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To the hosts and more of the past year

Is it possible…?

Can it be…?

Is it really the 31st of December? The very last day of 2015?

oct_06_2015_06New Year’s Eve.


Looking back on a whirlwind year, it’s clear that I’ve had the chance this year to meet folks from a wide variety of genealogical societies — large and small — and have simply had a ball.

I’ve learned from each and every one of them. I’ve had chances to laugh — and sometimes to share a tear.

I’ve been taught about resources I hadn’t seen before, and given chances to advance my own research.

I’ve met cousins — some of whom I hadn’t even known I had.

It’s been a wonderful year. So it can’t end without a heartfelt thank you to so many people who’ve made it the year it’s been, including each and every single one of my 2015 hosts:

Association of Professional Genealogists, PMC & webinar
Austin (TX) Genealogical Society
Bucks County (PA) Genealogical Society
Detroit Public Library, Family History Festival
Fairfax County (VA) Genealogical Society
Federation of Genealogical Societies, conference & cruise
Florida Genealogical Society (Tampa), webinar
Florida State Genealogical Society, webinar
Georgia Genealogical Society, conference & webinar
German Genealogy Group, Hicksville, NY
Green Valley (AZ) Genealogical Society
Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
Houston (TX) Genealogical Forum
Hudson County (NJ) Genealogical & Historical Society
Indiana Genealogical Society
Indiana State Library Genealogy Fair
Irish Family History Forum, Long Island, NY
Jewish Genealogical Society, New York, NY
Jewish Genealogical Society of Greater Washington, Washington D.C.
Legacy Family Tree webinars, and host Geoff Rasmussen who makes things easy
Louisville (KY) Genealogical Society
Missouri State Genealogical Association
Monmouth County (NJ) Genealogical Society
National Genealogical Society
NERGC 2015, Providence RI
New York State Family History Conference
North Carolina Genealogical Society, webinar
North Hills Genealogists, Wexford, PA
North San Diego County (CA) Genealogical Society
Ohio Genealogical Society
Oklahoma Genealogical Society
Reneau Family Association, Lowndes County MS
SCGS Jamboree and Family History & DNA
Stillaguamish Valley (WA) Genealogical Society
The Villages (FL) Genealogical Society
Western Massachusetts Genealogical Society

Now if anybody asks me why local societies are dying on the vine, I may ask what that person is smoking… because I sure don’t see dying societies in my travels. These groups are dynamic, growing, thriving, looking for ways to stay up on all the new information and techniques and records that are becoming more readily available and on how to apply tried and true methodologies to them.

I am so proud and thankful that I was allowed to be part of their programs this past year, and hope to be invited back — often!

A huge thank-you also goes to the institutes where I was privileged to teach in 2015, and to the students I was privileged to teach and to learn from. At the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), in January, Rick Sayre and I coordinated the Family History Law Library course. At the Institute for Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) at Samford University, in June, I was particularly privileged to serve as coordinator of the Advanced Methodology & Evidence Analysis course, following in the footsteps of my friend and mentor, Elizabeth Shown Mills. And at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), in July, Rick Sayre and I coordinated the Law School for Genealogists course. And thanks to the other coordinators who let me come play in their classes at these institutes and at the Midwestern African American Genealogy Institute.

Now if I tried to list all the individuals who went out of their way to make things not just easy but wonderful and fun, I’d still be writing at the end of 2016. But I can’t end without singling out one person in particular who went above and beyond — and then some.

When I was headed to Houston, Texas, in March, to speak to the Houston Genealogical Forum, Marilyn Maniscalco Henley knew how very badly I wanted to get out into the counties nearby to research my mother’s family. My grandmother was born in Colorado County; her father, my great grandfather, had been a prison camp guard there; my scoundrel second great grandfather on my grandfather’s side had gotten himself into trouble with the law there and in next-door Wharton County. Doing everything I wanted to do posed logistical problems I didn’t think I could solve.

And I didn’t have to.

Marilyn stepped in and she didn’t just set it up for me to do the research: she figured out where all the libraries, archives and courthouses were, arranged hotel accommodations and served as my personal tour guide and driver so I could focus on getting the research done. It was one of the nicest research experiences I’ve ever had — and I am so very grateful.

And to you, the readers of this blog… what can I say but thank you? You’ve challenged me, taught me, laughed with me, cried with me.

Good year. Good good year. Good friends — old and new, and good fun.


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