Genealogical Society Display
Land Records Symposium
Sometimes I think that I spend so much time in the virtual genealogy world that I forget how much fun it is to hang out with my fellow genealogists IRL (in real life).
This weekend's Land Records and Genealogy Symposium in Beatrice, Nebraska was an outstanding conference that attracted nearly 100 people from Nebraska and surrounding states and from as far away as California and Massachusetts.
First of all, I want to acknowledge the Homestead National Monument of America and Southeast Community College for the sponsorship of this event. It was obvious how much work went on behind the scenes to present a well organized and informative genealogy education experience.
Kudos to Blake and Kelly
Specifically, I want to thank Blake Bell of the National Park Service and Kelly Morgan of Southeast Community College as well as all of their workers behind the scene. From the perspective of a presenter at a conference, they did everything right - from the initial contact, to keeping me informed, and especially, making sure that the needs of the presenters were met prior to and during the conference. You folks were fantastic to work with and I hope we can work together again in the future.
Networking and Socializing
Upon arriving at the Symposium, I was warmly greeted by Floyd Smith III, president of the Nebraska State Genealogical Society (NSGS). Floyd and I have enjoyed email correspondence over the past few months and I hope that this was the beginning of another genealogy friendship. Floyd is one enthusiastic genealogist and supporter of other genealogists.
I got a kick out of Floyd because he had told several people that I had the Flip-Pal scanner, so I had to bring it with me yesterday. Before I knew it, at one of the breaks yesterday, I had several people gathered around to see it in action. After my demo, one of the ladies told me she thought I was a company representative. I found that to be pretty amusing! But I think that a couple of these are probably going to be purchased in the coming days.
Several people came over and said they read this blog. I also got a kick out of that. As I mentioned in my presentation, many of us bloggers never really know if anyone is reading our blogs or not. So I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet some blog readers in the flesh. Thank you to all readers of this blog for your interest and support. It really does mean a lot.
I loved the opportunity to get to know my fellow presenters - they are amazing people with a vast amount of knowledge to share. I'm really looking forward to continued contact with them.
And perhaps the biggest surprise of the day came as I finished my presentation and a woman approached me and asked, "Are you the same Susan Petersen I knew in my former life?" I looked up, checked her name tag and realized she was one of my Kansas counterparts from my "day-job"! We first met 25 years ago and had some great times at many a regional and national conference over the years. The last time I saw Sandi was in Omaha in 1999. She retired a few years ago and I'd heard through the grapevine that she was doing genealogy. Now I have to do my best to talk her into attending the Family History Expo in Overland Park, Kansas in two weeks! Seeing her again was just icing on the cake.
Plan on seeing a lot about homestead records on this blog in the coming months, as the 150th anniversary of the Homestead Act of 1862 approaches. The digitization project is extremely significant for those genealogists whose families moved west. I will do my best to keep blog readers informed about activities at the Homestead National Monument of America and resources that are available regarding this significant era of American history.