Sunday, October 13, 2013

AAHGS 2013 National Conference - Day 3

Day 3 - October 12,2013 
     Whew!  I'm TIRED!  AAHGS has had us going from sun up to sun down, without a break (until now), but it's been fun!
     Today, I attended three great sessions.  I started the morning with the energetic, and enthusiastic presenter, Mr. Dwight Fryer, of Memphis, Tennessee.  In his talk, "Unlocking Memphis History An Inclusive Look at the Colorful History of Tennessee's Largest City",  Dwight told the story of the often overlooked impact of the contributions made by African-Americans to the history of Memphis. In his own entertaining way, he kept his audience interested and engaged, as he told us stories about how the first mayor of Memphis married a woman of (1/16th) color, and got run out of town, The Battle of Memphis, Yellow Fever taking over the city, and more.  This was a very enlightening session!
Dwight Fryer


     I stepped out during the question/answer portion of Mr. Fryer's session, so that I could slip in and hear a minute or two of the classes my genea-friend's Angela Walton-Raji, of My Ancestor's Name. The USCT Chronicle, and African Roots Podcast, and Taneya Koonce, of Taneya's Genealogy Blog.  Both of these knowledgeable ladies had packed rooms, with thoroughly engaged audiences.  I was in Angela's room long enough to take her picture, and hear her (as she shared the story of uncovering and discovering her Uncle Sephus) remind her audience that "Spelin doznt cownt!" :)  In Taneya's room, I stepped in just in time to hear her explaining the importance of finding the RSS ID numbers for web sites we wish to track.  She shared that she loves to use findmyfacebook.com, a site I wasn't even aware of!

                                              
Angela Walton-Raji
Taneya Koonce

    After this, we had a delicious lunch, followed by three more blocks of concurrent sessions (one hour, each).  First, I attended another Dwight Fryer session, "Unlocking Our Southern Mosaic: Examining A Family's Life Near Its Slavery Origins. Here, Fryer shared the processes he used to verify oral history from the lips of his family's 105 year-old matriarch about incidents that occurred during slavery. Next, I participated in the presentation, "Understanding African American Genealogical Patterns as Remnants of Slave Culture: Demographics, Family Dynamics, and Religious Practices", which was presented by Rev. Dr. Richard Gardiner and graduate student, Ms. Ceteria Richey. This session incorporated audience participation, in the reading of excerpts from the WPA (Former) Slave Narratives, and was followed by a very lively, and emotion-filled question/answer period, during which members of the audience directly challenged each other, and the presenters with impassioned arguments of their points. It was getting "hot" in there, but it was all in love, and we closed on a good note. :)
     My last session of the day was with Dr. Shelley Murphy, who was this time presenting on the topic, "Hitting the Genealogy Brick Walls & Challenges: The Search for Information about Joseph Brand Davis".  Shelley shared the research strategies she used to overcome "challenges" (not brick walls) she encountered while researching her ancestor, Joseph Brand Davis.  She identified common challenges, as well as those particular to African and Native American research.  Shelley suggested several useful strategies to researchers, such as listing what you know and don't know, keeping a checklist, having a map of the area you're researching, and most importantly, remembering to ALWAYS develop a plan! 
   After the third, afternoon session, we actually had a two-hour break before dinner, which is actually when I started writing this post.  However, fatigue took over, and I didn't get to finish it, until now (Sunday morning). The evening continued (after the break) with "Nashville's African American Music History Dinner and Award Presentations".  We were served another delicious meal, and were entertained by a young violinist and her brother, who sang for us. Then, our keynote speaker, Thomas Cain, took us back through Nashville's (Black) musical history, stopping to sing and play for us, as well as to share recordings from a very popular former radio station (which I neglected to write down the call numbers of), which were very entertaining.  AAHGS awards followed, with author Michael Henderson ("Got Proof! My Genealogical Journey Through the Use of Documentation") receiving the organization's highest honor, The James Dent Walker Award.  A very special Lifetime Achievement award was given posthumously to the founder of AAHGS, James Dent Walker, and was accepted by his wife.  The evening ended with a Cake Walk and Ball, which I decided not to attend, because I was sooooooo tired.
     So, that was Day 3 of my first genealogy conference.  It was a wonderful day of learning, sharing, meeting, greeting, and eating!  Today will be my last, here in Nashville.  I will recap my experience with one last post, later this evening. 

Thanks for reading!

Renate