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To the hosts and more of 2016

How can it be…?

It isn’t really already…?

Can it really be the 31st of December? The very last day of 2016?

ny2017New Year’s Eve 2016.


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 institutes, conferences and 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 2016 hosts:

Mississippi Genealogical Society
Unlock the Past Cruises: Down Under Tour 2016
DuPage County (IL) Genealogical Society
Family History Society of Arizona
Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore
Tennessee Valley Genealogical Society, Huntsville, Ala.
Wisconsin State Genealogical Society
Sonoma County Genealogical Society
Orange County (NY) Genealogical Society
National Genealogical Society, Fort Lauderdale
New Hampshire Society of Genealogists
Burlington County (NJ) Historical Society
Jewish Genealogical Society of Long Island
Ontario Genealogical Society
Bernards Township (NJ) Public Library and Morris Area Genealogical Society
Allen County Public Library and MAAGI
Association of Professional Genealogists, National Capital Area Chapter
Association of Personal Historians, webinars
Ocean County (NJ) Genealogical Society
Kentucky Genealogical Society
International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies
Willard Library, Evansville, Indiana
Federation of Genealogical Societies, Springfield, IL
Plainfield (NJ) Public Library
Old York Road (Pa.) Genealogical Society
Maine Genealogical Society
Legacy Family Tree webinars, and host Geoff Rasmussen who makes things easy
Montana State Genealogical Society
Rogue Valley (Oregon) Genealogical Society
Florida Genealogical Society-Tampa
Ventura County Genealogical Society
Jewish Genealogical Society of Conejo Valley
Wilson-Cobb History and Genealogy Library, Roswell, NM
Texas State Genealogical Society
German Genealogy Group, Bethpage, New York
Delaware Public Archives and Friends of the Delaware Archives
Bucks County (Pa.) Genealogical Society

Now if anybody tries to tell me that local societies are dying on the vine, I’m definitely asking 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 2016, and to the students I was privileged to teach and to learn from. At the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), in January, I coordinated the new “Corpus Juris: Advanced Legal Concepts for Genealogy” course. At the Institute for Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) in June, I served as coordinator of the “Advanced Methodology & Evidence Analysis” course, a bittersweet time since it was our last year at Samford University (in 2017 it will be in Georgia). And at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), in July, I coordinated the new “Women and Children First!: Research Methods for the Hidden Members of the Family” 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 in Fort Wayne and the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records at the National Archives.

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 2017. But I can’t end without singling out a couple of people in particular who went above and beyond — and then some.

Helen Smith of Brisbane, Australia, was my minder-and-keeper throughout the Unlock the Past Down Under tour — and saw to it that I truly got to experience some of the very best that Australia and New Zealand have to offer. Between getting to hold a koala in my arms — twice! — and peering into hobbit holes in Hobbiton, the whole trip was simply magical. And much of that is due to Helen’s foresight and planning.

And my friend and colleague Melinda Henningfield and her husband Wayne — who’s my DNA cousin — served as tour guides extraordinaire when I had a couple of extra days in Oregon in September. They made sure I got to see places I’d never seen — like Crater Lake! — and add a couple of life birds to my birding list.

To all of them, and to all of those who’ve made this year so special, my thanks.

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 here at The Legal Genealogist. Good friends — old and new, and good fun.


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