Wednesday I attended the virtual National Genealogical Society Conference and it was as informative as always! It was a long day, however, beginning at 11 AM Eastern time and ending at 7 PM. A few 15 minute breaks were included throughout.
The best part is that each speaker’s topic was so different yet all packed full with useful information. Some of the knowledge was new – I loved Elizabeth Shown Mill’s “crowd sourcing” analysis which is slightly different from her FAN Club. Both Mills and Tom Jones reminded us of the importance of analysis. I absolutely loved how Jones used online unsourced tree data as a stepping stone to find the facts. Judy Russell’s talk was poignant and reminded me of how fortunate my immigrant grandmother was in not having to be a child worker. I had no idea that a child of one month old could become indentured! Blaine Bettinger was awesome as always with his DNA explanations. I absolutely loved that he used closed captioning for those who might need it. Some folks were critical of it because it overlapped the bottom of the shown slides but IMHO, the presentation was readable anyway. That was such a thoughtful gesture to end the day I was deeply touched by his attempt at inclusion.
There were also wonderful presentations by FamilySearch.org, Ancestry.com and FamilyTreeDNA. Lots of changes coming – some good, some not so good if you loved a feature that will be disappearing (Ancestry is dumping the shoebox in the trash and the folders you may have set up in messaging while FamilyTreeDNA has eliminated offering one of its test kits). Change is what it is – we’ll adapt and move on. Some of the moaning and groaning in the chat box made me laugh – get a grip, folks, it’s not the end of your genealogy practice.
The “lunch” speaker was an actor who took the character of a unknown (to many) suffragette from Utah. It was a moving presentation and a great remind of the short time period all women have been allowed the right to vote in this country.
Kudos to the the NGS staff who was able to put on this virtual conference on such short notice. Most of the remainder of the what was to have been an on site conference in Salt Lake City will be available for view beginning July 1. I’m not sure if you can still purchase viewing or not as I bought a package in early May when it had just become available. So glad, I did! Although it’s definitely not the same feel as person-to-person, it was a wonderful and well done alternative during these difficult times. I highly recommend checking the availability out at the site – NGS – the syllabus provided is worth the price.