Day one of the 2012 Genealogy Congress in Adelaide and the talks have gotten off to a good start. The first talk was a keynote speaker, Colleen Fitzpatrick, talking about finding the identity of the unnamed child from the Titanic. A fair-haired boy aged about 2 had been amongst the bodies recovered and not identified. A Swedish family believed it was their relative and therefore in 2001 the grave had been opened and it was found that all that remained were three baby teeth and a small piece of wrist bone. From that they were able to recover mitochondrial DNA which proved that the child could not have been the boy in question. After a long investigation they finally managed to identify the child and give him a name. She was a very good speaker and it was a fascinating topic.
Next session I attended was by Dan Poffenberger about reading old writing. He focused on Secretary hand, and first went through the letters of the alphabet and the forms they took at in that style of handwriting. He then showed an example of a will and worked through most of it practicing reading the writing. Although I have done a lot of palaeography work before, I still got a lot from his talk. Again he was a very good speaker.
The afternoon started with another keynote speaker, Daniel Horowitz, whose talk was entitled How we preserve and share memories in the Digital Age. This started as a discussion of the history of recorded information and methods of digitisation and storage of data. But it quickly changed to what was essentially an advertisement for MyHeritage.
Next talk was Chris Watts discussing records for British Merchant Seamen. Lots of information, but some of the slides were flicked over too quickly to allow me to make comprehensive notes. But he has written the book My Ancestor was a Merchant Seaman which is part of my library, so I can check that for further information. The main thing I got out of the talk were the large number of different records that have information about Merchant seamen.
Final speaker for the day was Shauna Hicks, talking about Ancestors in church records. She was focusing not on parish registers, but on other records like church newsletter/newspapers & church histories. Shauna is always a very knowledgeable speaker and I always learn something from her talks. This reminded me that I really must look for the Alway family in the records of the Baptist Church and Salvation Army in Victoria.