The first session I went to hear was Elissa Scalise Powell's "Eating an Elephant: Managing Large Projects". She had some great ideas and tools for breaking down any large project, such as family reunions, genealogy books, society indexing projects, or even a portfolio to present to the Board for Certification of Genealogists. I really enjoyed it, and so did the audience, because there were lots of questions after the talk, and a line of attendees who wanted to talk with Elissa after the session.
I met up with Pam Carter, Diane Boumenot and my husband for lunch. We were discussing the next GeneaBlogger meetup, and Diane proposed a field trip to NEHGS. Stay tuned for an announcement of a day trip to the NEHGS library for sometime in June or July. If this is successful, we might try a few more field trips to different repositories around New England at different times of the year. If you are interested, leave a comment!
For the last few sessions I decided to try the cemetery track, although I had already missed the first lecture (you just can't do EVERYTHING at NERGC!). The first was "The Sociology of Cemeteries" by Helen A. Shaw, which explained the different types of cemeteries where you might find your ancestors based on geography, ethnic group, religion, occupation, etc. I never knew there were sections of cemeteries just for certain occupations (such as circus performers), or for fraternal organizations such as Elks or Masons. She had some great photographs to illustrate her talk, although it was a slide show. I can't even remember the last time I saw a slide show! At least she had no technical problems with getting her computer to talk to her projector, which had happened in at least three of the sessions I saw during NERGC 2013.
|Donna Walcovy gets excited|
about gravestone carving, and you will, too,
if you have a chance to hear her lecture!
It wasn't the last lecture of the day, though, because at the banquet sponsored by NEHGS we heard from New Hampshire's own Milli Knudsen about forensic genealogy in her "Cold Case Unit" talk. Milli works for the New Hampshire State Police, where she first volunteered as a genealogist to help with unsolved "cold cases". She gave examples of how police detectives use techniques similar to genealogists in determining time lines, identities of friends, family and aquaintances, examining documents and indexing and organizing clues. She has developed spreadsheets for indexing evidence that the detectives are now using to help solve these cases.
Milli's lecture was extremely interesting, yet slightly unsettling as we heard the details on how many New Hampshire women's murders are still unsolved. Pam Carter and I walked together to the garage, not wanting to be walking alone late at night after hearing about these scary crimes! I think I sprinted to my car! It was a rather creepy way to end the night. But then I drove home thinking about Donna Walcovy's funny names for some of the gravestone carvings and it made me smile all the way from Manchester to Londonderry. There were too many great memories from these four days at NERGC to let the cold case stories get me down!
NERGC 2015 will be held April 14 - 19, 2015 in Providence, Rhode Island. Follow the website and blog for more information:
NERGC website www.nergc.org
NERGC blog www.nerc.blogspot.com
Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo