Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thursday in Little Rock

Not necessarily representative tidbits from my day at the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Arkansas' cap city:

* At the opening ceremonies: Jim Hastings of the National Archives, discussing the rationale for their many partnerships in digitizing records: "Our goal is to make our information available to people who don't know we exist."

* Elizabeth Shown Mills' 7th principle for jump-starting your research: "Accept reality. Don't demand a smoking gun."

* Tom Jones: "Any source can err. Therefore, genealogical proof results only from a reasoning process, not from any record." BTW, he's still looking in the peer-reviewed genealogical literature for any example of a case in which (1) no source specifies X's parentage (or when a source specifies it wrongly), and (2) a source states that Y is not the ancestor of X, and (3) it is finally proved that Y is. This may seem like an unusual quest, and it is, but I can't explain it without recapitulating the most challenging theoretical genealogical lecture I've ever heard.

* Marie Varrelman Melchiori on military records in the National Archives: Anyone who served through 1855 could have Unindexed Bounty Land, regardless of whether they had a pension. Check it out.

* Tim Pinnick: you will not believe what hard-core genealogy information you can find in Congressional hearings. Start with the 42-volume index in most university libraries.

No comments: