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!

 

 

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.

NGS Conference Live Stream Details Announced

The National Genealogical Society’s Annual Conference is coming right up! I am honored to be going to present three lectures among a wide variety of very talented speakers. The conference is being held in Grand Rapids, Michigan from 2-5 May 2018. If you are unable to attend in person, NGS just announced their live stream schedule option. You can read the full release with sign-up instructions and fees here.

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National Genealogical Society Conference Banner

The schedule is as follows:

  • Thursday, 3 May 2018: Viewers will be able to stream five lectures from 9:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m., including:
    • Reasonably Exhaustive Research of African American Ancestors who came out of Slavery—LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG®
    • The Price of Loyalism: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary War—Terry Koch-Bostic
    • The Y-DNA Test Should be Your Favorite—Diahan Southard
    • Your Cousins are Your Secret Weapon—Angie Bush
    • Native American DNA: Separating Fact from Fiction—Blaine Bettinger, PhD, JD
  • Friday, 4 May 2018: Five BCG Skillbuilding lectures will be live streamed from 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m., including:
    • History, Records, and Context: Researching the Locations Your Ancestors Lived—Angela Packer McGhie, CG
    • Samuel Witter vs. Samuel Witter: Separating Same-Name Soldiers, War of 1812—Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGLSM, FASG, FNGS, FUGA
    • Using Indirect and Negative Evidence to Prove Unrecorded Events—Thomas Wright Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA
    • A Matter of Standards: DNA and the GPS—Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL
    • Deeper Analysis: Techniques for Successful Problem Solving—Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL

Details about the live stream program, plus additional conference recordings, can be found on the PlaybackNGS Website.

If you’d like to attend, but can’t make it in person, this is a wonderful opportunity to attend from home.

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!)

Take advantage of your state’s offerings!

We moved to Texas about three and a half years ago now…my how time flies! Through learning the library systems in the state, which are very different to how they worked in Colorado, I discovered that as a Texas state resident, I am allowed a FREE library card to the Texas State Library, and in particular to their online digital collections! This means that I can access HeinOnline and other useful databases for FREE!

HeinOnline logo

HeinOnline is quite expensive but so useful when doing any law research as it relates to your ancestors, which you should be doing! I also discovered on the Texas State Law Library website that all of the historical Texas statutes are nicely listed and available to anyone (library card or not).

If you live in Texas and would like to get your library card, it can be done online. Click here for instructions. If you live outside of Texas, ask your local librarian or do some online searching to see what offerings are available in your state. There are valuable resources available. Be sure not to miss them!

Findmypast offer for St. Patty’s Day!

I received a notice of a fantastic offer from Findmypast. If you want to give it a try because you aren’t sure if they’ll have what you need or if it will be useful for your research, this is a good deal! In addition to American records, FMP has an excellent collection of British Isles and Irish databases and images. See my previous post on how FMP helped me find my ancestor in the British Army. Their announcement is below:


FINDMYPAST OFFERS 50% DISCOUNT ON 1 MONTH ‘ULTIMATE’ SUBSCRIPTIONS IN CELEBRATION OF ST PATRICK’S DAY 2018

  • Half price one month Plus and Pro subscriptions on offer until midnight 19th March

Leading family history website, Findmypast, is inviting family historians to explore their unrivalled collection of Irish records with a 50% discount on 1 month ‘ultimate’ subscription packages in celebration of St Patrick’s Day 2018. The discount will be available to anyone without an active subscription to Findmypast until midnight 19th March.

With more than twice the number of Irish records available on any other family history website, Findmypast is the number one resource for Irish family history.

The recently introduced ‘Ultimate’ subscription package has been specially designed to meet the needs of family historians searching for ancestors in the British Isles. Whether they are looking for a simple way to begin exploring their family history, to take existing research further or uncover detailed facts about the lives of their ancestors, subscribers will be provided with access to millions of exclusive records and the resources they truly need at each stage of their research.

The Ultimate package is the essential choice for building a British and Irish family tree. It covers every single record available on Findmypast, including:

  • The largest online collection of Irish records in the world
  • Full UK census records and birth, marriage and death records dating from 1761
  • The largest online collection of UK and Irish parish records, going all the way back to the 1500s
  • Key military collections from the early 1600s onwards
  • Findmypast’s exclusive newspaper archive, dating back to 1710 and covering Britain, Ireland and the US
  • Findmypast’s exclusive British and Irish Roots collection, a vast archive of more than 98 million records that identify British and Irish immigrants in North America
  • Millions of records covering the US, Canada, and Australia

Findmypast is home to the most comprehensive online archive of Irish family history records with over 200 million documents published in partnership with The National Archives of Ireland, The National Archives UK, and a host of other local, county and national archives.

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.

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.