Yesterday was a nice day spent in the company of pleasant people - a group of genealogists! The Indiana Genealogical Society Conference was held in Fort Wayne with a little over 100 folks in attendance. I went with my friend Cindy so didn't “hang out” with the other geneabloggers. I did meet Tina Lyons at check-in (we recognized each other right away) and caught up with her again during a break in sessions. Also saw Linda Herrick Swisher and introduced myself but it was just as a session was beginning and we didn't get to talk. Harold Henderson was there but when I finally saw him in one session, he was out the door so quickly when it ended that I missed him. Some other time, perhaps.
There were two “tracks” for sessions. I attended two sessions with Debra S. Mieszala: The first was “Lessons From A Snoop: Collaterals and Associates” in which she discussed the importance of researching not just your ancestors but everyone around them. I've done quite a bit with collateral relatives but very little with associates. They could be the key to cementing relationships and there are some that I know I should follow up on.
The second session that I attended with Debra was “Digging Through Documents Word By Word” where she emphasized that relationships as we know them today are not necessarily the same as they were back in the day. Sister, brother, cousin, Junior, Senior, aunt, uncle, etc. could and often do not mean the same thing to us that they did to our ancestors. I was aware of that from personal experience - My dad called any relative older than him aunt or uncle, when in fact they were some degree of cousin. The man we all called “Uncle Howard” was actually Dad's 1st cousin once removed. Given the fact that he was 40 years older than dad, it made sense to us to call him Uncle.
The third session for me was “Becoming Expert On Using Ancestry” with Melissa Shimkus, which reinforced that there is always something new to learn. The most important thing I took away from this session was a reminder that wild card searches can be used - something that I haven't taken advantage of so much - and that there are other options to obtain alternate spellings besides soundex.
Neither Cindy nor I were interested in the last session - one tract covered Patent records (those of the inventor kind, not land patents) and the other was on creating a book using Family Tree Maker and Microsoft Word. Neither of us uses either of those programs, so we skipped out for the day and headed home.
We did attend the “Annual Meeting and Awards” session. Two friends, Charlotte Blair and Judy Richter received certificates of merit based on their work as the Whitley County Genealogist and Noble County Genealogist, respectively. They were also recognized for their many contributions to their local societies as well as with the Indiana Genealogical Society.
Other awards given at the Annual Meeting were for inductees into the Society of Civil War Soldiers of Indiana and the newest society that was created in honor of the anniversary of the War of 1812 called the Territorial Guard Society of Indiana.
My ancestors Jacob Wise and William Brubaker were part of the “first” class of inductees into the Society of Civil War Soldiers of Indiana in 2007. I have one possible ancestral candidate for the Territorial Guard Society of Indiana - John Bray of Switzerland County. But the requirements are rather stringent - you must be a “direct descendant of any person who lived within the present boundaries of the State of Indiana on or before the day of statehood on December 11, 1816.” It's going to be tough to prove since the information I currently have that says he was here in 1816 is hearsay...