Friday, June 12, 2009

Expo: Day 1 -Exhausted and Happy

I made it home, amid a massive rain storm, after a long, jam packed day at the Family History Expo. I am exhausted -mentally and physically. (I didn't sleep well last night. I think it was the "family history bed bug." Anyone else get that? Dreaming about names and records...)

Anyway, I went to the Expo very excited but not really knowing what to expect. I came away very impressed with how well organized it was. The facility is amazing, the expo staff and volunteers helpful, the class selection extensive, and the speakers very knowledgeable.

The overall theme for this years conference was "Learn the Tech to Trace Your Roots" and they really delivered with the keynote speaker as well as every class that I was able to attend.

Bernie Gracy gave the keynote address this morning entitled "Breaking Down Brick Walls with Location-Based Genealogy." He said that focusing on the TECH of genealogy involved two areas: 1) TECHnique 2) TECHnology. His keynote address covered the technique and his other classes covered the technology part.

According to Bernie Gracy, when approaching genealogy there are five dimensions (techniques): Biological (Who), Temporal (When), Socio-Economical (What), Historical (Why), and Geographical (Where). Many of us start with the Who and When and end up coming accross the Where along the way but in the address (as well as on his syllabus) Gracy said:

"I have come to understand the dominant influence of Where on the four other dimensions. When you take into account available technology and the relative lack of mobility before the introduction of the steam train and the automobile, or where physical geography hindered mobility, or where geography and culture intersect, the Where dimension becomes THE dominant dimension in your family tree."

He thus introduced the idea of "Location Based Echos" which affect the other four dimensions of genealogical research. I knew that Location was important in my research but had not totally realized the HUGE impact it had on families and communites. Gracy's case studies opened my eyes to the possibilities.

Goodness, it is now past 10:30 and I have to get up bright and early tomorrow for another full day at the Expo. More to come tomorrow!

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