Sunday, October 25, 2009

Genealogy Fun

Here's Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge for October 24, 2009: (Randy's blog can be found at Genea-Musings.)

1) What is the most unique, strangest or funniest combination of given name and last name in your ancestry? Not in your database - in your ancestry.

2) Tell us about this person in a blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a comment on Facebook.

3) Okay, if you don't have a really good one - how about a sibling of your direct ancestors?

My choice is my 2nd great grandfather, Burwell Spurlock Blue, born 1821 near Barbourville, Virginia. I'm not sure if his name is unique, strange or funny but I've be willing to accept any or all of these descriptions.

Because I felt his was such an odd name, I spent considerable time researching in an effort to understand why his parents would saddle a child with it. Burwell's siblings fared much better in the naming conventions receiving such unassuming handles as Martha, Richard, Mary, Daniel, Elizabeth and Isabelle. So why Burwell Spurlock?

I won't go into the research but eventual I learned about Rev. Burwell Spurlock, 1790-1879, the first Methodist circuit rider preacher in the area of Virginia that the Blues were living at the time of young Burwell's birth. Rev. Spurlock must have had a major influence on the family and thus earned the honor of his namesake.

From "Descendants of John BLAW (BLUE), d. 1757 Somerset County, New Jersey" Fifth Generation, Page 65:
Family legends indicate that he [Burwell Spurlock Blue]was born in Virginia at "the foot of the BLUE Ridge mountains". He was a fiddler and a dancer, and liked to tell "tall tales". He said he "could stand flat-footed and jump as high as his head". He did have big, flat feet, was an excellent woodchucker, and "could drink his weight in whiskey".

I wonder of old Burwell Spurlock would have been very proud of that description?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

ISGS Conference

As promised, this is a sharing of my experience at the ISGS conference, Piecing Together the Puzzle of Our Past, held today, October 24, 2009 at the Elgin Community College in Elgin, IL. Full day conferences are great and what I’m about to say is not a complaint but I’m wound up and exhausted all at the same time.

My day began early, about 6:30 a.m., partially because I know that construction in our area makes it nearly impossible to get anywhere in a timely manner even early on a Saturday and partially because I wanted time to meet up with friends and peruse the vendors before any sessions got started. My strategy worked on both counts so I was seated in the auditorium among EGS friends with my new denim shirt in the bag at my feet well before the meeting was called to order.

The business meeting was short and well executed. Among the business at hand was the presenting of awards. Among the award winners were two well-deserving members of the Kane County Genealogical Society – Linda Eder and “Sandy” Chalupa. (Congratulations to them!!)

The sessions I attended were interesting and informative and I heard good things about the sessions I wasn’t able to attend. I know I picked up several tips I’m anxious to try but am too tired to start tonight.

As for me, I’m happy I made the effort to go today. I appreciate all the work that went into putting on the conference and all the hours expended by the speakers to prepare the talks for us. Now my plan is to put my feet up and relax for the rest of the evening.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Preparing for ISGS Conference

It’s a dreary afternoon after a dreary morning. Since napping isn’t really an option, I’ll spend some time preparing to attend tomorrow’s Illinois State Genealogical Society’s annual conference. There’s paper and pencils/pens to pack and, of course, I don’t want to forget to bring my program or my registration receipt confirmation.

The day promises some excellent topics and speakers. Michael John Neill, Craig Pfannkuche, Ann Wells to name a few; and, of course, our own Larry Pepper will be presenting on digital restoration of photographs. In addition, who doesn’t love perusing the vendors’ tables? (Oh, that reminds me, I must remember my check book and credit card.)

I’m sure many of our members will be attending and I’m looking forward to spending lunch and breaks with them. Hopefully, we’ll spread out to various presentations so we can share new-found knowledge with each other.

That’s it for now. I’ll post a follow-up after the conference and let you know how it went.