26 July 2009

FGS Conference Registrants -- order paper syllabus in the next few days

Only a month left till genealogists descend on Little Rock!
In just a month, genealogists from all over the United States and beyond will be getting together in Little Rock for four full days of learning more about genealogy, finding cousins, seeing how much is online, seeing how much is not online, figuring out how to get the most out of records, determining what archives or libraries have the answers, helping your genealogy society, and spending some money in the large Exhibit Hall. Don’t let this event pass you by. The Arkansas Genealogical Society is the host for this event which is the annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. You will be hearing about this event for years to come and will feel sad if you weren’t a part of it.

The syllabus consists of the handouts from most of the lectures and each registrant receives it on CD at the Conference. If you wish to receive a paper copy of the syllabus in addition to the syllabus on CD you must order it no later than August 1st. It will also be online before the conference but some prefer to have the full paper copy at the conference. Just order it online at www.FGSConference.org when you register for the conference. If you have already registered, go back to the registration page and add the paper syllabus for $20.00 using the PIN number you received when you registered.

25 July 2009

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Good Genealogy Luck

I once heard it said that you make your own genealogy luck. That could be very true in the case of one instance of genealogy luck. Many years ago I had traveled to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City so that was my part in making my genealogy luck.

For years I had tried to find my German ancestors on passenger arrival lists and in other resources. I had many things that led to a determination of a 1856 U.S. arrival date. But nothing was panning out.

On that trip to the FHL, I was waiting for someone to join me so we could go to dinner. I was tired and while waiting was antsy and picked up a volume of Germans to America. I simply opened it to a page and there were my Germans! The Schleichers, Fishers, and Rohrs were right there, arriving in 1853, not 1856. The names left a bit to be desired in the abstracting, but now I had them. They left via Bremen - the records for Bremen were largely destroyed.

24 July 2009

Baseball and Genealogy

I grew up as one of three sisters with no surviving brothers. My Dad was a baseball fan and he took his daughters to baseball games. I remember outdoor baseball at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Some of those players I watched are now in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Next week I will be visiting the Hall of Fame -- in fact I will be in Cooperstown this weekend for the annual induction ceremonies courtesy of a friend who lives in the town.

Today I am scrambling on the last day of research at the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston, Massachusetts before heading to Cooperstown. I had the good fortune to run into someone I haven't seen in years -- Robert Charles Anderson. Many of you may recognize his name as author of the NEHGS series The Great Migration.

Bob is also a baseball lover. Years ago he wrote a wonderful article on "Baseball Genealogy" in the quarterly of the Association of Professional Genealogists (Vol. 6, Fall 1991, page 59). I had missed his more recent article on "The Family of Asa Brainerd (1840-1888), Pioneer Professional Baseball Player" that was published in the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record (Vol. 138, 2007, pages 5-13). For anyone who wants some additional ideas on research techniques involving a family involved in baseball, you might want to check this article. Bob uses sound genealogical methodology in his quest for the correct story of the life and ancestry of Asa Brainerd. Part of Bob's work showed that previous articles and biographical material on Asa were incorrect. Authors and editors had copied from each other without verifying the details. It's like copying someone's online or published family tree without verifying the names, dates, places, and other info.

22 July 2009

A sign of the times and a call for help

I love it when things grow by leaps and bounds. Unfortunately, this time it isn't something to love. Historical societies, archives, state libraries, public libraries, and other places where family historians do their research are floundering. The number of those floundering due to drastic budget and staffing cuts in today's economy is what is growing by leaps and bounds. It's impossible to miss each new cut if you read genealogy and history newsletters, websites, ezines, blogs, and even Facebook. Many of my colleagues post such things on Facebook.

My own Minnesota Historical Society has done some of that staff cutting in 2009 and needed the support of historians and genealogists. One of the latest concerns is that of the excellent Michigan Historical Library and Archives in Lansing, Michigan. As in so many states and at the federal level in the U.S. and other countries, history is being lost when there are not funds to house and preserve it.

My friends Shirley Hodges and Liz Kerstens who are both Michigan residents are among those quite concerned about the recent changes in preserving that state's history. They are among those who are keeping the topic alive on Facebook. On July 13th, Governor Jennifer Granholm issued an executive order closing the Michigan Department of History, Arts and Libraries. Its functions are to be distributed among seven other departments and some outside groups, including possibly Michigan State University. The archives would be under the Department of Natural Resources! For more of the details check out Leland Meitzler's GenealogyBlog.com

Shirley has written an article on the issue and help needed in the July 23d issue of Global Gazette. She has asked her colleagues to please share it "with anyone who might be interested in the situation that we are facing regarding the Library of Michigan. We need all of the help that we can get."

She further added: "If you don't already subscribe to the Gazette, you should do so. It is free and comes via e-mail. It is published by Global Genealogy and has lots of wonderful articles and genealogy tips. They are wonderful friends to the genealogical community." Click here for details.

04 July 2009

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Fourth of July memories

I hope you took some time to remember the importance of the 4th of July and celebrated the freedom and independence of the United States. I feel fortunate to call this country my home.

Randy Seaver, blogger extraordinaire, is known for challenging his fellow bloggers or suggesting writing assignments on a variety of things. His Genea-musings of today has the usual Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. He wants his fellow Geneabloggers to write about the 4th of July.

1. Think of the best Fourth of July you remember from your childhood.
The best one was actually year after year of the same thing. Oh was it fun. Our neighbors, the Lindbergs, had a pool. We would swim all day, have hot dogs and hamburgers cooked by our dads, and then come back to my house to watch the fireworks. From our large backyard we could see the beautiful fireworks that used to be fired off from Highland Park in St. Paul. The oldest Lindberg sons and friends usually had their own bootlegged fireworks and the younger kids had sparklers. What a simple but so enjoyable day.

2. Think of the best fourth of July you remember from your adulthood.
When my parents sold their house, they moved into a condo that was directly across from Central Park in Roseville, a St. Paul suburb. The pool was indoors but their condo had a patio that fronted on to the park where another beautiful fireworks display took place. For several years the entire family gathered there to play, swim, eat, and watch the fireworks. It was more special because my own children got to experience the Fourth with one set of grandparents.

Several years ago my husband and I were in Washington, DC over the Fourth of July. It was a hot day but we watched the parade down the Mall, did a lot of walking around, saw other events, and I was so excited to be live at the nation's Capitol to watch the entertainment and the fireworks. Suddenly I was ill -- the horrible heat that day had taken a toll on me and we ended up going back to the apartment to watch the evening events. It's not the best, but one that almost was a very special one.

3. What did you do today?
I spent the morning with my oldest granddaughter as we finished assembling my new bookshelves. Well, honestly, I just assisted her. She did almost all the work while I did a variety of things. Then I took her home and came home to continue rearranging things in my living room and dining room. Cooked on the grill and am now watching "A Capitol Fourth" live from Washington, DC. In a little while I will venture outside to see if I can catch the fireworks from a nearby lake.

I hope your day has been both fun and relaxing.

03 July 2009

Staycation Research #1: Enlightment

Yes, the economy is changing our research. Libraries, archives, and courthouses are not open as many hours. Some knowledgeable staff members are no longer employed. We are not doing as much distance travel for research purposes. At the end of this summer I am traveling to Little Rock for the 2009 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference. I don't want to miss that. On my way there and back I will be combining that and some on-site research in several localities. That is my big trip of the summer.

Most of the other summer and fall research time is being spent near home in what many have termed "staycations." I have already spent time at my nearby county branch library in the reference and history sections. What else can we do this summer and fall to stay nearer to home and save for the major trips?
  • Catch up on your reading. What historical and genealogical books sit on your shelves that you could pick up and actually read from cover to cover?
  • Have some relatives that are hesitant to share with you? How about just sending them a newsy letter or email telling them about what you have found on the past generations. Let them know what your branch of the family is up to. Ask them how their garden is doing or how the grandchildren are doing. Make it light and don't ask them for a single thing. This could also be called "buttering them up" for the requests you may make in a few months!
  • Does a local library (public, historical, and/or genealogical) give away duplicate books, periodical, or have a sale over the summer? Pick up some good historical and genealogical reading.
  • When did you last review the files on your Griffin family. Pull them out and you will be ready to travel some week in the future.
  • Volunteer in the local history room or archive so that others will find it open when they visit.
Watch for more ideas in future posts.