The ability to attend national conferences such as NGS is always an eye-opening and educational experience. The conference host city was Raleigh, North Carolina and the theme was “Family Lives Here”. Attendance was close to 2,500 this year and eleven hotels reserved room blocks for conference attendees. Most of those room blocks were sold out early last year! Normally I opt to stay in one of the room blocks, but this year the spousal unit came to North Carolina with me. So we chose to find lodging through AirBNB. I love AirBNB, you meet some of the most interesting people and many times the places you stay are far more comfortable than a hotel room!
The spousal unit and I decided to make a mini-vacation out of the trip to the conference so we left home a few days before the conference started. We had a great time making visits to Gettysburg and Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia and the American Civil War Museum, Tredegar Iron Works, Hollywood Cemetery and the site where Libby Prison once stood in Richmond, Virginia. While I was attending the conference, the spousal unit was able to visit with friends and made trips to a few battlefields. I wish I’d been able to clone myself and go with him!
NGS did a great job of getting presenters for a wide variety of topics. There conference had a heavy emphasis on North Carolina and southern states research, which wasn’t surprising considering the conference’s location. Since I don’t have any (currently) known North Carolina or southern ancestors, I opted to attend more methodology and organizational education sessions. Choosing education sessions are sometimes hit-and-miss so some of them were less applicable to my current level of knowledge than others, but I was able to take at least one item away from every session.
Some of the more notable sessions I attended this year were:
- Scots-Irish Research Methodology and Case Study (speaker: David Rencher)
- Your Portable, Sortable Research Log (speaker: Jennifer Dondero)
- Using Third-Party Tools to Analyze Your Autosomal DNA (speaker: Blaine Bettinger)
- From Record Group to Community: Analyzing Data Sets (speaker: Amy Giroux)
- Clueless? Maybe Not (speaker: Jennifer Dondero)
- The Genealogical Proof Summary: What It Is and Is Not (speaker: Gail Miller)
- City Directories: The Solution to Finding Family Members In-Between Federal Census Ten-Year Gaps (Terry Koch-Bostic)
Out of this list of most notable sessions, I would say the top three (in order) were:
- “The Genealogical Proof Summary: What It Is and Is Not” with Gail Miller
- “Your Portable, Sortable Research Log” with Jennifer Dondero
- “From Record Group to Community: Analyzing Data Sets” with Amy Giroux
I also decided to jump on the Evidentia bandwagon. I’m excited to learn how to use Evidentia; it looks like it will be a great help in my research!
- Automatic scan and save
- Organize and share albums
- Download copies anytime
- “Tap and talk” (tell stories and create slideshows)
- Ability for friends and family to comment by voice or text
- FamilySearch direct upload
- Optional physical memory stick storage
Atlas Preservation, Inc.
Atlas Preservation, Inc. is a monument and restoration supply vendor. It’s possible they may have exhibited in past years and I just missed them, but Atlas Preservation was a new discovery for me this year. I’ve been considering purchasing some D/2 cleaner for some family tombstones that have been blackened by tree sap but hadn’t really looked into it much. Having the opportunity to speak with someone knowledgeable in the use of D/2 was helpful. While the only thing I inquired about was D/2 cleaner, I did notice that Atlas Preservation had a large selection of supplies available for purchase.
Again this year I stopped at the BCG booth a couple of times to try and get a look at some of the portfolios they bring along for attendees to look at but, once again, the booth was always too busy for me to get a look at anything.
It was great to have the opportunity to greet current friends and make some new ones. I’m looking forward to attending NGS 2018 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Oh, and I almost forgot! NGS announced that the 2019 conference would be back in St. Charles, Missouri! YAY, I can’t wait for 2019!
And because I couldn’t pass up the chance to stop and view it in person, the spousal unit and I stopped at the Indiana Military Museum in Vincennes, Indiana on the way home to see my second great-grandfather’s Civil War letter that’s on display there.