Sunday, July 17, 2011

Social Networking at the Land Records and Genealogy Symposium - Part 3

Nebraska State
Genealogical Society Display
Land Records Symposium
July 2011
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.

Homestead Records

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.


  1. Thanks so much for posting your thoughts on the Nebraska Symposium over these last few posts. I don't do Nebraska research but I still found them fascinating. You know I love anything that has to do with land records ;) I wish I could have been there but your posts were the next best thing.

  2. Susan, thanks for making me feel like I was there. I haven't done land records yet, but they are in my future.

  3. Marian - Thanks for the comment! I actually thought of you during my presentation when I was sharing a "success story" about some long lost relatives I traced based on a house address written on a photograph!

  4. Thanks, Donna, for leaving the comment. I have a long way to go with land records, but I think the time has come!

  5. I feel I know you from BlogTalk radio chats (and some other genealogy spots?). I have enjoyed these posts immensely. I have sparse Nebraska genealogy connections, so distant on the tree that I may never get to them, but I have enjoyed these posts. I WILL be at Overland Park, and hope to meet you in "Real Life" at that time.
    Sue McCormick

  6. Sue - Nice to hear from you. Overland Park will have a LOT of Sues/Susans so we definitely all have to meet up! I'm looking forward to meeting you in real life!

  7. Susan, I liked your detailed reports and I'm glad you talked about some of the speakers as well as yourself. Nice to see what a small two-day Symposium can officer. I hope everybody who worked so hard is pleased with their efforts. Especially you.

  8. Thank you, Barb. My internal batteries are finally starting to wind down from the weekend! The organizers did a great job in putting the symposium together.