Category Archives: Genealogical Education

BCG Putting Skills to Work 2018

I’ve been in Grand Rapids, Michigan since Tuesday when I attended the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) Education Fund’s “Putting Skills to Work” class. What an excellent day! The time was split between two classes.

Connie Lenzen’s class “Planning and Executing Reasonably Exhaustive Research: Or How to Ensure a Successful Hunt” discussed research questions and plans. I have to say that I was quickly reminded of what I should be doing everyday. I get so excited for the research that I forget to focus, slow down, and set forth a path for my search.

Tom Jones made us think about “Citing All Kinds of Online Sources.” This class focused only on sources you find online and really made us look at all of the layers that an online source might have. The original source, the microfilmed version, the scan of the microfilm, an original digitization in color, previously published or not, and so on. We worked through many example citations as a class and discussed each of the parts.

The level of interactive instruction that one gets at a BCG “Putting Skills to Work” class is incredible. If you are interested in certification, are already on the clock, or are already certified, it doesn’t matter. These classes are wonderful examples of hands-on, lecture with discussion with exercises, types of classes many of us enjoy and will benefit for our own continuing education.

The BCG Education Fund’s “Putting Skills to Work” occurs on the Tuesday before the National Genealogical Society Conference every year, so you will want to adjust your schedule accordingly. Next year’s schedule was announced at this years’ class, and will take place in St. Charles, Missouri on Tuesday May 7, 2019:

  • “Meeting Standards with Twenty-First Century Research Reports” with Melissa Johnson, CG
  • “Evidence Analysis: Theory, Practice, and the Real World” with Nancy A. Peters, CG, CGL

For more information on the BCG Education Fund, visit bcgedfund.org.

Irish Genealogy

I have identified two lines in my family tree that are Irish. I am excited to learn how to do Irish research this fall (because I haven’t really started yet) at the British Institute in Salt Lake City. The institute is taking place 15 – 19 October 2018 at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel, Salt Lake City, Utah

On the topic of Irish research, this opportunity slid across my news feed recently: the Irish Genealogy Virtual Conference. You can read more about it here.

The schedule is as follows:

9:00 – Fintan Mullan presents Finding 17th Century Families in Ireland

10:15 – Gillian Hunt presents Using Church Records for Irish Genealogy Research

11:30 – Fiona Fitzsimons presents Finding Women in the Irish Records

12:30 – break

1:00 – Chris Paton presents Using Irish Land Records for Genealogy Research

2:15 – Maurice Gleeson presents Making Online Resources Work for You

The website states: The virtual conference starts at 9 am (Eastern) with presentations being delivered in pre-recorded webinar format. Presentations are made available in sequence. After one presentation ends, another becomes available. Also, the webinars are available for 72 hours to accommodate time zone differences.

At $79 CAD (about $64 US if my conversion is correct) for five presentations, this seems like an easy choice for me! If you are interested in learning more about Irish research, this sounds like a great conference that you can attend from home. For more information, visit their website: https://www.genealogyvic.com

(note: I am not affiliated with genealogyvic.com)

Tips for Learning to Read Old Handwriting

In my work as a professional genealogist, I have to be able to read old handwriting. I know others struggle with this, and I have a couple of tips to share that really helped build my confidence when it comes to reading old handwriting.

My first tip and the best thing I can suggest is to take part in a volunteer indexing project. I signed up for the FamilySearch Indexing project the year it was released. I was onboard when the 1940 census was indexed in a matter of days, when the Civil War Pensions project was indexed, and for a whole host of state-organized projects through various state societies. After working on so many projects, I got really good at reading old and often messy handwriting.

Family Search indexing is not the only indexing game in town. There are indexing projects available through the National Archives and the DAR (if you are a member) as well. Here are those links:

My second tip is to get the book Reading Early American Handwriting by Kip Sperry. You can find it at Amazon or another online bookseller.

My last tip is to transcribe, transcribe, and transcribe. Any and all of your own research documents. Don’t have any? Go to FamilySearch and pick any record such as a deed or a will, and get started. If you choose to transcribe documents from a location where there is a local genealogical society that publishes a quarterly journal or other research publication, consider submitting your transcriptions to be published. Society journals are always looking for content. For more information about best practices for transcriptions, see chapter 16 of the book Professional Genealogy (edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills) titled “Transcripts and Abstracts.”

Truly the best way to get better at anything is to practice. I hope the above tips help you find your best way to practice and to also perhaps give back to the genealogical community at the same time.

The Best Education From Home Got Even Better!

Check Out This Sale at Legacy Family Tree Webinars!

Even at FULL price ($49.95), a subscription to Legacy Family Tree Webinars is a complete steal! An annual subscription is less than $5 per month! That’s about one Starbucks latte! Through April 1st you can get an incredible deal: $20 off an annual subscription! This is no joke!

Legacy
Click on the yellow banner at the top of the screen to receive this fantastic deal.

If you aren’t familiar with Legacy Family Tree Webinars, now is your chance. With a subscription, you have access to well over 500 (and possibly over 600) excellent, inspiring, thought-provoking, and educational webinars for genealogists of all skill levels. I have presented two webinars already for Legacy and am scheduled to give another one this fall. I find the entire program, from speaker to audience member to be top-notch.

I feel so strongly about this being the best education your money can buy, I’m not even going to post any of my affiliate links.* You can click here to access the site: https://familytreewebinars.com/index.php

(*Affiliate links give me a small reward if you sign up after clicking through them. Though if you appreciate my blog content and are interested using my affiliate link to buy, it is at the bottom of every one of my pages in the black area. Just click that link and I will get credit if you sign up for a subscription. Thank you in advance!)

This Year’s Plans (2018)

2018 Started with a BANG! I taught my first ever course at SLIG, co-coordinated with Kathryn Lake Hogan of Ontario, Canada. The course was “The Third Coast: Research in the Great Lakes Region.” It was a lot of fun and went very well. However, it was an intense process to prepare for such a large endeavor. Needless to say, I’m happy I did it and I’m equally happy that it’s done. And I will likely do it again in the future.

SLIG and a week of research at the FHL started this year for me, so I’m just now able to take a breath, take stock, and make plans for 2018 in terms of my speaking schedule and my own educational plans. My speaking schedule is light, which I chalk up to spending so much of my energy last year prepping for SLIG and not spending any time marketing myself or planning for 2018, with a few exceptions. I’m happy to have a bit of a break, however!

Here’s where I’m planning to be this coming year:

  • Beginning in April, I will be facilitating a discussion group on the topic of becoming a Certified Genealogist® hosted by Jill Morelli and the Seattle Genealogical Society. (For more information email: jkmorelli@gmail.com)
  • National Genealogical Society Annual Conference, Grand Rapids, Michigan, May 2-5 where I am presenting: W144 “Third Coast: How the Great Lakes Shaped America”; S423 “Casting the Net: Denominational, Ethnic, and Specialized Newspaper Research”;  S456 “Using PERSI Like a Pro”
  • Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR), Athens, Georgia, June 2-7 where I will be taking “Writing and Publishing for Genealogists” taught by Tom Jones
  • Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, July 22-27 where I will be taking “Women and Children First” by Judy G. Russell
  • International Society for British Genealogy and Family History (ISBGFH), Salt Lake City, Utah, October 15-19 where I will be taking “Researching Your Irish and Scots-Irish Ancestors” by Fintan Mullan and Gillian Hunt and my husband will be taking “Scottish Research: The Fundamentals and Beyond” with Paul Milner

There are some other items in the fall that are still materializing but this is what I have planned so far. I hope you make the investment to enhance your genealogical education plan with conferences and institutes. Nothing beats being in class with other genealogists!

And if your society is planning an all-day seminar, consider me for your speaker. I have a lot of topics to choose from. Check my Lecture Topics page for a complete list.

Legacy Webinars, 2017 Webinar Subscriber Summer Spectacular!

(Say that three times fast!)

I am a BIG fan of Legacy Webinars, for many reasons. First, they offer fantastic, high-quality, genealogical education, for a super low price! Second, I think they are very fair to their speakers and writers. As a past speaker and author of several Quick Guides, I feel very well taken care of. So, I’m happy to support something that supports me both in terms of education and as an educator.

Third… this is education you can get at home, wearing those bunny slippers (or in my case, sweatpants), at 3am when the repositories are closed! Or when sitting by your pool drinking adult beverages. However you like to do it! (I don’t judge.)

Below is the information from the news release. Please note that all of the links are to my affiliate account, another way that the folks at Legacy help support their supporters!


It’s our way of saying thank you to our webinar subscribers and inviting everyone else to preview these excellent classes!

This summer we will not only have new members-only content, we will also have full in-depth series to help you take your genealogy to a new level.

We’ll be sharing with you five new members-only series, released every two weeks, throughout the summer of 2017.

Here’s an overview of what you can expect:

Speaker

Series

Release Date

Melissa Barker

Researching in Archives (4 classes)

July 6th

Blaine Bettinger

DNA: A Closer Look (5 classes)

July 17th

Teri E. Flack  

Texas: The Lone Star State (5 classes)

July 31st

Amie Bowser Tennant

1790-1940 U.S. Census Uncovered (3 classes)

August 9th

Eric Basir    

Photo Restoration (6 classes)

August 14th

Craig Scott

Researching Revolutionary War Soldiers (5 classes)

August 28th

Researching in Archives (4 classes)

Archivist Melissa Barker is taking her professional expertise in the Houston County, Tennessee Archives and helping genealogists everywhere find hidden resources in archives, libraries and societies. 

Melissa’s 4 classes include:

  • Family Gatherings: Dragging Genealogy Information Out of Your Family
  • Using Archives to Fill the Gaps in Your Ancestor’s Timeline
  • Disaster Planning for the Genealogist, Safeguarding Your Genealogical Records
  • Scrap Paper and Orphan Documents in Archives

Available to subscribers at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com: July 6, 2017

DNA: A Closer Look (5 classes)

DNA is a hot topic in genealogy but it can be a bit confusing to learn how it works. In this new series DNA expert Blaine Bettinger provides more tools to help you understand your DNA results

Blaine’s 5 classes include:

  • Avoiding Genetic Genealogy Pitfalls
  • DNA Frequently Asked Questions
  • Introduction to GEDmatch
  • Begging for Spit
  • Who Are You? Identifying Your Mysterious DNA Matches

Available to subscribers at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com: July 17, 2017

Texas: The Lone Star State (5 classes)

Texas is the second largest state in the United States and has a rich history. Whether your ancestors settled there during the Republic of Texas or after statehood, Teri E. Flack will help you find details about their lives.

Teri’s classes include:

  • Fundamentals of Researching Texas
  • Finding Your Ancestors in the Republic of Texas
  • Researching Texas Land and Property Records
  • Researching Texas Probate and Estate Records
  • Texas Vital Records and their Substitutes

Available to subscribers at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com: July 31, 2017

1790-1940 Census Uncovered (3 classes)

Amie’s 3 classes include:

  • 1790 – 1840 Census Secrets Uncovered
  • 1850-1900 U.S. Federal Census Secrets Revealed
  • 1910-1940 Federal Censuses and State Census Records to Fill the Gaps

Available to subscribers at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com: August 9, 2017

Photo Restoration (6 classes)

You loved his class “Complete Photo Restoration in 4 Easy Steps” so we’ve brought Eric Basir back for an entire 6-part series on Photo Restoration. Learn how to make the most of your photos from scanning to editing and restoration.

Eric’s 5 classes include:

  • Scanning 101
  • Hassle Free Document Restoration
  • Bringing Faded Photos Back to Life
  • 25 Quick Photoshop Tips For Genealogists – Part one
  • 25 More Quick Photoshop Tips For Genealogists – Part two
  • Effective Image Placement

Available to subscribers at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com: August 14, 2017

Researching Revolutionary War Soldiers (5 classes)

Craig Scott is one of the most sought after speakers on military research. In this series, Craig will help you navigate the extensive records created to document Revolutionary War soldiers.

Craig’s 5 classes include:

  • The Revolution, More than just the War
  • The Participants in the War
  • Records Create by the Revolutionary War During the War
  • Records Created by the Revolutionary War After the War​ (Pensions)
  • Records Created by the Revolutionary War After the War (Bounty Land)

Available to subscribers at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com: August 28, 2017

Not a member yet?

You still have time to sign up before the Subscriber Summer Spectacular starts!

In addition to the new summer series, you’ll have access to all 529 classes in the Legacy Webinar Library including all the handouts!

Legacy Family Tree Webinars provides genealogy education where-you-are through live and recorded online webinars and videos. Learn from the best instructors in genealogy including Thomas MacEntee, Judy Russell, J. Mark Lowe, Lisa Louise Cooke, Megan Smolenyak, Tom Jones, [Cari A. Taplin] and many more. Learn at your convenience. On-demand classes are available 24 hours a day! All you need is a computer or mobile device with an Internet connection.

Subscribe today and get access to this BONUS members-only webinar AND all of this:

  • All 529 classes in the library (734 hours of quality genealogy education)
  • 2,464 pages of instructors’ handouts
  • Chat logs from the live webinars
  • Additional 5% off anything at FamilyTreeWebinars.com
  • Chance for a bonus subscribers-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Additional members-only webinars

It’s just $49.95/year or $9.95/month. Subscribe today!


Legacy Family Tree Webinars is a real bargain! I sincerely hope you decide to join, even if you don’t click through using my links (I’ll never know!), especially if you love to learn better techniques for researching your ancestors!

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.

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!