Sunday, September 18, 2011

BIFHSGO Family History Conference - Day 3 for me

The third day of the BIFHSGO Family History Conference and about ten people again talked to me about the Guild and membership in it. Not sure how many people will actually take on a membership in the Guild but I feel now that I have probably exposed the Guild to most people in the Genealogical areas that I am usually present at. Next year I shall probably only have a booth at the OGS Conference which is province wide although I must admit that BIFHSGO does seem like the right place for the Guild to be at with its British Isles focus. I shall have to contemplate that through the year.

My next task is to complete my talk for October 8 on the Guild of One-Name Studies and it is just 30 minutes in length for Before BIFHSGO. Since it is Thanksgiving weekend here in Ontario I do not anticipate a large audience. I am trying to decide if I should have 20 minutes of presentation and then a 10 minute question period or 30 minutes of presentation and people ask me questions if they want after. Certainly I would have 30 minutes worth of material. I shall have to make a decision on that.

Now to today's conference which was again quite excellent. I am sure that the lecture stream that I did not attend was equally excellent. The first lecture of the day was by Helen Osbourn and she was discussing London as a conglomerate of villages and although she only briefly referred to Bermondsey the short discussion was quite meaningful to me. My families were there from the early 1700s to the early 1800s and then they move to Covent Garden area where the next generation has a butcher shop. Seeing London develop was an interesting exercise and again a quite excellent talk.

The second lecture that I attended was on The London Gazette by Audrey Collins and she too gave an excellent talk.  The London Gazaette has not been a tool that I have used to any great extent through the years but as I collect more and more Blake data I rather think I should begin to mine it for Blake information. Her talk was most fascinating and does make one rather want to look at the items that might be available on some of my small villages and perhaps even learn about Grange Road, Bermondsey Street and Tooley Street in Bermondsey.

Another excellent lunch and it was so nice just to be able to pop off upstairs and sit down to a well catered meal.

The third lecture was again by Helen Osborn and I had actually planned not to attend this particular one. I do not have any ancestors in London after the mid 1800s and never had any in Lambeth. But I had enjoyed both of her earlier talks and I am contemplating taking the Pharos one name study course that is offered and she is the instructor for that particular course. I was very glad that I did go although it was somewhat heart wrenching to hear the stories of stark poverty that existed in even the not so desparately poor. How easily it was for a family to slip from middle class down into abject poverty was such a sad story.

When I look at the 1911 census for my father and his family, they are comfortably living in a row house in Eastleigh where my grandfather is well employed working as a blacksmith for the railway. They (my grandparents and father (he is an only child)) have their own row house - 3 rooms down and 3 rooms up (total of six rooms on the census) and live two doors down to my grandfather's brother who also has the same house with six rooms and there are only the parents, their two little girls, the youngest brother of my grandfather who is an apprentice at the railway works and another apprentice of the railway works living there. John has taken in his brother and the other individual is I think related to his wife probably to help them out during their apprenticeship as he is an Inspector for the Railroad. My father always said that they were not well to do but in comparison they were so much better off than people who lived in Lambeth. Listening to the talk gave me more understanding to why people who lived in Lambeth simply didn't move somewhere else. They didn't have the money to escape their poverty. One of my grandfather's sisters was married to a soldier and they lived at Shepherd's Bush and my father and his parents regularly visited with them and they in turn came back to Upper  Clatford (the home of my grandfather and where his parents lived). So it was a good experience for me to hear this lecture and understand more clearly the plight of the poor in England and why people came to Canada and why the groups that sent children to Canada felt they would have a better life. I am not sure that Helen realized the far reaching effects that her lecture would have at least in my experience but perhaps I shall get a chance to share that with her when I take the Pharos course on the one-name studies.

The final talk of the day was given by Sherry Irvine and again I had not intended to go to this talk. Sherry is a Canadian and I know that she is a very knowledgeable Genealogist but I felt that three talks a day was enough for me but I did finally decide at the last moment to attend. I was glad that I did because it again reinforced to me that there is a great need for me to revisit much of my earlier work with regard to redoing will transcriptions and rethinking some of the evidence which I have collected and may see more meaning now that I am further along in the field of Genealogy. Essex wasn't a county that interested me particularly. I do not have anyone from Essex although the Blake family is there and finally I decided that it would be interesting to hear the talk and so I was committed. Along the way I had the opportunity to thank Helen Osbourn for her excellent talks and to mention that I would be taking the Pharos course for one-namers. She said that we should talk and I expect we shall as I should like to take the course up this winter.

All in all an excellent conference and I highly recommend it. Who knows the next time BIFHSGO is delving into Scot or Irish ancestry I may have broken through my mitochondrial line and discovered Irish or Scot or both ancestors in my past. It is certainly an unsolved line at the moment although the rest are definitely English as far back as I have traced thus far.

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