Charleston, S.C., here I come...: 2011 NGS Family History Conference

So, I am officially registered for the 2011 National Genealogical Society's Family History Conference. The 5-day long conference is next May in Charleston, South Carolina. I almost decided against going because of the money - the conference itself and extra luncheons and social events are not exactly cheap and then you have to add in cost of travel and hotel, but I'm going with Cousin April, which will cut down on some of the expenses, and frankly, I didn't go on vacation this past year and I don't have any foreseeable vacation plans next year, so why not? Five days of workshops, all day long, isn't exactly a vacation, but it's a new city I've never been to, there's some opportunity to actually see some of the city, and just the chance to get away from home and work, for whatever reason? That's vacation enough for me.

Anyway, April and I met last weekend to discuss the conference, and the more we talked about it, the more excited I got. There are some really interesting workshops being offered covering an array of topics - I was looking at ones specific to German church records and Irish land valuation records, ones that deal with thinking "outside the box" when it comes to looking for and finding records, ones that talk about how to resolve conflicts in records, ones that talk about records I've only recently started to use or haven't used yet but might in the future, like probate records, ones that talk about the future of genealogy, specifically the way social media (and blogs!) are changing the way research and networking are done, and because I'm interested in becoming certified, I was also looking at several workshops that deal with that as well as the proper techniques for working as a professional genealogist.

Bored yet? C'mon, if you read this blog, I don't see how you can be!

April was excited about some of the workshop presenters, such as Elizabeth Shown Mills, who seems to be a big name in genealogy (I'll admit, I'm not quite as up-to-speed on my genealogy celebs - if anyone is a bigger genealogy nerd than me, it's April! :)), and the fact that Buzzy Jackson, who just wrote a book called "Shaking the Family Tree," will be a keynote speaker.

There will be several social events throughout the week, which I think will be great for networking - as you all know I love to repeat, we family historians have to work together! But I also think they just sound fun - a wine and cheese party at the Charleston Museum, a barbeque at the Charleston rifle club. I wonder if they cash bar at the rifle club will be followed by the opportunity to try out the weaponry...

I also decided to sign up for an extra trip to the South Carolina archives in Columbia. As it so happens, I have some family, the Storys, who lived in the Charleston area for a couple of generations back in the mid-1700s (Mary Story, daughter of Morris Story, granddaughter of Rowland Story, and great granddaughter of Zachariah Story, born in Charleston, married Richard Poole; their daughter Annie married J.J. Raynor - Annie and J.J. were my great-great grandparents...) and I think it's possible I might be able to find some records that could help flesh out and verify parts of that branch of my tree.

And on top of all that, it was nice to see April again. I think April and I are actually a good example of modern genealogy - we found each other through the Internet, we pool our research and resources, we're both big proponents of verifying our research. Whenever we go to these genealogy things, we're always the youngest ones there, but I think we represent the next generation of family historians. It's those like us, those like all of you, that have to make sure the *next* generation is well-prepared to carry on the legacy!

Registration for the NGS Family History Conference is still open! For more information, visit!