Monday, June 11, 2012

Cumberland Gap Genealogy Jamboree 2012: A Look Back

This past weekend, I attended the last two days of the Cumberland Gap Genealogy Jamboree. They had speakers in the visitor's center for the national park as well as in the town of Cumberland Gap.  I will only mention a few of the speakers--Mark Lowe, Randall Jones, Carrie Eldridge, Connie Conrad, and Ann Blomquist. Most of my readers have heard Mark speak. Jones is a historian/storyteller. His account of Daniel Boone's life was quite entertaining.  Carrie Eldridge has provided genealogists with many trail maps over the years showing our ancestors' migration paths, and this is the topic on which she spoke. Connie Conrad is from the Evansville, Indiana area. Ann Blomquist conducts beginners workshops for East Tennessee Historical Society. I don't know if attendance was down this year or not, but I do know that many of the vendors were happy with their sales. The vendors were set up in the town of Cumberland Gap under canopy-style tents. Vendors came from as far away as Evansville, Indiana and Columbus, Ohio. There were a couple of vendors that I had expected to be present who were not. Their books would have sold well based on the inquiries I heard from people asking other vendors about specific areas. Although it isn't very far from the visitor center to the town, it's a bit of a distance. It's a shame that the entire event could not be held in one location or the other. My understanding is that Lincoln Memorial University's purchase of some key buildings in the town have prevented that from happening. It would be nice to see events like this grow in the East Tennessee area. The East Tennessee Historical Society tends to only offer a few basic topics that are repeated over and over again with the same speakers. No one seems to bring in outside speakers. Although the timing of the event is not ideal for the genealogy community since it conflicts with the Southern California Jamboree and is right before Samford, it deserves a little more recognition that it receives. (It is right before a library conference that I attend as well.) It would be a nice stop for those en route to Samford via automobile, especially for those whose ancestors came through the Gap. Next year's Jamboree is June 6, 7, and 8, 2013. Mark your calendars now!

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