Friday, May 4, 2018

Nebraska State Genealogical Society 2018 Spring Conference - My Takeaways

The Nebraska State Genealogical Society 2018 Spring Conference was Friday, April 27 and Saturday, April 28. Since it was held in the town I was born and raised in, and on the weekend of my mother's birthday and my niece's high school graduation party, you know I wouldn't miss it. Two of my mother's sisters had planned on being there but their stopover on their long drive was the daughter of one of them and their family had the flu. Because my aunts are elderly, they didn't want to risk getting sick and add on the five and a half hour drive, they decided it wasn't worth the risk. I was able to visit the graves of my mother and father and also visit with family and friends at the graduation party. But you don't want to hear about that. You want to hear about the genealogy conference, so here you go!

First, we received a welcome from Columbus Mayor Jim Bulkley. This is the first time I've ever been to an event in my home town that received a welcome from the Mayor. Wow! Are you impressed? In the various discussions, both in sessions and during breaks, I came away with several new pieces of information and ideas of what to research next:

I spoke with a member of the Platte Valley Kin Seekers regarding the Orphan Train. We discussed the first cousin of my grandfather whose name was George (aka Christian) Muller/Wells and his experience in being put on the Orphan Train, ending up in Red Cloud, Nebraska. He encouraged me to write to the Orphan Train Society in New York. He says they still have paperwork on many or possibly all of the Orphan Train riders. I may be able to get a little more information about him. He also recommended that I take a look at the Red Cloud newspaper in the days and weeks before and after the arrival of the train. They likely had a story about families that took orphans home with them. I intend to do both of these things he recommended.

Look in the Burlington court records around the time of my great-grandmother, Lizzie Dunzinger's arrival in Burlington to see if there was any sort of official paperwork filed regarding her living with the Wagners.

Store a simple text file named the same name as a photograph in the same folder as you store that image. In the text file, give complete details of the photo such as where it was taken and when and who is in it.

I need to search for inquests and/or coronor's reports for the deaths of Andrew and Fanny Dunzinger in New York City, James Deaton, James Lewis Temple and Tom Doran in Junction, Texas and Thomas Patrick Miller and John Doran in Fort Madison, Iowa.

I need to track down the Illinois Cyberdrive online archives for information about the Doran and Kelly families and talk to the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society regarding the birth of Tom Doran, the Miller family and the death of the Dunzingers.

Look for employment records of the CB & Q and North Fork & Western railroads in and round Linn County, Missouri for my great-grandfather Charles Miller possibly working there.

One other thing that I found interesting is the attendees reaction to the featured speaker, Judy G. Russell, the Legal Genealogist. I have heard her speak on a number of podcasts and I know she truly is the expert in legal matters in regards to genealogy. As she stated at the beginning of her first talk, yes, she has legal training and once upon a time she was a lawyer. However, during her discussions at this conference, she was not giving legal advice as she is definitely not licensed to do so in Nebraska (or anywhere else if I remember correctly). She said this was just a bunch of friends discussing various aspects of genealogy that might touch on legal issues.

Towards the end of the conference, I heard at least two people that, it seemed to me, had never heard her speak before. The quote from both of these people was "Wow! She's good!" I agree. If you have the opportunity to listen to Ms. Russell speak, make sure you do so. I think you will agree!

I look forward to next year's Nebraska State Genealogical Spring Conference, being held in Grand Island, which is just an hour and a half or so drive for me. The featured speaker is scheduled to be Blaine Bettinger. Blaine literally wrote the book (actually two) on DNA for genealogy. I have a good grasp of the basics but I look forward to hearing an expert speak on the subject. I hope he skips the basics and gets into some advanced triangulation techniques. It should be highly educational.


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