Saturday, September 26, 2009

WSGS State Conference: Day Three

EWGS members enjoy breakfast in the Elizabethan room at the WSGS state conference

On Sunday, I was able to sleep in a bit before heading back to the Davenport for breakfast and the last presentation by Megan. Breakfast was held in the Elizabethan Room, so called because of its beautifully ornate medieval-style wood carvings all around the room. The meal was a delicious buffet of freshly-baked muffins and sweet breads, fresh fruits, oatmeal, bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, quiche, yogurt, coffee, tea, milk, and fruit juices. Megan and I had been meaning to get a photo taken together all weekend, but had both been too busy to do so. I had bought fresh batteries for my camera the previous afternoon, so was able to get a photo taken. Megan took one on her iPhone and posted it on Facebook and Twitter with a caption, "Guess who?", hoping one of the many geneabloggers would respond.

Miriam Robbins Midkiff and Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak
(Megan is very tall and was wearing heels, and I am very short and was wearing flats!

We held the last drawing for door, table, and raffle prizes, and then listened to Megan speak on "Newspaper Research Online." She highlighted some of the best known and largest collections, but also mentioned some of the smaller and specialized ones. She also spoke about obituary websites, since they tie in so well to newspaper sites, but cautioned that while many of our ancestors may not have had a regular obituary, it may be possible to find out about their deaths from regular newspaper articles written about them, especially if they died in an accident. The main thing I learned is that many of the large subscription websites, such as Ancestry, have contracts with newspaper sites that provide digitized issues for certain time periods that fluctuate instead of remain static. So if you find an article about an ancestor or relative, copy or download it while you can. Six months down the road, the coverage for those years may no longer be available through that subscription website. The advantage is, if you can't find articles for your family now, you may be able to find them at a later date when different years of issues are made available.

Megan takes questions from the audience after her presentation

All too soon, the conference had come to a close. But the day wasn't over yet! I met with some of my fellow conference committee members for coffee at a nearby mall to kill some time before lunch. We mulled over our successes and challenges at the conference, and even started planning for an event for Family History Month in October! Then we walked across the Spokane River to Anthony's Home Port restaurant to confirm our reservations. The others remained while Donna Potter Phillips and I returned to the Davenport, visiting the whole way and then met Megan, asking if she would rather walk or ride to the restaurant. She preferred walking, so the three of us had a pleasant stroll and chat back to the restaurant, while Donna pointed out historical points of interest along the way.

At Anthony's, we had a nice luncheon (I picked my favorite dish, a crab salad) with Megan and about ten of us who had served on the conference committee present. It was nice to just relax and "let our hair down." We wondered why none of the geneabloggers had commented on the photo Megan had posted to Facebook; Megan asked if maybe Thomas had organized the bloggers for some event that had kept them away! Finally, Bill Hire, EWGS president, got out his iPhone and posted a caption identifying Megan and myself. :-)

After lunch, Donna, Megan, and I strolled back to the Davenport and then said our farewells. After all our hard work, I think we all felt like the conference had been a roaring success! In many ways, it was hard to return to work the next day; transitioning from my genealogy life to my family and work life was a challenge! I am very proud of the work our committee did and look forward to attending future state conferences. The 2010 Washington State Genealogical Society's state conference will be hosted by the Lewis County Genealogical Society. Stay tuned to their website to keep updated on this event!

WSGS State Conference: Day One
WSGS State Conference: Day Two

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