Sunday, July 5, 2009

On the Road

I have been disconnected from the Internet since Thursday, which is why I haven't had a blog since last week. We have been on the road, having left Thursday for the business part of the trip -- a speaking engagement for me. We are now in the pleasure part, though I have to say that the business part did turn out to be an immense pleasure for me, as well.

My husband accompanied me, and we headed to Atlanta for the national convention of the Sons of the American Revolution, where I spoke on the subject of Paleography in their genealogy programming track.

The SAR had called the genealogy society we belong to, the Southern Genealogist's Exchange Society in Jacksonville, Florida, looking for two speakers for the genealogy part of their convention's program. They had one speaker from Family Tree DNA and another from Samford University in Birmingham. The two speakers SGES sent them were me and Jim Vearil. Jim is an engineer by profession, but is also , like me, a student at the University of North Florida, majoring in history.

Our presentations were on Friday morning. jim went first, gallantly, as I am not a morning person. My husband and I got up and had breakfast buffet, then we went in and heard Jim's talk on using social history to understand your Civil War ancestors. Then I was up.

I wasn't sure how interested the audience would be in paleography, that is to say, old handwriting, especially when I started out with Spanish! I had talked to the program coordinator, Joe Dooley, a month or so before. When I was asked to talk and chose the subject of paleography, I had it in mind to talk just about British and American colonial paleography, but I let it out that my specialty is Sixteenth-century Spanish paleography. Joe said I should talk about that, too, as many SAR members are tracing Spanish lineages from colonial Florida and Louisiana.

So I worked up a program to discuss general considerations in paleography, the training and tools of the scribes, a little Spanish 16-th century stuff to show some letter forms and other quirks (many of which will also be found in English paleography of the period), some late 18th and early 19th century Spanish to demonstrate the changes, and then I talked about the British and American handwriting.

Once I got going, I saw some audience members nodding at what I was saying, and they began to look interested. I was able to put a few humorous comments in, and that got things rolling. I was in the groove after that. After my talk, I did receive many compliments. That is a great feeling, I have to tell you. I also got some terrific questions from the audience, which showed that they were interested in the topic.

I didn't get to hear the rest of the speakers. We were heading to Asheville, NC, to visit my husband's sister, so we had to get on the road. We'll only have a week there. Family commitments back home limit the time we can stay away.

The hotel wanted to charge what we thought was too much for their internet connection. This is a higher-end hotel, and we've been in many midgrade ones where the internet connection is free. And this hotel was charging more than the Walt Disney World resorts charge for their connection! So we decided not to do it. And my husband's sister does not have an internet connection at her home. So here we are at Panera.

It was a successful trip, professionally speaking. I got to speak to a national audience, and was in company with some experienced professional speakers. I was running with the big dogs, and I think I showed doggone well.

1 comment:

Evelyn Yvonne Theriault said...

There's no better feeling when you're giving a presentation then "getting in the zone".
Of course, as they say, what's really important is knowing your material and that you gave you a head start!
Evelyn in Montreal