It turns out that the folks at Ancestry.com occasionally have Ancestry days in various places around the country. Apparently they offer them whenever they go to a place and digitize records. The North Carolina Archives took them up on the offer. It’s unclear how long this program was in the works – I happened to hear about it last week from a genealogy blog or email that I subscribe to but I suspect it has been planned for much longer than that. So with a free Saturday and a relatively cheap registration fee ($40) I figured – why not. Raleigh is about 90 miles from where I live so not too bad a drive for a one day trip.
I was even happier that the “free Saturday” was rainy – otherwise I’d feel guilty for not planting my pansies or raking leaves – both of which I really need to do tomorrow. So off I went at 6:30 this morning (after getting up at 5 am) and everything went well despite the pouring rain just as I was looking for my exit off of Interstate 40 in Raleigh. I find the Raleigh NC beltway system confusing on clear sunny days with a skilled navigator so needless to say I was a bit stressed when the downpour hit just as I was beginning to wonder if I’d missed my exit. But I hadn’t and it turns out it was one of my better Raleigh driving days for which I was immensely grateful.
I learned a few new tips and was inspired to come home, determined I would finally find records for long lost relatives who’ve eluded me once I applied my new techniques but alas – NO SUCH LUCK.
Okay, maybe the talk on Ancestry DNA would help me make sense of my DNA results and the feature on Ancestry that offers “likely relatives” that aren’t in your family tree yet but probably should be because your DNA matches a certain number of other people who do have that relative in their trees. Again – NO SUCH LUCK. Those DNA pages are just as confusing as ever, which is sad, because I really would like to find out how I’m related to Elkannah Brooks who was born in Louisa County VA in 1791 and died there in 1879. (But I think I’m getting closer – I think it may be on the Hubbard through Mary Swan who married Henry Hubbard.)
My favorite part of conferences like these is seeing how many other people are just as weirdly obsessed with ancestry as I am. Crista Cowan – the Barefoot Genealogist – who has worked for Ancestry.com since 2004 is a GREAT story-teller and her passion for what she does is enough to encourage even the most reluctant genealogist.
My biggest challenge is to be more directed in my searches and compile my research and stories in a more organized fashion. My blogs help but even there the stories are scattered. So I will work on that and in the meantime, I also want to spend more time telling the stories from my paternal grandmother’s side of the family – Katherine Gertrude Bryant (Kitty) so I can share her ancestors with my cousins (both girls). Kitty has very interesting people on both her mother’s and father’s side of the family (both long time Washington DC residents following the Civil War) and as far as I can tell, there has not been a lot of research conducted on them.