Methods to our madness

Choosing only 10 — oh so hard!

One thing national genealogy conferences offer is heavy doses of the law that underlies the records we all use each and every day.

FGS_2013_speaker_badgeThat’s why, yesterday, The Legal Genealogist offered the list of law-related presentations at the 2013 Federation of Genealogical Societies conference that gets underway today in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

But there’s one more thing these conferences offer in abundance: a chance to get down into the nitty gritty of genealogical methodology. Just exactly how, in our genealogical research, do we get from point A to point Z?

And this year’s FGS conference is no exception. So, if you’re sitting there in Fort Wayne, looking at the syllabus and thinking about what you might want to take in, here’s my personal top 10 list for methodology presentations, in strictly chronological order (and you have no idea how hard it was to cut this down to 10…):

T-213, Thursday, 2 p.m.
Smiths and Joneses: Success with Families of Common Name
by Elizabeth Shown Mills CG, CGL, FASG

If there’s anything worse than an ancestor who left no records, it’s one with a common surname. Mills presents strategies for tracking and sorting individuals of common name.

T-222, Thursday, 3:30 p.m.
Pulled from the Shadows: The Life of Free Black Delphi Benson
by Patricia Moseley Van Skaik MA, MLS

Delphi Benson’s neighborhood was captured by the Cincinnati Panorama of 1848. Despite fuzzy edges, high resolution images and documentary evidence bring her life into focus.

F-301, Friday, 8 a.m.
Trousers, Beds, Tacks & Housekeeping Bills: Problem-solving with ‘Trivial Details’!
by Elizabeth Shown Mills CG, CGL, FASG
Sponsored by The BCG Education Fund

Most records don’t give explicit answers to our burning questions—but many offer silent clues the skilled genealogist can use to construct ladders over their brick walls.
Helen F.M. Leary Distinguished Lecture

F-329, Friday, 2 p.m.
Getting the Most from the Records: Wring Them Dry
by Linda Woodward Geiger CG, CGL

You’ve found the document, now put it through the wringer. Consider: genealogical standards, provenance, jurisdiction, possible biases, etc.

F-337, Friday, 3:30 p.m.
Identity Crisis: Right Name, Wrong Man? Wrong Name, Right Man?
by Elizabeth Shown Mills CG, CGL, FASG

What do we do with ancestors whose names don’t ‘match’ from one record to the next? Or those with numerous same-name neighbors? This session examines cultural causes and teaches strategies.

S-409, Saturday, 9:30 a.m.
“A Wife, Or Rather a Woman”: Identifying the Wife of Edward Worthington, Kentucky Pioneer
by Karen Mauer Green CG, FGBS

Using a variety of early Kentucky records, some of which are positively scandalous, this case study identifies the wife of Edward Worthington.

S-418, Saturday, 11 a.m.
Truth or Fiction? Unraveling a Family Yarn
by Teresa Steinkamp McMillin CG

George Teeling, an Irish immigrant, was featured in a family story. Research reveals a very different story. The audience will gain new research insights.

S-429, Saturday, 2 p.m.
Organizing Evidence to Overcome Record Shortages
by Thomas W. Jones PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS

An Indiana family’s Irish ancestry and a jigsaw puzzle analogy demonstrate steps attendees can use to bypass scarce records and identify ancestors successfully.

S-438, Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Lessons From a Snoop: Collaterals and Associates
by Debbie Mieszala CG

Crucial information on direct ancestors is often found by nosing into the lives of collateral relatives, associates and neighbors. Case studies present invaluable finds.

S-446, Saturday, 5 p.m.
Finding the Only Child’s Niece
by Debra Braverman

Sometimes research reveals that what was thought to be true is not. Resources and research techniques can help prove or disprove “facts” and reconcile findings with former beliefs.

Now I only have to figure out how to be in two (or three… or four…) places at one time…

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