Reflections on #Congress2018

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#Congress2018

I have just returned from Sydney where hard work by the Society for Australian Genealogists (SAG) and 600 participants contributed to making Bridging the Past & Future a congress to remember. As a new participant I was soon under Jill Ball‘s wing along with 300 other ‘first timers’. Bloggers couldn’t hide in the corner as Jill’s ‘blogging beads’ were a beacon to bloggers seeking a conversation. There was lots of chatting and new friendships as people mixed and mingled with ease.

There were many high quality presentations with Judy G. Russell‘s Plenary Session Just Three Generations standing out as one of the very best for me. If ever a genealogist needed justification for their work this presentation provided it! Judy stated the need to deliberately and accurately pass down our family stories.  She urged participants to look for the truth in family stories, to verify them and pass them on.  I have memories of my grandfather telling stories to a lounge room full of people in Brunswick East.  I now have the Amiens Cathedral made of cards that hung above the fireplace and I can remember Grandad standing there.  I can remember the laughter but I do not remember the stories. I was so very young. No-one has been able to answer my question, ‘What were Grandad’s stories?’  All I know is they were about what the soldiers got up to in France when they were not at the front or about his time as a Scout Master.  Three generations and the stories are lost.

Angela Phippen’s Oops – I wish I’d checked the original! brought home loud and clear the importance of checking references thoroughly.  Using The Letters of Rachel Henning Angela demonstrated the difference that can occur through a published work and an original work.   The results were stunning and we will all be seeking original copies of documents from now on!

Jan Worthington told us to avoid the ‘black holes’ in her Your Story session. I was thinking, “How does she know I am obsessed with ‘just one more bit of research’ i.e. in a black hole?”  The key is to start writing. It’s time to stop Hunting Henrietta; it is time to ‘walk in her footsteps’ and write her story!

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‘Old’ friends from Melbourne – thank you for being at #Congress2018!

Our heads spun as we soaked up research know how and How-to tips, trying hard not to miss even a little piece of wisdom.  English and Irish research sessions were popular and, while people seemed to shake their heads at the complexity of DNA research, you could see no-one was going to give up. We travelled from seventeenth century to the modern day and still had the enthusiasm to learn new techniques and take on new ideas.

 

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New friends from Sydney and Melbourne – do you know why we are all wearing beads? (answer in paragraph 1)

The Cockle Bay room was almost full for the last session Create a free Google Earth Map Collection for Your Genealogy Research with Lisa Louise Cooke. While many wondered where the time was coming from it was evident others were ready for this new mapping challenge. People dispersed quickly after the closing ceremony: some for a drink, many for a rest and others, like us, headed straight to the airport. Many times I heard the same farewell, ‘See you at the next Congress!

 

And yes, I did have a cousin at the conference!!!

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Cousins! ‘Not too distant for me’

Picture of 40+ bloggers at #Congress2018

All these participants at #Congress2018 have blogs for you to read! Can you identify the GSV members in this photograph? There are at least five. Photograph by Murray Nicholas.

 

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3 thoughts on “Reflections on #Congress2018

    • It was a good talk Pauline. Jan presented a practical framework for getting started and developing writing. At the same time she told us there are no rules and ‘be brave on the page’. I found it very hard to chose between many sessions too. The program was full of talented speakers.

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