the following classes:

  1. Cemetery Records:  More than Tombstones taught by Lynda Childers Suffridge.  Like many genealogists, I love to visit cemeteries.  So this was an interesting class for me.  I learned about Mortality Schedules (Yes, I should have already utilized them, but I haven't!) and platting a cemetery.  
  2. Organizing Your Research:  The Overlooked Step by Ann Carter Fleming.  Now I'm a pretty organized person.  But since organizing is an on-going and evolving process, there are always things to learn or tweak.   I have notebooks set up for my surnames with documents in each, such as death certificates, census records, marriage licenses, etc.  Now I have the plan to print out thumbnails or a list of the photos I have pertaining to that surname and file them in the appropriate notebook.  I also plan to sync my notebook "files" to my digital files so the order, topics, etc. are consistent.
  3. Deliveries in the Rear!  Getting Family History Information through the Back Door by Jean Wilcox Hibben.  Jean is a dynamic speaker who I really enjoyed listening to.  She used examples from her own research "though the back door" to give us ideas for finding information about our own families.
  4. Investigating Your Ancestors by Pamela Boyer Sayre.  This class was taught from the viewpoint of running a police investigation:  Scene of the Crime, Write Good Reports, Follow-up, Interview Witnesses, Identify the Likely Suspect.  As those of you who regularly read my blog know, I recently located my uncle's World War II military discharge papers at his county courthouse, and I learned in this class that sometimes Civil War soldiers would file their discharge papers with their local courthouses.  Something else to add to my Johnson County Courthouse to do list!
  5. In the Wilderness and on the Battlefields:  The Reality of Your Ancestors' Military Service by Sharon Tate Moody.  If there is a theme for this year's NGS Conference, it would be the Civil War.  This class focused on the lives of Civil War soldiers and learning about their regimental histories - exactly where did your ancestor fight during the war?  I learned about the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion on Cornell University's website ( which gives a lot of information about regimental history.  
  6. Making Technology Work for Genealogists: Tools and Gadgets that Maximize Your Time by Anne Roach.  Anne chaired the RootsTech conference, and I can see how, because she is full of energy!  She told us about some awesome gadgets that made me oooh and ahhh and want them, such as a solar powered charger and a pen scanner.  I do love technology!
Yes, we took 6 classes yesterday.  8am-8pm.  It was a long day. 

Today was a light day with only 5 classes.  My classes were:

  1. Child-Naming Patterns:  A Great Tool to Assist With Family Reconstitution by Richard Woodruff Price.  I had actually never given this much thought.  I knew that children were often named after their parents, grandparents or even deceased siblings, but I did not realize that different areas/countries/religions of the world had actual naming patterns they go/went by.  It was interesting.
  2. What's New at by Anne Gillespie Mitchell and Jen Hodnett.  For Family Tree Maker users, the greatest news to come out of the NGS Conference has been the announcement by that with FTM 2012, it will be possible to sync our family trees between the software and Ancestry's online trees!  Yea!!  There have also been some great improvements to the search functions on their site. I can't wait to try them out!
  3. Photography, the Civil War and Your Family Pictures by Maureen Taylor.  My favorite class so far.  Being a genealogist AND a scrapbooker, I absolutely adore family pictures.  Maureen shared so many great examples with us and gave us pointers to discern if a photograph was taken during the Civil War Era.  She has a new website, Ask MaureenTaylor and I believe I will send her a few of mine and see if she'll answer me!  I have found that stalking can be quite helpful.  
  4. Speaking from the Grave:  Exploring Your Ancestors' Probate Files by Sharon Tate Moody.  This is a complicated topic with lots of law terminology.  Thank goodness Ms. Moody included a list of definitions for us in our syllabus.
  5. Blank or Prize?  What You Need to Know About Georgia's Land Lotteries by Linda Woodward Geiger.  This class reminded me that I need to study metes and bounds and the headright system!  I also need to visit the Georgia Archives website to check out the District Field Notes and Plat Maps, whatever those may be!
We also stopped by the booth to pick up a passcode for a 6-month free trial membership.  There they told us about The Grant.  You can get $1,000 to fund your family history or preservation project!

The mission of the Grant is to help fund important individual and communal initiatives that contribute to the promotion and advancement of family history research and historical preservation.  These might be projects to preserve historical documents, restore culturally significant artifacts, transcribe records, promote awareness of historical events, etc. The grand is awarded monthly through, and a special grant recipient will be chosen here at NGS.

Whether you are in the planning stages or are currently working on a project that needs an extra boost to get off the ground, you are encouraged to submit an application. 

Grant recipients will receive a $1,000 award to fund their project and a feature on the website, including pictures and a description of their project.

If you are a NGS participant you're eligible to apply for this special grant award.  Go by the booth, get an application, fill it out and turn it in by 11 am Saturday, May 14th.  The winner will be announced Saturday afternoon.  You do not have to be present on Saturday to be eligible. will contact you via e-mail or phone if you've won.

By submitting this application, you agree to the Grant Rules which are available for reference at the booth and online at their website.  If you have any questions, please go chat with them!

Remember if you cannot get an application turned in by 11 am tomorrow morning, visit for information on applying for one of their monthly grants.

Time to rest up for the last day tomorrow!

Oh, and I have been taking pictures, but I forgot the cord to connect my camera to my laptop.  So I will have to share them after I get home.  NGS will just go on and on and on.


  1. Wow, you have been so ambitious! I was a slacker today. But back to work tomorrow!

  2. Are you the first NGS person to blog after the Blogger was down??
    Wow that many classes and you you still had time to visit with me and Myrt?
    You rock!
    Kim von Aspern-Parker