Wednesday, 28 March 2012

AFFHO 2012 Congress Day 1

Day one is now nearly over. I was there wearing my blogger beads.
 
It has been a fun day meeting up with lots of Genie friends, listening to presentations and roaming the exhibition hall and buying some goodies.

First off was the official welcome and then Collen Fitzpatrick began her first presentation on the "Unknown Child from the Titanic". Colleen is a good speaker and she had an excellent mix of history, DNA and genealogy investigation in her presentation. DNA is one of those areas that is constantly evolving and they are developing better and more involved techniques. Not only in the actual testing but also in the initial extraction of DNA particularly in these cases where it is a historical case where you can expect to have degraded DNA.

                               
Colleen has written three excellent books and there was a crowd around the Gould Genealogy stand buying her books and taking advantage of having the author present to do a signing.   I already had her Forensic genealogy book but did purchase her two other books (and got them autographed!)

Colleen also has photo quizzes available on her website. I'd recommend visiting her website for the extra information available.

I am very much looking forward to her other presentations at Congress.

















Then off to morning tea and a perusal of the exhibitors. Trove was showing some of the proposed changes to their website and gaining customer feedback. The changes look very good.


I went to Kath Ensor's presentation on "Unlocking Ancestors' Stories from the Mental Asylums". I enjoyed this presentation as it showed the social history side of records and this is important as without the history and conditions it is just names and dates. This was followed by a lunch break with more exhibitor perusal.


After lunch, Daniel Horowitz from My Heritage was the next presenter on "How we Share and Preserve Memories in a Digital Age". This presentation was quite interesting and well done in the first half and then became more of an infomercial for My Heritage which while interesting would have been better as the last small section of the presentation.

I stayed in the main lecture hall for Dr Chris Watts talk on "Researching a British Merchant Seaman" Chris knows his topic well and has written a detailed book on this subject. He concentrated on the pre-1858 records. Life has become a lot easier int his time period for researchers as FindMyPast has added quite a number of Merchant Seaman records on their website. Post this time period crew list records are held in a variety of places including UK county records offices, UK Maritime Museum as well as Newfoundland. This was because the UK Archives did not have the space to accept all the thousands and thousands of boxes of  crew lists.


Then afternoon tea followed by a presentation by David Holman on "Using British Medals to Help Fill Out Your Tree". Again an interesting presentation by someone who was very familiar with his topic. David gave a good description of the various medals and when they were issued and the changes that occurred. He also gave information on where we could find further information about the reasons why a medal was awarded.

Then Day one was over officially. 

However tonight was the Genealogist for Families get-together. We met up at a local hotel where we had dinner and spoke about the conference, the people to whom we had made micro-loans and the variety of purposes for which people had requested loans. 


So far there have been 423 loans by 160 members have lent $11,325. Each of these loans makes a ongoing difference to a family and from them to a community which makes a positive difference.

Thanks to Judy Webster who started Genealogists for Families in recognition of her father's long term helping of others and also to Kerry Farmer who organised tonight's gathering. A great time was had by all.