Hugh M. Robertson was my 3rd great-grandfather’s brother.
He was born in 1836 in Kentucky and was a schoolteacher.
I don’t have a picture of him, but I have his physical description from his military records. He was 6 foot tall, with blue eyes, brown hair, and a fair complexion.

He enlisted on August 15, 1862 in Washington, Iowa and served in Co. A of the 25th Iowa Infantry.

He was killed by an explosion of a shell in July of 1863 in Jackson, Mississippi.

His gravestone is in Washington, Iowa, next to that of his father, John Robertson.

I have always thought it was tragic that he died so young. He never got married or had children of his own. He doesn’t have any descendants to carry on his name.  And so I honor him here on this Military Monday.

  • Cherie Cayemberg - November 15, 2010 - 8:35 pm

    A touching tribute! He died serving his country and he’s got you and your children to remember him always!ReplyCancel

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When I open up my computer and decide to work on genealogy for a few minutes, this is what happens….

She found her sister’s make-up and glitter and decorated herself with it!  That’s why I have to wait until after she’s sleeping….

  • Jo - November 15, 2010 - 3:31 am

    So cute….and funny :-) You’ll only be an “After Bedtime” genealogist for another year or two!ReplyCancel

  • Cherie Cayemberg - November 15, 2010 - 12:35 pm

    Love her! What wonderful stories to tell though! Hugs to all the munchkins…even the glittery ones! :)ReplyCancel

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After getting about 10 hours of straight, uninterrupted sleep in my king-sized bed (if you have little kids, you can appreciate the significance of this), I woke up ready to attend another day of classes.  I was definitely more alert and well-rested than the previous day!

I took a chance and left some of my stuff in the car this time around.  My shoulders thanked me for it.  I really wanted to take pictures, but I was there by myself and for some reason I felt really weird about pulling my huge Nikon out and flashing away.  I wish that I had done it anyway.:(

I met a lot of neat people between classes and during lunch, most from the Atlanta area. I didn’t run into anyone else from the Savannah area, but that didn’t surprise me since it was quite a drive.

As much as I enjoyed my classes from the first day, I liked the ones the second day even better. Here are the ones I chose.  (and it was very hard to choose since there were 11 classes being offered every session!):

  1. Breaking Down Brick Walls With Location Based Genealogy, taught by Bernie Gracy.  What a phenomenal class.  He has a new website, Ancestral Hunt, which is still in beta testing.  It is a way of uploading data on entire neighborhoods or cemeteries and being able to see how these people interacted and were often related to each other. It is a place to collaborate with other people who are researching the same areas.  He gave a great example from his own research about how he used location-based genealogy to find out where his ancestors lived in Italy.
  2. Twitter, It’s Not Just “What I Had For Breakfast” Anymore, taught by Thomas MacEntee.  I took his social media class the day before, but I really felt like I needed the complete Twitter class.  I had signed up for an account months ago, but had yet to really use it.  I can understand Facebook, but Twitter was a mystery to me.  The hashtags and following were confusing.  I’m glad to say that I now understand the ins and outs of Twitter and how I can use it in my genealogy research.
  3. An Introduction to, taught by Bernie Gracy.  Many of the people who attended his first session returned for the second.  While the first session was geared towards how to use location-based research, this one was specific to the site Ancestral Hunt.  Standing room only again.  They had to move him to a larger room for his last class.
  4. The DAR Library for All: Near or Far, Member or Not, taught by Jennifer Dondero. She worked for the DAR before starting her own company and is very knowledgeable.  Since I am in the process of filling out my DAR paperwork, I was very interested in seeing what things I may have missed on the website.  I also found out that she does NARA research and I’m considering hiring her to find my John Edwards Civil War pension records, which I have been trying to find for the past 10 years.
  5. A Ton of Thompsons? A Bounty of Browns? – Researching the Common Surname, taught by Deborah Campisano.  Those common names often turn into a brick wall.  I have a few of them – John Robertson, Francis Lee, Thomas Woods.  It definitely makes it hard to pick them out of a crowd.  This class showed some techniques for how to single them out.  One of the record groups that I really haven’t used is tax records.  I think that I need to look into that one.

When the classes were over, there was a closing keynote speech and then prize drawings.  Do you think I won anything?  Nope.  I was really hoping for the week of research in Salt Lake City – as was everyone else!  That’s okay though, I bought a few books and some back magazine issues which I’m very excited about reading.  I also came home with a nerdy T-shirt which says “I’ve lost my census”.  Yes, I’m a geek.:)

So, all in all my trip was a great experience!  I have no regrets about going – even though I had to spend 9 hours in the car this weekend (after driving to Kansas and back earlier this week.)  I think that I’m going to stay home for a while, though.

A few of the things I want to remember for next time:

  1. Bring snacks and drinks!
  2. Bring a friend!  I felt like everyone else came with someone.
  3. Get a hotel room the night before so that I can be awake during my classes.
  4. Take pictures and don’t feel weird about it!
  5. Print the syllabus beforehand.
  6. Make sure that my phone and computer are fully charged.

I feel like I’ve had a nice practice run for the upcoming NGS conference in Charleston next year.  Now I’m no longer a conference newbie.:)

  • Linda McCauley - November 14, 2010 - 7:45 am

    Hi Jen, Wish you had come by the Blogger table in the Exhibit Hall. You would have found instant friends to hang out with – some of us were even in a couple of the same classes you were in on Sat. There will no doubt be lots of bloggers at NGS – I’m planning to go.ReplyCancel

    • Jen - November 14, 2010 - 9:55 pm

      I wish I would have sat down and hung out too!!ReplyCancel

  • Mavis Jones - November 15, 2010 - 9:37 pm

    Hate I didn’t get a chance to meet you. As Linda said, you should have come by the bloggers table. I was only there for the 2nd day but had a blast.ReplyCancel

    • Jen - November 15, 2010 - 11:05 pm

      I should have! I promise not to be shy next time. :)ReplyCancel

  • Atlanta Family History Expo Bloggers’ Recap - November 18, 2010 - 10:26 am

    […] Atlanta Family History Expo: Day 2 Recap […]ReplyCancel

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First of all, I want to say that I had planned on blogging while at the Family History Expo – or at least in my hotel room afterward. As you can see, that didn’t happen.:)

I must think myself a superhuman of some sort. I wanted to be away from my family for as little time as possible (and of course save some money), so I decided not to get a hotel room the night before the conference. Instead, I rolled out of my driveway at 2:30 a.m. – as in when I should still be snoozing. I actually usually don’t even go to sleep until after midnight, so this was a stretch for me. I didn’t seem to consider how tired I would be though.  I was excited.

The drive between Savannah and Macon is a very boring one. The only thing that kept me awake was the fact that I had to be very vigilant about the bright eyed and bushy tailed deer that were wandering on the highway – the gallon of Coke I drank helped too. The last stretch, from Macon to Atlanta, was of a different nature. Maybe I’m an Alaskan driver now after having spent the past 3 years there. I’m not sure, but nothing in my driving experience has prepared me for the craziness of Atlanta drivers. I was going at least 10 over and people were passing me like I was parked on the interstate. There were 8 lanes to the freeway! When you don’t really know where you’re going and you’re extremely sleepy, that isn’t a good mix. I made it alive though and pulled into the convention center with plenty of time to spare – thankfully.

I didn’t have a hotel room until after the conference and I was leery about leaving my computer and camera in the car, so I lugged it around with me all day long. It was really heavy and I was really tired. I wished that I had wheels on my bag, as many people did. I also wish that I had packed some drinks and snacks, because the food there was comparable to airport food in price. I wasn’t leaving though and chancing getting lost, so I sucked it up and lived on M&M’s, coffee, and a very overpriced deli sandwich.

I managed to drink enough coffee to keep an elephant awake for a week. That, paired with the excitement of my first conference, kept me going all day.

Here is a recap of the classes I took the first day of the Expo:

  1. Social Networking for Genealogists, taught by Thomas MacEntee of Geneablogger fame.  I came away with some new information.  I obviously am not a complete newbie to social media.  I have a couple of blogs.  I am on Facebook – although I’m not an addict.  Maybe I’m in denial.:)  I didn’t know anything about wikis though (other than Wikipedia) and I learned a few basic things about Twitter (which I was completely ignorant about).
  2. Traditional DNA Testing and Beyond – The Next Revolution in Genetic Genealogy, taught by Elise Friedman.  I think that most people don’t really understand DNA.  I am not a math and science whiz, so a page full of complicated numbers makes my brain shut down very quickly.  I wanted to try to learn a bit about what my DNA report actually shows (I had my brother do one on Ancestry a few years back) and if it would be worth doing another one, with more markers.  I was pleased to find out that Family Tree DNA offers a new type of DNA test that I can take – and that it is not a direct-line sort of test.  It sounds exciting, but it is still quite expensive.  It is called “Family Finder” and costs about $289.  I probably won’t be doing it anytime in the near future.  I still have 5 kids to feed after all.:)
  3. Siblings for Sarah: A Whole Family Research Approach to Identifying Parents, taught by Deborah Campisano.  From the very beginning of my research, I have always done the whole family, so this was not a new concept to me.  I did enjoy seeing this practice confirmed and learning about some new records that I should go and search.
  4. Creating the Perfect Biography That Even Non-Relatives Will Want to Read!, taught by M. Bridget Cook.  She is the author of a couple of biographies, including Shattered Silence.  I am definitely at a point in my research where I feel like I need to start sharing the information I have in a more exciting  format.  She talked about adding juicy details to the biographies we write – on ourselves or our ancestors.
  5. My Ancestors Were From Germany and I Don’t Speak German!  Easily Available Resources Specific to German Research, taught by Tamra Stansfield of FamilySearch.  I actually do speak a little German.  I took 4 years of it in high school and went to Germany as an exchange student during the summer.  I don’t really use it anymore, but I can get by with a dictionary.:)  I have German ancestry on many different lines, and I haven’t really delved into the research “across the pond”, so I was interested about hearing the different resources available in this research.

Besides the classes, there was plenty of time to wander the exhibit hall.  There were booths from the regulars like Ancestry and FamilySearch, but there were some products that I had never seen before.  One of them that I thought was really cool is the Flip Pal scanner.  It is a small, portable, battery-operated scanner.  Can you imagine being able to take it along with you when you visit a relative with old photos?  You could scan the pictures without taking them out of the albums!  I’m thinking that you could copy courthouse records this way also, but I’m not sure if all of them would allow this.  It’s now on my wish list of cool gadgets that I would like to have.:)

After all of the classes and browsing, I headed over to my hotel (pretty much across the parking lot) and checked in.  I had planned on going out to dinner and then spending a blissful evening of sitting on my king-sized bed, watching TV on the flatscreen (I don’t have cable or satellite at home), and blissfully blogging about my day.  Do you think that this happened?  Of course not.

My caffeine high was gone and I crashed and burned.  I managed to dial room service for some dinner – Monterey Chicken, my favorite. I ate and then I was out.  I slept like the dead.  My computer didn’t even get turned on.

It was a long, but very rewarding day.  Day 2 Recap to come….

  • Cherie Cayemberg - November 14, 2010 - 3:33 pm

    I so love reading your posts! Glad you had a great time too! Trying to convince Rick to go on one of the genealogy cruises next year (without the kids)!ReplyCancel

  • Atlanta Family History Expo Bloggers’ Recap - November 18, 2010 - 10:17 am

    […] Atlanta Family History Expo: Day 1 Recap […]ReplyCancel

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I have been a member of a few societies over the years. Sometimes I join one when I am focusing my research on a certain area and need look-ups done or I want to receive the newsletters from that particular area.

I have also joined the local societies so that I can meet with other genealogists and learn through the speakers. I had the great luck of living in Monterey, CA for a number of years. We often had Karen Clifford as a speaker and our meetings were held at the Family History Center which had a plethora of books and microfiche available.

I just recently joined the Savannah Area Genealogical Association and have attended 2 meetings so far. It really makes me wish that I had family in the Low Country. The area is so full of historic significance and the cemeteries here are beautiful, but my family didn’t play a part in any of its history. Even if I don’t have any research interest in this area, I still like attending meetings and being around people with the same common interests.

I am also in the process of joining a local DAR chapter. It is going to be a long process, but I’m looking forward to attending the meetings and meeting some other genealogists in the area.

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