Category Archives: Genealogy Program

Great Lakes Course Prep

I’ve been working diligently to prepare for the course I am co-leading with Kathryn Lake Hogan, that will take place in January, in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Click here to read more about the course.)

Whenever I create a new lecture, I invariably learn new resources that I can add to the information I already planned on sharing or am reminded of things I’ve forgotten or don’t utilize as much in my own research. This course’s prep is no different. I have gathered a lot of information and resources that I plan on sharing with the students in the class. I thought I’d share two of those bits of information.

  • While looking at WorldCat for a copy of Lloyd Bockstruck’s book Revolutionary War Bounty Land Grants Awarded by State Governments published in 1996, at a library near me, I discovered that it is available as an e-book through Ancestry(subscription required).
  • I struggled to locate how many homesteads were successfully completed in each state, in a handy, already-created table. Then I found this fun lesson plan put together by the National Park Service. I put that information together in a chart focusing on the Great Lakes States:

I’m having a fun time putting this information together to highlight the Great Lakes region and I do hope you will consider joining us in January! To register, visit the SLIG website.

Advertisements

SLIG 2018 – Seats Still Available

I will be co-coordinating a course on Great Lakes Research with Kathryn Lake Hogan at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy in January. There are still a few seats open in our class but if Great Lakes research is not your focus, there are some other great classes with openings as well. The following announcement was sent out from the Utah Genealogical Association:

SLIG Courses with Seats Still Available
SLIG will be held 21-26 2018.  Register today
The following courses still have available seats:

  • Writing and Publishing Family Histories in the Digital Age, by Dina C. Carson, MA
  • Beyond the Library:  Using Original Source Repositories, by John Phillip Colletta, PhD, FUGA
  • Taking Your Research to the Next Level, by Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FUGA, FMGS
  • Digging Deeper:  Pre-1837 English Research, by Paul Milner, MDiv
  • Utilizing a Full Array of Sources for Researching your Swedish and Finnish Ancestors, by Elaine Haselton, AG and Jeff M. Svare, AG
  • Exploring Quaker Records – at Home and Abroad, by Steven W. Morrison, MPA
  • In-depth Sources for Portuguese Research – Azores, Brazil, Portugal, by Michael J. Hall
  • The Third Coast:  Research in the Great Lakes Region, by Cari A. Taplin, CG and Kathryn Lake Hogan, PLCGS
  • Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum, by Angela Packer McGhie, CG

I have been attending SLIG (and other institutes) for many years. If you are looking for a more in-depth education on a particular topic or area, you should be looking at institutes to supplement your genealogical education. While national conferences allow you to get a “taste” of many different topics, smorgasbord-style, institutes allow you to focus on one topic for the entire week. SLIG has the added advantage of being near the Family History Library where research can be conducted after class (or if you come a little early or stay after the institute).

I hope you will consider signing up for one of these classes!

Seminar in Shreveport was a Success!

I just returned from a wonderful time speaking at the Ark-La-Tex Genealogical Association‘s annual seminar. What a fantastic and friendly group of folks to work with!

Since Shreveport isn’t that far away, my husband and I drove, seeing some of eastern Texas that we haven’t had a chance to explore yet. Of course, our drive there, on Friday, was met with all kinds of road construction, which made me a little anxious. I don’t mind delays AFTER an event, but before, it makes me nervous. But, we made it!

Lunch Break!

A few of the society members took us out to a nice Chinese restaurant where we had great food, fun conversation, and waited out a thunderstorm that gave the electricity a few flickers. As luck would have it, when we were finished eating, the storm was over. Our host, Jim, took us on a little drive around the city showing off a few of the local spots such as the Riverboat Casinos, old downtown courthouse area, the Music Auditorium, and other attractions. It was a fun evening.

Saturday, I had the pleasure of presenting four lectures:

  • Using Lists to Find Proof
  • Canadian Migration Patterns
  • Using Church Records to Identify Ancestral Origins
  • From Deeds to Dirt: Using Maps to Analyze Your Research

Everyone was very attentive, had a lot of thoughtful questions, and were just so positive all throughout. I received some nice feedback in my email today:

“The seminar presentation was wonderful!  Each session was packed with so much information.  I personally liked the way you gave a little background, sometimes historically, of each topic.  The handout was excellent, also.” –Glenda Bernard, President

“You did a great job!  Your lectures were thoroughly prepared and you did a superb job communicating a wealth of information to our group and the many visitors we had. You made all aspects of our seminar a huge success!   We thoroughly enjoyed your visit.” — Jim Johnson, seminar coordinator

Also in attendance was a man who writes a blog called Prune Picker; his post reviewing the seminar, with some fun photos can be read here. I had a lovely experience with this group and hope I will cross paths with them again someday.

Yum!

After the seminar, and after a brief rest, my husband and I found some delicious “Louisiana food” for dinner, followed by some ice cream. And then I slept very well Saturday night! On our drive home, we took a different route and enjoyed driving through three different National Forests along the way.

If your society is looking for a seminar speaker, I’d love to hear from you. I’m booking the 2018 and 2019 season now.

I hope to see you at the FGS Conference, Pittsburgh

At the end of the summer, I will have the pleasure of being a speaker at the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ Conference “Building Bridges to the Past” being held in one of my favorite cities: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania! The conference will take place at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center August 30 through September 2, 2017.

I will be presenting three lectures. Wednesday is a day focused on society management. I will present:

  • “How to Find Volunteers and Keep Them!” – W-102, 9:30 am
  • “Build Membership and Participation with Small Groups and SIGs” – W-117, 2:00 pm

Then on Friday I get to present on a topic that I’ve been wanting to share for quite some time:

  • “Casting the Next: Denominational and Ethnic Newspaper Research” – F-309, 9:30 am

Full conference details can be found on the website: https://www.fgsconference.org/

If you have never been to a genealogical conference, it can be an excellent way to get a taste of a lot of topics at one venue. Each day there are approximately seven different lectures to choose from at any given hour, sometimes making it difficult to decide! I use these opportunities to attend lectures that match where I either 1) know very little or 2) address a current research project or problem.

I hope to see you in Pittsburgh!

Texas Institute of Genealogical Research (TIGR)

In Austin, TX, May 22-25, 2017, I will be part of the faculty presenting the first annual Texas Institute of Genealogical Research (TIGR). The institute will be a week long, with focus solely on Texas.

I am excited to be presenting “Shining Stars and Hidden Gems: Research Repositories of Texas.” Since moving to Texas two and a half years ago, I have made quite an effort to visit some of the wonderful research repositories in this BIG state. I have had some fantastic experiences and have gotten to hold in my hands some of the most precious and descriptive letters from the time of the Texas Revolution.

One project I have been involved with has been examining the personal writings from men who served in the Georgia Battalion. On a research visit to the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, located on the University of Texas campus, I had the privilege to read some very interesting and heartbreaking letters describing the times and conditions of the soldiers.

Letters written by John Sowers Brooks, available for viewing at the Briscoe Center, describe the terrible conditions the soldiers had to endure and are saturated with the loneliness these men must have felt.

IMG_7322
Letter from John Sowers Brooks, to his father, dated 25 February 1836, from Fort Defiance, Goliad, Texas; Briscoe Center for American History, box 3H90, Folder “Brooks (John Sowers) Papers [no folder numbers].

The letter reads in part:

“We will march at the dawn of day tomorrow with 320 men and 4 pieces of Artillery, 2 sixes and two fours. We have no provisions scarcely, and many of us are nearly naked, and entirely destitute of shoes. But something must be done to relieve our countrymen. We have suffered much and mar reasonably anticipate much greater sufferings. But if we succeed in reaching Bexar before the garrison is compelled to surrender, and are successful in taking the place and its gallant defenders– we shall deem ourselves amply repaid for our trials and hardships.”

Unfortunately, John Sowers Brooks was injured in battle, having received a bullet to his thigh which shattered the bone. He died during the massacre of Fannin’s Men at Goliad on 27 March 1836.

There are more letters to tell this tale. And hundreds of other tales of the Texas Revolution as well. The letters and stories are hidden in archives and manuscript collections across the state. My lecture at TIGR will share some of the repositories you can visit to find them. I hope to see you there!

Wow! My Kansas Webinar Made the Top Ten Webinars List!

Last month, I presented a webinar titled “Home on the Range: Kansas Research Tips” for Legacy Family Tree Webinars. It was a fun time and a great experience.

I was notified that my webinar was among the top ten for the month!

Screenshot of the blog post at Legacy News

You can read the entire blog post at: Top 10 Genealogy Webinars of March 2017

Needless to say, I am highly honored to be among so many of my favorite colleagues! Much thanks to Geoff Rasmussen and the Legacy Family Tree Webinars crew for their support, not just to education for genealogists, but also for giving speakers such a great opportunity as well!

TxSGS Annual Conference Presentations

I can hardly believe that it is almost time for the Texas State Genealogical Society Annual Conference again! It seems like it wasn’t that long ago that I was speaking at last year’s conference, for the first time. Well, this year I will be speaking again! The conference will be held in Dallas at the Crowne Plaza, October 28-30.

Friday, October 28,  I will be presenting two lectures:
Ahead of the Times: Texas Newspaper Research (2-3pm)
Newspapers were daily snapshots of our ancestor’s lives; Texas newspapers are no exception. Examine the broad spectrum and history of Texas newspapers for genealogical research. Methods, techniques, and strategies for obtaining those items of interest will be demonstrated.

From Deeds to Dirt: Analyzing Research with Maps (5-6pm)
This program demonstrates skills needed to move from land descriptions in historical documents to maps depicting those locations in order to analyze and solve research problems.

Saturday, October 29,  I will present:
Who Lives Next Door? Using the FAN Club in your Research (2-3pm)
Untangle individuals of the same name and solve genealogical mysteries using the “FAN Club” principle. Methods to identify FAN Club members and case studies will be demonstrated.

I’m so honored to be speaking at a conference alongside some of my favorite colleagues and friends! Such talented genealogists and speakers attending are Judy Russell, Cyndi Ingle, Deborah Abbott, Lisa Louise Cooke, Rick Fogarty, Sara Gredler, Colleen Greene, Michael Strauss, Billie Fogarty, Kelvin Meyers, Teri Flack, Debbie Parker Wayne, Ari Wilkins, and at least twenty other speakers!

Early Bird registration is open through October 7, 2016. Don’t delay! This is sure to be one of the best state conferences yet.

“Crossing the Pond” An upcoming course at the British Institute

britishI will have the pleasure and honor of teaching at the “British Institute” hosted by the International Society of British Genealogy and Family History (ISBGFH). I will be teaching three classes in the course titled “Crossing the Pond: Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor in Their Homeland” coordinated by Eric Stroschein, along with Luana Darby and David Ouimette, CG. The following is an excellent description of the course:

Are you stuck? Have you hit the European immigration research brick wall called the Atlantic Ocean? Want to learn how to resolve your own research problem? Whether your immigrant ancestor came directly to America or through the British Isles this class is for you. For this class, it does not matter where your immigrant came from.

Crossing the Pond teaches proven beginning to advanced methods, instructing students how to resolve their own research problems. Students in this course will bring up to 5 of their own European research problems to work on throughout the week. Crossing the Pond demonstrates sound methodology translates to all countries.

This workshop style course has the look and feel of private consultations centered around morning classroom instruction on methodology and followed by problem solving with guided research by your instructors in the Family History Library while using your own research problems.

The three classes I will be teaching are:

  • Using Lists to Find Proof
    • Genealogists examine lists every time they conduct research, whether it be in the form of censuses, tax lists, directories, petitions, or others. This class will demonstrate methods of examining lists as a research tool for proving the identity of our ancestors.

  • Using Church Records to Find Ancestral Origins
    • Use maps, directories, county histories and other clues from family lore and tradition to determine the religious affiliations of your ancestors. Locating, examining, and analyzing the records for a given church, might be the key to identifying an ancestor’s place of origin.

  • Canadian Migration and Immigration
    • When we think about our immigrant ancestors, we often visualize them coming directly to a United States seaport such as New York or Philadelphia. However, many of our forebears entered through Canadian ports before migrating south overland to become U.S. citizens; some may have crossed back and forth several times creating many records for genealogists. This class examines some of the common migration patterns and the documents they created.

I know I wish I had this course when I was beginning my genealogical research. There is still time to register! If you sign up by September 15 you will save $65 on the registration fees! The classes take place at the Plaza right next door to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. There is no better format than a half day learning and a half day researching, if you ask me. I am sure this course will be of use to anyone who is looking for their ancestors’ origins “across the pond.”

More information on the other instructors:

Course Coordinator:

Eric Stroschein, is a professional genealogist located in Mount Vernon, Washington. He owns Generations Detective, a genealogical research firm that offers a wide variety of services. Eric has roots in the British Isles and has had great success finding ancestors in their native countries for his clients and his own family. He lectures nationally at various genealogy conferences. To contact Generations Detective please visit: http://generationsdetective.org/contact/

Course Instructors:

Luana Darby, MLIS, is a professional genealogist and lecturer, based in Salt Lake City. She is the owner of Lineages by Luana, a genealogical research company which focuses on US/Canada and Western European research. She has served as president, vice president, and treasurer of the Utah Genealogical Association and currently serves on the Association of Professional Genealogist’s board. She also is employed as an adjunct faculty member at BYU-Idaho in the family history department. 

David Ouimette, CG, CGL, manages Content Strategy at FamilySearch, prioritizing historical records worldwide for digitization and online publication. He has conducted archival research in dozens of countries across the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia. David lectures at national genealogical conferences and institutes and authored Finding Your Irish Ancestors: A Beginner’s Guide.

My lecture at the APG PMC is all about the “PERSIbilities”

In just two short weeks I will be attending and presenting a lecture at the Association for Professional Genealogists Professional Management Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana. (My how time flies!) I will be presenting a lecture on a resource that is one of my favorites: the Periodical Source Index, or PERSI.

“PERSI Possibilities: Better Research with ACPL’s Periodical Source Index” will take place on Thursday 22 September 2016 at 1:15. So right after lunch… I do hope the great examples I will share and the stories I plan on telling will keep everyone awake!

A colleague and genea-pal Darcie Posz suggested I start a hashtag for my program #PERSIbilities. I love that and wish I had thought of it myself… I may have to retitle my lecture! In this program I will give the audience a look into the Periodical Source Index (PERSI), its new partnership with Find My Past, and tips and techniques for getting the most out of this valuable genealogical resource.

There is still time to register for the conference. Click here to go to the APG conference page. The entire conference runs from 22-24 of September at the Allen County Public Library. There are some fantastic presentations in the line-up that I am truly looking forward to attending. There are twenty-five different lectures and five workshops to choose from high-caliber genealogists working in the field today.

Besides the opportunity for learning, the conference is being held in one of the best genealogical repositories, the one that started PERSI, the Allen County Public Library. Who could ask for anything better? So, consider adding the PMC to your genealogical education plan. I hope to see you there!

Genealogical Preparedness – Part 5 – Conference Planning and Participation

Photo taken by my friend Deena Coutant, November 2015.
Photo taken by my friend Deena Coutant, November 2015.
This year I have had the opportunity to speak at several state and regional conferences. Up until this point I had only spoken at smaller venues, mostly local societies with audiences of 100 or less, in my local area. This year I also had the opportunity to witness a little bit on the conference planning side. This by no means makes me an expert on either of these sides at any level. I have the utmost respect for those who have the ability to plan conferences, to delegate, to deal with stressful situations, and to keep on smiling throughout! But I did learn a few things along the way that I will use to better prepare for next time I am invited to speak at a conference.

The first thing I learned outside of the general nuts and bolts of being a speaker (you learn these things by speaking to the local societies near you, they are often looking for speakers), is to be sure I understand the contract. When speaking at my local societies I have yet to sign a contract and most of the business has been done over email, so the contract was new for me. I made some assumptions I shouldn’t have. Had I asked questions when things weren’t clear instead of thinking “well, it will be fine” or “I’ll just figure that out when I get there” some confusion and awkward conversations wouldn’t have happened.

From that came the need to have flexibility. This applies to conference planners and speakers alike. When you get to a venue and things aren’t what you had in mind, it really does no good to have a major hissy fit (or even a minor one). All that does is get people upset. Everyone should breathe just a little more deeply, take a few minutes to calm down, and then problem-solve. Usually there is a solution to just about anything if you can keep calm.

Be prepared for strange situations. Rooms get changed, times get changed, projectors stop working, power goes out, people fall down stairs, the lunches aren’t lined up in an efficient way, the fire alarms go off, speakers get sick or injured or miss flights, weather happens, microphones have feedback or their batteries stop working… This list could go on and on and on. For every speaker out there, there is probably at least one story of strangeness happening during conferences. Flexibility helps with strangeness. There are a lot of things out of our control and being rigid only helps in raising blood pressure. Laughter is the best medicine. Make light of strange situations, make jokes, be witty, and in general “roll with it.”