Thursday, September 22, 2011

BIFHSGO 2011 Conference – Day 3

The last day was clear and sunny, and the crowd was eager to start. The first session was with Susan Davis, “A Social Media Primer for Family Historians”.

Susan, who is BIFHSGO's Director of Communications, had the sold-out crowd in the palm of her hand as she explained Social Media.

She frequently polled the people to see how many were already on Twitter, Facebook, had a blog, etc. It was evident not many of the people have taken advantage of the new social media but they were there to learn – which is exactly what the talk was about!

The second session I went to was “Solving Genealogical Problems Using English Probate Records” by Linda Reid.

She used her own ancestors to illustrate some of the problems she encountered when looking at the probate records. Through researching wills, she was able to discover new relationships in the family, and therefore was able to solve genealogical problems.

The third session was “Master and Mates: Sounding the Depths of Merchant Marine Records” by Barbara Tose. She told us how she traced the genealogy of her great-grand grandfather, William Tose, by using the records of the British Merchant Marine.

The fourth session was given by Sherry Irvine, “Resting Peacefully in Essex – While I Was Becoming a Better Genealogist”, and was the closing talk of the Conference.

She talked about advanced research skills (evidence orientation, thought processes, record selection, and trailblazing) as they related to research in Essex County (England),and how she was able to solve a number of problems.

The conference presented a good mixture of primers and advanced sessions. One can hope that the organizers continue to present sessions like this next year. They had something for everyone. Also, one hopes that they have the ever-growing popular Friday sessions next year also.

Listening to the pre-conference interviews by John D. Reid and Brian Glenn before going to the conference really helped me. I wish everyone would have done this before going to the Conference. I found the Conference easier to understand, and it increased its value to me.

Be sure to check out the Facebook, and Twitter pages at!/BIFHSGO. Both of them give you an excellent account of what it was like to attend the Conference.

There are new Podcasts on their site by Brian Glenn at of the Marketplace. Rick Roberts of Global Genealogy at, Elizabeth Kipp of the Guild of One-Name Studies at, and Robin Cushnie of the Osgoode Township Historical Society and Museum at are some of the people who were in the Marketplace. Their interviews are interesting, so be sure to listen to it!

And finally, the people at BIFHSGO are in the process of posting conference handouts at the “Members Only” site. There are also details about the 10% discount for BIFHSGO members on all courses offered by Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Limited to the “Members Only” area of their site.

The next BIFHSGO Conference will be held (tentatively) from Sept 14-16, 2012.

Their website is at