It’s a long way from my house in Montreal, Quebec to Providence, Rhode Island: six hours of driving, plus pit stops and traffic delays. But the moment I walked into my first event at last weekend’s New England Regional Genealogical Consortium (NERGC) conference in Providence, I felt right at home.
That first event was a special interest group meeting of genealogy bloggers. Everyone in that room shared my passion for blogging, although we do it in different ways. For example, Pat Richley-Erickson, who writes the award-winning http://blog.dearmyrtle.com/, also does video blogging on YouTube. At the meeting, I picked up some advice about backing up my blog, and about the value of Thomas MacEntee’s www.geneabloggers.com site as a resource for bloggers.
Over the next two days, I attended presentations from excellent speakers including Lisa Louise Cooke (http://lisalouisecooke.com/) and Judy G. Russell (www.legalgenealogist.com). I was especially interested in Dwight Fitch’s presentation on historical conflicts that affected the early settlements along the Connecticut River, since he used our common ancestor, Henry Burt (c. 1595-1662) of Springfield, Massachusetts, as an example.
Of course, I didn’t have to go all the way to Rhode Island to learn about genealogy. Many webinars and online hangouts take place every week. So for me, the best thing about attending a conference like this was the opportunity to meet people in an informal setting. For instance, I had a long conversation with a member of the Descendants of the Founders of Ancient Windsor. Windsor, Connecticut was founded in 1633 and, although I know I had ancestors there in the mid-1700s, I’ve always wondered whether they were founding families. I also got a chance to meet Joshua Taylor, co-host of Genealogy Roadshow on PBS, a show that I enjoy.
The people who attend and present lectures at conferences like this are the people who are setting the bar high for genealogical research standards. They help us figure out where and how to look for our ancestors, and they educate us about the laws and historical events of our ancestors’ times. They also push us to research diligently in order to prove our conclusions, and to cite our sources.
This was my second time attending a conference organized by the NERGC (www.nergc.org), an association that brings together 22 different genealogy societies in New England. Both conferences were extremely well run. Many volunteers worked hard to achieve that, so to them, I say thank you.
The next NERGC conference will take place in Springfield, Massachusetts in April, 2017. In the meantime, many other exciting genealogy conferences are coming up. (See http://calendar.eogn.com/ on Dick Eastman’s Online Newsletter.) Here are a few major conferences scheduled for eastern Canada and the United States over the next few months:
- Quebec Family History Society (QFHS) June 19-21, 2015 Montreal, QC
- Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) May 29-31, 2015 Barrie, ON
- New York State Family History Conference Sept. 17-19, 2015 Syracuse, NY
- British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO) Sept. 18-20, 2015 Ottawa, ON
Here are links to stories about some of my American ancestors:
Timothy Stanley jr., Revolutionary Martyr http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.ca/2013/11/timothy-stanley-jr-revolutionary-martyr.html
Philadelphia and the Mitcheson Family http://writinguptheancestors.blogspot.ca/2013/11/philadelphia-and-mitcheson-family.html