24 April 2014

Conference Shuttle Transportation Schedule

Coaches provided by James River Transportation
and Sponsored by Visit Richmond

The Conference Shuttle Transportation Schedule can be found on the Conference App under the show documents tab and on the conference website at http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/transportation-shuttle-schedule/.  

Coaches will be provided Tuesday afternoon through Saturday afternoon between the Greater Richmond Convention Center (GRCC) and the four other downtown conference hotels. The Shuttle will depart from the GRCC on Marshall Street.

  • Omni Hotel, 100 South 12th Street, Richmond, VA, phone: 804-344-7000
  • Crowne Plaza, 555 East Canal St., Richmond, VA, phone: 804-788-0900
  • DoubleTree Hotel, 301 West Franklin St., Richmond, VA, phone: 804-644-9871
  • Holiday Inn Express, 201 East Cary St., Richmond, VA phone: 804-788-1600

The 47 passenger coaches are sponsored by Visit Richmond, the Richmond area visitors and convention bureau and will run continuously during the scheduled hours. The shuttle schedule is based upon the days and hours when full conference events are underway. 

If you need transportation to another location downtown or at a time not scheduled, you will need to make arrangements with the hotel shuttle where you are staying or take a taxi. 

Monday, 5 May 2014

No coaches will be running on Monday, 5 May, 2014, so if you have signed up for one of the Richmond Discoveries' Tours which leave from the Marriott Hotel, you will need to make arrangements with your hotel shuttle to take you to the Marriott Hotel on Monday. 

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Likewise if you have registered for the BCG Education Fund, Putting Skills to Work, which will take place at the Marriott Hotel on Tuesday, 6 May 2014 starting at 8:30 a.m., or if you are scheduled for Librarians' Day at the Library of Virginia, beginning at 8:30 a.m., you will need to make arrangements with your hotel shuttle.

The Conference Shuttle will begin at noon on Tuesday, 6 May 2014, so that conference attendees can check-in at the Greater Richmond Convention Center and become acquainted with the convention center and Marriott Hotel facilities before the conference officially begins. We will have two coaches running on Tuesday afternoon. One coach will stop at the Omni and Crowne Hotels and the second coach will stop at the DoubleTree and Holiday Inn Express. There will be no bus service on Tuesday evening. You will need to make arrangements with your hotel shuttle service. 

For all the details check out the daily shuttle schedule on the conference app under show documents or on the conference website at http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/transportation-shuttle-schedule/.  

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday

On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday three coaches will be running each day: Coach A-1 to and from the Omni; Coach A-2 to and from the Crowne; and Coach B to and from the DoubleTree and Holiday Inn Express in a continuous loop. We anticipate three coaches per hour depending upon traffic and how long it takes to load and unload passengers. 

The coaches will leave from the GRCC on Marshall Street until 6:15 p.m. Because of the later activities on Wednesday and Thursday, the coaches will be leaving from the Library of Virginia and the Marriott Hotel in the evening. Check the schedule for the specific times which vary depending upon each event. The evening shuttles will stop at each of the above four hotels. 

On Friday evening the shuttle will be available after the NGS Banquet at the Marriott to return banquet attendees back to the four hotels. 

Saturday, 10 May 2014

On Saturday we will return to two coaches since a number of attendees are checking out of their hotels on Saturday.

Saturday is graduation day for Virginia Commonwealth University at the nearby Coliseum and there will be lots of traffic downtown. So we encourage you to leave your car at your hotel parking lot and take the shuttle to the Convention Center. The last shuttle will depart from the GRCC on Saturday at 5:45 p.m. and from the Marriott Hotel at 7:00 p.m. following the NGS Annual Meeting.

If you are taking a taxi to the airport Saturday afternoon, allow more time due to heavy graduation traffic. 

For all the details check out the daily shuttle schedule on the conference app under show documents or on the conference website at http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/transportation-shuttle-schedule/.  


BCG Skillbuilding Track

When the Trail Turns Cold: New Strategies for Old Problems 

Thursday, 8 May 2014, 8:00 a.m., T201 

Diane Florence Gravel
Do you have mysterious ancestors you’ve “buried” because the trail turned cold? Perhaps your great-great-grandfather changed his name! Did the family spend time at the County Farm? Could the secrets of your ancestor’s military service lie in the records of another soldier? Expand your search and follow the FAN Club (Friends, Associates, and Neighbors)! Learn effective search techniques for the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections to track down diaries and manuscripts with genealogical treasures. Join Diane as she explores new sources and reexamines old ones, and learn to resurrect those “buried” ancestors.  

A Certified GenealogistSM since 2002, Diane Gravel is a full-time professional genealogist and lecturer. She is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, and now lives in Thornton, New Hampshire. She frequently haunts the courthouses and other repositories of historic New England. Watch for her upcoming article on the published Official Records of the Civil War in the April-June issue of NGS Magazine.


23 April 2014

On-Site Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Choices

At the NGS 2014 Family History Conference activities will be held in two locations: The Marriott Hotel and the Greater Richmond Convention Center. In addition to the various conference meal events, the following on-site locations will have food available for the days and hours listed.

Richmond Marriott Restaurants & Food Service Options 

The Marriott Hotel will have the following food services available the entire week of the conference.  

T-Miller's Sports Bar & Grill

Breakfast 6:30 a.m.‒11:00 a.m.
Lunch 11:00 a.m.2‒:00 p.m.
Dinner 5:00 p.m.‒10:00 p.m.
Bar 12:00 p.m.‒2:00 a.m.

Liberty Lounge

Off the Main Lobby, Open evenings
Menu includes appetizers and lite bites
as well as salads and a few entrees


6:00 a.m.‒6:00 p.m.

In-Room dining

Breakfast 6:00 a.m.‒11:00 a.m.
Lunch  11:00 a.m.‒5:00 p.m.
Dinner 5:00 p.m.‒11:00 p.m.

Greater Richmond Convention Center

The following food services will be available Wednesday, 7 May 2014 through Saturday, 10 May 2014

Cyber Cafe

9:00 a.m.‒4:00 p.m.

Breakfast menu will include muffins, fruit cup, hot breakfast sandwiches
bagels, oatmeal, yogurt, and beverages
Lunch menu will include hot and cold sandwiches, snacks, and beverages

Food Court

11:00 a.m.‒2:00 p.m.

Lunch menu includes salads, deli wraps, hot and cold sandwiches
Panini sandwiches, pizza, daily entree, and desserts
Burger, fries, chicken fingers, hot dogs, snacks, and beverages


Being Organized

Julie Miller, CG

The theme of my three lectures in Richmond is organization. I have spoken to many genealogists over the years and have found that, like me, they hate using research time to organize. Being organized doesn't have to be difficult, complicated, or time-consuming.

"Adding Evernote to Your Genealogy Toolbox"

Thursday, 8 May 2014, 8:00 a.m., T210

Evernote is free software that helps you to gather, copy, store, and retrieve almost anything. And it allows you to sync the information across all of your computers and devices while storing it in the Cloud. Come and see why so many genealogists (including me) say they can't live without it!

P.S. I promise not to ask you to give up your genealogy software.

"An Ounce of Prevention: Making a Genealogy Disaster Plan"

Friday, 9 May, 11:00 a.m., F323

Genealogy documents, photographs, mementoes, and databases are a family’s most prized possessions. They could be lost in an instant in the event of a disaster. We are seeing it happen again and again as our weather becomes increasingly unpredictable. This lecture focuses on how to plan before you encounter a crisis. Being proactive could minimize your losses and keep your genealogy legacy preserved for future generations.

"Organizing Your Research Without Losing Your Mind"

Board for Certification of Genealogists® Skillbuilding Lecture
Saturday, 10 May, 11:00 a.m., S421

Most of us struggle to identify the best system for organizing our genealogy. The truth is, there is no "best system," only the best system for YOU. This lecture will discuss different methods and techniques to organize your genealogy research so you can spend more time researching a
nd less time reorganizing.

"Becoming an American: Naturalization Records"

Wednesday, 7 May 2014, 2:30 p.m., W143

Due to a speaker cancellation Julie has stepped in and will be delivering a fourth lecture in the Migration Track. The Conference Committee thanks Julie for always being willing to step up and provide what is needed.

Julie Miller is a native of Northern Kentucky who has lived in Broomfield, Colorado for twenty-two years. She was the genealogy columnist for the Broomfield Enterprise from 2001–2011. She is NGS Vice President and was chair of the 2010 and 2012 NGS Family History Conferences. Julie has been a volunteer at the National Archives at Denver for over 16 years.


22 April 2014

Methodology Track

Helen A. Shaw

The Sociology of Cemeteries

Helen A. Shaw, MA, CGsm

Wednesday, 7 May 2014, W-152
Salons A-D, Marriott Hotel

Cemeteries are important because of what they can tell us about our ancestors; not just about them personally, but about them as a part of the community in which they lived.

This is not a talk about cemetery records; it is about what influenced people in their choice of where to be buried.

Given a choice, there are several factors which direct people in choosing a place of burial for family members or themselves. Understanding those factors can help narrow the search for a place of burial. If the place of burial is known, understanding those factors as expressed by the cemetery, the lot, and the grave marker(s) can lead to a better understanding of your ancestors.

Attendees are encouraged to bring a printout of the syllabus material to the lecture.

Old German Church and Cemetery
Waldoboro, Maine

I am an anthropologist by formal training and approach genealogy as a community wide study. I am a member of the Association for Gravestone Studies, the Maine Old Cemetery Association, and the Cemetery Committee for the town of Rockport, ME. Recently I have been working with state legislators to revise laws protecting Maine’s ancient burying grounds.


Important Conference Hours

Pre-Conference Registration Closes 22 April 2014

Today is the last day to pre-register for the conference or register for any of the meal events at http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/event-registration/. On-site registration will be available in Richmond, but all meal events close today so NGS can place the orders with hotel catering. No meal tickets will be sold at the conference.

If you have already registered for the conference, you may want to remember the following dates, times, and locations


Attendee check-in and on-site registration is located on the second floor of the Greater Richmond Convention Center, directly across Fifth Street from the Marriott Hotel.  

Greater Richmond Convention Center
Tuesday, 6 May 2014
12:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014
7:00 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Thursday, 8 May 2014
7:00 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Friday, 9 May 2014
7:00 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Saturday, 10 May 2014
7:00 a.m.–12:00 noon


The Exhibit Hall is located on the second floor in the Greater Richmond Convention Center, directly across Fifth Street from the Marriott Hotel. 

Wednesday, 7 May 2014
9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

Thursday, 8 May 2014
9:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

Friday, 9 May 2014
9:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

Saturday, 10 May 2014
9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.


The Hospitality Booth will be located in the lobby of the Greater Richmond Convention Center, directly across Fifth Street from the Marriott Hotel near lecture rooms B15ABC.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014
11:30 a.m.–7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014
8:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Thursday, 8 May 2014
8:300 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Friday, 9 May 2014
8:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Saturday, 10 May 2014
8:30 a.m.–12:00 noon


21 April 2014

Trials and Tribulations Family History

Shannon Combs-Bennett 


Even though I was interested from childhood in the family stories and history my grandmother’s told me, it wasn’t until  the fall of 2010 that I thought about perusing more than I already knew. A simple family tree project my son brought home was the trigger to put me on the path I am on today.

In that short amount of time I have kept a breakneck pace with my education and research.  I was the second Family Tree Firsts blogger from Family Tree University and quickly transitioned into a columnist for The In-Depth Genealogist.  At IDG I write about one of my passions, lineage societies.  Last fall I became a member of class OL13 when I completed the Boston University Online Genealogical Research Certificate.  Fifteen weeks of intense study, but it was worth it to bring my research skills to that next level!  Currently I am enrolled at The National Institute for Genealogical Studies and write about my experiences with the classes I take as their student blogger on the Institute’s blog.

I love the Library of Virginia. See my 15 April 2014 blog post on my tips for research at the LVA at http://tntfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/. Love that place, was there last week and will be down there again next week!

From the beginning my personal blog, Trials and Tribulations of a Self-Taught Family Historian (AKA Trials and Tribulations Family History) was how I chronicled my adventure.  Over the last 3 years I wrote about my research, my views, interesting finds, books, or anything else that came to mind.  While I was with FTU it was also a supplement to what I was writing there.

Last year I started lecturing locally on a variety of subjects from DNA to organization. At one point in my life I toyed with the idea of becoming a teacher since I love to help others learn. This must be that suppressed teacher in me coming back out into the light. Being in front of a group talking is in some ways easier than writing it all down for a blog post!

This love for education, and my passion for helping kids, is why I am currently the Youth Education Chair with The NextGen Genealogy Network.  While still in its infancy, the community it addressing the needs of younger adults and youth genealogists.

You can find me on a variety of social media outlets so come on by and say hi!  I am on Facebook (Trials and Tribulations Family History), Twitter @tntfamhist, Google + (Shannon Bennett), and Pintrest (TNT Family History) to start.

Happy Hunting!
Shannon Combs-Bennett
Trials and Tribulations Family History