28 November 2010

Genealogists, who are you!

It's the time of year when genealogists salivate about all the relatives they see on the various holidays. I thought about something this morning and realized I am guilty of neglecting someone very important. That would be me. Will my descendants know about my first bike, the places I lived, my elementary and high schools that no longer exist, the various jobs I have held, my first boyfriend, my fear of water, Christmas in my youth, my wedding, the time I loved spending with my grandparents and great grandparents, the teachers I had, and so many other things?

Oh how I wish those grandparents and I had talked about family history. Would I have listened? Why don't I talk more about the past with my own grandchildren?

I now have a file (on my computer that is labeled "Paula Stuart Warren Her Story." The format is an expanded timeline. I list things by year (approximate year) in some cases and then have a few brief words about an event or other item. Eventually I will pull out the old photos and use them to expand on it. A few entries will be expanded to tell more of the story. I have worked on this timeline on and off today. It it addictive.

My challenge to you is to begin such a timeline as a Christmas gift to yourself and to future generations. Once you start, it will be difficult to stop adding to it.

26 November 2010

Imagine this family group sheet in the future!

100 years from now a family genealogist is looking at a family group sheet posted on whatever the technology of the day is. The first thing the budding genealogist notices is that somehow in the one ancestral family branch the father, mother, and child have all been given the same day of birth, November 24th. This genealogist has already taken some classes from the experts of the day and knows to question such a thing. Did the person doing the earlier research make some mistakes when doing the data entry? Was there an error made by the hospital clerk who did the data entry into the state's master birth files? The genealogist realizes that the person who compiled the family group sheet did not cite the sources and wonders why those folks back in 2010 didn't do that?

Then the future era genealogist notices that the mother's surname is the same as the father's surname. Didn't those earlier genealogists realize that these are supposed to list the maiden name of the mother? 

So research begins to ascertain the correct days of birth for this family and the maiden name of the mother. The index to the Minnesota birth records and, of course, digitized information from all the 20th and 21st century births for the state are easily accessible on her home digimatic machine.

Whoa, Mom's birth surname is the same as the Dad's. And all three have the same date of birth. Could this be true? Well, next the digimatic is checked for the back files of everything that was on those old televisions. There is a story on November 26th, 2010 that tells the story of the baby being born on November 24th, the same birthday as both his parents. Maybe everything that is found on this newfangled technology isn't too bad. It even says the Mom and Dad have the same surname.

True? Yes, the story appeared today on one of my local TV stations today, KARE 11. You may read the full story about Jamal White, Jr. and his parents here: www.kare11.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=884952.

States where I have lectured

I have presented all-day seminars or lectured at genealogy conferences or institutes in 32 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia. South Carolina is included in that number but that won't be factual until May for the NGS Conference in Charleston.

So far, I have not had the opportunity to do such presentations in 18 states and those are Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota (yes, my next door state!), West Virginia, and Wyoming.

No matter where I have spoken, it has been a great experience. People involved in genealogy and history are always so much fun, interesting, and we never run out of things to talk about!

22 November 2010

States I have visited

In the summer of 2009 I was fortunate to be in two more states, Maine and New Hampshire. I have now visited all of the mainland 48 states. I have not been to Hawaii or Alaska and I hope to do so! I thought about this recently as one of my nephews asked me about one of the states where I recently lectured. He has only been in a few states.

That made me realize how lucky I am to have been in most of the states. I love this country and have never had a bad visit. Some of these states were visited when I was a senior in high school, on family vacations with our children, others researching family history for me or clients, and yet others where I presented all-day seminars or lectured at a genealogy conference. I have visited some states several times and lectured in others more than once.

Late this week I will list the states where I have and have not presented lectures. Then in another post I will talk about states where I have researched on site.

18 November 2010

15 million new records indexed at FamilySearch Beta

A nice press release just received from FamilySearch!

A Lot to Be Thankful For: 15 Million New Indexed Genealogical Records

November 17, 2010

Digital images and indexes include 34 collections from 13 countries
The collection of indexes and images available on FamilySearch’s beta website continues to grow by leaps and bounds, with the addition of 34 collections of genealogical records. These records include 15 million indexed records and 2.5 million images. The bounty of information covers 13 different countries around the world: Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala, Brazil, France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Jamaica, Canada, and the United States. Search these records now at Beta.FamilySearch.org.

You may read the full list at https://news.beta.familysearch.org/node/1001 but here are several from the full list to whet your research appetite!

Germany, Bremen Passenger Departure Lists, 1904-1914 44,465 44,315 New images and records
Guatemala, Guatemala City, Sagrario Parish Baptisms, 1898-1920 7,748 0 New images added to existing collection

U.S., New York State Census, 1905 0 3,601,920 New records for the following counties:  Albany, Bronx, Broome, Columbia, Essex, Franklin, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, New York, Onondaga, Oswego, Seneca, Warren and Yates. This release completes this collection.
U.S., New York, Eastern District Naturalization Petitions, 1865-1957 0 675,035 Index only. Data courtesy of Footnote.com
U.S., New York, Western District, Naturalization Index, 1907-1966 0 89,554 Index only. Data courtesy of Footnote.com
U.S., Oklahoma, Applications for Enrollment of the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914 0 882,272 Index only. Data courtesy of Footnote.com

17 November 2010

Thanksgiving interviews

Are you getting ready for Thanksgiving and all the holidays that follow in the next several weeks? Don't forget to prepare some oral history questions to ask the relatives. I have some questions to ask the women in your family. Pick two or three to ask during dinner.

To add more to the flavor of the women in your family history, ask some emotion producing questions. Grandmothers, mothers, aunts, and cousins can add much to the family memories. Do it before these strong women are gone from this life. I wish I had asked my Grandma Gert what it was like to be 21 when women earned the right to vote in 1922. I would have had asked her mother, Nana, for details on growing up without a mother and why did they leave Canada. (She undoubtedly would have detailed all the relatives they used to visit in Montreal and Rawdon.) Some suggested areas of questions:
  • What was it like to raise a family of 9 without electricity? (Or without inside plumbing, or something else)
  • What was it like to vote for the first time (those alive when women got the right to vote)
  • What was it like to make the decision to leave your home country and come to the U.S., Canada, England, or _____
  • What was it like to walk the picket line during the ___ strike?
  • What were the family dinners like as you were growing up?

14 November 2010

Free advertising for society events

What could be better than free advertising?! On top of being free, this free advertising reaches thousands of readers. Don't you want more members and more folks registered for your seminars?

The Federation of Genealogical Societies offers just such an opportunity. Your event listing has the potential of appearing in the FGS Voice blog, FGS Voice monthly newsletter, and in the quarterly FGS Forum. Read more about this by clicking here.

Someone might read the event listing and decide to attend your event. This person might not know about your society. It might be that Suzy Q in California reads about your Indiana event and tells the cousin back in Indiana about the seminar.

So, why is your society ignoring this opportunity for mass exposure? And don't forget to have a very clearly marked "Membership" table at your events. Catch those folks who haven't yet joined your society and those who need to renew!

12 November 2010

First impressions should be captured

Today was spent at a client's home. We were doing some organizing and research planning. This made me think of a column I wrote for Ancestry's old electronic newsletter a few years ago. I reread and updated it and present it here as some food for thought.

The following words are based on the premise that most of my work steps have not varied over the years.

The first impression when reviewing something new is often a fantastic impression. I have learned to not just think about the project or task and the research process, but to actually make immediate notes. In the excitement upon finding or receiving a family clue or record my mind goes off in a dozen different directions. Years ago after simply letting my mind go in these directions, I realized that many of those thoughts were actually great research routes to take. There were times when the first impression ideas did not magically reappear.

When something new arrives

When I open the regular mail, check my e-mail, or find something online – I do so with pen and paper at hand and make notes. This way I do not miss any of those important first impressions that may not rush into my mind when I actually begin the follow-up research.

10 November 2010

National Archives (US) "Inside the Vaults" for Veterans Day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    
November 10, 2010

National Archives Launches "Inside the Vaults" Video Short Commemorating Veterans Day
Video highlights National Personnel Records Center and military records requests

Washington, DC. . . How does a veteran apply for a copy of his military service records?  Can this be done online?  How does the National Military Personnel Records Center (NPRC), operated by the National Archives, in St. Louis process these requests?  How many requests are received each week?  And how long does it take?  Find out at http://tiny.cc/NPRC.

In commemoration of Veterans Day, the National Archives today launched its ninth “Inside the Vaults” video short featuring the National Archives National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO.  Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero said “As a Navy veteran myself, I know the importance of having access to military records.  The NPRC preserves and makes these records available to those who have served our

Veterans Day free (Nov. 11-14) access to Ancestry.com military collection


Site Commemorates Veterans Day with Free Access to Entire U.S. Military Records Collection

PROVO, UTAH, November 10, 2010 - Ancestry.com, which has the largest online collection of historical military records, today added more than 115,000 U.S. Military Academy Cadet Application Papers from West Point to its online collection of military records to commemorate Veterans Day.

“Handwritten cadet application papers are true gems in family history research, as they provide such depth and personal insight into the military veterans that came before us,” said Quinton Atkinson, director of content acquisition for Ancestry.com. “It is a treasure when we can see personal letters and records intersect with our shared history as a country. This Veterans Day, we hope this new collection will allow millions of Americans to explore their military ancestry, while inspiring them to discover the rich history of our nation’s past military leaders.”

03 November 2010

National Archives (US) offers digital reproductions of records

This press release just arrived from the National Archives. 

November 3, 2010

New Options Now Available for Reproductions of National Archives Holdings

Washington, D.C….The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has expanded the formats available to members of the public who wish to purchase copies of records from its holdings.

Copy options for immigration and naturalization records, land files, military service and pension records, court records, World War I draft registration cards, Native American records, census pages, and many other archival documents now include the possibility of purchasing a digitized version.   The per-image fee for digital copies is the same as the per-page fee for paper copies. In addition, NARA now offers digitized duplication of its microfilm holdings, at an increased per roll rate.  The digital copies that result from this new service are delivered via CD or DVD, depending upon file size.  In most cases, the files are provided in a Portable Document Format (.pdf).

02 November 2010

Genealogy Resource: The Buddy System

Did your mother ever tell you to never swim alone – to always have a buddy along? I advocate the same thing in genealogy. Your buddy may be a friend, family member, or fellow genealogist who becomes a friend. So much of our genealogy is done alone at a library, courthouse, or facing our computer screen.

Buddy assisted tasks may include proofreading and editing, organizing, research advice, research assistance, installing and understanding software, or running the copier. There are ways to pay them back and yield something more for yourself. Read on for several buddy opportunities.

When I present a lecture on organizing I begin by telling the audience that they have to invite the person next to them or behind them to their house or apartment. I tell them that surely they would not be embarrassed to have this person see the area or room where the genealogy materials are stored (piled?)! I usually hear some groans. Then I tell them that this is really a good idea. Ask a buddy to look at your genealogy area. This other set of eyes may have some good tips on how to get your area into shape and make better use of the work and storage space you have. Even a non-genealogist’s eyes are good for this organization session. Return the favor at your buddy’s home.

Solving tough research problems
My genealogy buddy Ann and I used to exchange genealogical problems. I met Ann through my state genealogical society. We were volunteering on the same project. Whenever either of us was stuck on a tough

Association of Professional Genealogists lectures online

This press release was sent out by the Association of Professional Genealogists today. FGS is the Federation of Genealogical Societies which has an annual conference about genealogical research. APG is a long-time participant in FGS conferences.

"APG has once again partnered with FamilySearch to produce videos of this year’s Professional Management Conference. The videos present five of the seven lectures from the 2010 PMC, which took place on August 17 at the FGS Conference in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Topics and speakers include:
  • “A Key to Success: Your Online Presence” with D. Joshua Taylor
  • “Expand Your Revenue: Produce and Sell Your Lectures in Video Format” with Donna M. Moughty
  • “Niche Planning and Marketing” with Paula Stuart Warren
  • "Choosing the Best Continuing Education Opportunities” with Elissa Scalise Powell, CG
  • “Get Published in Magazines!” with Leslie Albrecht Huber.
The videos are available on the APG website at http://www.apgen.org/publications/pmc_webcast.html and on FamilySearch at https://library.beta.familysearch.org/researchcourses.

Laura G. Prescott
APG President"