Tuesday, May 17, 2011

NGS 2011 - Day 3

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.


  1. Hi Linda, thanks for summarizing Day 3's classes. You got them nailed to a T! I attended Pamela's "Reporting the Facts" class and I wrote a blog post about it today. A few things I got from it was 1) cite your sources as you go 2) create a good work space around you at all times with your dictionaries, label makers, back up of all files, flash drives, MS Word templates (complete with a TOC, footnotes, and index), and write as you go - including doing a bit of analyzing while you are scanning/copying those records. I hope this helps!

    Oh and one thing Rencher forgot to mention in his researching overseas class is - don't forget to obtain or renew your PASSPORT!!!

  2. You were probably smart in getting some extra sleep! I really enjoyed myself at the conference, but I am still exhausted!

  3. Sounds like a great day, Linda. Wish I had been there! I would have been in all the same sessions. : )

  4. Ginger - So are you saying my recliner chair isn't the best place to work?

    Jennifer - I'm sure you're exhausted after driving half-way across the country.

    Tonia - No doubt you would have been. I spent almost the entire conference in the same room - Ballroom A was the biggest classroom and had the biggest names.

  5. Linda, Had I been able to attend I think we would have been in quite a few of the same sessions! Of course I am a huge fan of Thomas Jones and ESM too.

    John Phillip Colletta's talk sounds really interesting so I think I'm going to add it to my Jamb order. Thanks for the excellent summary.