NGS 2011 Charleston – Day One

We were up bright and early for our first day of the Conference.  I felt like a kid on the first day of school.  Excited. Sleep deprived.

We checked in the day before, but we still wanted to be early.  It must be the military training in our former lives, because we can’t be late for anything. 🙂

We stopped at Starbucks for a pick-me-up (raspberry mochas are my coffee of choice) and then we found ourselves a seat in the hall and ended up finding Greta and Linda.  It’s nice to see people you know. 🙂

The opening of the session started with the Charleston Police Pipes & Drums Band.  I just did the Highland Games in Savannah last weekend, but I can never get enough of bagpipes – or kilts.  There must be some Scottish ancestry in there somewhere.  I’ll trace those Robertsons yet!!

David S. Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States, was the first speaker.  I was very happy to learn about the plans for reorganization of the NARA and their intent to become more customer-friendly.  Everyone was of course excited to hear about the 1940 census, which will be released on their site on April 2, 2012.  The countdown for that has been going on for quite some time.

The second speaker was Buzzy Jackson, author of Shaking the Family Tree.  I really enjoyed her presentation – and it was obvious that everyone else there did also.  She was a very dynamic speaker with a great sense of humor and a genuine talent for interacting with the audience.  I was really impressed and decided that I just had to have her book.  I’ll get to that later though…

In case you hadn’t heard yet, it was announced that the 2013 NGS Conference will be held in Las Vegas!   Sounds like fun to me!

Next, there were a couple of drawings for some amazing prizes – free conference registration for next year and time in Salt Lake City. I know this will come as a shock, but I didn’t win.  I can dream.  Liz’s friend learned a lesson though.  Her name was called and she wasn’t there to accept the prize and missed out!!!!  How disappointing. 🙁

I was a bit disappointed that my phone service (and most everyone else’s) seems to have died just about the time the opening sessions wrapped up.  After that, it was pretty much gone until we left the convention center.  I had such high hopes of becoming competent using Twitter during the conference, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.

I took three classes during the day.  It was really difficult to pick which ones to attend, because so many of them looked so interesting.  I ended up choosing:

Finding Fathers: Bridging the Generation Gap with Elizabeth Shown Mills

Teasing the Silent Woman with Barbara Vines Little

Solving Genealogical Problems by Isolating Errors in Records with Henry B. Hoff

The Exhibit Hall was almost overwhelming.  There are so many great products and services out there.  I’m hoping to highlight some of them in a separate post.

I am happy to say that I finally got my Flip Pal scanner.  I’ve been wanting one since last Fall and can’t wait to put it to use!

Here we are with DearMyrtle.  She is so nice. We’re such GeneaGroupies. 🙂

The NGS has a Conference Challenge, where you have to take pictures of a list of things and then turn them in by Saturday and the most innovative entry will be selected to win free registration to next year’s conference.  We started on the challenge today by stopping this unsuspecting gentleman in a kilt and getting our picture taken with him.  I wonder how many times he posed for a picture today.  I think he’ll probably be in pants tomorrow….


Here is Ellie, with Louise St. Denis who had the most ribbons we could find.

We also managed to find Buzzy Jackson at the end of the day and bought her book, which she was gracious enough to autograph for us. 🙂  (That has nothing to do with the NGS challenge though – we just thought she was cool so we looked for her).

One of the other challenges was to get a picture of yourself at dinner with another genealogist.  That gave Cherie and I an excuse to stop and eat some dinner on the way back to the hotel.  I promise that we ate something to go along with those drinks!!


Well, it’s time for me to get some sleep.  If I don’t get caught up soon, no amount of coffee will get me up in the morning – and I don’t want to miss any of my classes tomorrow!!

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