Wednesday, May 20, 2009 | 4:02 p.m.
Green bags, name tags, and time lags; nearly 1,600 genealogists met in Raleigh, N.C.
The Raleigh Convention Center was home to the National Genealogical Society (NGS) Family History Conference, "The Building of a Nation: From Roanoke to the West," from May 13 to May 16. The conference facility that opened in August 2008 housed the exhibit hall, class rooms, and ballrooms where genealogists attended vendor booths, lectures, luncheons, and banquets.
Tuesday evening the Association for Professional Genealogists (APG) met in roundtable and discussed various ethical issues in breakout sessions. After the roundtable a group of virtual study groups met for the first time face-to-face.
Linda A. Carlisle, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources brought greetings from Gov. Bev Perdue. Raleigh native, actor, Ira David Wood III, opened the conference Wednesday morning. At the opening session the NGS named Dr. Thomas W. Jones a Fellow.
Attendees selected among lectures and workshops in such myriad tracks as skillbuilding, migration, the Carolinas, ethnic, methodology, National Archives and Record Administration (NARA), and GenTech (genealogical technology).
From Elizabeth Shown Mills genealogists heard "Finding Females: Wives, Mothers, Daughters, and Paramours" and "Finding Origins and Birth Families: Methods That Do or Don't Work." Dr. Thomas W. Jones presented "Solutions for Missing or Source Records," "Problem Solving with Probate," and Laura Murphy DeGrazia and Alison Hare offered a Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) Certification Seminar. DeGrazia lectured on "Of City-Slickers and Straphangers: Researching Urban Ancestors," and "What is a Reasonably Exhaustive Search?" Dave McDonald's "Church Records: More than Hatchings, Matchings, and Dispatchings," provided insight into church registers and sacramental records.
Vendors and societies populated the conference exhibit hall. The BCG placed on silent auction three copies of "Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians" edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills. Chapter authors autographed their chapters in the currently out-of-print volumes; funds will support the BCG Education Fund that provides for the Helen F. M. Leary Leary sponsored lectures at national conferences and the Donald Mosher Memorial Award for Colonial Virginia research. Other vendors offered a variety of genealogical, regional, and historical books and ephemera.
Friday evening the NGS honored Helen F. M. Leary with the President's Citation, elected Willard C. Heiss to the NGS Genealogy Hall of Fame, and awarded the NGS Quarterly Award of Excellence to Daniela Moneta for her NGS Quarterly article, "A Family for Steven." The NGS will hold the 2010 conference April 29 to May 1, 2010, in Salt Lake City; Charleston, S. C., will host the 2011 conference. If you have the chance, plan to attend; you'll learn, laugh, and leave with new friends.
Stefani Evans is a board-certified genealogist and a volunteer at the Regional Family History Center. She can be reached c/o the Home News, 2275 Corporate Circle, Third Floor, Henderson, NV 89074, or [email protected].