Sunday, May 14, 2017

Good times at the 2017 NGS conference

* Being present Friday when my friend and colleague Karen Stanbary was presented the award for outstanding article published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly in 2016: "Rafael Arriaga, a Mexican Father in Michigan: Autosomal DNA Helps Identify Paternity." Even readers not fluent in DNA will be able to glimpse the power in this technique.

* Hearing LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson's eloquent and nuanced talk at the BCG luncheon Thursday, "Condemnation of Memory: Recalling that African American Genealogy Is American Genealogy" -- which introduced me to some new tools as well.

* Hearing presentations by David Ouimette on Thursday ("Silent Border Crossings: Tracing the Elusive Immigrant Who Left Only Breadcrumbs for Clues") and Thomas W. Jones on Friday ("Converting a Bunch of Information into a Credible Conclusion"). Assemblage is a key intermediate stage between gathering evidence and writing it up. Sometimes we can do it in our heads, but in the more difficult cases we need to lay it all out in plain sight.

* Talking with genealogists, both vintage and new. It seems that is now the main thing I do at national conferences.

* Spending several days within a few blocks of the North Carolina State Archives . . . without ever actually getting there!

* Appreciating the ongoing work to establish good standards for the use of DNA in genealogy.


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