Thursday, March 19, 2015

NERGC First-Timers: Harold Henderson, CG and Me

The biennial New England Regional Genealogical Conference: Navigating the Past: Sailing into the Future will be held on Wednesday, April 15 - Saturday, April 18, 2015, in Providence, Rhode Island. This will be my first NERGC and I am looking forward to it.

Several bloggers were invited to interview speakers and I chose to interview another NERGC first-timer, Harold Henderson, GC. His speaker bio notes that he has been a professional writer since 1979, a professional genealogist since 2009, and a board-certified genealogist since 2012. (That's what the CG after his name means.)

Following are the questions I posed and his answers:

Elizabeth Handler: What got you interested in genealogy and how long have you been doing it?
Harold Henderson: Our younger daughter got interested in the late 90s, dragged me in, and I never left. I love seeing history from the bottom up. And I love the challenge of assembling indirect-evidence clues.

EH: I see from your bio that you were a writer for 30 years before you became a genealogist. Was that a natural evolution or have you found that being a genealogist requires a different skill set?
HH: Yes and yes. Genealogy is more decorous, and strives to be more scholarly, than journalism. But being accustomed to writing was a big help.

EH: One of your sessions is about writing down your genealogy. Not to give away your talk, but what is one suggestion you have for genealogists who have trouble getting started writing?
HH: Sit down and do it. Don't critique yourself as you write -- that leads to paralysis -- just get it down and fix it later.

EH: Your other session references NY Probate and Property. Was this research for your own family? Do you have any advice about researching in upstate New York? (I have a couple of brick walls there.)
HH: Yes. Make sure you work back and forth between probate and property records, they're like twins separated at birth.

EH: Do you have any upcoming articles that you would like to share?
HH: I'll have "Crossing the Continent with Common Names: The Case of Indiana Natives John and Elizabeth (Smith) Smith" in the March issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.

EH: You told me this is your first NERGC. This is my first NERGC as well. What are you most looking forward to at this conference (besides enjoying the company of hundreds of other genealogists)?
HH: I'll be dividing my time between attending talks and helping out at the Board for Certification of Genealogists booth along with friend and colleague Patti Hobbs from Missouri. C'mon by and say hello!

I look forward to meeting not only Harold but many other genealogists at NERGC next month.

Harold will be teaching the following at the conference:
Finding Berrys in NY Probate and Property - Step by Step (Thursday, 1:45-2:45)
Why We Don't Write and How We Can (Friday, 1:45-2:45)


  1. Elizabeth - I really enjoyed this interview. I thought the comment about probate and property was very insightful. And I agree with Harold about writing--you just have to do it. Thanks for the post, and I look forward to seeing you at NERGC!

    1. Cynthia - it's his NY Probate and Property session that I plan to attend. As I noted above, I have a couple of brick walls in upstate New York that I bet I could solve using probate and property! I look forward to meeting you in Providence!