The 2013 North Carolina Family History Fair

mccullohI went to the North Carolina Family History Fair at the state library last Saturday.  It was not as big as the San Diego Comic Con but it had a goodly number of people in attendance.  There were also numerous vendors and Local History and Genealogy Librarians in booths from various counties in NC.  Cumberland County won for best booth in my opinion, but maybe because they had the most swag and I got a free water bottle.

I had a great conversation with the Gaston County (my home county) librarian, Anne Gometz, about the German settlers in the county and about my childhood growing up a couple of blocks behind the library.

Also, one of the vendors, Stewart Dunaway, had some great materials that he had authored for sale.  We had an interesting discussion on Henry McCullough, the infamous land baron/ speculator who was given 1.2 million acres of land from the king in hopes of fostering new emigrants to North Carolina, but conversely the grant enabled McCulloh to extort people who had already settled on the land, which in many cases caused them to leave the colony.  I had first read about McCullough in Marjoleine Kars’ Breaking Loose Together: The Regulator Rebellion in Pre-Revolutionary North Carolina, and found him an intriguing villain. I am definitely going to order that book as well as some others from his site.

The first speaker, archivist Debbie Blake, gave an absorbing and informative presentation on vital records titled “Before the Vital Records Law: What’s a Family Historian to Do?”  Most of the material she covered would already be in the repertoire of an experienced genealogist but she found frequently entertaining examples of the records with some especially hilarious divorce records.

The panel discussion on DNA led by Dianne L. Richard, genealogist from Mosaic RPM, “Who’s Your (Great-Grand) Daddy?: The Basics of DNA Testing for Genealogy”  was for the researcher that is just entering the world of DNA but gave some great examples from the panel’s own experience in furthering their genealogical research with DNA testing.

So maybe next year I will have a booth for our library at the fair.

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