While I am still trying to catch my breath and process everything from the last few days, I will say that it was a WONDERFUL time! I met people (LOTS of people), learned new information (LOTS of new information), found new relatives, new family stories and even discovered the history of a family heirloom (which I will get into more in a separate post). The only thing I regret is that I spent maybe fifteen minutes (usually either coming or going) the whole two days in the Exhibit Hall and only briefly got to meet some of the other Bloggers of Honor. I also missed the Genealogy Gems Podcast event which I am sad about. I was so tired after my last class that the half hour nap I took when I got back to the hotel around four o'clock ended up being several hours.
But the classes and the people teaching them were wonderful and I met many people at the classes interested in the same areas of research as myself which was an added bonus. Here is a run down of the classes I took on Friday:
Southern Land Records, Part 1 (and later Part 2) with Arlene Eakle. All I can say is WOW. Just wow. I knew very little about land records and even less about the South going in to the class. I also had no idea that so many records from the South had been lost, especially in Tennessee and Kentucky (two states I'm interested in) or that there were so many ways around the records lost. I could have spent years researching the topic and not have accumulated a quarter of the information she shared with us in those two hours. I also love that the syllabus for the classes was so well put together that I was able to just sit back and listen and really only needed to take minimal notes. In the key note speech, Beau Sharbrough jokingly said to take all of Arlene Eakle's classes. After attending the two I did that day, I concur wholeheartedly.
Hansel and Gretel: Finding the Trail Home to Our German Ancestors with Tamra Stansfield. The audio problems the Expo had to deal with off and on both days was most evident in this class but the material itself was very interesting. I will say that someone just starting out in genealogy would benefit the most from the class. I already knew some of the information from the first part of the class (like where to look online for records and information) but as she started going into Germany's history and class structure my interest in the class started to pick up quite a bit and I ended up learning a lot. Going in to the class I was a bit afraid to do German research (because of all the boundary changes, record loss and language barrier) but coming out of the class, I feel ready to tackle that area of my family tree.
Using State and Territorial Censuses and Substitutes of the Western States with Leland K. Meitzler. First off, let me just say that Mr. Meitzler is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet and the knowledge and obvious love of family history he brought to the class made it one of the most enjoyable of the Expo for me. Going in to the class I knew a little about the census records of the states of California, Arizona and Nevada but he covered so much more. For instance, I had no idea that territories seeking statehood held a census almost annually (in most cases) until they were admitted to the Union, which makes places like Oregon a census goldmine. The substitutes he mentioned were also for the most part knew to me. Alaska comes to mind here because even though there were no state or territorial censuses taken, there are some good substitutes out there which make up for the lack of censuses. As a complete aside, Mr. Meitzler also happened to be the person who sold me my copy of Professional Genealogy - I wish now that I had asked him to autograph it for me!
My saint of a (non genealogically inclined) mother even attended two classes that day: Scanning and Photo Retouching with Tom Underhill and California Dreamin' with Gena Philibert Ortega. These are two classes I had wanted to attend but they conflicted with the other classes above. I am so grateful to my mother for going to these classes for me and I look forward to reading her notes on them. Best of all? She said she enjoyed them and wanted to go to more classes the next day!
All in all, Friday was a great day 1 of the California Family History Expo.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary registration to the event but no further remuneration and my mother paid for the classes she attended. I was in no way prompted to write this post or any of it's content by any outside party including Family History Expos, Inc. and the event sponsors.