Sunday, November 13, 2011

Georgia Family History Expo: Day 1

This was my second time attending the Georgia Family History Expo so I knew what to expect. Like last year's expo, though, I ran into a problem early on. Last year, I overslept, missed an exit and ran into construction, which made me late for the opening speeches.

This year, I scheduled the possibility of delays into my drive time, giving myself an extra half hour cushion in case I hit traffic. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough. A mile before I exited I-285 to get on I-85, traffic came to a standstill. It took half an hour for me to go the one mile to my exit.

Once I reached the exit, traffic picked up a tiny bit, but it was another five or six miles before we finally got past the wreck and two stalled cars that were holding things up. When I finally arrived, the opening ceremony was over. By the time I got my registration packet and checked out a few exhibits, it was time for the first session.

My first session of the day was Researching North and South Carolina-the people, the records, the jurisdictions with Dr. Arlene Eakle. I had attended a couple of her sessions as last year's expo and was impressed by the wealth of her knowledge so I was looking forward to hearing some more from her. This year's sessions (yes I took more than one of hers again) were no exception.

For those that attended last year's sessions and were wondering about the handouts, she did mention that there was a delay in sending them, but they would be going out in the next few weeks with an added bonus for the wait. For the session on the Carolinas, she touched on the various cultures that settled there and characteristics of those cultures that could help with researching them. Then she gave a breakdown of the differences in records between the two states. There was a lot more, but you really need to attend one of her lectures to get the full benefit.

Next up was Finding English/Welsh Ancestors with Kathy Warburton of FamilySearch. She talked about the various records available for researchers and gave several websites where they could be found. One thing that was new to me was that on the 1841 census, ages were rounded down to the nearest 5 for anyone over 15. So if your ancestor appeared in the census as age 35, they could actually be anywhere from 35 to 39.

Gwinnett Center around dusk. It was quite beautiful.

My third session of the day was another with Dr. Eakle, Georgia Land Records. Even though I have lots of Georgia ancestors on my maternal line, I haven't really explored land records so this was an eye-opening session for me with most of the information being new to me. One thing that I found interesting was that Georgia had some unique rules when it came to headrights.

The last session of the day was The Clothesline Approach to Documentation and Analysis. Even though I have read DearMyrtle's blog for a while now, I've never had the opportunity to hear her speak before now. I thoroughly enjoyed her session. She's very friendly and down to earth. Thanks to her lecture, I got a better understanding of how much credibility to give various documents.  I also learned that even somewhat unique family heirlooms have a place in our genealogy and should be cited.

After the final session, I went to the hotel, which thankfully was very close. Even though I'm a trucker's daughter and, in theory, should have a genetic sense of direction, I have a knack for taking wrong turns. I always manage to get myself back on track, but sometimes it takes a while. The hotel was very easy to find. After pulling out of the parking lot at the Gwinnett Center and turning left, go over the speed bump, hang a left and go up the hill to the hotel on the right.

On the way to my room, I bumped into Linda McCauley and talked to her for a minute in the elevator. After checking in with my family (who didn't end up coming with me after all), a light supper and reading for a bit to unwind, I snuggled into bed to rest up for day two.

The hotel room at Holiday Inn Gwinnett Center
It's a good thing I brought Pepsi with me. Not only did the convention center have Coca-Cola products, but so did the hotel. You think there's any chance I can talk Family History Expos into having one in North Carolina, which is the birthplace of Pepsi?

1 comment:

  1. There's a challenge. Can you even find Pepsi anywhere in Georgia?

    I'm a Dr Pepper girl.