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!

Our Field is Full of Worthy People: APG Award Nominations Sought

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It is so important to recognize people who are working quietly behind the scenes, in the forefront of the genealogical field, or somewhere in-between, while they are still active and alive and able to appreciate being appreciated!

Several calls for nominations were sent out from the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG). Awards will be presented at the APG Professional Management Conference being held October 4-6 in Kansas City, Missouri. The nominations are due by 10 July 2017 and should be emailed in PDF format to Kathleen W. Hinckley, Executive Director, at admin@apgen.org. Please put the name of the award in the subject line of the email.

Two awards are described below as received from APG.

Laura G. Prescott Award for Exemplary Service to Professional Genealogy

The Laura G. Prescott Award for Exemplary Service to Professional Genealogy was unveiled at the 2017 Professional Management Conference. APG President Billie Fogarty presented the award to Laura G. Prescott, a past APG President and longtime active member. We are now accepting nominations for the award to be presented at the 2018 Professional Management Conference to be held October 4-6 in Kansas City, Missouri.

This award is in recognition of exemplary professionalism and continuing encouragement to other professional genealogists. It acknowledges those with a career devoted to uplifting fellow genealogists and improving their career circumstances and opportunities, and dedicated service to the field of professional genealogy. The award is open to any member or organization in the genealogical community.

Nominations should include a written statement describing the nominee’s contributions to professional genealogy. The Awards Committee will recommend a winner to the Executive Committee.

APG Professional Achievement Award

The award honors an APG member with a record of exceptional professional achievement and contributions to the field of genealogy through individual excellence and ethical behavior in published research, public presentations, innovative organization leadership, writing or editing, or successful business achievement by creating valuable products or services. The winner will be a professional who has demonstrated a commitment to advance and promote the highest standards in the field.

The nominee must have been an APG member in good standing for at least one year prior to the nomination and twenty years of professional advancement in the field of genealogy. Nominees cannot be current members of the APG Board of Directors or APG contractors. Nominees not selected in a previous year remain eligible for nomination. Past recipients are:

2007 – Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG
2008 – Sandra Luebking
2009 – Lou Szucs
2010 – Christine Rose, CG, CGL, FASG
2011 – Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG
2012 – Janet Robyn Worthington, JP, NZRN, Dip. FHS, FSAG
2013 – Helen F. M. Leary, CG (Emeritus), CGL, FASG, FNGS
2014 – Claire Mire Bettag, CG
2015 – David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA
2016 – Eileen M. O’Duill, CG
2017 – Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL

Nominations should include a written statement describing the nominee’s contributions to genealogy and APG. The Awards Committee will recommend a winner to the Executive Committee.

IGHR Scholarship Update: Lloyd Bockstruck

A few days ago I encouraged future institute-goers to apply for a variety of scholarships to attend IGHR. You can see that post here. Last night we attended the conclusion banquet for the week where my friend and colleague Kelvin Meyers announced that the Dallas Genealogical Society would be setting up a scholarship in honor of Lloyd de Witt Bockstruck, a long-time faculty member of IGHR.

The details of the scholarship have not been announced yet. But they will be available through the Dallas Genealogical Society.

You can read Lloyd’s memorial and biography here.

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.

Future IGHR Courses and Scholarships

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I am attending the Institute for Genealogical and Historical Research in Athens, Georgia this week. They have announced their future courses. You can see the courses planned through 2022 and plan your genealogical education plan accordingly. The courses for 2019 are as follows:

  • Course One: Methods & Sources – coordinator Rebecca Whitman Koford, CG
  • Course Two: Intermediate Genealogy & Historical Studies – coordinator Angela Packer McGhie, CG
  • Course Three: Advanced Methodology & Evidence Analysis – coordinator Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL
  • Course Four: Writing & Publishing for Genealogists – coordinator Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA
  • Course Five: Genetics for Genealogists: Beginning DNA – coordinator Patricia Lee Hobbs, CG
  • Course Six: Military Records 2 – coordinator Michael L. Strauss, AG
  • Course Seven: Tracing Your English Ancestors – coordinator Paul Milner, MDiv, FUGA
  • Course Eight: Land Records: Using Maps – coordinator Melinda Kashuba, PhD
  • Course Nine: Research in the South: Colonial States – coordinator J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA
  • Course Ten: Building an African American Research Toolbox – coordinator Timothy Pinnick, BS
  • Course Eleven: Virginia’s Land and Military Conflicts – coordinator Victor S. Dunn, CG
  • Course Twelve: DNA as Genealogical Evidence (Advanced) – coordinator Blaine Bettinger, PhD, JD
  • Course Thirteen: The Five Civilized Tribes – coordinator Anita Finger-Smith

There are also some amazing opportunities to help fund your education. IGHR scholarships can be viewed in full on their website, they are:

  • Ancestry ProGenealogists Scholarship
  • Birdie Monk Holsclaw Memorial Scholarship
  • HomePLACE IGHR Travel Scholarship
  • Jean Thomason Scholarship

Take advantage of these excellent educational opportunities and potential funding sources!

Prepping for Institutes Digitally

I am heading off to Georgia to attend the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research (IGHR). I am excited to finally take the writing course from Tom Jones, “Course 4: Writing and Publishing for Genealogists.” This has been on my educational “to do list” for years and I’m finally getting to it!

These days, we are saying good-bye to paper more and more. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE PAPER. Ask any of my students, discussion group attendees, family, or friends. I still print all of my research documents and organize them into binders. I also like taking handwritten notes. However, those institute binders really add up and for many of us, space is at a premium. Plus, it keeps the costs down if an institute doesn’t have to pay to print and organize all of those syllabi. Of course, you can still usually buy a printed syllabus or print it on your own. And if you do, do not worry! I’m not here to be down on anyone’s system. However, in order to use less paper, and utilize the electronic syllabi more effectively, I have come up with a system that works for me. Maybe you’ll find something in here that can work for you too.

Before I go to any institute, there is an amount of prep-work I do with the digital syllabus so I’m organized and ready to take notes. I utilize a combination of a PDF-splitter and Evernote. What I mean by a “PDF-splitter” is using a bit of software to make one large PDF into several small PDFs. I believe the full version of Adobe Acrobat will do this (but I don’t use it so do some research first), as will several other programs. I use a Mac and have found “PDF Toolkit+” to meet all of my needs. It has a lot of features, but today I’m focusing on the “split/extract pages” portion of the software.

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Screenshot of PDF Toolkit+ with a range of pages to be extracted.

Basically, I sit down with the class schedule, the large PDF, the PDF-splitter, and Evernote. Using the splitter, I extract the pages for each class and then create their own note in Evernote, dropping in just that portion of the PDF. This allows me to have each the syllabus material for each class split out into one small file. Then I can type my notes into each note or take handwritten notes on paper to scan/type in later (they say the brain retains information better when you take notes by hand). Evernote also has tools that allow you to highlight, add symbols, draw, or take notes directly on the PDF.

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Just an example of some of the ways you can mark up the PDF using Evernote’s tools.

I organize these notes into a new Evernote notebook titled appropriately for the institute I’m attending. You can organize them in whatever way works best for you. I number them according to the order they should be taught based on the class schedule. See my example below.

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On the left is the list of notebooks from all institutes I’ve ever attended (and added to Evernote), IGHR 2018 is highlighted. In the middle are the thumbnails of each individual note in the highlighted notebook, numbered according to class order. On the right is the full view of the note with the PDF dropped in.

As the week moves on, I open the note for the appropriate class, and either use the syllabus visually and then take handwritten notes or I type my notes above the PDF. I take handwritten notes most of the time for the reasons already mentioned) but I do also use the mark-up tools available as well, especially if I don’t want to forget something in particular mentioned in the syllabus. Often, it just depends on how I feel when I get up in the morning. Evernote notes are word searchable, and there is a tagging system to help you be organized as well.

The most important thing is that you find a system that works for you. If digitized notes and syllabi are not for you, I hear you! It really has taken me a long time to get to this point…and I’m not completely digital myself and probably never will be. But, to save on costs and space, this is one of my systems for eliminating paper.

Digital Collection Feature: Buffalo & Erie County Public Library

I have been working on a client project this week that took me into Buffalo, Erie County, New York, one of my favorite areas to research because of its vital role in the westward movement of the United States. Buffalo was in a prime location between the time of the Erie Canal and Lake Erie, shipping and passenger travel could occur from the east coast in New York all the way inland to the frontier via the Great Lakes, and even down the Mississippi River to areas to the south and west. The growth, opportunities, and migration through that location is amazing from an ancestral and historical point of view.

a795f06d1b6363c80fe67c7c01d6ff88One of my favorite things to do when researching at a local public library is to examine pages named “digital collections” or something similar. Today, I happened upon a new collection at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library: ERIE COUNTY POOR HOUSE LEDGERS. This is a wonderful collection! The poor house books cover a range of years from 1851 to 1952. The pages have been beautifully digitized and the on-screen viewer is very easy to use. Zoom in to see very high-quality images.

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Screenshot of the page view of one of the ledger books. Erie County Home and Infirmary (Alden, N.Y.), “Erie County Poor House Ledgers, Volume 8. Register of Deaths, Erie County Home & Infirmary, August 16, 1926-December 30, 1941,” B&ECPL Digital Collections, accessed May 30, 2018, http://digital.buffalolib.org/document/93.

I am always so excited when I find digitized records such as these. To be able to access high-quality digitized records from Buffalo, NY while sitting in my office in Austin, TX is truly a blessing.

There are other items in their digitized collections and if you have Erie County, NY ancestors, I hope you’ll be heading over to their website! The URL is: http://www.buffalolib.org/content/digital-collections for the entire Digital Collections page.

I hope you are examining local public library websites when you are researching your ancestors, and I especially hope you like to poke around in their “digital collections.” You just never know what treasures you might find!

FGS Conference Registration is Open

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Another great conference opened registration this week. This time it is the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ annual conference, that will be held in Fort Wayne, Indiana, home of the Allen County Public Library! This conference is taking place August 22-25, 2018. You can read more about it at the conference website. The full program has also been released and can be viewed here.

APG PMC Registration Open

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The Association of Professional Genealogists opened registration for the Professional Management Conference taking place in Kansas City, Missouri from  October 4-6, 2018. You can register and reserve a hotel room by visiting the APG conference website.

APG also announced the dates and locations for the 2019 PMC which will be held in Salt Lake City at the Hotel RL from September 19-21, 2019. This is also APG’s 40th Anniversary and there’s sure to be plenty of celebrating so mark your calendars!

BCG Seeks Public Comment on Genetic Genealogy Standards

Exciting news!

This was just sent out by the Board for Certification of Genealogists:

[At the annual meeting at NGS] … “the trustees debated a proposal to update genealogy standards to incorporate standards related to genetic genealogy. As a result of this discussion BCG intends to move forward with the integration of genetic genealogy into Genealogy Standards. The board directed that the committee’s proposal be published for public comment. The proposed standards can be viewed at https://bcgcertification.org/DNA/Proposed_Standards.pdf.

The public comment period ends on 23 July 2018. Fill out the survey at this link (https://goo.gl/forms/57ahXLqkAYOBWDop2) by 23 July 2018. Due to the expected volume of comments, we will not be able to acknowledge or respond to individual comments.”

Often, when I am discussing the certification process with interested genealogists, I am asked about using DNA in portfolios. They want to know about the specific requirements for including genetic genealogy in their portfolios, and as of yet, there are not really any specifics. There are now many NGSQ articles I can point people to, webinars that can be watched for DNA methodology, and guides and articles on citing DNA in your reports. However, there are not currently any DNA-specific standards, rubrics, or instructions for portfolio preparation. I hope this is a step in that direction, so that those working on certification can have specific and solid guidelines for DNA requirements.

If you are interested in reviewing the proposed standards for genetic genealogy, I encourage you to view and comment using the links above.