We set off early (inevitably) to find the venue for the BIFHSO conference. This accomplished without much difficulty, we go forth to meet our lovely hosts. It was great to meet people who and previously only been names on the end of a computer. I could not believe how many connections we made. I knew I would meet again friends who had made the trip to the UK, including those with combined Buckland Brewer/Braund links. I also encountered people originally from the Isle of Wight those who share my Braund ancestry (rare), a descendant of one of the emigrants who features as a case study for my Cobourg talk, two people with connections to Bucks Mills and others with North Devonian links. I am well away of the strong connections between the two areas but I wasn’t expecting so many – it truly is a small world.
Much was made of my silver Rockstar status and I was presented with an appropriate ribbon, courtesy of Thomas MacEntee, as well as with red and white beads denoting me as a geneablogger. There were several rockstars present and our beads incorporated a strand of the appropriate metallic hue – so silver for me. Getting internet access at the venue revealed that I had also been awarded the silver Rockstar accolade for the Commonwealth – what an honour. Thomas then gave a very entertaining and thought-provoking keynote plenary ‘Genealogy: the future is now’.
My first session on ‘Harnessing the Facebook Generation’, about encouraging young people to take an interest in history and family history was very well attended and the number of questions afterwards suggested that I achieved my aim. After a break I went to listen to Sher Leetooze, who I had ‘known’ for some time through her books on Bible Christians but who was speaking this time on Lowland Scotland. This was followed by my own session on One-place Studies. There was plenty of interest in this branch of research and I think I may have started several members of the audience down a one-place path. As I said in the talk ‘I take no responsibility’!
We were then whisked off for a lovely meal and more getting to know people. I wish we had had more time to socialise. Then we had to find our way back to the campsite in the van. As it was now both dark and raining, this did involve a certain amount of detouring and some moments when my eyes were very firmly closed (I would like to reassure everyone that I was not driving). Fortunately Chris had already worked out how to make both lights and windscreen wipers operate but the conditions made the journey heart-stopping (for me at least) at times. I am wondering if it is possible to continue our route without encountering any more main roads – or in fact any roads at all would be good.