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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Sunday
    May122013

    NGS 2013 Vegas Day 3: It's All in the Details

    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!

    Friday
    May102013

    Lessons of the Day #ngs2013

    If Day One was all about Lies, the theme for the sessions I attended Thursday must be Control

    The day starts early here in the desert, and it's really the best time to see the morning light over the mountains ringing the Las Vegas valley. I discovered a route from my hotel room in a distant tower that takes me outside along the front of the hotel directly to the doors of the conference foyer. Tradeoff: casino lights for sunlight.

    Here's a brief recap of my Day Two sessions:

    Pam Stone Eagleson -- Grandma's Treasure Chest: Investigating and Evaluating Family Artifacts
    Control the Citation. 
    [Bonus lesson: Photo captions lie; This lecture was at the top of my list after I met Pam at GRIP 2012 and discovered we have a common fascination with family artifacts. She shared items from her own collection with solid ideas for researching, citing, and establishing provenance of keepsakes. Her sample misleading photo caption attracted lots of comments following the talk and makes me rethink some photos in my own collection.]

    Barbara Vines Little -- Feme Covert or Feme Sole: Women and the Law
    Control Women.
    [well, that seems to be the goal of English Common Law. Barbara Little always manages to make a history lesson funny, informative, and VERY enjoyable. I think the women left this session rather happy to be living in 2012.] 

    Judy Russell -- Blackguards and Black Sheep: The Lighter Side of the Law (BCG Luncheon)
    Un-Controlable Ancestors Left Awesome Records.
    What's to add? The Legal Genealogist IS a treat not to be missed! 

    Elizabeth Shown Mills -- Information Overload? Effective Project Planning, Research, Data Management, and Analysis
    Control the Information.
    [I have been waiting months to hear this lecture in person after reading about it from earlier conferences. It was packed with useful tips for building a solid information management workflow. Highly recommended for anyone struggling to find a "better" way to handle mountains of data. P.S. Dust off your word-processing software]. 

    Patricia Walls Stamm and Jordan Jones -- NGS American Genealogy Home Study Course
    New Edition Under Control.
    If you have been considering enrolling in the NGS Home Study Course, you might want to get an update on plans for a revised edition coming (hopefully) later this year. Stay tuned for a more complete recap of this session.

    Thursday
    May092013

    GeneaVegas Day One at #NGS2013

    GeneaVegas Culture Shock

    Shifting from daily routine to conference pace is always challenging, but add the cacophony of casino chimes and lobby music and it's just plain ole culture shock. Where else but Las Vegas could you see by a wedding in-progress, pass by a wine bar, thread your way through buzzing, blinking slot machines, and end up in a  quiet ballroom packed to capacity to hear a keynote lecture on historical records?

    The day began with the Opening Session and National Genealogical Society awards presentations honoring newsletter editorship and service to the society. Both family association and society newsletters were included in the awards; and several individuals were named for their service to the society. Read the full details  at the NGS Conference Blog.

    In one of the most entertaining and unusual conference opening events, attendees were treated to a lively musical selection by the Mariachi Los Bravos, from the local J.D. Smith Middle School. The student group performed two numbers in the ballroom, and then led the procession out of the room and across the concourse to open the exhibit hall. Conference attendees responded by enthusiastic clapping, whistling, and calling -- mariachi style. 

    The buzz continued into the exhibit hall where scores of boots and demonstrations filled the large room. I did a quick tour of the room, stopping to check out the new Lutheran Church databases at Archives.com with Amy Crow, and then headed to the seminar rooms to get a seat for the first session of the day with Dr. Thomas Jones.

    It was hard to decide which sessions to attend, the lineup is THAT GOOD. I was really torn between wanting to hear new-to-me speakers and learn more from those instructors I had previously heard at other conferences. I finally decided to purchase JAMB tapes for some sessions and attend others.

    Here's a brief recap of my take-away notes from Day One:

    Dr. Thomas Jones -- Debunking Misleading Records
    Records Lie, Don't believe everything you read.

    Elizabeth Shown Mills -- The Genealogical Prof Standard in Action: Case Building When No Record States an Answer
    Places Don't Lie, Keep the person in the right location

    Warren Bittner - Impossible Immigrant: I Know Everything About the Man, Except Where He Came From
    People Lie, or fib (sounds nicer), German names are a puzzle

    I highly recommend each of these sessions, available on JAMB recordings, although you won't have the advantage of seeing the actual record images shown on the visual slides.

    And, if you think you've heard the topic before, think again. Elizabeth Shown Mills presentation on the GPS reflects the newest refined version of the standard and an outstanding graphic process map. This concept is also referenced in Dr. Jones new book Mastering Genealogical Proof and shows how the GPS is becoming an even better tool all the time.

    Then, of course, there was meeting up with old friends and meeting so many new genealogists. Thursday promises to another busy day. Stay tuned.

    Monday
    May062013

    3 hrs 54 min with Traffic to #ngs2013

    Monday
    May062013

    I'll See You in Paradise (Road) for #ngs2013 

    Las Vegas By Any Other Name

    Genealogists love names. Misspelled surnames, mangled forenames, and oft-repeated town names are at the root of many research problems, but we can only imagine the experience of future Las Vegas family historians.

    The nickname, Vegas, Baby, like The Big Apple, holds a distinction as a wildly successful marketing ploy. But before this latest moniker, Las Vegas held other, equally popular nicknames.

    When early Las Vegas consisted of one long street of casinos and hotels, everyone knew what you meant by The Strip, even if you were in Los Angeles talking about a recent cross-desert junket, as in “I just got back from seeing Elvis on The Strip.”

    The Las Vegas Strip is not within Las Vegas proper, but refers to the stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard south of city limits that is home to the largest, flashiest, and most historic casinos and hotels. The nickname is often used to refer to a broader area encompassing other resort casinos or confused with Glitter Gulch or Fremont Street located in the center of the Las Vegas downtown casino area home to the Fremont Hotel, Golden Nugget, The Mint and other casinos.

    Las Vegas has always been the self-proclaimed Wedding Capital of the World – what genealogists would call a “Gretna Green” – and with only 250 miles separating Hollywood and Vegas, it’s not surprising that Vegas was a popular destination for quickie divorces as well.

    The Las Vegas gambling industry led to the nickname Lost Wages, and the easy availability of assorted (legal and illegal) pastimes spawned the moniker Sin City, and the more official Entertainment Capital of the World.

    Nothing Safe from Creative Vegas Street Names

    The 1980s brought widespread resort development to Las Vegas, quickly followed by an explosion in residential development. A brief look at any local map shows the unique Vegas spirit didn’t stop at designing fantasy casinos. We can only imagine the thoughts of future Vegas family historians searching for ancestors on Pillow Talk Court, Fast Lane, Jane Austin Avenue [sic], Vader Avenue, and Leia Street.

    See You on Paradise Road for #NGS2013

    Thankfully, it should be fairly easy to find our way around the NGS Conference area at the Las Vegas Hotel. I plan to be spending most of my time on Paradise Road.

    For More About Las Vegas Street Names –

    Tupac Lane Welcomes You: The Street Names of Las Vegas

    Vegas Today and Tomorrow (great historic photos)

     

    Image Credit: photo by David Vasquez, WikiMedia Commons, public domain

     

     

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