Just a quick note to let you know that registration for the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) opens today! Click HERE for more information.
I will be coordinating a course about Great Lakes research titled “The Spirit of the Inland Seas” with the wonderfully experienced and fun teachers such as Paula Stuart Warren, Cyndi Ingle, and Judy G. Russell.
When I first started genealogy, there were a decent number of online sources, but most everything was still in a library or archive somewhere. I wrote a lot of letters and filled out a lot of vital records applications when I first started. I began on the cusp of what the internet has become (and still becoming) in terms of online genealogy.
If you are a beginner today, I just wanted to share my top genealogical websites for starting your genealogical journey. Some are free, some are subscription. I hear a lot of complaining about the subscription prices, but when I think about how much I spent on mail and application fees, or gas or plane tickets and hotels to conduct this research “back in the day,” it doesn’t compare in my mind. Having access to millions of records at home, in the middle of the night (or early hours of the morning if you are more like me), is worth the fee to me.
My top genealogy sites for getting started (and in no particular order, only as they come to mind):
FamilySearch (free) – Hosts millions of digitized records and books that is constantly growing with new digitized microfilms every day, has an invaluable research wiki, and has a public-generated and edited family tree.
Ancestry (subscription, though you may access a library edition through a local library) – Also has millions of digitized records, databases, books, newspapers, and more. Also has a DNA database and public member trees.
Find A Grave (free) – Public-sourced cemetery and gravestone database full of millions of memorial pages for individuals from all over the world.
Do you have a question of a more specialized nature? Perhaps you want to find some charts and forms to get you started, or find out more about railroad records, or are not even sure what you want to know more about? Another fantastic source I recommend to beginners and advanced researchers alike is Cyndi’s List.
Cyndi’s List has categories for you to browse. Don’t search the site, browse it. Find a category that fits your research question. This site is a list of links to other websites. But they are sites you may not have known to search for on Google or even know that those records and resources even existed.
Genealogy on the internet has exploded in the 20 years I’ve been involved. So much more is accessible at our fingertips than ever before! Get out there and find your ancestors.
Registration for the NGSQ study groups that I’ve set up are now open for 2021. This year, I enlisted the help of friend and colleague, Cyndi Ingle (of Cyndi’s List) to help with the Monday groups.
This is a monthly study group that will examine one National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ) journal article per month as posted on the website NGSQ Study Groups. We will study these articles with a focus on principles taught in Mastering Genealogical Proof (MGP) by Tom Jones. We will discuss topics on the genealogy standards, evidence analysis and correlation, writing, citations, and more. The cost is $50 for the year. For this price, you will get a monthly study group session for one hour with your peers. You will receive the discussion questions at least two weeks prior to the online meeting. There will also be a private Facebook Group for mid-month discussion. This Facebook group will be private and limited to study group participants only, no outside noise!
Your commitment is to come prepared to discuss the questions (or simply show up and listen). I believe the benefit you will get out of a class is equal to the effort you put into it. But I also realize that life happens and if you didn’t have time to prepare, showing up and listening to the other discussion can be a benefit as well.
Mastering Genealogical Proof – Beginning Principles Class
This is a beginner/low-intermediate level class to study the book Mastering Genealogical Proof by Tom Jones. We will cover the principles outlined in the book as well as discuss the workbook questions.
Details of the course (PLEASE READ):
There will be two sessions: Wednesday daytime (lead by Cyndi Ingle of Cyndi’s List), at 3pm Eastern, and Wednesday evenings (lead by Cari Taplin) at 8pm Eastern (so adjust for your time zone). Beginning October 21, 2020 and ending December 2, 2020 (so 7 weeks total). Each class will be about an hour.
We will meet on Zoom.
Cost for the course: $50
You will need to have the book, Mastering Genealogical Proof. It can be purchased on Amazon or through the National Genealogical Society if you don’t already have it.
There are questions in the book that we will use to guide discussion. Reading the chapter and answering the discussion questions will prepare you for each week’s class.
For first half (or so) of each class session, I will present/recap the principles for that week (I’ll have slides).
The second half will be going over the discussion questions.
There will also be a private Facebook group for this class only so you can ask questions and discuss issues in-between class sessions.
Class size is limited to 25.
If you are interested, please sign up for the class time you are interested in:
Once my scanning assistant is done scanning, these photos, clippings, and other items have just been going back in the box or envelope for now. I don’t have on hand the items I need to store these treasures in archival sleeves, albums, or boxes. I do have a few archival boxes but they are the kind for documents, not really set up for small photos. So, a shopping “trip” was in order.
A friend and colleague has been working on the same kind of project (hi, Yvette!) and her photos of her archival albums got me to shopping. Gaylord Archival is a fantastic resource for archival materials: binders, albums, photo sleeves, folders, boxes, and so much more! I ordered some archival photo sleeves in two sizes, a binder box, and some folders for booklets.
This is part one of this series because, I’m only reporting that this week all I managed to do was get that order in. And they are located in New York. At the time of my order, the state was on lockdown for the COVID pandemic. When this posts, they may be open and shipping. We shall see. I will have to report back when the items arrive and more progress has been made. In the meantime, we get a little scanning done in between finals and AP tests!
As planned, a new class is opening this summer on Mastering Genealogical Proof. This will be a seven-Week Beginning Principles Course taking place on Wednesday Evenings (7pm Central) June 3rd through July 15. This is for those who have never studied this book before. We will be studying this from a beginner or slightly intermediate level. If you’ve done one of these groups before and want a refresher, that’s ok too! I will take 25 students.
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.
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!
The 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.
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.