Both of the research facilities closed by 5:00 pm each day, which actually worked out quite well as I was able to return to my room, organize whatever materials I had either transcribed or acquired during the day and make plans for my next day’s research. I was also able to go out in the evenings either with other participants or with extended Newfoundland family (who rather graciously met with me and showed me around during my visit – more on that in another post!).
One important thing to keep in mind during any research trip is to gauge your time so that you do not burn out. Also, part of any trip should be about getting out and being a tourist/traveler. I made a point of taking a locally organized walking tour on my first day in St. John’s (anytime you can do this – go for it – many cities list these tours on their visitor welcome websites and they are oftentimes fun and informative). The City has done an amazing job of organizing self-guided walking tours, there are written brochures that serve as an overview and signposts along the way. I made a point of using these walking tours for my early morning walks – I was always able to find a Tim Horton’s or an independent coffee shop on my rambles. My morning walks also provided me with an opportunity to take photographs and get my exercise in while doing the tourist thing.
The week went by rather quickly. I was glad that I had made arrangements to stay on an additional two weeks so that I did not feel as time-constrained as many of the other participants. I spent the first week getting my bearings, making use of the two research facilities included with the seminar (our seminar leaders were “stationed” at both facilities to assist with questions and logistics) and figuring out the best way to find and record the various materials I was acquiring on this trip. The great thing about attending a seminar is that the other participants have similar interests and oftentimes they have research skills and/or tips that they are willing to share. A few of us used the same genealogy software program (Legacy Family Tree) and we got together to share tips and tricks. Those who had more advanced computer skills were willing to help those new to using the computer or the internet. As is often the case, participants break out into small groups based on interests and/or personalities. All in all, the NEHGS seminar was the impetus I needed to make the trip to Newfoundland and I am very glad I did!
Next time ~ Suggestions for making the seminar/conference experience a happy one for all involved!