Friday, April 26, 2013

Days 1 and 2 of Ohio Genealogical Society Conference

I am having a great time at the Ohio Genealogical Society conference in Cincinnati, Ohio!  It's the end of the second day, and I finally have time to write about it.

The opening keynote on Thursday was by Tom Jones, the well known genealogist.  The topic was "Strategies for Finding 'Unfindable' Ancestors."  He discussed many excellent strategies for difficult research situations and gave several case studies that demonstrated some of those techniques.  I didn't get to hear any other talks that day, however, because I was helping in the exhibit hall.  I manned the table for the Warren County and Clinton County genealogical societies and handled their sales.  I was next to the Family Tree DNA booth and got to meet founder Bennett Greenspan (who knows a cousin of mine from Omaha, Nebraska!).  We talked about the next tests I should be doing with my father's DNA, and I ended up ordering an mtDNA test for him.  And that evening, the Cincinnati Public Library stayed open late just for conference attendees (they called it a "research lock-in").  Several staff members worked late in the genealogy and newspaper departments, and everyone who was there got great help all evening (except for not letting me get a library card, just because I'm from California).  They let us stay there until 11:30 p.m.!  I found two more marriages for a con man whom I am researching, who was originally from just outside Cincinnati (I think that brings him up to six marriages), and one of them appears to overlap with a marriage I already knew about -- so maybe he was a bigamist in addition to being a con man?

Friday I had a full slate of sessions.  In the morning I went to "Using Land Records in Slave Research", "Using State Court Records to Locate Slaves and Slaveholders", and "German Territories and Maps:  You Can't Research without Them" (yes, I have broad research interests).  While they all covered some material I knew, I learned something new in each session.  The afternoon started with my presentation, "Using Online Historical Black Newspapers", which everyone said they enjoyed very much.  The talk was recorded, and I already have my copy, so I'll get to hear one of my own presentations for the first time, which should be interesting.  Later in the afternoon I went to "Finding Rejected Claims and Pension Requests", which unfortunately really didn't talk much about rejected claims, and "Researching World War II Ancestors", which was an excellent talk with well explained information.  Then I was one of the experts on the panel for the African American Roundtable, where we had about 20 attendees asking all sorts of questions.  The evening ended with about twenty APG members and ProGen graduates getting together for dinner at Arnold's, which was featured on the TV program Harry's Law.

I started off my trip with a one-day stop in Columbus, where my aunt's sister lives.  In addition to getting to visit her, her daughter, and her granddaughter, we went to get some documents for relatives of her late husband's, which will help me with my research on his side of the family.

Saturday has a slightly shorter schedule because it's the last day of the conference.  I'm planning on attending sessions all day, and I'm hoping to meet Colleen Fitzpatrick, with whom I've had several entertaining e-mail conversations.  But I better get some sleep soon, or I'm going to miss those morning talks!

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