Category Archives: Genealogy Program

Busy Fall and Preparing for SLIG Tech Day

Fall always seems to bring on a fresh new season of busy-ness. I’m usually quite busy around the holidays, busy around spring, busy in the summer, and then fall hits and things are busy again…but the feeling of fall is one of starting. Which is weird because seasonally we are getting ready for winter and hibernation. This is likely a product of the school year, fall through winter and so autumn brings on the feeling of beginning again.

I have been working on filling in my schedule of speaking engagements for the foreseeable future. I am teaching some local classes here and there. You can always see my upcoming lecture schedule on my Speaking Calendar page.

I am excited to be presenting two three-hour workshops for SLIG’s Tech Day on January 19, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah. First I will teach “Using Evernote to Create an Effective Research Plan and Log System” followed by “Using Google’s MyMaps as a Research and Analysis Tool.”

I taught the Google’s MyMaps class last year. It went really well and sold out quickly, and they even added a few extra seats that sold out too so they agreed that we should see about teaching it again. Google’s MyMaps is a really cool tool and I enjoy showing people what it can do and then seeing what they come up with.

The Evernote presentation is a new one for me. I use Evernote everyday. I love it. It is so versatile, handy, easily accessible, user-friendly, and more. I find it quite easy to use both for research planning and logging, or “plogging” as I like to call it.

Both workshops will be interactive with in-class exercises that will ensure the students practice what I am demonstrating, and get them to a place that they can begin right away with the tools.

For more information on SLIG Tech Day, visit this website: https://ugagenealogy.org/cpage.php?pt=526

GRIP 2019 Courses Announced

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It is hard to believe that the year is half over and I’m already looking ahead to my continuing education plans for 2019. In a little over a month, I will be attending the July week of the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) in Pittsburgh (as opposed to the July week in Amherst, NY) coming up soon, taking the course “Women and Children First” with Judy Russell.

Looking ahead to future educational opportunities, I want to point out that GRIP’s 2019 courses have been announced and you can read about them on their blog.

Two weeks will be held in Pittsburgh at La Roche College, which is a lovely and inviting setting for a week of study. The weeks are June 23-28 and July 14-19, 2019. Mark your calendars!

GRIP is one of my favorites. I hope to see you there!

SLIG Tech Day Seeks Proposals

slig_logo_large_transparent-02The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) held its first Tech Day this year prior to the regular week of classes. I presented a workshop on using Google’s MyMaps as a research tool. (I wrote about it here.) The SLIG program coordinators are seeking proposals and the Deadline has been extended to June 30, 2018. If you are a speaker, I highly recommend sending a proposal.

From their website:
“SLIG will hold its second annual SLIG Tech Day on Saturday, January 19, 2019 – the Saturday that follows SLIG and runs prior to the new SLIG Academy. Proposals will be accepted for half-day (3.5 hour) workshops and 1.5 hour classes on technology-related topics that will enhance participant research and documentation.”

You can read more about it and submit your proposals on their website.

Wisconsin State Genealogical Society Webinar

Tomorrow I will be presenting a webinar for the Wisconsin State Genealogical Society on finding religious records in the Great Lakes region of the United States. You can find more information about the webinar here: https://wsgs.org.

In January I had the pleasure of coordinating a course at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) with my colleague Kathryn Lake Hogan, PLCGS who specializes in Canadian research. This webinar is a sprout from that course and I am excited to share some history, tips, and strategies for finding the religious records of Great Lakes Ancestors with a new audience.

Here are the details:

  • Date:  Tuesday, April 17, 2018
  • Time: 7:00 PM CST
  • Webinar Description: Some of the first settlers in any region were missionaries who wanted to convert native tribes already in the region. The area around the Great Lakes was explored by Jesuits, Methodists, Moravians, Baptists, Anglicans, Quakers, Presbyterians and others. These groups built early churches and religious meeting places that served settlers and native people alike. This class will focus on major religions in the Great Lakes region, a history and timeline of their arrival and expansion in specific areas, and will include a discussion on the main denominational repositories for research.

Register at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6940041915140711427

I hope to “see” you there!

 

 

Learn to use Google’s MyMaps with Me at SLIG’s First Tech Day!

The coordinators of SLIG are bringing us the first ever Tech Day on the Saturday before SLIG begins, January 20, 2018. (For more details on SLIG and Tech Day, click here.)I will be teaching a workshop on using Google’s My Maps as a research planning and analysis tool. I have had great success using this online tool for a variety of genealogical purposes. Some of my favorites include:

  • Planning a cemetery trip
  • Planning a research road trip
  • Creating a visual migration path for an ancestral line
  • Creating a personal memoir, writing prompts

Using Google’s My Maps, I was able to plan out a day-long cemetery trip in Wood County, Ohio. I wanted to visit four different cemeteries between my grandma’s house in Perrysburg and ending at my dad’s house in Findlay (Hancock County, just south of Wood). Before the trip, I took some time to plot out those four cemeteries on My Maps so I could better plan the driving route, where we’d need to stop for lunch and bathrooms, while also being efficient with our mileage and time.

Here is a screenshot of the cemeteries along with our beginning and end points:

By plotting them on the map, and then zooming in, I was able to plan an efficient driving route. Also, I used this interface to create a research plan. Within each pin, you can create labels and store information. In this case, I recorded whose burials I was hoping to locate within each cemetery. But it also acts like a research log in that while I was in the cemetery, I was able to access My Maps using my smart phone, and added the tombstone photos directly into my map.


I did this for each of the four cemeteries. You may notice that this trip was completed in 2011. Google stores your maps in your Google Drive indefinitely. You can also share your maps (either privately or publicly) so that if you are coordinating a trip with a friend or relative, you can both access and work on the maps.

There are a number of publicly available maps created by other users that you might find interesting. This one on the Civil War (not created by me) demonstrates some of the features such as creating shapes and using color.

In my workshop, I will demonstrate many of the tools you can use to create your maps and demonstrate how to use this to plan research trips, analyze your research, and brainstorm ideas for other applications. You will get to see some of the more in-depth maps I’ve created and get started on some of your own. (Bring a laptop and sign up for a free Google account, if you don’t already have one.)

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.

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!