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FGS Conference, San Antonio, Texas

   It was great to meet so many of you at the FGS Conference in San Antonio.  I wasn’t speaking at this conference so I had an opportunity to attend many of the presentations, as well as meet with vendors.   I attended the 2 hour workshop on Scots-Irish Research done by David Rencher and Dean Hunter which provided an excellent handout.  I also attended two presentations by Paul Milner; Irish Maps and Tools and Effective Use of England’s National Archives.  One of the things we tend to forget is that our Irish ancestors were British subjects and records such as military records are housed not in Ireland, but in England.  My great grandmother’s second husband, Robert Spooner, supposedly was a cook in the British Army in India and although I didn’t find his record when I visited the National Archives at Kew a few years ago (I needed to know his regiment), I decided it was time to try again.  Paul indicated that a new website for The National Archives was going live today.  

   Like many archives, The National Archives is partnering with other companies to put records online.   The British Army Service Records have been digitized by FindMyPast, but a search for Robert Spooner did not turn up the correct individual.  Out of curiosity, I searched on just those born in Ireland and there are about 295,000 records.   Did you have an ancestor or family member that served in the Army?

   Another focus for my attendance at FGS was DNA and I attended a number of sessions on using DNA in your research.  I tested at 23 and Me a few years ago, mainly for health reasons, but I also received ancestry information.  I haven’t done much with it…if I get a high match, I can usually identify the person.  Last March I got a very high match and since I couldn’t identify the person, I sent a note to connect.  It turns out that her grandmother is from the same town in the Ukraine, as my grandfather and we are likely third cousins.  This is a line I have never researched since I had so little family information.  Attempts to contact the descendants of my grandfather’s only known brother have been unsuccessful.   With the DNA results and some help from Lisa Alzo, a genealogist specializing in Eastern European research, I may be ready to stick my toe back in the water on this line.  

   So, another valuable conference.  I’m going to have to spend some time digesting all of the information and you may see future blogs on some of these topics.  For the next month, I’ll be preparing for the Research Trips to Belfast and Dublin beginning on October 5th.  It’s not too soon to begin thinking about next year.  Drop me an email if you would like to be on the list for information when the dates are finalized.

   Happy Hunting!

© Donna M. Moughty 2007- 2017