Another 8.30 start this morning but I wanted to be at the venue earlier.
I had arranged to meet with fellow geneablogger, Jennifer Jones (See Jennifer’s blog here )
We had managed to swap messages and tweets throughout the day yesterday but not managed to actually catch up with each other. Imagine our mutual surprise when we discovered a longstanding family connection! Isn’t this what Congress is all about? If we’re not discovering new ways of uncovering what has happened in the past, we’re establishing ways of taking our family’s stories forward.
Not all “Family” is biological – for my family, there was one special family who, although not related by blood, were a significant part of our early lives as children. The adults stood as my godparents at my christening. Before this, they had stood beside my parents as witness to their wedding….and even before this, had been involved with my mother’s school life and when she was first in business as a florist.
They were intricately entwined in our early years, as many a Christmas night gathering would attest.
Recently, I was allowed the box of old family photos to scan and amongst them are pictures of my mother and father as children, teenagers and “young marrieds “. Naturally, their special friends Ailsa and Les, featured throughout.
This one’s for you, Chris.
So…. it was on with the day.
The proceedings opened with Joshua Taylor from FindMyPast as Keynote speaker. He promised it would not be 45 minutes of continual advertisement for the Congress’ main sponsor and it wasn’t. We delighted in his recounting of his own induction into the world of genealogy, how Disney is building the family tree into many of its movies and supporting products, his experience of working with celebrities on “Who Do You Think You Are?” and how Grandmothers are just the best people!
From here I moved to hear Dr Richard Reid talk about the experience of Australians on the Western Front. He focused on the stories of four servicemen and took us through the experience and the impact of those bloody campaigns. It was hard to sit and listen to Richard talk about the events of 20th September 1917 and to see the contemporary images of the Menin Road battle when this was where and when one of my great uncles lost his life. He was 20 years old.
My Morning sessions concluded with a tour through the UK Gazettes with Jenny Joyce. This was a great introduction to the gazettes and all the wonderful opportunities they hold for expanding our understanding of our ancestor’s lives. As Jenny pointed out, this might be the only place we find reference to some of our antecedents and their activity.
In between morning sessions I had attended Jill’s talk in Speaker’s Corner about blogging… and was officially “beaded”! It only took me a day and a half to find her in the crowds!
To be continued……