Feb 28, 2009

Family History Expo in St. George

Wow! This was a big day for me at the Family History Expo this weekend in St. George! I spent all day yesterday, went early today and stayed till the prizes were awarded at 5:15 this evening! My English genealogy records classes were great. I learned a few more tips while viewing the censuses, and tried to take classes to cover the areas I'm working on now. I was able to work in 11 classes over the two-day expo.

My Google classes (took three that incorporated Google in some way) were awesome. I already have a gmail account for this blog but didn't know there was so much that can be done with it - including a telephone account where Grandma can call you and leave a VoiceMail which you can hear on your computer and even download as an audio file into your family tree software. Here's just one of the many tips I learned today to whet your appetite for the next genealogy expo in your area.

To search for only your target on a particular website, type the target name, then the word "site": (with the colon behind site) and the URL. For example:

Burrill site:http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/

"James Parks" site:www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/

I think the "hits" are better than Rootsweb's own search feature. You can use this on any website for any subject or topic, and it saves search time.

I very much enjoyed the speaker on Virginia. What an expert she is!! Apparently Virginia is one of the, if not THE, hardest state for research, mainly I believe because it was originally much of the east coast except for Maryland and NJ. Later it split up into Kentucky and Tennessee and West Virginia, etc. so finding the records is tedious and most are not online, more’s the pity. Wouldn't you know James Parks was born in Virginia! But I have this professional genealogist’s name now and if we need her once we find just where in Virginia James Parks was born, I know where to go for the answer. [I hope we won't need her because research there is so tedious and time consuming that it's expensive.] She has compiled several books from her years of gathering records, but they were expensive and I don't yet know just where in Virginia we're headed. Maybe one day it'll be something to think about - certainly less expensive than flying back to Virginia and trying to find all the various courthouses and historical societies that might or might not have information for us.


One of the interesting things she said was, if you have ancestors who settled early on in Virginia, then they’re likely from wealthy families. Frequently 2d, 3rd and 4th sons, etc. of the wealthier Scottish and Irish families who did not inherit the family property came to Virginia where they had large spreads, some with slaves, some big in tobacco farming, etc. Virginia was settled by people of means. So that’ll be interesting. Maybe our Parkses only hit Virginia on their migration path, but they were at least there when James was born around 1790.

My last class of the expo was on identifying old photos and it was a hoot. The speaker has written books, and has good stories on a lot of photos. She did a PowerPoint presentation with quizzes for us on how to look for clues. I had purchased a couple of books on identifying old photos from one of the vendors as that’s an area where I need to do some studying.


Last, but certainly not least, I won a prize in the final drawing that apparently amounts to about $160! I got a full annual membership to World Vital Records and a copy of the book on Google advertised on their home page. They were out of the copies they'd brought to the expo because it sold so well, so they will mail me a copy of the Google book, and my subscription to the website should start on Monday. Here’s the site:


I don’t know much about the site yet, but I’m hoping it will be really helpful in pulling up records over the next year while I search for BMD [birth, marriage, death] records on Parkses and maybe even find more on my Burrill ancestors. All in all, though, we frequently heard speakers say: "the records are on Ancestry," and I do have a world subscription to Ancestry.

All in all, it was a very satisfying day, after which I had dinner out with my hubby at the Parrothead Island Broiler, always a yummy place to go. :))

1 comment:

  1. hi found you, there's an excellent virginia vital records site that I've used doing my hubby's genealogy. it's www.wvculture.org guess it deals mostly with west virginia but check it out.