The first and second days of the conference (actually the second and third, but I did not attend any of the events on Wednesday) were busy ones. On Thursday I started out with Thomas Jones’ presentation “Solving the Mystery of the Disappearing Ancestor.” As usual, Mr. Jones gave an eye-opening presentation; he outlined the various ways that we might “overlook” an ancestor and categorized the reasons we might miss them. Even for the category we might think of first – wrong name – he had some intriguing alternations in names and listed some nicknames that I hadn’t known about before.
The next presentation I attended was J. Stephen Cotham’s “The Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection: How to Make the Most of Your Research Time.” I paid close attention to this one, because when I can better pinpoint the location of my brickwall ancestor from Tennessee (Susan Elizabeth Smith), I would like to return and take advantage of the outstanding resources of the McClung Collection.
Following this I went to D. Joshua Taylor’s presentation on “Clustering and More: Successful Internet Searching.” Most of the Google tricks I already knew, but Josh’s methods for keeping records of searches and systematically broadening/narrowing and alternating search terms are a good example to follow. The new information I hoped to gain from this lecture did not disappoint, either: how to use Clusty in searches. This is a site that I will have to start incorporating in my research. I especially like the search result categorization function.
I had originally intended to attend the presentation on the Tennessee State Library and Archives, since that is another resource I plan to use, but realized that we also had a long evening ahead of us and that I should probably rest some before we headed out to the Museum of Appalachia.