It was a long day! The Opening Session started at 8 AM and the banquet ended just after 8 PM. Twelve hours of non-stop genealogy classes, discussions and camaraderie. What more could you want?
The keynote address "Let Your Light Shine on Digital Expectations: Preserving Yesterday's Records for Tomorrow's Researchers" was delivered by Ancestry.com's Joshua Hanna. Part of his presentation dealt with advances in imaging. He showed records that were completely unreadable but after being scanned with Ancestry's very special scanner (sorry I missed the real name of the device) there was actually writing on the page that could be read. Amazing stuff!
The exhibit hall, including the Beacon of Bloggers, opened after the keynote session and we had an hour before the first session started. Bloggers in attendance during the day included Amy Coffin, DearMyrtle, Tonia Kendrick, Valerie Craft, Lisa Alzo, Thomas MacEntee, Drusilla Pair, Angela Walton-Raji and Ginger Smith. Later in the day I skipped one of the sessions to spend more time at the blogger table. It's always fun to talk to other genealogists, especially genealogy bloggers. Lots of people stopped by and several expressed an interest in starting their own genealogy blog. DearMyrtle even helped someone set up a brand new genealogy blog right on the spot.
I attended four of the five class sessions during the day. It was standing room only for Lisa Alzo's class on Finding Your Female Ancestors which covered tips for finding elusive female ancestors. (I got there in time to get a seat.) M. Bridget Cook recommended knowing your audience - present and future, creating a realistic outline and leaving a lasting legacy in Juicy Family History: 25 Ways to Write a Compelling True Story. In Want Land? Will Travel! Southern Land Records State-by-State Arlene Eakle discussed the numerous types of land records in southern states. Jennifer Dondero's session titled Maiden Names: Did You Really Look Everywhere? covered tips for types of records that could hold the key to maiden names as well as the need to keep research logs and have a research plan.
The speaker for the banquet was M. Bridget Cook, author of Shattered Silence (the true story of the daughter of a serial killer) and Skinhead Confessions - From Hate to Hope. She discussed some of her experiences in writing those books in her presentation Handling (and Even Healing) the Skeletons in Your Genealogical Closet.