This past week at the FGS Conference in Knoxville, Tennessee has been a time to remember. Not only was it an opportunity to hear expert genealogical speakers, it was also a time to meet new bloggers and to renew acquaintances with other genealogists.
The classes covered every imaginable topic of interest to genealogists. One of my favorites and a friend I had not seen for some time, was Kandi Adkinson of the Kentucky Land Office. She can explain - step by step - how land was patented in early Kentucky in such a way that it is so easy to understand. If you have never heard Kandi, try to catch her at one of her speaking engagements around Kentucky. She is a treasure.
Another favorite was the class on Union draft records of the Civil War. I had no idea they existed or what they contain. Arranged by congressional districts in Kentucky, these records contain lists of deserters and physical examinations of the drafted men as well as other records. Unfortunately, they are only accessible at the Atlanta Branch of the National Archives and they are only for Union soldiers.
Wendy Bebout Elliott's lecture on the Trail of Tears was outstanding also. I was pleasantly surprised that she concentrated on events leading up to the Trail of Tears rather than the march itself. Wendy is a special person. We corresponded over 20 years ago and she was very helpful to me when I was researching the Bebout family. Her Bebout ancestor was a brother to Benjamin Bebout, the progenitor of the Crittenden County, Kentucky Bebouts.
There were other really informative classes and it was sometimes difficult to decide which ones to attend. In addition to the lectures, there were special events combining the winning duo (food and music) which enhanced the whole conference experience.
It isn't always convenient to attend national conferences, but there are a number of regional and local workshops and seminars that we can attend. One coming up in September is TreeRoots at Willard Library in Evansville, Indiana. It's free and promises to be a good workshop. More on it later.