Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Two Great Talks This Week

It's too bad more SGS members can't make it to our many talks and programs. Last week featured presentations by two Seattle area professional genealogists. Both were interesting and informative. About 30 people attended each talk, which is a significant increase over the number of members who used to attend our monthly programs. Hopefully we're offering topics and speakers of greater interest to our members.
On Monday, July 12, Evelyn Roehl spoke on "Genealogy Quirks"--weird things in databases and indexes that genealogists use. Evelyn has been collecting examples of such quirks for many years, as witnessed by the article on the same topic she wrote for the SGS Bulletin back in 2000 (which has been scanned and should be posted shortly on the SGS website). For this presentation, Evelyn had numerous great examples of errors and omissions in databases we all use that could cause unsuspecting genealogists to turn prematurely grey or pull out our hair. Hopefully we all learned that you can't trust an index to be comprehensive and if you don't find someone where you know they should be, check to make sure the database you're searching is accurate and comprehensive.
On Saturday, July 17th, Sarah Thorson Little spoke about her "Whirlwind Research: 50 States in 50 Days." Sarah was hired by Dr. Ellen Fitzpatrick, author of Letters to Jackie, to obtain releases from authors or their descendants of over 200 letters written to Jackie Kennedy in 1963 following the death of her husband, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Sarah shared how she used every scrap of information contained in the letters and the envelopes they were sent in to fulfill her assignment. What was particularly amazing was that Sarah had less than two months to track down all these people, while continuing to hold down a job and deal with various fall holidays. Attendees at this talk learned a lot about carefully reading letters for every clue and making use of helpful librarians and other local resources to find living relatives.
This week we have the DNA Interest Group meeting on Wednesday evening and a special half-day Scottish Genealogy Workshop on Saturday afternoon. Hope to see you at SGS soon.

1 comment:

  1. I was sorry I was out of town and missed Sarah Thorson Little's talk. It sounded so interesting.
    I was lucky enough to have her as an instructor when I took the Family History & Genealogy course at U of W about 10 years ago.