13 February 2015

FGS/RootsTech conference 2015, Day 2 (the middle)

In my last post I discussed the opening and closing events on Day 2 of the conference. Now, for what I took during the day.


I believe I heard Dr. Thomas W. Jones give his talk, "Getting the Most Out of Genealogical Evidence," at NGS a couple of years ago. But, it is definitely worthwhile and I have found that it is often good to revisit complex topics as one's skills improve and interests expand. 

photo courtesy of Dawn Henry
Jones identified jig saw puzzles as good metaphors for genealogical evidence. Like those working on puzzles, we try to assemble pieces of the past to identify relationships, events and status. We need more than one piece, usually several, to build our picture.

No source is perfectly trustworthy, direct information may be lacking, and record losses or shortages may exist. Even so, no source is too poor that it may be disregarded. When we adopt an evidence orientation, we must evaluate all sources. Evaluate everything - trust nothing.

Jones went on to discuss finding and evaluating evidence, assessing evidence for agreement or conflict and the roles direct, indirect and negative evidence may play in our research.

Expo Hall

Ken Bravo, Michael Goldstein, Banai Feldstein & Mark Nicholls
After the first session, I went to the Expo Hall for help out at the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies booth. They actually has more volunteers than they needed at that time, so I schmoozed with them a little, chatted with some people who were interested in Jewish genealogy, had lunch and walked a bit of the hall. 

Ron Arons
The hall is overwhelming. There are so many vendors that I could not finish checking out all the options in one visit - and I didn't want to since I started to feel overload. I did stop to see one friend, Ron Arons. He's still counting black sheep, but is now heavily involved in mind maps.

Afternoon sessions

Judy G. Russell spoke on federal court records in "Making a Federal Case Out of It." She outlined the history, structure and authorities of federal courts and the many reasons and ways in which one's ancestors may have become involved in court activities. Federal courts have jurisdiction over cases including copyright, bankruptcy, naturalization (which wasn't exclusively federal until the 1980s), where the federal government is a party, maritime issues, and disputes between states.

She also discussed the types of records that might be created in court proceedings and where one might find them.

For the last session of the day, I took in Cyndi Ingle's "Go West, Young Man: Online Resources for the Western United States." She mentioned sources, such as the Bureau of land Management's GLO site for land patents, sources for western migration routes, Angel Island (San Francisco) immigrants, pioneer and first family sites, and ssites that accessed unusual records such cattle brands and state archive digital collections.

Cyndi is the mind, body and brain behind Cyndi's List and she made sure to include information on where one might find similar links on her website.

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