Sunday, September 4, 2016

International Black Genealogy Summit: Second Day and Closing Banquet

I started the second day of the International Black Genealogy Summit by hearing some impressive news from conference chair Algurie Wilson:  Plans are for the next IBGS to be held in the Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), in Africa.  That will be quite an accomplishment for such a relatively young American conference.  The Côte d'Ivoire ambassador to the United States, Daouda Diabité, is ready to work with the conference team to make this a reality.  I look forward to hearing details about the conference as plans progress, although I'm not sure I'll be able to attend.

I attended such informative sessions on Friday, I was optimistic it would be that way for the whole weekend.  Alas, it was not to be.  The speakers for two of my Saturday sessions did almost nothing but read directly from their slides, which were text-heavy and didn't give a lot of information about the resources which were used.  A third session, which had advertised that it was going to be about a record set I knew only a little about, ended up covering mostly beginning research techniques and only glossing over the records I was looking forward to.

There was a light at the end of the tunnel, however.  The last session I went to was on records of the Panama Canal (Record Group 185 at the National Archives).  I have never had occasion to research anyone from Panama or who worked on the canal, so this was a brand-new subject for me.  The speaker, Reginald Washington, formerly worked at NARA and definitely seemed to know a lot about the records, and there are a lot of them:  labor contracts, birth/marriage/death records, correspondence, hospital records, discrimination, a census, and more.  This was a very interesting session, and I learned a lot.

For lunch I had organized a ProGen Study Group get-together, as I did at the IAJGS conference.  Four of us — LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, Janice Lovelace (again!), Deborah Robinson, and me — had an enjoyable lunch at a Southern restaurant (they made great catfish!).  Of course, we talked about nothing but genealogy, so we really didn't leave the conference far behind.  But we did get out of the hotel!

The closing event of the conference was the dinner banquet and presentation by Regina Mason.  The dinner was delicious, made that much more enjoyable by my table companions:  LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, her husband, Paul, and Elyse Hill.  There were drawings for door prizes during the meal, and Elyse won my donation of a gift certificate for research services.  She has promised to find a particularly difficult brick wall to have me work on.  I unfortunately was unable to stay for Regina Mason, as my ride arrived early to pick me up and I had to leave abruptly.  I'm sure everyone enjoyed the presentation, as it has been well received everywhere.

I had a wonderful time at IBGS.  I learned so much and met many new friends.  I am so happy I had the opportunity to attend the conference.  Maybe, just maybe, I will be able to go to the next one.  I'll be keeping my fingers crossed.


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