I did break it up a bit with one on one sessions with people who had brought along their brick walls for me to solve. Some researchers had detailed notes on what their problem was and copies of documents which made it really easy to provide feedback. Others however tried to remember from memory (which may not be that good) and mis-remembered details don't help when trying to make suggestions. I find it easier to follow other people's research if they have taken the time to list out what they have done - often that helps them to also see any holes in their own research.
Anyway what did I do over the last four days of the cruise?
Day 6 started with a talk from Stephen Dando-Collins on the mistaken identity and trials of Joe Windred which I found fascinating. I only wish my ancestors had led such interesting lives. Next was Paul Milner on finding ancestors in Ireland and even though he covered some of the basic sources I still found bits and pieces that will be useful for my own Irish research. Next was Carol Baxter talking about writing family history and Helen Smith on friendly societies. The third concurrent session was the research help zone and this was where I did some of my one on ones.
After lunch my talk on convicts and criminals was on against Jan Gow on New Zealand BDM's and Bob Velke talking about The Master Genealogist. With only a short break to change rooms or whatever, I then went to Diane Foster's talk on preservation or perish which was all about preserving our family histories as best we can. The other choices were a webinar with Geoff Rasmussen on his new book Digital Imaging Essentials and Geoff Doherty talking about the disappearing Dunnes.
By this time I needed a break and did some more one on ones but the choices were Rosemary Koppittke on FindMyPast the world collection, the second part of Geoff Rasmussen's webinar on digital imaging essentials and Bob Velke on The Master Genealogist charts and forms. The last talk of the day was Paul Milner on the English probate system.
For new readers some of the speakers will be putting their handouts on the Unlock the Past website, Paul Milner has a Handouts button on his website and my talks in PDF format are all on my Resources page of my website, scroll down to Presentations.
Day 7 was an early start for me giving my Warning Warning talk on common family history mistakes and Paul Milner followed with English civil registration and problem solving. Then the concurrent sessions started and I went to the information session on the NSW/ACT genealogy conference in Canberra in September. Rosemary Mackenzie also mentioned the AFFHO Congress in Canberra in 2015 and Alan Phillips spoke about Unlock the Past future genealogy cruises. I missed Helen Smith talking about genealogical education and Carol Baxter talking about writing non fiction narrative.
After lunch it was another marathon session of three concurrent talks over four hours so lots of choices to make as to which sessions to attend. I got caught up talking to someone over lunch and missed Louis Kessler on Jewish genealogy, Jan Gow on ten ways to do family history comparing old ways with new and Neil Bradley talking about Second Site for The Master Genealogist.
As I have been considering moving to Family Historian genealogy software I made sure I didn't miss Jill Ball's presentation and I was interested to see that Jill has also just made the change over. After my Bali trip next week I think I'll take the plunge too! The other choices were the Research Help Zone and Helen Smith talking about what caused our ancestors' deaths and I've heard this before and it is a great look at some of the old time diseases.
The 3pm session was Diane Foster talking about preserving photographs, Geoff Doherty with an intriguing presentation Oh What a Tangled Web and Rosemary Kopittke on the The Genealogist.co.uk. I went to this as I often forget there are other huge subscription databases out there. For the final session of the afternoon I went to Jill Ball's session on Geneablogging where she mentioned some great blogs to follow and even managed to mention the Kiva Genealogists for Families blog which many of us belong too. Therefore I missed Louis Kessler on GenSoftReviews and Jan Gow on genealogy in 2020 - hard to think that far ahead but if the changes over the last decade or so are anything to go by, we should be having a great time tracing our ancestors in 2020!
Paul Milner bravely gave an after dinner talk on Overcoming the Dead End Doldrums and many also went to the La Scala Theatre but it was a bit of a rush and getting good seats at the last minute is not easy. Another big genealogy day!
Day 8 offered 15 talks and we had the group photo on the stairs of the magnificent Carmen Restaurant. First up was Paul Milner on occupation and guild records which I really enjoyed as I love putting ancestors into their day to day context. After the photo I gave my mining talk but missed Stephen Dando-Collins on getting published and writing fiction from your research.
After lunch I got a lot out of Linda Elliott's free English genealogy websites (slides will be on her Mad About Genealogy website) . It really is amazing what is out there now but we should always remember that it isn't all online. This meant I missed Louis Kessler on using life events to solve genealogy problems and Carol Baxter on scandal and skulduggery in early NSW. My next session was Jill Ball on Android (andIPad) genealogy with lots of good tips on making the most of these wonderful tools. Other choices were Helen Smith on the Ryerson Index (excellent for dates of deaths and funerals) and Diane Foster on what's the difference between genealogy and family history.
My brain went into overload at this point and I fled upstairs to Deck 11 for a coffee and a biscuit (or two) and missed Rosemary Kopittke on Scotland's People, Linda Elliott on English parish registers and two short case studies by Jill Ball and Dawn Springett. Suitably refreshed I went back downstairs to hear Paul Milner on overlooked sources for 19th and 20th C Scottish research which was most interesting. I missed Louis Kessler on GEDCOM transfers and Carol Baxter on military ancestors.
There was no after dinner session but Jill Ball had organised a session where we all got together and talked about a favourite genealogy book or one that we were currently reading. It could be a 'real' book or a 'digital' book. This was interesting and quite a few people turned up to share their books. I had to leave before the end as I'd promised to go to the theatre with some friends. Jill was planning to write up a list of books so that others can see what we are all reading!
Day 9 and it's a bit sad as we really we only have one more day left. Amazing how fast time goes when you are having fun. Paul Milner led the charge again today with a very informative talk on maps and gazetteers for British research. I have so much home work to do after this cruise it's not funny! My talk on It's Not All Online was next and then there was a choice between Jan Gow on Collaborative Research with an incredible video from FamilySearch (I still don't really believe it but then I did see it with my own eyes) and Stephen Dando-Collins chairing a panel on historical writing.
After lunch I went to Jan Gow's digging deeper into FamilySearch and sadly missed Jill Ball talking about Google+ for genealogy. I really do need to spend the time to explore that one more. Then there was a social media panel chaired by Jill which included Louise Kessler, Ilona Tester, Helen Smith and myself all answering questions on which social media we use and why. It's a shame more cruise attendees didn't go to this as there were no competing sessions. I think people who don't use social media for genealogy are seriously missing out!!
The next round of talks included Helen Smith talking about bringing your ancestors to life and I really enjoyed this as Helen managed to find out so much about her case study from very little information to start with. Other choices were Louis Kessler on why genealogy is everyone's solemn duty and Rosemary Kopittke on connecting with families online.
My last talk for the cruise was on at 4pm and it was my military talk and I missed Stephen Dando-Collins talking about Captain Bligh and Louis Pasteur. After dinner there was a very moving closing talk by Paul Milner which encouraged us all to make sure we write down our stories and pass them on. It was a great way to end what was a stimulating and fun genealogy cruise. The prize draws were next and a few photo opportunities and then it was off to our cabins to pack and make sure our luggage was outside if we wanted it taken off for us in the morning.
I will be doing an overview of the cruise in my SHHE Genie Rambles blog in the next day or so as genealogy cruises are not just about the speakers and the talks. There is the networking and sharing as well as shipboard life and time ashore. So look out for that coming soon. Just a reminder that most of the speakers will be either putting their handouts or talks online and I've mentioned the links above. Plus lots of other cruisers will be blogging or have already done so and those blogs will give you lots of ideas and information about the cruise. Stay tuned!