I arrived in Fort Lauderdale Tuesday afternoon and was excited to discover I had a room with a view. The room overlooked the cruise port.
|Cruise Ships in Fort Lauderdale|
|Drawbridge over Intercoastal Waterway at 17th Street|
|The Convention Center as seen from the Hotel Parking Lot|
On Wednesday and Thursday I mostly attended the Caribbean track of lectures. If you want to learn something new, going to lectures about areas in which you have not researched is one way to do so. I believe we are going to see an upsurge in persons seeking their Cuban roots with the lifting of sanctions against the country. Unfortunately record preservation has not been the highest priority of the Cuban government and a lot of barriers exist to accessing what does exist. Fortunately church records can often be very helpful to those seeking their Cuban roots. My favorite lectures in the track were the two by Jeff Haines (Bahamas/Florida and Barbados) and the one by Michael Hait (San Domingue).
I attended several lectures on African-American research during the week that were also quite useful. Deborah Abbott presented a wealth of information on manuscript collections useful in African-American research on Thursday morning. Friday morning she demonstrated the difficulty of researching enslaved ancestors but presented wonderful examples of finding them by using their "FAN Club." Mark Lowe followed her with another presentation showing all sorts of places to locate marriage records for freedmen.
|Across the bridge|
|Lori and Jeff|
If you've never attended an NGS conference, you really need to prioritize attending next year's conference in Raleigh. Of course, those of you who have attended previous conferences need to prioritize it too. (No -- Mark Lowe, next year's national chair, is not paying me to say that!)