Friday, April 19, 2013

Day Two NERGC 2013, Manchester, NH

Today was a great day for the New England GeneaBloggers!  When I arrived at the NERGC Expo I was initially disappointed with the set up for the blogger area.  No sign, no easy access, desolate and boring are the best words to describe the space given.  I immediately asked for a sign, decorated it with beads and balloons, moved tables around, and even (shocking!) moved and removed some barriers to open up our area to the Expo Hall.  Bloggers drifted in during the morning block of time left empty on the schedule for visiting the vendors.  I don’t know how many bloggers used it the rest of the day.  I was busy in sessions instead of in the Expo Hall.

The first session I attended was “A Rural New Hampshire Barter/Cash System” with Richard Kimball.  He developed an entire case study based on an account book that belonged to his ancestor Ebenezer Marden of Chester, New Hampshire.  This was fascinating to me not only because I know Chester (right next door to Derry), but because I have been trying to analyze my own 4th great grandfather’s account book.  After listening to Kimball’s explanation of the entries in this book as barters, I think I can now decipher the entries in my great grandfather’s book, which is about 30 years older than the book in the case study.  You can read my other blog post about my ancestor’s book at this link here.

I then went to lunch with blogger Pam Carter at the Massachusetts Genealogical Council’s luncheon with Laura Prescott’s talk on “Jousting with the Gatekeepers”.  It was a humorous look at the absurd experiences some researchers have had with town clerks, archivists, and other assorted characters.  Laura gave some good advice on how to deal with these personalities, and how to prepare for possible denials of access to documents.  Then I took advantage of another chance to hear Steve Morse present “Genealogy Beyond the Y Chromosome: Autosomes Exposed”.   

After a nice dinner at the hotel pub with bloggers Midge Frazel, her husband, Steve, Jennifer Zinck and Russ Worthington, we all headed up to the 12th floor Presidential Suite for the Special Interest Group for Genealogy Blogging.  I’m very glad that they gave us this room instead of a conference hall.  It was like having another Blogger Bash in someone’s living room.  I’m sure that this atmosphere helped the conversation flow much better. 

At first we had a few bloggers sitting around the table, and we started introductions and discussion….

Then a few more showed up and we had to borrow chairs from the next room…

Then we had to get a few more chairs from a conference room…

Then we moved the sofa around and closer to the table…

And then we moved in another sofa and some chairs… It was a full house!  Folks were standing in the back. You couldn't have squeezed in more people!  What a great crowd, with bloggers like Midge who has blogged for seven years, down to new bloggers, including Lori Lynn Price who only started her blog in December.  We even had four or five people who were just thinking of starting their first blog.  Advice, ideas, questions and opinions flowed back and forth from everyone.  A big THANK YOU to everyone who showed up!  

The Geneablogger community is wonderful online, but in person it works even better.  I'm so glad that in New England we have the chance to meetup once or twice a year, instead of just virtually getting together on the internet. 

Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. Hi, Heather,

    Great reporting!I really enjoyed your comments on the crowd that came to the Blogging Gathering.

    Hopefully, we can do the same thing with the bloggers at the Ontario Genealogical Society's Conference in June.


  2. The Special Interest group meeting was a highlight of the day! You did a great job facilitating and I really enjoyed hearing the experiences of others. I hope we recruited a few new bloggers too. Thanks for all you have done on our behalf at this conference.

  3. Heather,

    I totally agree with Pam. It was a great gathering, great conversation. It was a great example of a community (NE GeneaBlogging) collaborating and sharing our varied experiences for those experienced Bloggers and though that might want to become bloggers.

    Thank you,


  4. I love the idea of a Geneablogger community in person, and the crowd growing as time passed. Maybe peeps are shy to talk about their blogs and need encouragement. Congratulations for all you did to bolster the spirit of bloggers!

    I also like the title, "Jousting with the Gatekeepers." Perfect. That has happened to me often, with clerks and bureaucrats; on the other hand, librarians can be the friendliest and most helpful people in the world. Recently I met Curt Wicher at ACPL and felt totally, totally welcomed!