Sunday, 12 May 2013

Extra bonus today - SAFHS Conference

We had an early start today as we travelled through the beautiful Scottish Borders to attend the SAFHS Conference in Galashiels. This year's conference theme was "Comings and Goings, Migration and Scotland". There were six very informative talks on the agenda:

Scotland and Migration by Dr Ian Wotherspoon. Dr Wotherspoon spoke about the impact that the Scots Diaspora have had on the countries they have emigrated to.

Droving and Drove Roads in Northumberland by Dr Ian Roberts. Dr Roberts spoke of the history of the drove roads as well as the social history associated with droving.

Emigration and Immigratrion Records on the Internet. Ken shared a number of valuable online resources that will assist researchers trying to track their emigrant ancestors.

Following Ken's talk, we were given an hour to have lunch and to visit the marketplace.

The first of the afternoon talks was given by Andrew Armstrong who spoke on Researching the Buccleuch Estate Papers. Andrew's focus was on the genealogical information that can be gleaned from the Rental Books.

Next up was Jennifer Bruce who spoke on the Border Shepherds in Caithness. In particular Jennifer spoke on the impact of Thomas Telford.

The last talk of the day was given by Sheila Assante who spoke on the Migration Stories in the National Portrait Gallery.

In addition to the talks, there was a very large marketplace of family history related vendors. These were spread throughout the building with the bulk of them being in the cafe. One should never underestimate the resources, information or assistance available through the local family history societies. For the most part, the volunteers were kept very busy and people were walking away with new ideas of where to look to assist in breaking down their genealogical brick walls.

As an outsider, it was a bit curious to me that only one speaker offered handouts. I find that days like  these provide a great deal of information and really, it tends to be far too much for one mind to absorb and retain. Handouts to refer to later are always helpful in both being able to recall what the speaker said and also in providing additional ideas of where to look for further steps in your research. In North America, delegates are given a syllabus of all of the handouts so that even if attendees were unable to get to a talk, they were able to access a synopsis of the talk, and not just of the speakers.\

All in all, however, the day was very well done. Kudos to the Borders Family History Society on a very productive, very informative day!

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