It's becoming a challenge to continue my rather abbreviated summary of presentations at the National Genealogical Society Conference in Las Vegas. As I thought about what key lesson tied together the sessions I attended on Friday, the theme became obvious -- it was all in the details, or as Elizabeth Shown Mills emphasized "a researcher is a nitpicker."
Here are a few notes on my schedule for the day:
J. Mark Lowe -- Bible Thumper or Pious Pilgrim: Relgious Ancestors on the Frontier
I wish my Bible Church ancestors left more detailed records (heck, I wish they left church records, at ALL!)
Mark Lowe's description of the rich records in some denominations made me long for converts in my family tree.
Elizabeth Shown Mills -- Trousers, Beds, Black Domestic, Tacks and Housekeeping Bills: "Trivial Details" Can Solve Research Problems!
Be a nitpicker with details.
THINK long and hard and every which way about the information you find. Details hide answers to tough questions.
Jill Crandall -- Microsoft Excel: A Little-Known Genealogy Research Tool
Excel wasn't designed for historical detail.
Jill Crandall makes a good case for using spreadsheets to analyze data, but I still find it easier to use tables and charts. Sorry! I DID learn, however, that you have to do some gymnastics if you want Excel to recognize dates before 1 Jan 1900 on a PC (190? on a Mac).
Dr. Tom Jones -- Planning "Reasonably Exhaustive" Research
Detail, Detail, Detail
I seem to be on the methodology and Skillbuilding Tracks and the lessons to plan, document, and analyze are creating a refrain. Dr. Jones makes this task seem very do-able and not nearly as intimidating as it sounds.
I'm working up a list of JAMB recordings to purchase because there are so many enticing lectures I want to attend running concurrently. I noticed that JAMB is also selling 4-CD sets of lectures by Paula Stuart Warren, John Humphrey, Elizabeth Shown Mills, and Dr. Tom Jones. Worth checking out!