First, I went to Railroad Men and the Records They Left Behind by Patricia Walls Stamm. My paternal grandfather, his father and his grandfather all worked for the railroad, as did others in his line, so I was looking forward to learning more about the records available for them. What surprised me the most is that railroad papers traveled with the person in charge of them. You have to look everywhere to find out who currently holds the archives for a particular railroad. Most railroads have historical societies which can also help with these records.
My second session was Research Reports for Ourselves:More than a Research Log Presented by Paula Stuart-Warren. I think everyone was surprised by the packed house for this lecture. It was quite apparent that I am not the only one who does not, as Ms. Stuart-Warren said, treat her work as well as I would a client.
My number one takeaway from this class is to follow the BCG report standards, using proper citations, for all research done. This will ensure that both I and other researchers know what has been done and what needs to be done in the future. This class led perfectly into my last session of the morning, Information Overload? Effective Project Planning, Research, Data Management & Analysis by Elizabeth Shown Mills.
This was the best class of the entire conference, in my opinion, and I highly recommend purchasing the CD recording. The premise of the class was that when genealogical programs came into being, researchers stopped writing research reports and good research logs and instead just entered data into the program and stopped. Actually, data entry should be the last thing we do, only after all research and analysis is complete. For more information on what our reports should look like, look on the APG website. While sitting through this class it was made crystal clear that I need to stop researching and re-enter all of my data into a research log and a genealogy program, making sure all events are caught, that the citations are perfect, that I am looking at FANs and that I am analyzing the data, including writing down further research plans.
After this class I made one more loop around the expo, where I met Katie Chapman, one of the creators of Geungle. To begin with, Katie is tremendously sweet and very knowledgeable about organizing ones genealogy. I am very excited for this site to come live in the next few months, as I feel it will be the type of genealogy “program” that will pull together all that Paula Stuart-Warren and Elizabeth Shown Mills spoke of, which helping genealogists collaborate in a much fuller way.
After this, my husband and I headed out of Cincinnati, skipping the afternoon sessions, as I had to work Sunday and it is a long trip back to Syracuse. I had an amazing time at this conference and cannot wait to attend the 2013 conference in Las Vegas. I am also hopeful that I will visit Cincinnati again soon, as there is much of the city I have left to explore.