20 October 2011

This Saturday I'm in Kansas

This Saturday, 22 October, I am privileged to be the seminar speaker for the Johnson County Kansas Genealogical Society's annual event. It takes place at the Lenexa Community Center. I am looking forward to this all-day event. It's a great opportunity for family historians in the greater Kansas City area to get together for some networking, too. I love networking with attendees, too.

The four lectures I will be presenting are:
•    Finding Ancestral Places of Origin
•    A Baker's Dozen: Easy Ways to Begin Writing Your Family History
•    Tho They Were Poor, They May Have Been Rich in Records
•    Newspaper Research: Dailies, Weeklies and Beyond

For more details and location: http://www.johnsoncountykansasgenealogy.org/annual.html

14 October 2011

Grabbing the knowledge in documents

I was looking at some old document copies today. I can't decipher all of the words as I carefully transcribe it into a nice typed document. I need to use some of my proven methods for figuring out what it says:
  • Put it way for a while
  • Try to read it away from your home or the library where you copied it
  • Give it to another genealogist to decipher (don't tell them what you think it is)
  • Give it to a non-genealogist to decipher (don't tell them what you think it is)
  • Yes, I have already compared the letter and word formation with others on that page and a few pages before and after
9 times out of 10 one of these methods works. When it doesn't I tend to lecture myself that I should be able to figure this out. My youngest son can figure out what things say in a variety of languages so I should be able to read something in English, no matter the era!

    13 October 2011

    Budget Choices in Life and in Family History

    I was just looking at my budget. My car will be paid for in December. Might I be able to finally get a new TV? No, I think I need to use that "extra" money to catch up on some other bills. After how lousy last winter was here, I really wish I could afford some vacation time in a warmer area in the first couple months of 2012. Budget says it's not going to happen.

    And then there's the food budget -- I have been dreaming of lobster recently but that's not a part of the grocery budget right now.

    It's the same way in our family history research and education. I would like to order a whole bunch of birth and death records for members of the extended ancestral family. A genealogy cruise would be so nice. So would attending an institute that I am not teaching at. And then there are all the neat conferences. My bucket list includes onsite research in Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, and a long list of U.S. states. Choices have to be made.

    Think about that last paragraph as far as your own family history. We aren't the only one who can't attend everything. When we do attend, we might be sharing a room with 1-3 roommates to cut costs. We bring along

    12 October 2011

    Join me in St. Cloud this weekend!

    The St. Cloud Area Genealogists (SCAG) and the Stearns History Museum are hosting a Family History Month event this Saturday, October 15th. The second annual Family History Conference takes place this Saturday, October 15th at the museum from 8:00 a.m. - Noon.

    "Robert Torborg will present “Old Family Photos: Their Care and Safety” and Paula Stuart-Warren will lead a program titled “A Baker’s Dozen: Easy Ways to Begin Writing Your Family History.” 

    Click here to read the full notice in the St. Cloud Times.

    For directions visit the Stearns History Museum website. To reserve your seat, call the Museum at 320.253.8424. The cost is $10.00 for Museum or SCAG members and $15.00 for non-members.

    See you there!

    FGS election results!

    October 12, 2011 – Austin, TX. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announces the results of its recent election for FGS board members and directors. The election was conducted online September 1 - 30, 2011 with all FGS delegates eligible to vote. Office terms for those elected will begin on January 1, 2012. With the recent election results, Pat Oxley, President of FGS states, “I'm thrilled to have this talented group of genealogists bring their experience and skills to the FGS board.”

    Re-Elected FGS Board Members: The following board members and directors were re-elected:
    ·       George G. Morgan (Florida) – Vice-President Membership
    ·       Curt D. Witcher (Indiana) – Vice-President Development
    ·       Loretto “Lou” Szucs (Illinois) – Director

    New FGS Board Members: The following board members and directors were newly elected:

    11 October 2011

    Genealogy Bloggers: A chance to win a free SLIG registration

    Are you a genealogy community blogger? That's step one. Would you like a chance to win free tuition for a course at the 2012 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy that is held each January in Salt Lake City? It's easy -- you just need to write a blog post and place the link in a specific place to be eligible. Sound too simple? That's the thing, it is simple. You just have to write about why you want to attend and which of the open courses you would choose. SLIG is a fun and educational week. I have been a part of SLIG for many years. Don't forget the Family History Library with all those microfilms, fiche, books, computers, databases and more is there, too. The 2012 SLIG dates are January 23-27. Onsite registration, syllabus pick-up, and a reception are held the evening of Sunday, January 22nd.

    The Utah Genealogical Association's blog carries the contest details. Click here to read them all. Here are  a few points from their post.

    "The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy is excited to announce our first ever blogging contest. We believe that SLIG is one of the best educational opportunities available for genealogists—and we want to hear why you think so to. For the next week we would like to encourage all the fantastic bloggers in the genealogy community to let us know why you would like to attend SLIG. The contest will run through Saturday, October 15, 2011 at midnight (Mountain Time). The prize will be a tuition waver to SLIG 2012 (note that only those classes which haven’t filled are eligible).

    How do I enter?
    Step 1: Write 500 words or more on the topic of why you want to attend SLIG. Include which course you would like to take, and whether you have attended before. Please include the link www.slig.ugagenealogy.org when referring to SLIG’s website."

    08 October 2011

    140th Anniversary of the 1871 Chicago Fire

    "Today and tomorrow, Oct. 8 and 9, mark the 140th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871."

    Click here to read the full post on the Newberry Library's Genealogy News.

    Click here to read about the fire on the Chicago History Museum's website.

    05 October 2011

    Tour Landmark Center, St. Paul

    Oh, I wish I could take part in this free tour in downtown St. Paul. Landmark Center is a beautiful old federal courthouse building that today houses various offices and cultural entities including the Ramsey County Historical Society.

    "Nooks and Crannies
    Come to the Landmark Center, St. Paul, for a Nooks and Crannies tour, Sunday October 9, 2011, 1 p.m. See areas usually closed to the public, including the legendary North Tower. Free."

    For more tours, classes, and other events check the October 5th issue of the Local History News from the Minnesota Historical Society. Click here to read it.

    02 October 2011

    Civil War era National Cemeteries

    The National Park Service has a website page that lists "Civil War Era National Cemeteries: Honoring Those Who Served." The listing is by state and includes sites designated as national cemeteries. Click here to learn more about each site. This does not represent all cemeteries where Civil War related burials took place.

    For more listings in National Cemeteries and others see Nationwide Gravesite Locator. As that site says, "Search for burial locations of veterans and their family members in VA National Cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries, various other military and Department of Interior cemeteries, and for veterans buried in private cemeteries when the grave is marked with a government grave marker. . . Information on veterans buried in private cemeteries was collected for the purpose of furnishing government grave markers, and we do not have information available for [those] burials prior to 1997."

    Many states also have listing online or off that include veterans burials. During the WPA (Works Progress Administration) era of the late 1930s and early 1940s some lists of veterans burials were compiled.

    Check these examples for more details. Read the information included with each to learn more about the parameters of the listings. Most clearly state that the details are not comprehensive. These sites do not all have online databases. Other states include Florida, Iowa, and South Dakota. Other places where WPA workers compiled lists of burials did not produce separate veterans and civilian records.
    Also check Findagrave.com, Interment.net, and other compilation websites for other veterans burials. 

    Dublin, Ireland libraries: architectural treasures

    If you love books of any kind and the buildings that house them, then you want to read this Washington Post article from Friday, September 30th. Yes, you may just look at the pictures but the accompanying story is as superb. Now I want/need to go to Dublin for another reason beyond family history research.

    I love the treasures that these buildings themselves are. The architecture, the plaster work, the artwork on walls and ceilings, and the lovely old wooden tables are just some of what draws me in to the "feeling" of being a perfect place for old books.

    01 October 2011

    October is Family History Month

    Isn't every month? Many libraries, historical societies, archives, and genealogical societies celebrate Family History Month each October with special events. What are you doing for Family History Month? I urge you to do something this month to honor the importance of family history. Need a few prompts? Here they are:

    • Now's the time to write a short biography of a favorite ancestor. Don't forget to include the sources of the details you write about. You will probably be starting a task list of more research to do as you compile this biography.
    • Schedule a few days this month or parts of days to work on your collection of photos (both in the overstuffed drawer and on your computer).
    • Talk to a family member about some aspect of family history. It might be one of the photos you rediscovered or the bio you wrote. Maybe it's asking a few questions about their memories of a deceased relative. 
    • Visit at least one courthouse, archive, or genealogy library to do some research or at least learn more about the place.
    • Visit at least one subscription and one no charge online genealogy site that you haven't checked in a while. There may be something new to discover. 
    • Don't know what some of the abbreviations are in this post? It's a good month to learn.
    • Read a guidebook. A book printed on paper. A how-to do genealogy guidebook. Make notes on things you want to research as you are reminded of them during the reading.
    • What can you do to help others continue to learn about family history? Maybe volunteer to do something for your area genealogical society?
    • Take out your calendar or open up the one on your computer
      • Add upcoming genealogical meetings, conferences, and seminars to it. Look at SLIG, RootsTech, NGS, NIGR, IGHR, GRIP, FGS, and others
      • Look for upcoming webinars to add to it.
      • See what your local historical or genealogical society is offering during October. Maybe it's a lunchtime lecture, a tour, or special class.
    Next month I will let you know what I did during Family History Month.