The IGS Annual Conference was hosted by the Wabash Valley Genealogy Society and held at University Hall on the Indiana State University Campus in Terre Haute, Indiana, on 25 April 2015, featuring Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGL, for four lectures. Four other lectures were offered, two about Terre Haute/Vigo County and two about DNA.
I decided to sit in on the Terre Haute/Vigo County sessions and then the final two Judy Russell speeches. Mr. Mike McCormick spoke first about the history of the settlement of Terre Haute. His speech was very informative and enlightening as to the history of the town. I was particularly interested in early business, i.e. breweries, and the Wabash-Erie Canal. Mr. McCormick is the county genealogist for Vigo County for IGS, and most of his speech was from memory!
Next up was a session about the website Wabash Valley Visions and Voices (WV3), which is a digital memory project. Donna Adams and Vikki Sordean are members of two of the charter partners, and they spoke about getting this project off the ground. The project includes partners, different regional repositories, who agree to share their digital collection online in this consortium form. There are thousands of pictures, documents, and oral histories included on the site, searchable by subject, county, name. Much work goes on behind the scenes, including scanning fragile items, labeling them and tagging them to be found online. What a wonderful effort. I applaud them for their hard work and diligence.
Donna Adams showing a steamboat picture (the Diana, a Wabash River steamboat) from WV3.
The annual meeting of IGS was held after lunch with general updates and an award ceremony. It was nice to hear firsthand what the Society is doing, where it is headed, and learning of achievements from all around the state. I was part of the 2014 inductions into the Society of Civil War Families of Indiana, having my ancestor Paul Mayer proven. I hope to have my father and son Civil War ancestors added to the list next year.
The certificate is beautiful in person.
The final two sessions I attended were both presented by Judy Russell…you can’t go wrong listening to her speak! Her speech, titled “Staying Out of Trouble: The Rights and Responsibilities of Today’s Genealogists,” I have actually heard before; it never hurts to hear this one again though! Many things to consider when looking for records and when using records (I’m looking at you copyright!). The final lecture was about the black sheep in the family, “Rogues, Rascals, and Rapscallions: The Family Black Sheep.” I hadn’t really given it much thought, other than, say, criminals being black sheep, but Ms. Russell outlined three groups of black sheep characters: Law Breakers, Philanderers, and Deadbeats. The black sheep of the family usually provide colorful records of the past, and, while those related to the black sheep at the time have to live through their blunders, the descendants of said black sheep can revel in the record-finding!
All in all, I had a great couple days in Terre Haute, lots to learn and meeting new people. I am very much looking forward to the Annual Conference to be held 15-16 April 2016 in Fort Wayne, Indiana!