[APG Public List] Who do you think you are? My days One and Two.

Rolgeiger at aol.com Rolgeiger at aol.com
Sat Mar 5 16:52:48 MST 2011


Hello,  
Yesterday but a week ago I  had the happy chance to learn to know several 
members of APG.   
Well, here in  Germany we know nearly nothing about  
Who-do-you-think-you-are? There was something similar last year in German TV but  I didn’t pay 
attention to it. Someone told me about it  but … well, you know  … 
Last November APG told about  the event in late February 2011, so I decided 
to attend. Twas a good chance to  learn to know some fellow members in 
person. And it’s a shorter way to  England than to  America anyway. So I 
organized the  trip, got three Q-jump-tickets to have faster access to the show, 
bought a  ticket to and fro through Ryanair, booked a hotel in London – 
Kensington within  15 minutes walk distance to Olympia where the show took place. 
Thursday night I  rode to Frankfurt-Hahn Airport in the Hunsrueck Mountains, 
stayed in a nearby hotel and  took the 6.20-a.m.-flight to 
London-Standsted. That was funny. The wind blew the  same direction as we flew, so we took 
off at 6.20 and landed 6.10 – always local  time. Thus we landed ten minutes 
before we started. I really liked the idea. At  eight o’clock I had reached 
downtown London and  took a cab to my hotel – wow, 13 Pound Sterling for a 
taxi ride but I was bone-tired  and anxious to get there. Three days later I 
paid two pounds for the same route  but using the subway :-) 
I parked my suitcase in the  hotel, got all I needed and went to the event 
hall. I didn’t know what I had to  expect. I presented my ticket and was 
among the first visitors that Friday  morning. Q-Jump-ticket includes three 
tickets for workshops and my first was …  well, actually I can’t remember. I 
know I attended at least three lectures that  day – one was at 1 p.m. – Mark 
Herber talked about War Memorials Online at Stand  825 “The Genealogist”. 
He produced various memorials from all over  Britain, explained how they got 
there  and what information could be gathered from it. Some were real 
monuments on  public places but others were found on more or less remote sites 
like schools or  even plants. When I sat down, there were two ladies sitting 
right near me and I  asked one of them in case I felt asleep not to disturb 
me. Should I snore,  please, push me with your ellbow. She recognized my 
alien accent and asked where  I came from. I guess I was the only German to 
attend the show. I produced a  booklet I had put together about the relation 
between my hometown St. Wendel and  England - The  
Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandmother of The Prince of Wales - Relations between  my hometown St. Wendel, 
Germany, and England - and gave here a copy (they had  been planned for 
selling but no occasion arised to really sell it so I donated  about 15 of them 
and took the rest back home). Hope she liked it. I didn’t fell  asleep 
during Mark Herber’s lecture but I started feeling the lack of sleep from  last 
night.  
When I first entered the  hall, I made my way to Stand 519- the APG stand 
where I introduced myself to  Paul Blake, Laura Prescott and Kathleen 
Hinckley. Then I strolled through the  hall realizing that these would become three 
very long days (plus an additional  one for London  itself) before I could 
go home. And I guessed they would get extremely boring.  There was nearly 
nothing of real interest for me. All stands dealed with  information about 
England –  and there was no real genealogical connection between my research in 
German to  that in England. That’s what I guessed after  the first walk 
through the hall. I forget that quickly after I had talked to  several people 
at several stands. Like Ian Hook at Stand 615 “Leger Holidays”  (they 
provided military memorial trips to France and Belgium). I gave  him a booklet 
whose second half is about a crash of a British bomber in my  hometown in 
September 1941. Very exciting talk – he is curator of the Essex Regiment Museum, 
and he told me that some units of  the Essex Regt were controllers during 
the 1935-Plebiscite in the Saar Region.  Very interesting.  
I visited APG stand then and  now and met other people like Craig Scott 
from North Carolina, Carol Bannister  from Nottinghamshire and Rob van Drie 
from the Netherlands – uuh, it was such a  pleasure to meet someone who spoke 
German. My English is not too bad but in  school and later I learned 
something like Oxford English and during my research  I have been in contact to lots 
of English speaking people but most of them  American. You know Oscar Wilde’
s Canterville Ghost where an American family buys  a British castle. When 
the family enters the ghost watches them. And he tells  about the mother she 
was good looking and spoke but absolutely no English. Well,  I got very much 
acquainted to American English and much later I learned that the  Brits’ 
English is much different in terms and pronounciation and has nearly  nothing 
to do with Oxford English as well. I really had hard times during those  
three days in London to get acquainted with the language –  not to talk about 
the traffic system and the currency.   
In the afternoon I urgently  needed a coffee and bought a cappucino. Once 
that pretty somehow red-haired girl  behind the desk understood my order, I 
ordered some piece of cake and paid 5.50  Pounds Sterling which is about 6.40 
Euros = 8.50 US Dollars – for a piece of  cake and a bigger cup of coffee. 
Incredible. The coffee was great but  nevertheless …  
I sat on the floor with a  wall in my back and several other people near me 
– a men to my left and a  middle-aged British lady to my right. We sipped 
coffee and listened to someone  lecturing about DNA stuff.  
I attended two more shows  that day – one was “Hiring a professional 
genealogist at home and abroad” with  Laura Prescott who reminded me of our code 
of ethics. Well, I had read and  signed it before I entered APG but had I 
really thought about it? Ofcourse I  follow that code – had I been a member or 
not. Like the ten comandments – they  are basic rules for a functioning 
society. That lecture was great and I really  reflected about the code. As I 
did the next days when talking to visitors of the  APG stand when “I was on 
duty”.  
The last lecture for the day  was “Ideas for research before 1600” with 
Helen Good. Helen is a tremendous  sight – a historian with very much passion 
for her subjects. When I first saw  her waiting for the visitors to come 
along I had thought “oh, my goodness” but  once she started to talk and 
showing examples I was faszinated. She talked about  sources from 16th Century – 
id est 1500 plus. I was surprised to be able to read  most of the documents 
she presented – the numbers were the same we in  Germany had in that time.   
On Sunday I talked to her  about it and produced a sample of another script 
in our catholic church in St.  Wendel and she got fascinated about some 
letters she had never seen before.  During her talk she presented a book called 
“Reading Tudor and Stuart  Handwriting” by L. Munby, S. Hobbs and A.  
Crosby, published 2002 by the “British Association for Local History”  
(www.balh.co.uk). It’s great and a very useful help for those who deal with that  
period of time in presenting letters and numbers in original with explanations 
 attached. 
I didn’t know what to do  that night so I went back to the hotel, bought 
some food and coke in a nearby  supermarked and went up to my room. I had no 
watch with me and my portable  showed our time in Germany. But there was a 
telephone in  the room and it showed the time. So I went to bed at ten and at 
once fell  asleep.  
I woke up next morning at 8  a.m. (telephone time), got up and went down 
for breakfast half an hour later –  to find the breakfast room closed. Hm, 
they were to open at half past 8, now it  was past nine. It was then when I 
realised that my telefone time was wrong – the  difference was 1 hour and 40 
minutes. I hasn’t been 8 when I woke up but 6.20.  And it had not been ten 
when I went to sleep the night before but 8.20 p.m.  Well, now I knew it.  
I went back to Olympia hall and saw the  long line of visitors alongside 
the hall and around the corner. I produced my  Q-Jump-ticket for Saturday and 
quickly got in. I said “good morning” at the APG  stand and went upstairs 
to attend Audrey Collins’ “Using the National Archives,  onsite and online”. 
Audrey had had some problems with London’s traffic and the  fought a hard 
battle with the computer and the beamer. The beamer shut off  several times 
but Audrey was an experienced lecturer with cool temper. When one  “slide” 
was to cut off once more, she told the audience to memorize this slide  
before it would cut off. And when it was gone she said: “Hope you did as I told  
you and memorize it!” we – the audience and I – loved her coolness. Finally 
the  problem was solved and she showed us fascinating possibilities on the 
website of  National Archives of Great  Britain (or just England?).   
I was scheduled for the  stand at 11 but got lost in a talk to some 
visitors upstairs and came late.  First I stood in the back and listened to Marie 
Foden and how she made it before  I dared to talk to a visitor. He asked me 
something and I really didn’t  understand anything. I asked him to repeat and 
he used akronyms I never even  heard off. I asked someone from the APG 
stand crew for help which was quickly  provided. That accent really killed me.  
Two hours later I walked  around, talked to the Military Stand members 
(Royal Air Force) and the War  Graves Commission folks and forget to visit 
Howard Brenbrook’s “What’s in a  name?” At about 4 p.m. I quit and made it back 
to the hotel to prepare for the  evening. At about six I was back and met 
Paul Blake at the entrance to the Pizza  Restaurant right near Olympia Hall. 
APG had invited its members for a reception  at the Restaurant with wine and 
drinks. Laura made the reception and asked  everyone to introduce himself 
with name and country. The Brits had the majority  with several people from 
Ireland. After I’d spoken, I got a  little mad about myself. While everyone 
told his country in English, I should  have mentioned it “Deutschland” 
instead of Germany. A  little bit of Patriotism – well, I didn’t. Laura’s 
reception was great and she  thanked all those who had made this meeting possible, 
among them Eileen M O  Duill from Ireland who had  organized the Stand in 
Olympia.  
We sat down and ordered our  pizzas and the waiters produced some confusion 
when they brought the pizzas  along and called them other names than on the 
menu. I had ordered a Caesar salad  and it was very good. The wine bottles 
emptied and new were opened and we talked  together and it was really a fine 
chance to talk to people whom you knew from  the lists but never talked 
personally. Now some of us had a face behind the  email adress. Later – after 
most of us had left – I talked to Maggie Loughran  and Geoff Swinfield about 
several things I did not understand. They knew the  event very well. When 
the restaurant closed at 11 p.m. I accompanied Audrey  Collins and another 
lady who stayed at the Hilton and went back to the hotel.   
Roland Geiger 


-----------------

Roland Geiger
Historical and Genalogical  Research
Alsfassener Strasse 17
66606 St. Wendel
Germany
phone  ++49-6851-3166
email rolgeiger at aol.com
_www.hfrg.de_ (http://www.hfrg.de/) 

=> APG - Association of  Professional Genealogists
=> ASF - Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Saarlaendische  Familienforschung

Researchs in 
=> genealogy
=> local  history
=> transcriptions (f.e. old German into modern)
=> guided  tours through St. Wendel (day and night) and St. Wendel County, 
Saarland,  Germany
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