Sunday, March 25, 2012

Reflections from The Baltimore AAHGS Genealogy Expo 2012

Saturday March 24, was an enjoyable day at the Baltimore Agnes K. Callum Chapter of AAHGS annual Genealogy Expo.

Members of this genealogy organization had a chance to showcase their genealogical projects and others were able to bring their questions to the event and get personal assistance with their own brick wall problems.

I decided this year to present a small session on African American Genealogy Blogs, with a power point presentation.

Image from my Power Point Presentation on African American Genealogy Blogs

Mr. Erwin Polk of  Delaware had a wonderful Buffalo Soldier display. His ancestor was a Buffalo Soldier and he had both records as well as books on display where his ancestors were mentioned.

Mr. Polk shared several publications reflecting some of his own family history.

Mr. Polk's Display

On item caught my attention and I have heard him speak of it before. This was a book about the history of Gouldtown New Jersey and historically black township.  A book was written about this historic town, in 1913, and although there were not many photos of the town known to exist, one of his ancestors was an artist, and she drew from her own memory some images of the town that were included in the book itself. She was a mere 16 years old at the time.

Gouldtown, A book on an historically black New Jersey Town

Image from page 11 of the book Gouldtown. The sketches were made by Mr. Polk's ancestor.

Chapter Vice President Jerry Hynson set up his laptops to share a number of genealogy programs and websites with members. With both laptops going he was able to demonstrate programs and sites to more than one person.

Jerry Hynson with his laptops on display

Some members had prepared some of their family charts to put on display.

One of the family trees on display

As  usual, Noreen Goodson who has remarkable experience working with beginners, ended up teaching a small "Getting Started" session to genealogy novices. She held their attention and got several people inspired to really get started in depth with exploring their family history.

Noreen Goodson, speaking to a class of beginning resarchers

The chapter itself had an impressive display featuring several panels reflecting members their projects and general information about the organization itself.

BAAHGS Chapter Display

BAAHGS member, Dr. Donna Hollie shared some information about her own family history, in an interesting display that also included the recent discovery of her ancestors who were owners of a small telephone company in Midland Virginia. This was possibly the only black owned telephone company of the time, and one of the first in history.

Dr. Donna Tyler Hollie speaking about her own research.

Stock certificate reflecting information on the Elk Run Telephone Company

She also had on display a remarkable photo of her ancestors who had been born as slaves. Whenever she shows this photo I am always captivated by it.  The hands of her ancestors say as much as their eyes.

Ancestors of Dr. Donna Tyler Hollie

One member displayed her own family history by showing the data reflected in her family tree software program.  Several visitors became fascinated by her data and how she discussed her methods of sharing her information with family.

Barnes Family History Data Reflected in Family Tree software

Most importantly the day was a good day as new friendships were formed, new people left inspired to explore their own family history  more in depth. Some received personal advice and others found new ways to document their history through blogging.

The time was well spent, and the day was a very good day! I always enjoy the expos and look forward to one in the future again!

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