What is GeneaSpy?

GeneaSpy is an avid genealogist who attends national, regional, and local genealogical conferences, to learn about genealogy.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

NGS 2024 Virtual

   I attended the 2024 National Genealogical Society's Virtual Family History Conference "Expanding Possibilities" this weekend. It was very fun and informative as usual. Even though it was virtual, I saw a lot of friends and familial faces again. I am glad that all the classes were recorded so I can see the ones that I missed while attending the live classes I chose for each day.

“LIVE” 2024 NGS Sessions Attended:


Virtual Tour: International African American History Museum
SLAM! Idea Showcase and Expo Hall Opening


PLENARY SESSION: Artificial Intelligence and Genealogy: The First Year and Onward! - Steve Little
Irish Immigration-Digging Deeper - David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FUGA, FIGSRS
Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) Tools for Land Records Analysis - David M. McCorkle
In Their Own Words: Women and the War of 1812 - Julia A. Anderson, MA, AG
Using Social and Historical Context to Support Indirect Evidence - LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG, CGL, FASG
Using Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to Solve a Misattributed-Parentage Case in America’s Colonial Era - Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, FASG, FUGA, FNGS


PLENARY SESSION: Artificial Intelligence and Genealogy: A Discussion of Issues and Concerns - Blaine T. Bettinger, PhD, JD, and others
Assembling Cryptic Bits of Documentary Evidence and DNA to Answer Major Genealogical Questions - Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, FASG, FUGA, FNGS
Hand-written Text Recognition: Harnessing the Power of Artificial Intelligence to Transcribe and Search Documents - Yvette Hoitink, CG, QG
Research Planning: The First Step to Solving Tough Problems - Jill Morelli, CG, CGL
Finding Frances: A German American Case Study in Community, Illegitimacy, Immigration, and Interstate Migration - Nancy A. Peters, CG, CGL
Using Land Records to Prove Ancestral Connections - Barbara Vines Little, CG, FNGS, FUGA, FVGS

I am so looking forward to NGS 2025 when it will be in-person in Louisville, Kentucky! 😀

LINK to NGS: https://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/

Friday, January 12, 2024

On the 125th. Anniversary of my Grandfather’s Birth - James Boardman Hawthorne

On the 125th. Anniversary of my Grandfather’s Birth - James Boardman Hawthorne 

On a cold Thursday, 12 days after the New Year, in 1899, my grandfather was born in Greenville, Alabama. His mother, Kathryn Ann (Albertson) Hawthorne, was the daughter of a Danish immigrant. His father, Alexander Travis Hawthorne, was the son of a Major in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Boardman, as his family called him, was named after his father’s uncle, Rev. Dr. J. B. Hawthorne, a famous Baptist preacher in the South. 

Boardman with his mother Kathryn
Greenville, Alabama ca. 1900

Boardman's father, Alex Hawthorne

   When I asked him about his birth, he said that it was snowing, and the snow would blow into the house from the cracks in the shutters. His mother had to make sure he was covered up with blankets. Decades later, I researched old weather maps and news articles to see if this happened… and sure enough, it did!  The blizzard of 1899 started in February 1899 (a month after he was born) and covered all of Alabama and down into Florida.

Temperature map of the United States during the storm

   According to the 1900 US Federal Census, his father was a farmer, and his mother was at home with the children: Boardman 1, Etta Mae 4, and Travis 8. Another child who was born in 1889, named Ethel, did not survive past that year. 

  Boardman had many aunts, uncles, and cousins who lived in Greenville as a child, and more in nearby Camden. His Danish grandfather lived in Manhattan, New York at the time, and his 64-year-old grandmother, Clara (Ford) Hawthorne, was living in Greenville. 

Boardman's grandmother, Clara (Ford) Hawthorne

   My grandfather instilled love and compassion in his own family, which has been carried down through the generations. Boardman has 42 living descendants as of January 2024, with more on the way. 

Boardman with wife Myrtle and their children.

Boardman's legacy lives on...