Conference Countdown: My Talk

Next week, I'm speaking at the New York State Family History Conference in Tarrytown, New York!

 My talk is listed in the New York State Family History Conference program, shown here. The blue circle around my talk is  not  in the actual program... that was my handiwork.

My talk is listed in the New York State Family History Conference program, shown here. The blue circle around my talk is not in the actual program... that was my handiwork.

What it's about

My talk is called "Using the Law for African-American Genealogy in Pre-Emancipation New York." When I was researching slavery-era records for an article last year, I learned about half a dozen record types that I'd never heard of before. They all documented free and enslaved African-Americans in New York during the early 1800s. Many included valuable genealogical information, like birthdates, parents' names, and slaves' countries of origin.

I couldn't believe these records existed and no one was talking about them!

I literally couldn't find any references to slave recognizances or slave declarations anywhere. Google was no help in this situation. By reading about New York's many slave laws, I came to understand why the records were created and how to use them for genealogy.

Now, I'm going to the New York State Family History Conference to teach others how to find and use these records for their own family history research. I also wrote about the records I found for the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record.

Getting ready

For the next week, I'll be micro-blogging (yeah, that's a thing) about the things that go into preparing for speaking at a conference like #NYSFHC (that's the New York State Family History Conference hashtag).

Follow me on Twitter and Facebook for even more updates, including my top picks for awesome-sounding sessions, tagged with the hashtag #merylsNYSFHCpicks.

See you in Tarrytown!