Even though I may not have been bright-eyed at eight in the morning on Saturday, I was awake and in attendance for the first session, Finding Fathers: Bridging the Generation Gap by Elizabeth Shown Mills. The Wayne B room at the Wayne Convention Center had almost a full room for this excellent session. ESM says "to move a line forward or backward, you often have to go sideways." That seemed to be the message throughout the session. I plan to apply it to my ancestor, Huldah Rowley, to prove her parentage.
I moved next door to Wayne A in the convention center to hear Robert McLaren present, Using the Internet to Research Scottish Ancestry, kilt and all; not mine, but Mr. McLaren's. He presented numerous online sources and databases to help with Scottish ancestry.
I had pre-planned my schedule and this year I decided to include a couple of sessions I wouldn't normally think of taking. One of those sessions was It Takes a Human: Genealogists and Writing by Jeanne Larzalere Bloom. I thought I could use a few techniques to improve my writing skills. This basic writing presentation was broken down in an easy to understand way.
I met Kirk for lunch and we walked to Pint and Slice, where I had an excellent calzone. The weather has been wonderful while in Fort Wayne and it felt good to get outside and enjoy some of it. Fort Wayne has been having a busy time this past week. Today, there was a color run and an arts festival in the downtown area. It was nice to see so many people out enjoying all that Fort Wayne has to offer.
Dr. Thomas Jones had the tough task of keeping me from an after lunch slump and he did an excellent job with his presentation, Organizing Evidence to Overcome Record Shortages. He used the analogy of putting together a jigsaw puzzle, along with a case study, to help researchers with the identification of their ancestors. I especially liked his suggestions of timelines and tables to visualize the information gathered.
I have wanted to explore the world of manuscripts for sometime now, but wasn't sure of the best way to go about it. Laura G. Prescott's session, The Rest of the Story: Using Manuscripts to Create Family History brought me one step closer to achieving that goal. She related writing a family history to building a house. " Build your house with traditional materials. Furnish it with manuscript chic." Ms. Prescott provided manuscript examples that enrich a family history.
The conference was coming to a close and I had one more session to go to. I made a last minute change to my schedule and I am glad I did. I ended the day with Paul Milner and English Parish Registers: How to Access, Use and Interpret. I hadn't pre-planned this one because I wasn't sure I was at the point in my English Ancestry research for it. I am so glad I went to Mr. Milner's session. He is an entertaining and informative speaker and a great way to end the conference. This may become a habit as I ended FGS 2011 in Springfield, Illinois with Mr. Milner, too.
My husband, Kirk, has been a wonderful genea-buddy this week. He didn't attend the conference, but he did go to a few sessions that were held at the Exhibit Hall. While I was in sessions, he explored Fort Wayne. I felt he needed to be thanked for his support. We went to Mad Anthony Brewing Company for dinner. We were able to relax and reconnect after a long, tiring, but fulfilling week.
Fort Wayne, Indiana has been an excellent venue for the conference. The close proximity of the convention hall and the library has been both good and bad. The need/want to fit in as much research as possible collides with the need/want to take full advantage of the conference offerings. I arrived on Tuesday and chose to research Tuesday and Wednesday morning and then give my full attention to the conference. I can't imagine if I had traveled a long distance and wanted to get more research time; what a tough choice that would have been.
Five full days of sessions, lunches, social events and research has made this week a success. I am excited to get back to Battle Creek and start using all the resources I learned about this week. Check back for future blog posts about how the conference has aided my research.