Today I arrived at the NGS 2011 Genealogy Conference in Charleston, S. C. with two members from my local genealogy society. We checked in to our hotels then picked up our registration materials at the Convention Center. This is my first National Conference – ever – so I didn’t know what to expect. I received a green tote bag, an envelope with my list of classes that I pre-registered for, a syllabus on CD, a lanyard, nametag, and my first CONFERENCE RIBBON!!!
My ride mates let me borrow one of their copies of the bound syllabus so I could choose my classes. They always get two copies – one to keep for their personal library, and one to take back to the local history library. This book is ginormous! I don’t think I will be taking it with me to the conference.
After we got checked in and got our registration materials, I headed over to Jim & Nick’s BBQ to meet with some fellow bloggers and FamilySearch staff to learn about what they have in the works for this year’s NGS conference.
I shared a table with Linda McCauley from Documenting the Details, Greta Koehl from Greta’s Genealogy Bog, and Cullen Brimhall from FamilySearch; I met Kimberly Powell from About.com, Jennifer Woods from Climbing My Family Tree, and Dick Eastman from Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter. Some new faces (to me at least) were Audrey Collins from The Family Recorder, Liz from My Tapley Tree, Cheryl Cayemberg from Have You Seen My Roots, Paula Stuart Warren from Paula's Genealogical Eclectica and Denise Brimhall, who is just getting started. Check out some photos Linda McCauley posted here.
I also got to talk to David Rencher from FamilySearch who will be visiting Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina next week to research his Rencher ancestors.
After dinner and socializing, I learned about some GREAT new things that FamilySearch has been working on:
1) In honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, FamilySearch is releasing millions of online records including Confederate and Union army service records, pension records, the 1890 Union Veterans Census, and many more
2) To commemorate the rich history of South Carolina, who is hosting this year’s NGS conference, FamilySearch is releasing their newest collections of South Carolina Probate Records, Files and Loose Papers, 1732-1964, and South Carolina Probate Records, Bound Volumes, 1671-1977, both of which have links to original digital images viewable online
We received in our FamilySearch press release packets a button that says “Enlisted,” invoking two different meanings: first to highlight the heroism of our ancestors who participated in the Civil War 150 years ago by enlisting and second as a “call to arms” of volunteers of 2011 to enlist and index more Civil War records so that everyone may have access to these records and learn about their ancestor’s role in this event.
Will you Enlist and do your part?
What a great start to the Conference week. Now I’m off to read the first day’s offerings of lectures, pick my classes, check in with Twitter, check in with our other genealogy society members we are meeting here, check in with my distant “cousin” I am meeting here, and pack my bag for my first day of class! Oh and did I mention that NGS has a challenge going on? - Check it out!