Unfortunately I had to be elsewhere in the middle of the day on Saturday, so only saw the opening address and the last half of one presentation. Michael Leavitt, former Utah governor and former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and former Secretary of Health and Human Services during the Bush administration, gave the opening address. Very entertaining, funny yet inspirational speaker. He gave the audience (both live and watching the streaming video) an opportunity to vote on topics we wanted to hear. Nice interaction between speaker and listener. No big hints or tips about doing genealogy, just heaps of inspiration. We all need that once in a while.

I caught the last half of “Homespun and Calico: Researching our Foremothers,” by Peggy Lauritzen. [Visit her blog, Anxiously Engaged]

What I learned was if you have a female ancestors from the late 1700s or early 1800s, it pays to look in land records for them. Yes, land records! Sometimes their husbands died, and their names then show up in land records, either because they inherited the land, they bought land entitled to their husbands, or it just came up in land records for other reasons. Would never have thought of that.

She also mentioned Hildebrand maps from early Virginia, again the late 1700s or early 1800s. I love maps, any kind of maps, any time period, so my ears immediately perked up at this announcement. She ordered the whole set of them, and as she said, “My dishes grew hair on them while my sister and I perused every single one.” I believe she said there were around 14 maps.

Between her and her sister, they found at least a dozen of their relatives on just one map. She ordered them from the Roanoke Public Library at a cost of $96 for the set. Said if they don’t have them anymore, they can point you in the right direction.

I do have a few (maybe 3 or 4) relatives from Virginia. Now I’m wondering if they’re from the right time period, and if so, whether there’s any libraries or online sources where I could possibly view them. Another puzzle to solve! More research needed!

Another point that caught my eye was the mention of Scottish marriage records. If you can’t find your ancestors’ marriage records, she suggested looking for a “Gretna Green.” It means a common place for a quick marriage, it originated in Scotland. It sounded similar to people going into the next state (or country) because the marriage age was younger, or the wait was shorter. Hadn’t heard that term before, so added another little tip to my genealogy arsenal.

RootsTech’s website now has 9 videos up from Wednesday and 9 videos up from Thursday. Anxiously awaiting more from Friday or Saturday. And I’m really sorry it’s all over until next year.