Friday, May 24, 2013

Good News - Who Do You Think You Are is back!!

A year and a half ago when I started this blog Who Do You Think You Are was beginning its third season. After each program I would comment on the research involved so that viewers who identified with the featured celebrity would have additional sources for research, plus hints and tips from my own experiences. 

The series contributes much to the world of genealogy even though it makes the research look relatively easy and we all know it is not. A lot of people have complained about this, but I think viewers unfamiliar with our world would be overwhelmed if they saw all the behind the scenes research and brick walls. Besides each program would be 3 or 4 hours long. Keeping it simple has inspired many people to begin the journey into the world of their ancestors.

Unfortunately the series was cancelled last year. 

But now I am happy to inform you that on Wednesday, July 23, 2013, a new WDYTYA series with begin on the TLC channel. Showtime is 9/8c. Mark your calendars! There will be 8 programs and, yes, I will be commenting on all 8. So far guest celebrities searching for ancestors will be Christina Applegate, Kelly Clarkson, Cindy Crawford, Chris O'Donnell. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Volunteer at the FGS 2013 Conference

Lately I have noticed that when you get a group of family researchers together, you get this sense of family. I heard this often at the OGS Conference this year. We are a family. Or possibly a neighborhood of families. So what do families do? They help each other; they stick together.

When you start on your family research trip you are very self-centered and that is not a bad thing. You are Ground Zero - for now - but not forever. Some day it will be someone else. But right now you are the number one person on the pedigree chart and you have certain responsibilities.

As you start to discover your ancestors, your world expands until it fans out across the globe. As your lineage expands, your place in the genealogy family expands. You can't continue to be self-centered. There comes a point where you need to become involved and give back. This is one of the things that keeps genealogy affordable. Without volunteers we wouldn't have the free information that is now available online.

I truly believe that volunteers are the core of genealogy. These are the people that have made it happen. These are the people that have spent hours indexing records. These are the people who give of their time to be officers and trustees of genealogy societies. These are the people who put their lives on hold for a period of time to plan conferences and seminars so others can learn and exchange information.

My first genealogy volunteer opportunity was not really my idea. It was my aunt's and it involved wandering through snake infested cemeteries in southern Ohio looking for graves. My most recent volunteer opportunity  involved being a room monitor at the NGS Conference in Cincinnati last year. What a difference 60 years makes!!

Now it is your turn. I encourage you to take that leap and be a volunteer at the FGS Conference in Fort Wayne this summer. For information on how you can contribute to the conference by volunteering go to the conference website, scroll all the way to the bottom and click on volunteers:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Sounds of Genealogy - Everyone Has A Theme Song!

Circle August 21-24 on your calendar and start planning to attend the 2013 FGS Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana, for research, learning, networking and music. Yes, music! Rock & Roll and Genealogy! You have to be kidding!! Nope! Three different events will feature the music from your ancestors' lives. 

Did the music of the 1950's affect or reflect society? Rock & Roll was the voice of the teenagers. It was written for youth, about youth. Having been a teenager at that time, I am very aware that everything else changed once the music changed. On Thursday morning, keynote speaker, Richard Aquila, will explain what happened during that era. This should be a very interesting lecture whether you lived through this time or reaped the musical benefits later.

There is more music with the Opening Social at the Foellinger-Friemann Botanical Conservatory on Wednesday night. This will feature music through the generations. Most music is created with the sole purpose of reminding you of something that happened in your life and that is how songs make it to the top of the charts. Come listen to music down through the years and see what memories come to mind. Music defines our lives. Everyone has a theme song.

Finally, The Evening At The Library on Friday night! Calling all Scarlets and Rhetts for a splendid hour of ballroom dancing, late 1800's style, in the two-story Great Hall at the Allen County Library. Period dress is definitely a must. For more on this event check out my post on April 11, 2013. 

As you can see, the conference in Fort Wayne is a genealogist's dream vacation! Special events, research at the Allen County Library, four days of learning experiences, and music. I attended a FGS conference here in 2007. The Grand Wayne Center is only a few steps from the Allen County Public Library which houses one of the largest genealogical collections. The center itself is bright, cheerful and easy to navigate. The Hilton conference hotel is connected directly to the center; the Courtyard by Marriott is connected by a skywalk.

There is so much planned for this conference that it would be impossible to include everything in one post. I focused on the musical aspect because it is so unique and something I don't think many of us take into consideration when we examine the lives of our ancestors. It should be interesting to speculate about which songs defined our ancestors lives and became their theme songs!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Sitting In The Back Seat

This is your wake up call. It is the last day of the NGS Conference and you still have a lot to . . . z z z z z z z!  Don't hit that snooze alarm. Rise and shine! I know it gets really tired toward the end of any conference, but you can sleep on the way home, unless of course you're driving. Sorry!

Genealogy Youth Camp starts at 8:30am for those between the ages of eight and sixteen. Everyone else gets an extra half hour of sleep!

The BCG track concludes today with the focus on research reports, emigrant guides, proof argument, and a step by step case study. What a great series of lectures this has been for those who want to pursue certification. 

Demo and GenTech track -  these sessions are a great way to see if something will work for you. Remember some are free, some are not. 

There is a great track on The Law and how it applies to genealogists. Covers some issues you might not have thought about.

The Ethnic Track = Spanish, Irish, Chinese, Japanese.

My recommendations for today:
S404 - County histories, sometimes referred to as Vanity Books. These are the books that make all your ancestors look healthy, wealthy, and wise. So is it true? Terry Koch-Bostic
S417 - This caught my attention. Not the part about "Striking it rich with a genealogical career. I think we all dream of that. Rather the words "today's genealogical community". J. Mark Lowe
S426 and S446 - I have found that most of my brick walls begin with immigration so you can never learn too much about this aspect of genealogy. Kory Meyerink and Hal Bookbinder.

And finally, S452 - Getting Ready for a Research Trip to Virginia. You know what that means - NGS Conference, Richmond, Virginia in 2014. Combining research with a conference. The ultimate goal. Barbara Vines Little.

The last time I was in Las Vegas was in the 1940's. I was a very young child. I remember some place called the Golden Nugget and this neon cowboy. There was a reconstructed frontier village somewhere on the outskirts of town. But the best thing I remember about being out West - the herds of wild horses running in the distance. I saw a lot of America sitting in the back seat of my parents' car.

Friday at the NGS Conference

I hope everyone is having a great time, learning a lot, and making new friends as we head into the last two days of the conference. 

There are 5 sessions on the BCG track today. The morning covers new records, records with errors, and the GIS System. Two afternoon sessions cover Congressional records and how to know when you have enough evidence.

Today's recommendations: 
F303 - Religion on the frontier after the Great Awakening. J. Mark Lowe.
F316 - How georaphy influenced the settlement of middle America. J. H. "Jay" Fonkert. 
F322 - Analyzing your evidence and planning your next step. Sharon Tate Moody.
F346 - Migrations west of the Mississippi - trails, rails, gold rushes and more. David Dilts.
F352 - Planning simple, effective, and thorough research. Thomas W. Jones.

Also on today's schedule:
~ DNA track with sessions for all levels.
~ Native American track - what records and resources are avaiable, strategies, and case studies.
~GenTech - aps, Excel, Google, online catalogs, and publishing.  

The NGS Banquet will be held this evening at 6:00pm. Speakers Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak and Mark Hall-Patton. Topics: Genealogy grants and Pawn Stars!! Sounds interesting. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Viva Las Vegas!!

This year flew by so fast. I was just looking at the pictures on the NGS Conference Blog and it brought back memories from a year ago when I was a volunteer at the NGS Conference in Cincinnati. From 9 til noon on Monday morning, we stuffed bags, toured the Duke Energy Center and attended training sessions. This was the only conference my husband every attended with me. While I was at the Center, Chuck scouted the area for parking discounts, restaurants and area attractions. When we left Cincy we were making plans to return for the 2013 OGS Conference. Unfortunately, as some of you know, my husband suffered a massive hear attack and passed away a few days later on Mother's Day. 

The OGS Conference was definitely bittersweet this year. I had to push myself out of the door and into my car for the drive to Cincy. Once I got going though I was amazed at how anxious I was to get to southern Ohio. I am glad I went because I had a wonderful time.

The NGS Conference on the other hand became a count down to Mother's Day, which is only a few days away, and as a result I found myself trying to avoid it. But just now after looking at the pictures from Las Vegas and reading about all the fun things that will be going on, I have decided to "virtually attend" as much as possible. 

The first thing that grabbed my attention is the 2013 Conference Challenge. What fun; I wish I were there. The winner will get a free registration to the conference next year in Richmond, Virginia. There are ten clues involving a lot of networking. Sounds like a great ice breaker! For more info go to: 

If I were there I would be sure to attend the Genealogy Game Show: The Last Genealogist Standing. I am anxious to hear what happens. Winner receives a $100 gift certificate to Heritage Books.

Thursday's Lectures I recommend.  
W126 - It is easy to ignore early census records before 1850 thinking they provide no information you can use. This session will help that attitude. J. Mark Lowe.
W142 - When you can't put your hands on a piece of direct evidence, it may be possible to put together other evidence to prove your facts. Elizabeth Shown Mills. 
W154 - Which family are you talking about? Nuclear or mob? This just looks extremely interesting to me. Michael Green.

There are three sessions in the BCG track today. The first focuses on errors that are found in records. Whether they are intentional or unintentional, they do exist. In the afternoon, there are two more sessions. Eventually everyone is faced with a document that makes English look like a foreign language. These lectures give some tips on how to deal with this situation. Definite try to attend some of these lectures whether or not you are working toward certification. They are full of good information.

Sounds like a fun-filled first day of conference. Enjoy!  

Friday, May 3, 2013

Happy Anniversary! 82 Years

It can be very easy for a beginning genealogist to assume that a death certificate is a one size fits all document. That is to say that all of the dates, locations, and names will fill in all the blanks of a 5 generation pedigree chart. And, because this is a certified document, everything is correct. Wrong!! It all depends on who provided the information that was entered on the document.

OK, so maybe all the information on a death certificate isn't correct. 

But, how about a birth certificate? Pretty simple, right? What could be wrong? Again, it all depends on who provided the information.

Ok, the information on a marriage record has to be correct. After all it is two adults providing their own information. I would say this is your best bet for accurate information. Maybe!!

Everything depends solely on the person who provided the information that was eventually entered on the certified copy that you have in your hand. This really hit home with me last year when I finally received my husband's death certificate. As I looked over the document, my genealogy mind took over and I began to see this piece of paper as a source of information. That is when I realized that I never  provided the funeral home with any information. I was not the informant. Every other death certificate I have in my possession has an informant listed at the bottom.  Hmmmmm! So does that make my husband's death certificate any more accurate than my great grandfather's?

Probably not! So let's look at what can go wrong.

My birth certificate: My name, date of birth, and location are correct. My parents' names are correct. My mother's place of birth is correct: my dad's place of birth is wrong. Informant: mother. 

My husband's birth cerftificate: I think it is safe to assume that everything here is correct. Informant: mother.

My dad's birth certificate: Names of mother and father are their middle names. Place of birth is probably correct. Informant: mother.

My maternal grandfather's death certificate: Birth place is wrong, but information about the cause of death is complete. Informant: Hospital employee.   

My parents' marriage certificate: All information correct - I hope! Informants: bride and groom!!

As you can see even with the simplest of documents, a birth certificate, something can be wrong. My birth certificate shows my dad's place of birth as Newtown, Ohio. I know my dad was born in Mt. Carmel, Ohio. He told me so

So what went wrong? My mom was the informant -- she provided the information for my birth certificate.  My mom grew up in Northwest Ohio; my dad is from Southern Ohio. My dad's sisters and brothers lived in or near Newtown, Ohio and my mom probably just put Newtown down for lack of a better location. I am sure she didn't realize that a bunch of genealogists were going to question her integrity sometime in the future

When it comes to my husband's birth certificate, I think it is pretty safe to assume that all information is correct. His parents were born and raised in the same small community in southern Kentucky, so the possiblity of misinformation is pretty slim. 

My dad's birth certificate shows a common trend in some families. They just seem to go by their middle names. Frank and Delia are really Eben Frank and Lou Delia. When I first met my husband I couldn't figure out who this "Gary" person was. Turned out it was my husband, Chuck, and they still call him Gary.

Since my maternal grandfather died as the result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident, the information on his death certificate was supplied by a hospital employee. The information about his place of birth is questionable, but his cause of death is pretty complete. Consider the source of information!

When I look at my parents' marriage certificate, I have to wonder if everything is correct. After all the informants are the bride and groom and the only thing they really know for sure is that they are at the courthouse in  Bowling Green, Ohio and they want to get married. 

Bill and Clara -- May 2, 1931.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Mt Perkins!!

On Sunday morning I said a tearful good-bye to Cincinnati and headed for 
Clermont County, my second home. First stop, Mt Moriah Cemetery outside of Amelia, Ohio. Some of my Nashes are buried there. I stopped at the grave of William and Ruth (great-great grandparents married in Clermont County in 1816). The graves of my aunt and uncle are  located behind them on an angle. Pieces of the tombstone of Ruth's mother, Anna Lewis, have been placed between the two grave sites. Anna's stone was moved when a new subdivision spread across the small country cemetery where she was buried. Only the stone was moved. 

All of the graves are in the old section of the cemetery located next to the little white brick chapel which dates back to the middle 1800's. As I sat there and relaxed with my family on a rainy Sunday morning, the bell in the steeple of the old country church began to ring. I think the bell rang a few times before i realized what was happening. I just sat there and enjoyed it, knowing that somehow I was sharing this moment with my ancestors.

I stopped at the Amelia IOOF Cemetery to visit the grave of my grandparents and great-grandparents. More Nashes. Then I stopped by the cemetery in Batavia to visit my Perkins ancestors. It was such a peaceful Sunday afternoon. That was when the idea hit me. Go find Perkins Lane. 

Perkins Lane, of course, is located on Perkins Hill and I live in Flat As A Pancake Northwest Ohio. No problem! I had been doing pretty good driving up and down the hills so far. What could possibly go wrong? Only the fact that the road went straight up the hill. It was an experience that I won't soon forget. Going up the hill wasn't so bad, but coming back down and knowing what to expect was a little problematic!! But, I made it and -- yes, I would do it again. 

I found Perkins Lane and at the end of it I found what looked like an old farm house. Possibly my great grandfather's house? The house is located on what used to be his land and more importantly on a lane that bears his name. This gives me two houses to research when I return to Clermont County in the fall.

I thought the conference this year was a huge success. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, greeting old friends and meeting new cousins. After all that is what it is all about. There were so many great lectures that it was hard to choose which one to attend. Fortunately the notes in the syllabus were unusually complete this year so that even if you had to miss a session, you could get a good idea of what the speaker covered. Also, remember the FGS Conference is in Fort Wayne, Indiana this year and it may be possible to catch some of the  sessions you missed in Cincy. 

The last day of the conference, I went back to the Exhibit Hall and ordered my Flip-Pal. It is going to take a month to get it and I can't wait to put it to use. Thanks to Thomas MacEntee, who confirmed that I will be able to easily use the scanner on the large books in the courthouse and "stitch" the panels together. 

Altogether last week was very successful for me. I made the trip to Cincy by myself, something I was having second thoughts about; picked up lots of new information at the conference; and climbed Mt. Perkins.  Next stop -- Fort Wayne.