Thursday, September 3, 2015

What Went Wrong?

I seem to be losing that sense of my family's history that has always been so important to me. All of a sudden it has become big business.

Now it is all about meetings, number of members, boards, newsletters, blogs, professional web sites, lineage societies, and celebrity family trees on cable tv.

Whatever happened to finding your ancestors in a country cemetery in Kentucky. 

That is genealogy!

I have looked back at some of my posts from the holidays a year ago. Posts about my family. My crazy cousins. Family traditions. People who aren't here any more but are still in our thoughts as we approach the holidays. 

That is genealogy!

They didn't make us who we are today but they put us in the places we needed to be.

That is genealogy!

And we will put our children where they need to be.

That is genealogy!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Hey, What's All This DNA Stuff About Anyway?!

The Lucas County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society will present a program about DNA and Genealogy on Saturday, September 19, 2015. The group meets at 2pm in the Huntington Room on the first floor of the Toledo/Lucas County Public Library, 325 Michigan St., Toledo, Ohio. Meetings are open to the public.

Don Hengen will answer the question, "What's This DNA Stuff All About?"

This is a program for those who have already had their testing done, as well as those who know nothing at all about the subject. This will be an excellent opportunity to get acquainted with this new aspect of family research. For years genealogy was a slow tedious process of writing letters, traveling miles to courthouses that hopefully had not had a fire, and searching miles of microfilm in search of an ancestor record. And let's not forget all those cemeteries. Then the computer was born and everything changed.

Well, not everything. You still need to visit courthouses, libraries, cemeteries . . . . but you can also search for your ancestors online in the middle of the night. (If those 4x great grandparents only knew what you are doing right now. No candlelight? No quill pen? You are staring at this screen where words magically appear! and you're waiting for something called "a pizza" to be delivered.) Yes, things have most definitely changed.

And now they have changed even more. DNA has arrived. If you want to find out how this has changed the way we do family research, be sure to attend this meeting on the third Saturday of September. 

All levels of experience are welcome at the chapter's meetings - Beginners, Intermediate, Experienced.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Help Wanted! Someone who knows how to build a website. Lots of experience necessary!

Holy Cow, what happened?

Many genealogy groups out there are struggling to keep up. It seems like so many people today want all the info about their ancestors to be in an online database that can be logged into in the middle of the night. They are not interested in connecting with fellow genealogists.

People who love family history and are in my age group are so lucky because we have seen the best of both worlds as far as research is concerned. We know how to do hands-on research at a courthouse, library or archival facility. We are experts at rewinding microfilm and sometimes unwinding it. We also know the value of getting together on a Saturday afternoon and comparing notes with fellow members of a genealogical society. Maybe even finding a cousin if we are lucky. And we are now becoming more and more skilled at finding our ancestors online.

I know I have stressed this many times. And that is because it is important! But things have changed so much in the last couple of years. I was amazed to discover at a recent seminar that now the Blog is the foundation of the chapter's publicity. A blog combined with a website and a presence on Facebook is a very valuable tool for a genealogy society. 

It sounds so simple. All you need is a website, a blog and a Facebook page. Unfortunately it costs money to build a professional looking website. You need a team of writers that can contribute to your blog. Facebook - pretty simple!

So what do you do? I guess you make lemonade out of lemons. You need members to be able to afford a quality website. You need a website to attract members. It is a never ending circle.

You are trying to build a bridge to the 21st century and all you have is a covered wagon. 

How do you build the website that you so desperately need?

Why is it so expensive to find your family?

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Anyone seen Finding My Roots?

As the first episode of Who Do You Think You Are is getting closer, we are still wondering when Finding Your Roots will be back on the air. As you must know by now it you are a fan, the show has been on hold due to a conflict involving Ben Affleck. 

Affleck asserted improper influence on the PBS show when he asked that his ancestor be withheld from his family's episode. The ancestor was a slaveholder and apparently this was an embarrassment. Well, all of us can find embarrassing family members if we look long enough.

Mr. Affleck has since apologized but it didn't get the popular show back on the air any sooner. I came across one article by the Huffington Post that gave a January 2016 date for the show to return. However, I have not seen anything on the show's website or Facebook page that would confirm that fact. 

So until we hear a confirmation from the network, I will assume they are still investigating the problem. So that is the bad news, but the good new is that WDYTYA is almost ready for prime time!!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

WDYTYA One More Time

Another season of Who Do You Think You Are will begin on Sunday, July 26, 2015, at 9/8c. This is the 7th season of this program. Wow. I must say there must be a lot of people out there who want to know who they are. Sometimes I think that the genealogists on the program make it all look too easy, but if they showed all the behind the scenes work it takes to produce this program, prospective family researchers might give up before they even get started. So it is good to see the end results. 

The executive producers, Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinskey had a great idea and they had the courage to go with it. For that, all of us who have been doing this research for years should thank them for inspiring more people to look for more records. The more research, the more genealogists, the more connections we make. I think we have seen this on the websites that rely completely on volunteer work. We need to share our research both online and in person.

So this is the lineup for the next few weeks: (I would recommend that you view each episode, but if you are looking for research in a specific area that has been noted.)

Bryan Cranston. Breaking Bad. Civil War research.

Gennifer Goodwin. Once  Upon a Time. Mystery ancestors.

Tom Bergeron. Dancing With the Stars. French Canadians.

Alfre Woodard. Desperate Housewives. Origin of her surname.

And finally, J. K. Rowlings Harry Potter. French Roots. 



Saturday, July 4, 2015

Fourth of July Freebies!

Ancestry and Fold3 are both offering free acess to some of their records in honor of the 4th of July. 

At Ancestry you will be able to search colonial records for the 13 colonies. This includes birth marriage, and death records. In addition to this visitors will also be able to search all census records from 1790 - 1940. This offer will last until July 6.

At Fold3 there will be free access to their Revolutionary War Collection til July 16, These records include war pensions, service records, and the war rolls, in addition to many others.

So today when the family is not grilling or watching fireworks, find time to gather around the computer and see what roll your ancestors played in forming this great country. Happy hunting!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Want to Be Queen For A Day?

How would you like to be born with your genealogy completed. Never needing to trace your family history? Never being able to experience the fun, the fulfillment, the joy, the excitement of finding a long lost ancestor or breaking thru a brick wall.

On May 2, 2015, Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana was born with very little chance of ever needing to research her family. Do you envy her? She can read about her ancestors. She can walk the halls of Buckingham Palace and stop to look at a painting of great-great grandma or grandpa. 

She will even have access to all the information about closet skeletons. The rogues, mistresses, pretenders to the throne, and let's not forget Henry the VIII. She will know when and where they were born, when and where and how they died. She will even know all the minute details of each dash.

Would you trade genealogy for a diamond tiara and a title? I have been thinking about this for almost a month and I lean toward genealogy. 

My first thought was the new princess can research her mom's family. But then again, probably, not. Since brother George is in line to be king some day, I am sure her mom's family history is complete and locked away in a vault somewhere for safe keeping. So I guess it is all or nothing.

It is said that your genealogy is never complete -- unless of course you are a member of a royal family. How sad! 

In an effort to come to some conclusion, I decided to Google whether or not the royal family can indeed be genealogists. And there is was: The genealogy of the royal family complete with family group sheets and pedigree charts -- some even going back as far as Adam and Eve.

Well that answers that! It is one or the other. Tiaras or transcription. Diamonds or death certificates. Palaces or probate.

Your choice. What will it be?