NGS Family History Conference Recap

I was fortunate enough to attend the National Genealogical Society’s Family History Conference held in Charleston, SC this year.  I have been a member of NGS for about 3 years, but this was my first time to attend the conference and I hope it won’t be my last!  I had a wonderful time and my mother was able to make the trip with me.

We left Austin, TX early in the morning on the first day of the conference, so we did not arrive in Charleston until lunchtime. The check-in at the conference was a breeze and we then had lunch and attended the two afternoon sessions. I attended:

  • Maps of the Southeast United States by Richard G. Sayre
  • The Border Problem Between the Carolinas in the Colonial Period by Brent Howard Holcomb

Just from these two sessions alone, I had many resources I couldn’t wait to get my hands on.  Given that we were pretty tired from getting up so early in the morning, we skipped the exhibit hall the first day and went to the hotel to check-in, eat dinner, and plan our next day.

Day 2 was a full day. The sessions I attended were:

  • Cemetery Records: More than Tombstones by Lynda Childers Sufferidge
  • Analyzing Deeds and Wills: I Know What It Says, But What Does It Mean? by Elizabeth Shown Mills
  • The Land Records of the South Carolina: More Than Just Grants and Plats by Brent Howard Holcomb
  • Inheritance Laws and Estate Settlements in the Carolinas by Mark Lowe
  • How to Best Search and Browse the Millions of Unique Records at by Footnote Staff

Wow! That was a busy day.  And that’s not all.  I actually skipped one session to go through the exhibit hall.  Since sessions were held until 8 p.m. I was able to get a lot in on one day. I also now know that I must start tackling more land records for the value of information in them.

Day 3 was another full day.  Since I was overloaded on land records, I switched focus to African American research and religion.  Here was my agenda for day 3:

  • Reporting the Facts: Record as You Go by Pamela Boyer Sayre
  • Researching African Americans in the Wake of the Civil War: A Case Study by Wevonneda Minis
  • African American Genealogy: Records in Charleston that Break Through the 1870 Brick Wall by Toni Carrier
  • On the Frontiers of Freedom: The Baptists of the South by Barbara Vines Little
  • Pre-tested Models for Presenting Your Personal Family History by Harold A. Hinds, Jr.

There was still yet another full day of conference sessions to attend on Day 4, but Mom and I decided to drive to Newberry, SC (where our ancestors come from) a little earlier than we had originally planned so that we would make sure we got everything done there that we needed before flying back home on Monday.

Even though we missed a day and half of the conference, look at how much I was able to attend and by whom!  These are names I read about all the time and it was sure nice to be able to hear them in person.  I learned quite a bit and I also learned that I have quite a bit more to learn.  It never stops…

All in all it was a great trip. We learned a lot, the conference was well run, and the price was quite reasonable.  I have attended other conferences for work that only last 3 days and cost 4 times as much! We also learned that next year the conference will be held in Cincinnati, OH and in 2013, Las Vegas.  Hope to see you there!