Friday, January 30, 2015

When Genealogy Meets Geology Or Why I Won't Be At RootsTech This Year

RootsTech, there's no doubt it's a huge event for the genealogist. And this year combine it with the annual FGS conference and you have a raging genealogy party. Education, networking, friends, and time at the Family History Library. It's a genealogist dream come true.

But I won't be there.

Gena Philibert-Ortega and research poster at the GSA 2014 conference. Photograph used with permission.

For the last few years I've had the privilege of researching a rare book archived at the Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library at the Gemological Institute of America. This privilege has given me the opportunity to trace the life of a 19th century British woman and her commonplace book that not only is unique but has traveled from England to Australia to the United States.

I'm not related to the subject of my research, Martha Proby  but I probably know more about her than many of my own ancestors. Her life has been a focus for these last years and in making it a focus I have networked with her present-day family, archivists, librarians, writers, research friends on Twitter and participants at the 2014 Geological Society of America conference. Like all research, the more I find, the more questions arise. This research is far from over.

My latest adventure in this research will be presenting to the Geo-Literary Society at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society Show, the same weekend as RootsTech. At this presentation, I will not only talk about Martha and her book but also the book it's based on, written by James Sowerby. I'll also discuss her connection to well-known science figures like Charles Darwin.

This is where genealogy meets historical research meets social history meets geology. A very exciting mix.

So if by some slim chance you aren't attending RootsTech/FGS 2015 and happen to be in Tucson, Arizona that weekend, please stop by and check out my presentation, “Sowerby’s British Mineralogy and its Influence on Martha Proby.” Presentations are free and open to the public.

**I want to publicly thank the staff of the GIA Library including my co-authors,  director Dona Dirlam and librarian Cathy Jonathan who have supported this research in many ways.


Roylene F. said...

What a great project! I would have loved to hear your presentation. Next time 😉

Miriam J. Robbins said...

Hi, Gena,

Just wanted to let you know this post was highlighted in my Friday Finds and Follows: 30 January 2015 post on my genealogy blog, AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors.



Yvette said...

Awesome! You go, girl!