The National Genealogical Society 2015 Educational Conference held in St. Charles, Missouri on May 13 through 16 was attended by over 2,500 people. With the title “Crossroads of America”the greater St. Louis area served as perfect hosts. Our conference opened with J. Mark Lowe introducing us to Charles Floyd and the Boone family in his session titled, “The Tales of Pioneer Paths: Rivers, Roads, & Rails.” The rest of the week the sessions offered something for everyone from beginner to advanced. On Tuesday, many of the area genealogical, historical societies, museums and libraries offered information on their organization or repository. This exhibit time was free to everyone. After learning about the area resources, we may have planned to extend our time this year or stop later on another trip. St. Louis is the crossroads for many of our ancestors. After talking with volunteers, I learned that my second great grandfather traveled from Will County, Illinois by river to St. Louis and then up the Missouri River ending up in Yuba, California in 1860.
Before registering for any conference, check the conference schedule and vendor list. Admission to the exhibit hall with genealogical exhibitors and vendors is free and open to all. Conference registration is not required. Write YOUR goal for attending the conference. Read ALL advanced conference material. Plan day trips to area repository such as the St. Louis County Library. The St. Louis County Library is the home of the National Genealogical Collection. My family history resides here; The Kohlhagen Family Genealogy authored by Sue Ann Gardner Shreve. Fritz Kohlhagen left Mecklenburg Schwerin, Germany for America in 1865. Their immediate descendents labored the family farm in Frankfort, Will County, Illinois. Today, family and friends rest and play in Kohlhagen Park. Thank you Sue Ann for writing the book and donating it to the NGS collection! No longer in print so without this library, I would not have access to this resource.
With my personal goals of family research and family writing, the conference sessions offer:
- research by states
- recording your information
- proving the point
- immigration and migration
- strategies for success
For every lecture, the speakers proved a syllabus with suggested resources. After attending four lectures on New York state research given by Jane Wilcox and Karen Jones, my fingers itched to find records online. My Dunham line disconnects in Oneida County. The website, Interment.net records Joseph Dunham interred in Rome in 1854. Wonder if he is the Joseph of my search? Could he be the father or grandfather of Jane Angeline Dunham who married Elisha Couch in Verona in 1844? Other sessions sparked more research plans. A few of my most interesting speakers an sessions were:
- Problem Solving: Using a Cast of Characters by Ann Fleming
- The Everyday Life of Our Ancestors by C. Ann Staley
- Have You Used All 20th Century Records Available? by Patricia Walls Stamm
- The Art of Negative-Space Research: Women by Jeanne Lazalere Bloom
It is not possible to attend all the sessions. With so many excellent speakers and the wide variety of topics, CD purchases fill in the gaps. National Genealogical Society audio and video tapes are available. The St. Charles, Missouri Convention Center was an excellent choice. Thank you for the Tuesday walking tour with registration. The Wi-Fi worked great! Thank you. The temperature was comfortable. The facility was very clean with pleasant staff. This building held a lot of people in a walkable space. Several of the speakers needed more seating; that is a good problem. The food trucks were great, especially the Jewish truck for people who can not tolerate all the carbs. Everything is within riding or driving distance of downtown St. Louis. Once we figured out the road system of 70 or 170 or 270, we did fine. The best was to leave the driving to us by JED Dispatch. With St. Charles close and the shuttle, we ate and shopped downtown almost every evening.
This conference was awarded five stars because of the closeness to all the attractions, excellent shuttle and hotel facilities. As all NGS events, the speakers and sessions were tops. Thank you. Looking forward to 2016 in Florida. See the NGS website. Share your experience. Contact Selma Blackmon.