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Celtic Connections Conference

Brian Donovan of Eneclann giving Keynote at Celtic Connections

   No, I haven’t disappeared, but have been away on vacation for the past three weeks.  I had an opportunity to rest and relax on a cruise to Bermuda, followed by a week in Maine visiting my daughters and granddaughter, followed by a week in Connecticut with more family.  Actually it wasn’t all vacation...I left my husband in Maine for three days and went to Massachusetts for the Celtic Connections Conference.  

   The conference (sold out), jointly sponsored by The Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA) and the Irish Genealogical Society International (IGSI) was a big success with speakers from across the US and Ireland.  Brian Donovan of Eneclann spoke on Using FindMyPast to Trace Your Irish History (you can still take advantage of their 1 month for €1 offer until August 31st) as well as Murderers, Rebels and Drunkards: Your Irish Ancestors and the Law.  Both were great lectures.  He also filled in for Dwight Radford of Salt Lake City, who couldn’t make it with a lecture on the Landed Estate Courts

   John Grenham, author of Tracing Your Irish Ancestors and the Irish Ancestors site had three excellent lectures:  Irish Church Records: the Known Unknown; Reverse Genealogy: Strategies and Records for Tracing Down Living Relatives in Ireland; and Lost Sheep: Why You Can’t Find Your Irish Ancestors Online (Even Though You Know They’re There).  

   Eileen and Sean O’Duill from Ireland were also there.  Eileen lectured on Irish Birth, Marrige and Death Records and Come to Ireland to Find Your Ancestors (I agree…it’s not too early to start thinking about the Ireland Research Trip in 2015).  Sean, a fluent Irish speaker gave a luncheon presentation on The Language Your Ancestors Spoke: Appreciating Irish (Gaelic) and one of my favorites, Matchmaking and Marriage Customs in 19th Century Rural Ireland.  

   In addition, speakers from the New England area, and across to US gave lectures, all relating to Irish research.  

   If you weren’t there, am I making you jealous?  What made this conference so great was that everyone was researching their Irish ancestors…two days and 14 lectures on just Irish!  Tomorrow I leave for the FGS Conference in San Antonio and out of the 138 lectures, only four are on Irish research.  Now that’s not to say that there aren’t other interesting lectures, but Irish research is unique!  The rumor is that there will be another Celtic Connections Conference in 2016, likely in the Minneapolis area (home to ISGI).  So tuck that away and watch for announcements.

   I’ve written many times on the benefits of attending conferences and institutes.  There are always new things to learn.  Back in May, The Weekly Genealogist (NEHGS) in their survey asked how many conferences or all day seminars do you plan to attend in 2014.  44% of the respondents answered none, with 14% saying they don’t know.  Now I realize that not everyone is retired and can take time off from a day job to attend a week long institute<g>, but many genealogical societies sponsor one day seminars and there are state and regional events likely in your locality.  Although the largest number of people attending the Celtic Connections Conference were from New England, I was surprised to run into a number of people from Florida.  

   I look forward to seeing you in 2016 at Celtic Connections.  Happy Hunting!

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© Donna M. Moughty 2007- 2017