Thursday, May 15, 2014

NGS 2014: Prothonotary, Census Tips, and Case Studies

With the elusive McClureSteiner, and Rinehart Pennsylvania ancestors in mind, I attended three final sessions at NGS last Saturday.

  • What's a prothonotary? Now I know, thanks to Elissa Powell, and I have a better idea of what kinds of courthouse records to seek out in Pennsylvania. For the 1741 marriage of Robert Larimer and Mary Gallagher, however, Elissa suggests looking for church records (if I'm lucky enough to find something that early).
  • Census tips from Jason Harrison offered a LOT of ideas to try. Here are only a few: (1) Check Ancestry, Heritage Quest, and Family Search, because there may be different transcriptions and different scans of the same pages in each place. (2) Search in a specific town and specific ED, when I know that info. (3) Try the Soundex search in Ancestry. (4) Try * and ? for wildcard searches. (5) Try nicknames, not just name variations. For instance, Nancy might be Agnes, Nan, or Nannie (I had this exact example). (6) Try initials instead of a first name/middle name. (7) Search for other family members or known neighbors, then look at who's living in the same area. 
  • Case studies cited by Tom Jones reinforced how someone else's experience can teach me a new technique or a different way to reframe the question. It's the same with genealogy blogs, not just written case studies in magazines. I've learned so much by reading what bloggers did to break through their brick walls.

Also, I bought the session CD for Henry Hoff's "Research Strategies for Upstate New York." Friends in the audience raved about his suggestions, which I want to try when researching the Bentley and Morgan families from Oswego. His session ran at the same time as Elissa's prothonotary session, unfortunately for me.

For lunch, a small group of us walked to the Jefferson Hotel. I enjoyed a salad topped with a pretty and yummy crispy poached egg. The hotel has its own methodology, but you can get an idea of how to make this unusual egg dish by checking out this site. And like everyone else in Richmond, we had our photos taken with the alligator in the courtyard.


  1. Hello, Marian. Enjoying my visit to your blog. Wish we had met at the NGS conference but it looks like we attended different sessions. There were any great ones to chose from. Wish I could have cloned myself to attend more! ha. Of course, the syllabus is a great way to read about sessions I could not attend.

    1. Hi Colleen! Sorry our paths never crossed but now I'm following your blog so I can read about your NGS adventures and beyond. The syllabus is great but I also bought a CD of one session because friends said he gave some info not in the syllabus. Good luck with your ancestor hunt and thanks for reading my blog.