I did an all-day seminar on April 21st at Hot Springs Village, Arkansas. Hosts were the Village Genealogical Society and the Akansa Chapter NSDAR. Hot Springs Village may be off the beaten path for some, but anyone who is invited to speak there should jump at the chance. These groups go all out to make a speaker feel welcome, prevent problems, and take care of anything that does come up. They even apologized for the poor (read non-existent) Wi-Fi service the hotel had.
There is obviously a very active genealogical community in the heart of Arkansas. They come from all over the U.S. to retire here and are interested in records from all localities, not just Arkansas. All experience levels were represented. We had attendees from Little Rock and other cities an hour or so distant. I feel like I made several new friends. The attendees were attentive, interested, and asked good questions.
We covered a variety of topics:
Using the Website of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management - General Land Office
This was one of the favorite sessions. Some didn't know about ordering the Land Entry Case files from the National Archives after finding initial information on this website. Some really liked seeing a rectangular survey map overlaid on a USGS topographical map to show the terrain as it surrounded an ancestor's home. We forget sometimes how the terrain probably influenced where records are recorded and where associates can be found.
Online Research: Basics and Beyond
This was a potpourri of useful sites and tips on using them. This was the first exposure of some to Steve Morse's fantastic One-Step Webpages with tools to help genealogists locate records more easily than can be done on many commercial and non-profit sites. Learning more about Google Books and Internet Archive also seemed to be popular.
Ours and Theirs: Tax and Land Laws
Introducing researchers to tax records is always fun. New researchers don't realize how much you can learn about an ancestor from tax rolls. I hope experienced researchers learned a few new tricks, too, about using tax laws to help interpret the records.
The 1940 U.S. Federal Census and Finding Aids
This was my first chance to present a session on the 1940 census which had only been available for nineteen days. I loved this session—it gave me an excuse to work on my ancestors in the 1940 census even while I was preparing for the seminar. Even new researchers understand how important it is to know the guidelines given to the enumerators so we can better understand the records.
Once I returned home I put most of the links covered in the presentations on my website so researchers can click a link instead of typing in a long URL. Check out http://debbiewayne.com/lectures.php if you think the links may help you, too.
To cite this post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, Genealogy Seminars," Deb's Delvings in Genealogy, blog, posted 8 May 2012 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/2012/05/hot-springs-village-arkansas-genealogy.html : accessed [access date]).
© 2012, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, All Rights Reserved