Today was my last day at the conference, although a few festivities will keep going until brunch on Sunday. I attended only one session.
J. Mark Lowe presented “Finding Your Civil War Ancestors.” I was surprised when he began with census records. If you believe your ancestor served in the war, he detailed strategies for compiling a record of the service. He pointed out that there are a lot of incorrect or incomplete reports out there. Next he looked through Civil War Soldiers and Sailors. Then he looked at pension records. Ancestry.com and Fold3.com contain similar but not identical index card sets for this. Ancestry.com has some NARA lists of hospital deaths, prisoners of war, etc. He went quickly through many helpful resources. Like many presenters he recommended NUCMC or WorldCat for locating obscure documentation, and also a Civil War collection at LSU. I found his style to be very accessible and helpful.
The trip to the airport was fun because I met a representative from GRIP, the weeklong summer Institute located in Pittsburgh. We chatted about the program and I hope to make it one of these years.
My impressions of my first conference are that it was a wonderful experience and something that I will do again from time to time when I can. I met so many of my social “network” and so many bloggers. I learned a lot. I sent 22 pounds of books home and I look forward to reviewing the syllabus and to the arrival of the three sessions I purchased on mp3. I am grateful for the many bloggers who welcomed me and became friends. I can’t thank you enough.