Three years ago today, I began a journey at “Come Home to New England” – a week-long guided research visit to the New England Historical Genealogical Society in Boston.
I had attended a local workshops here in Maryland but visiting NEHGS for five and a half days was an out-of-body experience. I submitted my research questions ahead of time but did I really know what I was facing? Definitely not and maybe just as well.
It was my first trip to a major genealogical repository. Excellent lectures (and breakfast) each morning, with extended library hours (sometimes exclusive) the rest of the week. I met individually with Michael Leclerc, Josh Taylor, Rhonda McClure, Chris Child, David Dearborn, Timothy Salls, Judith Lucey, and Gary Boyd Roberts – each of whom provided expert advice on my particular endeavors.
I would have been star-struck if only I had known. I only knew my head was swimming and my recording systems were overwhelmed. There was a lot to ponder.
Before Day 1 was over, I also knew my husband descended from a notable counterfeiter-forger and my 8x great grandfather was the subject of a scholarly article with this juicy subtitle – “Seventeenth Century Misconduct as an Aid to Identification.”When Gary Boyd Roberts tapped me on the shoulder, I was lucky to have just snacked and visited the ladies room. More importantly, I had fresh paper pedigree charts. He showed me the ropes on the Nantucket Vital Records, calling it “shooting fish in a barrel.” He was right about that. It took four hours to compose citations for the facts he jotted, whited-out, and rejotted on the Pinkham line. Rhonda told me about Roots Magic, Josh told me about the DAR Library in DC, Chris helped me methodically chart my in-laws, and Michael asked, when he saw my research checklist, “Are you a librarian?” Tim and Judy took a special interest in my Cape Cod Irish immigrant family (a little unusual) and David was the one who responded to me at 11:30 AM on Saturday morning when I said, “I have one hour left, what should I do?” (New Hampshire land records was his answer.) Before I arrived at “Come Home” on 22 June 2009, I knew I wanted to learn about my own ancestors but I had an inkling I wanted more. That week was a major turning point in terms of professional aspirations, and, since then, I have continued to plod toward my goals.
And did I mention that NEHGS was in Boston? More than a few beautiful sights for the very few non-library hours…
Happy Geneaversary to me! If you have a geneaversary, I’d love to hear about it.