Genealogy without borders …. it certainly had none this last weekend in St Catherines, Ontario! Having put in my lecture proposals last year, it barely seems possible that the event is over already.
Arriving on Friday evening for dinner at Brock University, it was great to quickly locate Canadian friends who I had previously met on their travels to ‘my side’ of the pond – John D. Reid, Glenn Wright, Elizabeth and Edward Kipp – as well as making new connections with fellow genealogy addicts. Although there had been many workshops on Friday (as well as tours on Thursday), I had chosen to catch up with a friend from Ottawa University days (the Class of 1998-1999) for a few days prior to conference and was delighted to have my own personal tours, including a visit to the Niagara Falls Floral Clock and the Falls themselves….
Friday evening saw swift introductions to fellow lecturers Marian Press, Jane MacNamara and James F.S. Thomson, before the lecture at the official opening ceremony from Chris Paton. They were all so welcoming to this ‘foreigner’ and extremely knowledgeable in the field – let’s get them over to the UK!
The reception ‘with cash bar’ which followed unfortunately did not involve any alcoholic beverages and so, the ‘team’ retired to residence in Niagara-on-the-Lake in preparation for the Social Media Panel at 8:15am on Saturday morning. Eek – that meant getting up rather early!
The Panel was streamed live and was really enjoyable – in fact, several people commented that it was one of the best sessions at conference. Chaired by John D. Reid, I joined Tony Bandy, Daniel Horowitz, Chris Paton and Marian Press to discuss the benefits of social media, developments and trends in family history as well as a modicum of self-promotion. Although the Society for One-Place Studies did not have a stand/booth/call-it-what-you-will at the conference, I certainly took every opportunity to promote the new innovative, worldwide society for one-place studies, using half of my ‘shameless promotion’ section – as titled by John D. Reid – to talk about it!
Saturday seemed to disappear so quickly for me. I supported the Guild of One-Name Studies stand for much of the morning before slipping away to deliver my lecture on Child Migration to Canada (sponsored by British Home Child) in the early afternoon. A controversial subject – I had been ‘warned’ on Friday – though it would appear that the talk was well-received with many questions and connections with other organisations (including a meeting this afternoon with Canada’s Executive Director of the British Home Children Advocacy and Research Association).
The banquet venue was a challenge to locate on Saturday evening and positioned right next door to Niagara’s Detention Centre – thank heaven for the map skills of James F.S. Thomson who had run a workshop on Friday on Google Earth and Maps Engine Lite! The meal was fit for a King – a rather large one – as the courses were never ending. We certainly did not go hungry! With a after-dinner lecture from Henry Z. ‘Hank’ Jones, Jr. on how psychic roots became an unsolved mystery, we retired to residence once more to recharge the batteries, in every sense.
Sunday began a little later but was none-the-less very busy. Two lectures for me which meant less time to wander and meet people. ‘Publishing and publicising your research’ and ‘Searching The National Archives (TNA) in the UK’ (the latter being streamed) went down well with lots of questions…. removing the scary side of publishing what you have discovered, and providing information on how to search both online and offline at TNA. Who knows what the Discovery catalogue might hold in relation to your family history?
And then the closing ceremony with prizes, thanks and the announcement of next year’s OGS Conference venue, in Barrie, 5-7 June 2015. See you there…..?