Cambridge Splendor

After being unable to participate in (international) conferences for more than two years, I finally got the opportunity again in August. Together with some ‘classmates’ from the University of Strathclyde I participated in the International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences. This time it took place in Cambridge, the well-known university city in the United Kingdom.

It was a unique experience for me. Never before have I participated in this conference, and never before have I visited Cambridge. So a good opportunity to get out and about.

Lectures and visits

On Sunday I flew from Eindhoven to London Stansted and then took the train to Cambridge. As we have had many warm weeks this summer, that was certainly the case then. The first day of the congress was devoted to the official opening. In full style, with flags, banners and uniforms, the participants marched through the streets of Cambridge, from Cambridge Union to the gardens of Clare College. The latter college was also where we were treated to various presentations during the other days.

Of course there was also the opportunity every day to get to know other colleges in the city. I got tickets to the library at Gonville & Gaius College, St. John’s College, and St. Magdalene College. In each location we were treated to gems of books and other documents with a genealogical or heraldic theme. For those who wanted to, a visit to the cathedral of Ely was also on the program. I also wanted to see that impressive building, where I was given a personal tour by one of the guides.

Gala dinner

On the last day, all participants were welcome for the elegant banquet in the great hall of King’s College, one of the most famous university buildings in the city. No TV series set in Cambridge that doesn’t include this building. (I now also look at this kind of series in a different way, it is a true feast of recognition.)

Beforehand, the participants were asked to dress appropriately during this banquet. For the men ‘white tie’ and matching dresses for the ladies. This was also a special experience for many.

What did I learn?

A brief overview of the lectures I attended:

  • Dirk Weissleder – From Luther to the peaceful revolution: families and individuals between 1517 and 1989 in Central Germany
  • Dominikus Heckmann – A new genealogical ordering system to denote all kind of Kinship and Affinity relations… with natural numbers only
  • James Terzian – The Miles Morgan Family: A case study in utilizing genetic genealogy to validate primary and secondary documentation for scholarly research
  • Klaas Padberg Evenboer – Hendrik van Heessel, king of arms of the Ruwieren
  • Laura House – DNA testing: the genealogical revolution
  • Luc Duerloo – When the saint went marching in: representations of saints in the municipal heraldry of the Low Countries
  • Mark Watson-Gandy – Genetic genealogy: from Scottish baronets to serial killers
  • Nathaniel Taylor – Donald Lines Jacobus and the scholarly genealogical revolution in the United States, 1922-1964
  • Nick Barratt – A march through time: sources for protesting ancestors
  • Susan Moore – Chancery proceedings
  • Toomas Kivisild – Genetic connectedness between modern and ancient genomes

Indeed, it was a full program with various presentations. And on top of that, it gave me the chance to meet old and new acquaintances. The social aspect of these kinds of international events is sometimes even more important than the content of the lectures!

Next time

It was also announced during the congress that the next edition will be held in Boston from September 24 to 28. The New England Historic Genealogical Society will then host this international meeting. The theme: “Origins, Journeys, Destinations“. I already know that I will be there too!

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