Thursday, 9 April 2015

#AFFHO Congress 2015 - Part 3

Day Two of AFFHO Congress 2015
I missed the morning sessions on Saturday as I wasn’t feeling very well that morning.  I had been planning on going to Pauleen Cass’ talk The Marriage of Local and Family History – A Bridge to the Past, & Paul Milner’s Scotland - Maps and Gazetteers for Research.

So my first presentation for the day was by Jenny Joyce, The UK Gazettes – A Treasure Trove of Information for Family History.  Jenny used a variety of examples from the gazettes to illustrate the range of resources that are in the gazettes & how they can help you research ancestors, events & the social history of an area.  She also demonstrated how to access the gazettes online.

I attended the lunchtime session, Volunteering at The National Archives, by Roger Kershaw.  He presented an interesting list of the social, emotional & work-related benefits of being a volunteer at the archives.  Roger also displayed some data that showed how many hours were spent on a project by volunteers & compared it to how long it would have taken a paid employee to complete the same work & how much it would have cost the archives to pay that employee.  What can be achieved by volunteers (the whole ‘crowdsourcing’ concept) is staggering!  It costs almost nothing & is done in a fraction of the time, allowing more resources to be accessed by anyone online.

The afternoon keynote address was by Richard Reid, If You Ever Go Across the Sea to Ireland: Realities of 19th Century Ireland.  I have ancestors from several Irish counties.  Richard really put the scope of emigration from north-west Donegal to NSW from 1859 - 1865 into perspective.  My 3rd great grandfather emigrated from this area in 1861.  The richness of his descriptions of the conditions in Dunfanaghy & the wider area of Cloughaneely inspired me to buy his book, Farewell my Children so that I could learn more about the area specifically & emigration from Ireland around this time in general.

Kerry Farmer’s talk was Learn More from Autosomal & X-Chromosome DNA.  I had my DNA tested about 2 years ago but I haven’t really been able to do anything with it so far.  After listening to Kerry’s talk, I know that if I can get my parents’ DNA tested it will help me determine where segments of my autosomal DNA came from, & then I will be better able to determine how Family Finder matches on Family Tree DNA are related to me by using triangulation and phasing.  The idea of using GEDmatch to create a Lazarus kit for an untested direct ancestor is intriguing.  Again, if I’m able to test my parent/s’ DNA, I’ll be able to use GEDmatch to its fullest potential.  Unfortunately, people aren’t always comfortable ‘giving away’ their DNA for testing.  Kerry’s book, DNA for Genealogists, has just been newly revised & released, so I’m looking forward to using it & her website to look further into my DNA results & see what else I can learn.

The final session I attended for the day was Remembering and Commemorating our Ancestors by Perry McIntyre.  Perry stated that family historians & historians need to work together to construct a balanced written history.  She also showed images of a range of memorials & discussed how & why these memorials were erected to commemorate our ancestors & pivotal events in social history such as the Irish Famine & the diaspora.

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