NGS Notes: A Sampling

Quantifying a conference like NGS is a bit like standing next to a waterfall and trying to count the drops. There are just so many facets and factors a person can assimilate at once.

Here are some Cincinnati 2012 moments that stick out for me, though, as I look over my notes from the Event To Date.

• Hearing Elizabeth Shown Mills lecture on indexes and how to find elusive ancestors in them. It was a succinct dissection of what indexes really are (and aren’t), vital in understanding how to use them effectively.

• A detailed, fascinating and occasionally heartbreaking lecture by Patricia Wells Stamm on the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, with emphasis on the disastrous 1973 fire and aftermath. Stamm explained a lot about what you can expect when requesting records from this center, and paid special attention to the painstaking efforts to salvage anything remotely salvageable — efforts that started practically before the smoke cleared, and continue today.

• Listening to NGSQ co-editor Thomas W. Jones talk about citations as a means of communication – not only a way of telling readers what we know, but reminding ourselves why we concluded what we concluded. This goes a long way toward mitigating the [outrageous whining] faint resentment that [nearly always] occasionally emerges while I construct a decent footnote.

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