Thursday, April 18, 2013

Day One NERGC 2013, Manchester, NH

Day One of the 2013 NERGC started with me passing out blogger beads and WiFi codes to the bloggers in attendance at the conference. I counted about a dozen bloggers today, and I know I missed some of them.  I hope to catch up to the rest of you tomorrow when we will have a designated Blogger Area in the Expo center- yahoo!  Here I am, early in the morning, posing with bloggers Lori Thornton, Marian Pierre Louis and Liz Loveland before the opening session. 

GeneaBlogger Meetup in the hotel lobby
Genealogist Sandra McLean Clunies gave the opening talk on “Millhand Migrations to 19th Century Lawrence and Lowell, Massachusetts”.  As a resident of the Merrimack Valley, surrounded by Manchester, Nashua, Lowell, Lawrence and Haverhill with their respective millyards and mill buildings, this was extremely interesting to me.  I had three generations of my family work in the same shoe mill in Beverly, Massachusetts, including three of my four great grandfathers, so the subject is of particular interest to my family tree research.  She gave three examples of millworkers from her family tree, and how she documented their lives.  I had met Sandra at the NERGC 2011 conference, and she was my “advisor” at the Ancestor Roadshow.  This was the first time I had heard her speak, and I enjoyed her expertise and dry sense of humor very much.
Sandra Clunies
The next session I wanted to attend was completely full, and so I ducked into the room next door, and it was completely full, too! I found one of the last seats available in Jayne Jordan’s talk on the “Oyster River Settlement and the Native Peoples”, which turned out to be interesting because I had several ancestors involved in those conflicts (HEARD, HAM, the villain Capt Richard WALDRON, etc).  My third choice turned out to be not so bad.

I caught up with blogger Sara Campbell for lunch, and then rushed off to hear “What Exactly is a Reasonably Exhaustive Search” by Laura Murphy DeGrazia.  Again, I got one of the last available seats in the room.  I’ve decided that either NERGC underestimated the size of the rooms needed or I’m just slow in getting in the door.  Many people were turned away from this lecture, which is a shame because it was one of the best of the day.  Laura gave many, many good examples of the Genealogy Proof Standard and used a great case study as an example.  I could have listened to another hour or two of this subject.  It is definitely a subject that would make a great one day workshop.

The last session of the day was “Access to Records for Genealogists: An Open Forum” by the Massachusetts Genealogical Council.  The participants on the panel presented a fun skit illustrating the absurdities of recent attempts at legislating “privacy” by banning access to the SSDI.  This was followed by a very thoughtful discussion by the crowd and the panel, especially by Rich McCoy, from the Vermont Department of Health.  The MGC will have a booth in the Expo, and the members encouraged everyone to sign their petition.  This same group will also be hosting a Special Interest Group tomorrow night called “Record Access Denied”.  I wish I could attend, but I’ll be hosting the geneablogger SIG at the same time.   

Barbara Matthews and Michael LeClerc
ham it up for the Records Access skit

At the end of the day I got together with my Mayflower Cousin John Payzant (he is the Governor of the New Hampshire Mayflower Society) to host the NH Mayflower booth during the Society Fair.  I was too tired after all of today's activities to check out the Expo, but I did walk through on my way to the car garage.  The Expo looks great, and I can’t wait to check it out thoroughly tomorrow morning.  More NERGC news tomorrow!

New England Regional Genealogy Conference

Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo                                


  1. Sounds like a lot of fun. Especially the skit about legislating privacy!

  2. I agree that Laura's presentation needs to be a workshop - she was fantastic and it felt like it ended way too soon. I'll be looking for you today - I need my beads:-)

  3. So jealous! I am from NH, but moved to NC last year. I am coming home in May for the birth of my grandchild, but of course, will have missed this. Thanks for sharing.