What is GeneaSpy?

GeneaSpy is an amateur genealogist who attends national, regional, and local genealogical conferences, who likes to take photos and meet people.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

NGS 2017 Raleigh: Pre-Conference

I have been looking forward to the annual National Genealogical Society’s Family History Conference since they announce it more than a year ago. Why? Because it was being held in a state where I have deep ancestor roots on both my sides of the family. North Carolina! Specifically, Raleigh, the state capital and where the State Archives of North Carolina and the State Library of North Carolina are located. This was my chance to put a research plan together on a few genealogical problems and set out to find records. Thing is… I ran out of time and didn’t write a research plan. So, I winged it!



 The NGS conference was entitled “Family History Lives Here” and was held 10-13 May 2017 at the Raleigh Convention Center. My hotel was direct across the street and in fact my 11th. floor room looked right down to the front of it (beautiful sunsets I might add). I arrived late in the afternoon the Saturday before from San Diego. My plan was to visit local historical sites on Sunday with my friends Amy Urman and Leslie Carney from Arizona, then on Monday hit the archives and library for research, and on Tuesday attend a paid pre-conference education workshop entitled, “2017 Putting Skills to Work” sponsored by the BCG Education Fund.

Sunday, 7 May; T-minus 3 days

 I was picked up by Amy Urman and Leslie Carney for an all-day outing to some North Carolina historic areas. Turns out, almost everything is closed on Sunday’s… But, we did manage to find one thing opened and it happens to be probably the most historic site within 100 miles… the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park. This is where the battle of Guilford Courthouse happened on 15 March 1781, and I just may have had ancestors fighting there on that day! The park is a little over 80 miles from Raleigh, just on the outskirts of Greensboro (where my 2x great-grandmother was born in 1853). The park is densely wooded with lots and lots of walking trails. We walked a couple of the trails and visited many historical statues. It was a very pleasant and relaxing day. I am sure glad we took the time to visit the park – well worth it!

Monday, 8 May; T-minus 2 days

 I spent all day at the State Library and Archives (housed in the same building) just a few blocks from my hotel. I ended up in the library first and never left! So, I didn’t’ get to go into the archives itself. Since I didn’t have a game plan, except for a small list of books I previously looked up in San Diego, I was free to roam and browse the small library room – note: the library room has about 15 rows of books but, the majority is behind closed doors and can be brought out by request. I started with the family hanging files… and voilà! There was my Coble family from Greensboro! Information about them all the way back to Germany! I used my smartphone to take pictures of everything I found. I also found a huge set of the William & Mary College Quarterly which yielded info on my Hawthorne line. I met a lady who attended the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy there and I also saw professional genealogists, Linda McCauley and Tonia Kendrick, hard at work. After spending almost all day there, I decided to walk back to the hotel via a little romp at the Capitol building.  

Tuesday, 9 May; T-minus 1 day

 Today was the all-day education workshop sponsored by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG). No, I am not on the clock nor plan to be. This workshop was dived up between two of the highest genealogical teachers in the world, Nancy A. Peters, CG, who’s session was entitled, “Make Your Case: Correlating Evidence to Solve Genealogical Problems”, and Sara Anne Scribner, CG, who’s session was entitled, “Make Your Case: Constructing and Writing Proof Arguments”.


 I knew I would be pushing the boundaries of my learning ability, but hey, jumping into the deep end forces you to swim. Almost everyone in the class was a professional or high-intermediate genealogist. Many of my friends were in there like Amy Urman, Cheri Passey, Debra Hoffman, Peg Ivanyo, and more. After the day was over, and my head was spinning, I went into the vendor hall to help (a little) with the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) booth set-up along with Peg Ivanyo, Debra Hoffman, Jill Woodbury, and Rita Barredo. A long day indeed, but I'm ready for Day 1 of the conference tomorrow!

A Photo Recap:


Raleigh Convention Center at dusk.

On the trail at Guilford Courthouse NMP

Amy and Leslie reading the historical marker at Guilford.



A book on one of my deep NC ancestor lines.

Tonia Kendrick researching at the State Library of NC.

Linda McCauley researching at the State Library of NC.

State Library of NC.

My lunch... I'd rather spend more time researching!

The North Carolina State Capital







Team SLIG setting up the booth.










Friends meet for the first time! Tierra Kellow, Amy, and Leslie. 

Downtown Raleigh on the way for some pizza and beer!

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