Vendors, Software & Booths, Oh My! The Exhibit Hall at the National Genealogical Society Conference

I could go on and on about the great speakers and lectures I had the opportunity to hear, but the exhibit hall was something to behold.  Participants walked among vendors who discussed with them all things genealogy:  memberships, societies, website help and demonstrations.  I had the opportunity to use findmypast, a site that contains world records dating back to 1200.  After I did some searching, I was able to find my great great great grandparents, William Stewart and Agnes Simpson in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1861.  William's occupation is listed as "Pattern Book Maker Journeyman," which means he was a qualified tradesman who served an apprenticeship and worked as a mold maker for iron products.  Agnes is listed as a strawhat dressmaker.  I cannot wait to delve into findmypast even more.

While in the exhibit hall, I also visited,, and, all of which gave me an tutorial and guidance in the hope of finding more information and answers to lingering questions.  I also had a great discussion with the North Carolina Genealogical Society about periodicals in western North Carolina and other resources from that region.

Definitely make more than one trip to the exhibit hall if you're at the conference.  You'll definitely walk away with more knowledge and experience.

The National Genealogical Society Conference: Initial Musings

You really have no idea how much you don't know until you realize you don't know it.  (Translation:  I'm more of a beginner than I ever thought.)  But I'm learning that as I listen in the lectures and wander the exhibit hall of the National Genealogical Society conference, I can't help put pick up amazing information from all the people who've invested their time in energy in preserving the lives and voices of our ancestors.

The opening session featured Sandra Gioia Treadway, Librarian of Virginia and State Archivist.  Only a few blocks away from the Richmond Convention Center, the Library of Virginia is taking great strides in making its collections more customer-focused so users feel comfortable researching and asking questions in the library.  In addition, the library continually makes strides in digitizing files and records to make searching easier for its patrons.

I really enjoyed Elissa Scalise Powell's lecture Problems and Pitfalls in a Reasonably Shallow Search.  So many times a researcher (and I am so guilty of this) grabs a piece of "evidence" that appears to be true after a long and grueling search.  Through many examples and humor, she challenged all researchers to build genealogical research on something firm and not assumptive.  Finally, she encouraged our ancestors to be " reveal themselves or their reasons for actions."

And more lectures and knowledge awaits.