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GENCO 2016

2016 Genco

Last weekend, we had the pleasure of going south to attend GENCO 2016,  the genealogy conference in Brive-la-Gaillarde put on by one of those beleaguered associations, Généalogie en Corrèze. It is quite a large regional event, second only to that held in Paris by the Fédération Française de Généalogie. We have to say that it did seem a bit malicious on the part of the planners that the two events were scheduled for the same weekend, making it impossible for the dedicated conference attendee (or exhibitor, for that matter) to go to both. Whether this indicates an irrational (and uncharacteristic for the French) competition between the FFG and one of its member associations, an incompetent failure of communication, or the (normal for the French) complete loathing and damning of the client or consumer, we cannot say. In any case, we, and all others interested had to choose between the two when we would rather have attended both.

At GENCO, there was an excellent programme of ateliers (or, workshops):

  • Introduction to genealogy
  • A couple of sales pitches for Ancestris
  • A talk on how to pass on one's genealogical heritage by a representative of Famicity
  • A demonstration of the genealogy game Genealogik, reviewed here.
  • Palaeography
  • Writing up one's family history
  • A sales pitch for Champollion
  • The Occitan language, given by Stéphane Cosson
  • Genealogy in schools
  • Spanish genealogy

 We galloped between the above as best we could. This was not made easy by the fact that more formal talks were given at the same time, covering:

  • Bio-Psycho-généalogie
  • the Archives of Belgium and Luxembourg
  • Orphans and Wards of the State, (about which more later)
  • Polish archives
  • Heraldry
  • Discovering oneself with transgenerational psychotherapy
  • The life of share-croppers/smallholders -- métayers -- in the Limousin region at the end of the eighteenth century

This last touches on a subject in which many of our Dear Readers have shown an interest. They have also shown some rather free, nay, incorrect, translations of the word. To be sure, as Alfred Cobban wrote in "The Social Interpretation of the French Revolution", "A word such as métayer, like the large social group it described, has no English equivalent." He goes on to explain: "...the generally accepted picture of the mé of a poverty-stricken tenant or a small-holding with a short three, six- or nine-year lease, hiring the equipment and stock as well as the land, and paying for it partly if not wholly, in kind." The word had different meanings in different parts of the country and is not to be confused with métairie, meaning a larger enterprise, but the meaning cannot be twisted to mean "landowner".

As ever at these events, we learned so very much and wish we could have been in many places at once in order to have learned more.

©2016 Anne Morddel

French Genealogy