On Thursday April 16 we joined 930 other genealogists at the Providence, Rhode Island Convention Center for the 13th New England Regional Genealogical Conference.
We were greeted and checked in by a former Newtown Genealogy Club member - old home days had begun!
Since we had time before the first afternoon session, we went in search of food! We learned the convention center was attached to a multistory mall, and at the very opposite end was a Panera. We decided to have an early lunch that would carry us through the rest of the day.
My first session was "Up the North River: Pre-1800 Hudson Valley Ethnic Groups and Religions" by Jane E. Wilcox. I chose this session thinking it would be primarily about the Dutch who I thought were the majority of early settlers in that area. Boy was I wrong!
The first settlers of the Hudson River Valley were the Walloons, a French speaking people of Belgium. Close behind came multiple nationalities, and according to Ms. Wilcox, by 1800, there were at least 18 languages being spoken in this region.
Needless to say, this session was eye opening and I now have a different perspective on this geographic area.
Sitting next to me was another former Newtown Genealogy Club member who I learned has moved to Portland, Maine. She is attending the conference with her sister.
For further information: Jane E. Wilcox at www.4getmenotancestry.com