01 May 2013

NGS: Building New Bridges in the West

Genealogical conferences are often an interesting mix of genealogy and history. The upcoming National Genealogical Society 2013 Family History Conference will truly represent both sides of this equation. The conference theme of "Building New Bridges" symbolizes "the West as a timeless 'bridge' where cultures, nations, and technologies connect."1

The conference committee, led by Stefani Evans, CG, went all out to provide a unique program. Yes, you'll find the traditional sessions we all need no matter where we do research. Thomas W. Jones on "Debunking Misleading Records." Elizabeth Shown Mills on "Information Overload? Effective Project Planning, Research, Data Management, and Analysis." Sharon Tate Moody on "Strategy for Research Success: How to Analyze Your Evidence and Plan Your Next Step." And more than I have space to name from many other names every genealogist will recognize.

Every conference has some sessions that focus on the regional history. Stefani and her team have gone above and beyond to provide unique topics and sessions not only pertinent for Nevada, but for anyone working in any of the states once colonized by Spain and Mexico and all western states. Stefani's ties to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas probably helped in bringing in so many well-known historians as speakers. I hope all of the genealogists at the conference let these speakers know how much we appreciate them sharing their knowledge with us.

One of sessions I consider must-see is "Interethnic Women and Marriage along Spanish Colonial Frontiers 1820–80" by Maria Raquel Casas on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. A few years ago I read her book on this topic.2 Even though the book focuses on California most of the history and analysis can also be applied to Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and other Spanish-influenced states. I learned of many sources I hadn't heard of before when I read the footnotes and the twenty-six page bibliography. Check out her other publications on her CV.

Another must-see is Davis S. Tanenhaus on "Legal Histories of Families" on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. I first heard of Tanenhaus through the Legal History Blog and saw some interesting article titles associated with his name in law journals. His publications are listed on his CV and there are many titles that can help any genealogist understand her family's history.

There are a lot of blocks on the schedule where choosing one speaker means missing another must-see. I hope lots of these sessions will be recorded so I can listen to them when I get home. I make use of all my travel time by listening to recorded genealogy sessions. My phone and tablet only have a few songs, but are full of genealogy sessions from conferences over the years.

Stefani's team made an effort to bring in speakers and topics that are not widely available through webinars and online sources and new topics and new speakers. You really need to be in Vegas next week to get the full experience. I'm not a gambler. Most of my family never migrated west of Texas. But I expect to learn so much that will help me with my future research. I hope my brain doesn't turn to mush until after the conference because I am scheduled to do one of the last sessions on Saturday before the conference ends. This is my only complaint to the conference planning committee (said with an understanding smile).

1. Diane L. Richard, "NGS Announces Plans for 2013 Family History Conference in Las Vegas," Upfront with NGS blog, posted 17 May 2012 (http://upfront.ngsgenealogy.org/2012/05/ngs-announces-plans-for-2013-family.html : accessed 1 May 2013).

2. Maria Raquel Casas, Married to a Daughter of the Land: Spanish-Mexican Women and Interethnic Marriage in California, 1820-1880 (Reno and Las Vegas: University of Nevada Press, 2007).

To cite this blog post:
Debbie Parker Wayne, "NGS: Building New Bridges in the West," Deb's Delvings Blog, posted 1 May 2013 (http://debsdelvings.blogspot.com/ : accessed [date]).

© 2013, Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, All Rights Reserved

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