Findmypast Offers FREE Weekend. Use it!

Great news! Findmypast is offering FREE access to British & Irish records starting today until June 26th. A couple of years ago I had great success using FMP (shared below) which helped me confirm something I’d only suspected from one word in one document. When a FREE weekend is offered on a site that I don’t subscribe to, I try to clear my schedule so I can learn as much as I can over that weekend. Here’s your opportunity if you have British and/or Irish ancestors.

From the FMP news release:

Leading family history website, Findmypast, has just announced that their unrivalled collection of British and Irish records will be free to access for the next five days. Between 04:00 EDT 22nd June and 18:59 EDT, June 26th 2017, more than 1.1 billion records ranging from censuses and parish registers to military service records will be completely free to search and explore.

By providing free access to such a wide array of records, Findmypast aims to encourage genealogists to experience the very best of everything Findmypast has to offer. Researchers will also be provided with daily getting started guides, expert insights and useful how-to blogs over the course of the free access period, as well as a free downloadable eBook entitled “your must have guide to finding your British & Irish ancestors”.

An open “ask the experts” question and answer session will also be broadcast live on Facebook at 10am EDT on Monday (June 26th). Findmypast specialists in search techniques, military records, UK family history and everything in-between will be on hand to answer any questions researchers may have, whether they’re just getting started or need help overcoming a brick wall. This will then be followed by a free webinar entitled “20 Unmissable Resources for Tracing Your British and Irish ancestors” at 11am EDT, Wednesday July 5th.

For the duration of the free access period, all visitors to Findmypast will be able to access all of the following resources for free;

The largest collection of UK Parish Registers anywhere online

  • The largest online collection of Irish family history records in the world
  • The largest collection of British Military service records and the only collection to cover all three service branches (Army, Navy & Air Force)
  • The largest collection of British WW1 records & over 2.7 million Foreign Office Prisoner of War records covering both World Wars
  • The largest online collection of England & Wales Crime, Prisons & Punishment records
  • Over 13 million Roman Catholic Sacramental Registers covering Ireland, Scotland England and the US

Findmypast is home to millions of British & Irish records you won’t find anywhere else online and is the only family history website committed to releasing new records every single week.

I had great success using FMP a couple of years ago to locate the discharge papers of my 4xGreat-Grandfather, James Sly, of Warminster, Wiltshire, England from 1819!

Sly-militarypaper
“British Army Service Records 1760-1915,” Findmypast (www.findmypast.com : accessed October 2016), entry for Private James Sly, Parish of “Orningsham,” 1819; citing The National Archives (UK), WO 97 – Chelsea Pensioners British Army Service Records, Box 796, Record No. 97.

I knew from the 1841 UK census that James was a “pensioner,” but this record confirmed it and gave me more information on when he served and in what regiment.

If you have Irish or English ancestors, I do hope you’ll take advantage of this free weekend!

SLIG Scholarships available!

I will have the awesome opportunity to co-coordinate a course at SLIG 2018 with my colleague Kathryn Lake Hogan, titled “The Third Coast: Research in the Great Lakes Region.” You can view the entire course outline by clicking here ( slig.ugagenealogy.org) and finding Course 2. You can also view a short video about our course:

(I’ll write more specifics about the course in a later post.)

Is your genealogical budget a little tight? Or would you like financial assistance to attend? If so, I want to let you know about some great scholarship opportunities for SLIG 2018. The following was sent out by Debra A. Hoffman, Assistant to the Director of SLIG:

Planning to attend the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) in January
2018? There are several scholarship opportunities available for SLIG
students.

SLIG Jimmy B. Parker Scholarship
*Deadline June 20, 2017*

Named in honor of Jimmy B. Parker, whose legacy of service to the
genealogical community covered more than 50 years, this full-tuition
scholarship will be awarded to an individual who has “demonstrated
commitment to genealogical excellence and community involvement”. The
winner will be announced July 1st and their course of choice pre-reserved.
Full details here: http://ugagenealogy.org/cpage.php?pt=424.

SLIG Scholarship for First-Time Institute Attendees
*Deadline June 20, 2017*

This fund, opened at SLIG 2016, was created to enhance scholarship
opportunities for SLIG students. Donations have been made by Maia’s
Bookstore and SLIG students. More details and submission requirements may
be found here https://ugagenealogy.org/cpage.php?pt=448.

ASG Scholar Award, American Society of Genealogists

This award provides “financial assistance for a developing scholar to
attend one of five academic programs in American genealogy.” The award,
which will be given in October, will apply toward a SLIG 2018 course of
study. To find out more, visit their website
http://fasg.org/awards/asg-scholar-award.

AncestryProGenealogists Scholarship
*Deadline TBD for SLIG 2019*

Established to “foster and support professional genealogists in their
ongoing development efforts.” Scholarship covers tuition and specific other
expenses to attend one of the four US-based genealogical institutes.

Unfortunately, due to a lot of complicating factors, applicants won’t be
aware of the courses to be offered for SLIG 2019 until after they have
completed their application. For that reason, we offer the opportunity to
have open dialogue with the director if needed to help you rank SLIG in order of attendance preference on your application. (send an email to: director@slig.ugagenealogy.org and use the subject “AncestryProGen scholarship question for 2018”)

You can learn more about the AncestryProGenealogists Scholarship on their
website https://www.progenealogists.com/scholarship.

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!

More 2017 Plans… and into 2018!

So a few more things have been finalized that I can now mention publicly.

I have two all-day seminars scheduled this year:

  • 12 August 2017 – Ark-La-Tex, in Shreveport, LA holds an annual conference. This year I am their conference speaker! See this link for details.
  • 7 October 2017 – San Antonio Genealogical and Historical Society, I will be the annual seminar speaker for this group as well. You can find out more information about the seminar here.

The BIG NEWS that I want to share is that I will be a co-coordinator in a course at SLIG in 2018!

fullsizerender

I will be teaching a course with Kathryn Lake Hogan, with special appearances by Judy Russell and David Ouimette! The course will cover the Great Lakes region, more than a general survey, and intended to highlight the unique nature of history, records, documents, and methodology surrounding research in the Great Lakes region, both from the U.S. and Canadian sides. Watch for more details on this course coming soon!

My 2017 Plans…at least so far

calendarI know it has been an incredibly long time since I have posted anything. I’d like to report that I have been away on a fancy vacation, backpacking across Europe or something equally as exciting and adventurous, but let’s be real here. I’m a parent and a self-employed genealogical researcher and speaker. Who has time for adventures like that? (Well, unless it’s research-related, right?)

This doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy! The biggest thing that has happened is that I have taken a position as the Case Manager for my friend and colleague Deena Coutant of DigiDeena Family History Solutions. This means I am working to supervise all of the projects she’s got going, sending them to contractors, helping with marketing ideas, and working on research projects as needed. This job has been keeping me quite busy, especially as I get stabilized and familiar with the processes, and learn how to work with the contractors Deena already had in place, and helping to hire new contractors. It is an exciting time and we are having a great time working together!

I have also been busy getting my speaking schedule in order for the coming year. Here is what I have on the calendar so far:

*all times in Central time zone unless otherwise noted

There are several other items I have in the works, but the details aren’t firmed up yet, so when those items are worked out I will be sure to update this page and my calendar.

Here’s to 2017 being an awesome genealogy year!

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!