Thank you both, Wolfgang and Hans for helping me be able to use user specified 
footnote bulltes. 

I am using it in a table which I encapsulate with localfootnotes. I call
\setupnotation[footnote][numberconversion=fnsym] % change footnote symbols

after the startlocal, and it works in the table, but the use of symbols 
persists after teh stoplocalfootnotes is issued.  However if I undo, just 
before the end as

 \setupnotation[footnote][numberconversion=n]

then all works well and the counts carry on correctly.

Thank you.
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