11 October 2008

BIFHSGO Conference Shots - Saturday, Sunday

A further selection of photos from the BIFHSGO Conference, 19-21 September 2008.

Sherry Irvine kicked off the Saturday session with a plenary presentation "UK Archives and Record Offices Online." Many county record offices are working fast and furious to put some of their materials of interest to genealogists online, some for free, some for a fee. Essex, where Sherry has family roots, was used as an example of a progressive county. The most recent major announcement is from the London Metropolitan Archives.

Following her presentation Sherry moved to the Global Genealogy sales area to sign copies of her books, all of which completely sold out.

The marketplace was inundated during the first break. If it doesn't look like it in the photo it's because it was taken when things had calmed down. This was the first BIFHSGO conference for Ed Zapletal, co-owner and editor of magazines Discovering Family History, Family Chronicle, and Internet Genealogy. He said he'll be back.

BIFHSGO always tries to have a presentation by one of LAC's many experts as part of the conference. This year Jeffrey Murray, LAC senior map archivist, and author of "Terra Nostra: the Stories behind Canada's maps 1550-1950" took on that role and even expanded on his presentation as originally conceived to give more emphasis to maps of genealogical interest.

All the way from the UK, via Philadelphia and Washington, Chris Watts made a return appearance for BIFHSGO. He had made a short presentation to a BIFHSGO monthly meeting nearly two years ago during a private research trip. In the first of three presentations he summarized various English Occupational Records of interest for family history. His other talks were on "British Army Records 1760-1913" and "British Merchant Navy Seaman Records." His talks were packed both with information and attendees. The handouts had to be reprinted.

Back at the marketplace the A team from the Quebec Family History Society was there with their Roadshow. On the right from front to back are Derek Hopkins, appropriately peering at a computer screen, Bob Dunn, John Reid (yes another one!), and QFHS President and conference speaker Gary Schroder.

Gary gave two presentations, again to large appreciative audiences. "English Probate Records: the Middle Ages to 2008: and "The English Parish Chest: Finding and Using the Records." These were also presentations where more handouts were needed than were printed. Copies may be found here and here.

The final presenter taking more than one turn at the podium was Marian Press, librarian and the University of Toronto, genealogy instructor and writer. Marian's articles are frequently found in Internet Genealogy, so it was appropriate that her first presentation was "Genealogy 2.0: what do I need to know?" On Sunday morning Marian made her second presentation, sponsored by Friends of the Ottawa Public Library, "The Past, Present and Future of Libraries for Family History." Sherry and Marian commented that they were both very much of a mind when it comes to the Internet and genealogy.

Another exhibitor at the marketplace, a longtime exhibitor, was Archive CD Books Canada. Their tables were loaded down with their CD reproductions of historic books, and those of their partners. Many of their products are now available online through subscription to World Vital Records.

Rounding out the program were presentations by local speakers, members of BIFHSGO, Lesley Anderson, Jane Down, Alison Hare and Glen Wright. Their popularity is shown in that they all spoke in the auditorium, the larger presentation space available, based on a vote of the membership earlier in the year. There were also opportunities to try genealogy databases from Ancestry, FindMyPast and ProQuest; individual consultation sessions by folks from the Canadian Genealogy Centre on Saturday (the photo shows Sarah Chatfield and Sylvie Tremblay) and BIFHSGO on Sunday.

The final presentation of the conference was a plenary session with Sherry Irvine speaking on "Migration within the British Isles", a panel session followed where audience members had an opportunity to ask questions of general genealogical interest, and then a prize draw conducted by BIFHSGO President Mary Ann Sharpe.

You may be sorry you missed this conference. I expect another one will be held next September. Don't be sorry again. Watch the BIFHSGO website for news.

All photography by Ken Wood, Copyright BIFHSGO 2008

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