The National Genealogical Society’s annual conference will be taking place in Las Vegas May 8-11. I am very excited to be attending this year – the line-up of speakers is terrific, and of course the opportunity to interact with other researchers is always terrific. I am most excited, however, to be able to hear Marian Smith speak at the opening session at 8 AM on May 8. I quoted Marian in my dissertation and relied on her comments to guide some of my own research. For those of you not familiar with her, she is Chief of the Historical Research Branch of US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). She has been a historian with USCIS, formerly the Immigration and Naturalization Service, since 1988. She now directs the agency’s History, Library, and fee-for-service Genealogy programs. Her talk at the NGS Conference is entitled “People, Policy and Records: The Importance of Historical Background.” Using immigration and naturalization as examples, this talk will explore the importance of national policy changes to ancestors, their records, and your genealogical research. For me, the integration of history with our own family history, is of paramount importance. Contextualizing the lives of our ancestors really brings them to life.
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