Saturday was another busy day at Who Do You Think You Are? Live. I had three talks booked, as well as an Ask the Expert session, but otherwise had more time than Friday to wander around the stands and catch up with some friends.
First up for me was “Your Irish Ancestors and the Law”, with Brian Donovan talking about the Petty Sessions order books that are available on www.findmypast.ie. The Petty Sessions courts handled most criminal cases in Ireland, apart from the most serious, and were held by Justices of the Peace without a jury. Record taking was made mandatory in 1851 and so only a few earlier documents survive. Among the order books are dog licence books (1850-1924) – every dog had to be licenced, and every farmer usually had a dog. Details include owner’s name, address, and occupation. Brian also discussed the Irish Prison Registers 1790-1924 on findmypast.ie, another great resource. I really enjoyed this session as I learnt a lot and Brian’s a very entertaining speaker.
I had a long break until my next talk and made the most of the time to chat with fellow IHGS students, and also to attend the inaugral WDYTYA? Live “tweet-up”, ably organised by Rosemary Morgan. It was a great chance to meet some of the people I’ve been following on Twitter, and to discover more folks to follow!
My Ask the Expert session was with Kathy Chater who gave me some great tips on how to chase up details of my 3xgreat grandmother Elizabeth Rose, born in Cape Town in 1845.
Nick Barratt’s presentation on the future of genealogy was interesting, and it’s apparently his last gig at WDYTYA? Live as he is moving back to the National Archives to head up their Medieval team (amongst others). Somehow I can’t see TNA keeping him away next year!
I then raced around like a mad thing to pick up a Flip Pal (thanks for speedy service, guys!) and the second-hand books I had scored earlier and were being kept for me by the bookstall, before leaping into the last talk of the day – Rosalind McCutcheon on The Registry of Deeds in Dublin. Wow. What a resource! I’ve heard Rosalind talk before, and so I signed up for this without knowing how much the Registry of Deeds could be of use to me in my own research. It was a great way to end the day, and I am itching to get over to Dublin to start digging away amongst those dusty tomes.
Overall, I loved WDYTYA? Live this year more than other years. I think the main difference was that there were more people I knew to chat to during each day, and I had chosen the talks I attended wisely. (Oh yeah, and I got my Flip Pal. And lots of books!)
Handouts for most of the talks will be available from the Society of Genealogists website soon, hopefully.