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To the hosts and more of 2017

It isn’t really already…?

How can it be…?

Thank you 2017Seriously…?

Can it really be the last workday of 2017 already?


Looking back, it’s been yet another whirlwind year where I’ve had the chance to meet folks from a wide variety of backgrounds at a wide variety of institutes, conferences and genealogical societies — large and small — and I’ve 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 2017 hosts:

Indian River (FL) Genealogical Society
Midwest Genealogy Center, Mid-Continent Public Library
Tulsa City-County Library, Oklahoma
Saline County Library, Little Rock, Arkansas
Jewish Genealogical Society-New York
Fairfax (VA) Genealogical Society
Hamilton County (OH) Genealogical Society
Bend (OR) Genealogical Society
Tacoma-Pierce County (WA) Genealogical Society
Root Cellar Sacramento Genealogical Society
National Genealogical Society, Raleigh
Indiana Historical Society
New Zealand Society of Genealogists
Federation of Genealogical Societies, Pittsburgh, PA
San Diego Genealogical Society
Maryland Genealogical Society
California Genealogical Society
Association of Professional Genealogists Professional Management Conference and webinars
Legacy Family Tree webinars, and host Geoff Rasmussen who makes things easy
German Genealogy Group, Bethpage, New York
Western Michigan Genealogical Society
Iowa Genealogical Society
South Central Pennsylvania Genealogical Society
Family Tree DNA Group Administrators Conference, Houston
Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society
Georgia Genealogical Society webinar
Board for Certification of Genealogists webinar

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 2017, and to the students I was privileged to teach and to learn from. At the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), in January, I co-coordinated the “Family History Law Library” course with Rick Sayre. In March, I was privileged to teach at the Forensic Genealogy Institute of the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy in San Antonio. At the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), in July, I co-coordinated the “Law School for Genealogists” course with Rick Sayre. At the Institute for Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) in July, I served as coordinator of the “Advanced Methodology & Evidence Analysis” course at its first-ever offering at the University of Georgia in Athens. 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, the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records at the National Archives, and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

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 2018. But I can’t end without singling out a couple of people in particular who went above and beyond — and then some.

• My friend and co-conspirator Cyndi Ingle who showed me around a gorgeous part of Washington State in April, and my cousin Julie Clayton for introducing me to the area of Oregon that she calls home.

• My friends and colleagues Linda Okazaki and her husband Ted who hosted me and who, along with Lisa Gorrell, served as tour guides extraordinaire when I had a couple of extra days in California in September. They made sure I got to see places I’d never seen and add a couple of life birds to my birding list.

• The Tennessee contingent — Kathryn Hopkins, State Librarian and Archivist Chuck Sherrill, Kay Gregath and Jim Long — for making sure I had five person-days of Volunteer State research in the one day I had available for research. (Not to mention an adventure on a balky elevator to spice things up!!)

• And, for the second time, Helen Smith of Brisbane, Australia, who joined me in an unforgettable trip around New Zealand and parts of Australia (the Great Barrier Reef!) after the New Zealand Society of Genealogists conference this summer. I got to hold another koala and see tons of rainbows and gaze out where the Indian and Pacific Oceans meet and swim with a sea turtle and… Sigh…

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.

Another good year here at The Legal Genealogist. With good friends — old and new, and good fun.


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