NGS 2012 Conference Cincinnati Ohio Day 3

It had to be an early start on day three of the conference because at 8 am Elizabeth Shown Mills was presenting “Okay, I ‘Got the Neighbours’: Now What Do I Do with Them.” I knew this was going to be a crowded lecture so I got there extra early.

This was a good thing because it gave me the opportunity to chat with the people around me. Right next to me was Tonya Hull and what a pleasant surprise to learn that she reads my blog. Thank you for the support Tonya I appreciate it. It was nice to meet you at the conference. Behind me was my friend Lisa Alzo.

Elizabeth’s lecture was fantastic. I always learn something new from her lectures.

The next lecture was “Cloud Storage and Backup,” still trying to learn as much as I can on the subject.

The last lecture of the day was sponsored by the Association of Professional Genealogists called “When Do I Link in, Tweet, Facebook, or Flickr? Social Media for the Professional Genealogist.” This is a balance I am working on. If one more new social media program comes out I will have no time for anything else.

The day ended with a dinner for those of us connected to the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. Louise St. Denis hosted the meal at the Rockbottom Micro Brewery Pub in Fountain Square. Lisa Alzo and Gena Philibert-Ortega were among those in attendance.

The Cincinnati Reds were playing a home game so we were lucky to get a table so quickly for a large group. The meal was wonderful. I had a mango ice tea which was just mango and ice tea nothing else added. It was delicious. My main meal was a hazelnut crusted chicken breast with a dried cherry sauce and white cheddar mash potatoes. The whole meal was fantastic.

After dinner we wandered to the other side of the square and went to Graeter’s Ice Cream. I had a black raspberry chip ice cream – Yum!

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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NGS 2012 Conference Cincinnati Ohio Day 2

Day two was another early start. There is no such thing as sleeping in at a conference.

The only lecture I attended on this day was the first one at 8 am. It was “Storing Your Tree in the Cloud: Online Management of your Data.” This is a topic that is still very new to me so the lecture was a good learning tool.

I spent the rest of the day wandering around the marketplace. had a booth there and I spoke with Brian Speckart who also shared a table with me at the FamilySearch blogger/media dinner. Brian told me that in the summer of 2012 there will be a subscription available that will include the findmypast websites from Ireland, the UK, Australia and the main .com website. The subscription will also include the British Newspaper Archive.

Brightsolid own findmypast and Scotlandspeople. I have used Scotlandspeople from the time it started and it is a wonderful website.

Ancestry and FamilySearch were very prominent in the marketplace. There were a lot of companies to help write, present and publish your family story. The usual associations and societies were in attendance.

The one thing that I miss from the modern marketplace is books. I love to use books and have a large reference library. I did get the fourth edition of John Grenham’s “Tracing Your Irish Ancestors.”

One down point was the absence of the Certificate of Irish Heritage booth. I was really looking forward to finding out more about them. I was not the only one because many people walked past our booth looking for them.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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NGS 2012 Conference Cincinnati Ohio Day 1

We arrived at the marketplace early on Wednesday to make sure that we had everything ready for the opening. This was the only day I was able to connect to the internet at the conference centre. The connection was busy for the rest of the conference.

The first lecture I was going to attend was “The Family Tapestry: Integrating Proof Arguments Into the Genealogical Narrative.” I left the booth 10 minutes before the lecture started and was unable to get a seat when I arrived. Thank goodness they recorded this one so I bought the recording.

The only other lecture I attended on this day was called “Snagit for Genealogists” which was very interesting. I have been thinking about getting this program and the lecture helped me make a decision. We were also given a free trial CD of Snagit.

I interviewed Lisa Louise Cooke who was in the booth next to ours. Look for the interview on this blog in the future.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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National Genealogical Society 2012 Conference – Cincinnati Ohio

It has been a few weeks since I returned from the conference and they have been very busy weeks. I will be posting my experiences at the NGS conference over the next few blog posts.

I was assisting Louise St. Denis and Susanna de Groot of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies at the booth for the Institute and the booth for Heritage Productions in the marketplace.

Tuesday was a tourist day. Susanna and I walked up to Fountain Square to have a look around and the Findlay market was there.

We then walked down to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center located down by the Ohio River. It was a wonderful museum.

New things were learned and it was interesting to see the references to people who ended up in Canada and their experiences.

We went to the Rockbottom Micro Brewery Pub in Fountain Square for lunch. It was really good and the servers were very friendly.

After lunch we walked down to the Cincinnati Public Library to have a look at the daguerreotype of the city.

We saw a print that was on display on the main floor and then went upstairs to view the original that was kept behind a screen and in the dark to protect it.

When we entered the local history room the librarian opened the screen and turned on a back light so we could see it. It is amazing this piece of history still exists.

That evening I went to the FamilySearch bloggers/media dinner and met some old and new friends. I met Amanda Perrine of Amanda’s Anthaeum blog. Our blogs share an anniversary. Someone kindly took our picture.

We stayed at a hotel near the Cincinnati airport in Hebron Kentucky. So it was time to go back to the hotel for an early start the next morning.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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Ruth’s Recommendations

It has been a very busy few weeks. So this is two weeks of my favourite blog posts.

There has been a lot of news lately about the government’s view of Canadian history and the cut backs at Library and Archives Canada. The blog has two posts that relate to this topic and make for interesting reading. “Seizing Canada’s Past: Politics and the Reinvention of Canadian History” and “The Smokescreen of “Modernization” at Library and Archives Canada.”

On the topic of Irish research there is a post at the blog called “The Petty Sessions order books” which looks at their value to the researcher. The other is Irish Genealogy News with a post called “Database updates its list of registers” which looks at and their quiet updates.

The FamilySearch blog has two posts regarding new features on their website. They are “New FamilySearch Feature – IGI” and “New FamilySearch Feature – My Source Box.”

The National Archives Blog has updated the status of the swan family on the grounds of the Archives with a post called “Very fine swans indeed.” They also have a post called “Information management through music” which looks at usability in records management.

On Marian’s Roots and Rambles there is a post called “Just the Hint of a Smile” where she shares her experiences in collecting the oral history of her community.

The Family Recorder is providing a bit of history to go along with the Olympic torch relay in her posts called “Olympic torch route.” She has a new post for each day of the relay.

The In-Depth Genealogist has a post called “Genealogical Journaling” and it provides some good insights into using journaling to help with your research.

What were your favourite blog posts this past week?

Let me know in the comments below.

Other bloggers that write their own lists are:

Genea-Musings – Best of the Genea-Blogs

British & Irish Genealogy

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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Your Family’s Food History: Questions to Ask

Gena Philibert-Ortega is on a virtual book tour promoting her new book “From the Family Kitchen.” You can find the schedule for her virtual book tour here. She writes the Food.Family.Ephemra blog.

Gena will do a drawing for a free book to one reader chosen among all the comments on her virtual book tour, so please comment on her guest post.

The Passionate Genealogist is pleased to present a guest post by Gena Philibert-Ortega author of “From the Family Kitchen.”

Serving tea at the community kitchen at Bardon, October 1942. State Library of Queensland.

It’s always amazing to me how family memories can be so different. While you may have specific food memories about your grandmother, your cousin’s memories offer a different perspective and could add to what you already know. I remember every summer as a child my family would visit my maternal grandmother and stay with her for a few weeks. Inevitably one of the foods we enjoyed while there was watermelon. A cousin later told me that my grandmother had warned him as a small child that if he swallowed any watermelon seeds, the fruit would grow in his stomach. (I believe this was probably an effort on her part to make him behave.) He feared eating watermelon because of the potential fruit that would take over his stomach. Now something as everyday as eating watermelon reminds me of my cousin who grew up believing that he was destined to have a watermelon grow inside of him.

One way to learn more about your family’s food history is by asking questions of family members, either informally through an email or more formally as a structured interview. You can contact family members through email correspondence or through social networking sites such as Facebook where you can conduct a private chat or send a private message to a group of family members. Sending a message to a group of people allows family members to read each other’s responses, which may help trigger more memories. This is a great way to solicit memories from the younger generations in your family.
So what kinds of questions should you ask about food? Well that all depends on what information you want to learn. Do you want to learn about holiday celebrations? Do you want to learn about immigrant foods? Do you want to learn more about what a great-grandmother cooked?

To help you get started with questions to ask, I’ve included the following interview questions, but don’t limit yourself to just these. As the person you are interviewing tells their story, you’ll likely think of additional follow-up questions. Don’t be afraid to ask these. It’s important to see where the interview leads you and not be too rigid. Some questions you can include in your interview are:

Family History and Food

What did you eat as a child?
What did you eat at your grandparent’s house?
What did the older people eat in the family (sometimes this can be different than what the children are willing to eat)?
Did you eat anything as a child that your family would not be willing to eat now?
What was your favorite meal growing up?
How did you learn to cook? Who taught you?
What was your first meal that you prepared?
How was food different when you married?
What did your in-laws serve that was different? What were their food traditions?
Was any of the food you ate handed down from immigrant ancestors? If you were the immigrant, then what foods did you continue to prepare once in the United States? What ingredients were difficult to find? Did you change the recipe at all?
Who was the best cook in the family? Why? What did they prepare?
What kinds of desserts did you eat? Did you have a favorite?

Holidays/Special Occasions

What holidays, if any, did your family celebrate?
What was served for holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas?
Did you have any traditional dishes that were served each year?
Did you eat any foods that were not traditional for that holiday?
Who cooked at family gatherings?
Did your family ever host a large gathering like a 25th or 50th wedding anniversary or a wedding?
How was food served differently at a holiday or special occasion than a normal dinner?
What was served at birthday parties?
What occasions did the extended family come together for? Who attended those occasions?
What, if any, were the foods or beverages your family abstained from because of religious beliefs?

Additional questions and information about interviewing family members can be found in my new book From the Family Kitchen.

©2012 – Gena Philibert-Ortega All Rights Reserved

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366 Days of Genealogy – April

April 1

This month we are looking at Libraries and Archives. So lets start with the one I visit the most the Archives of Ontario. Unfortunately you will not find any records online at this archive. You can search their online database and they have some online exhibits that are useful. They also have online guides to some of the records you can find there.

April 2

Library and Archives Canada have many databases to search for free and you can find them through the Genealogy and Family History section.

April 3

The United Church of Canada Archives can help you find what church records are available for your research location. Don’t forget they hold some Methodist, Congregational and Presbyterian records. The United Church of Canada wasn’t formed until 1925.

April 4

The Provincial Archives of New Brunswick have many digital records online.

April 5

The British Columbia Archives have searchable indexes online.

April 6

Check out the Irish Virtual Research Library and Archive.

April 7

What can you find at the Dublin City Library and Archives?

April 8

Learn about archives in Ireland

April 9

Go down memory lane with the Mitchell Library in Glasgow Scotland.

April 10

What can you find in the Scottish Screen Archive?

April 11

Can you find anything in A2A (Access 2 Archives) relating to your family?

April 12

Were your ancestors involved with the Scouting movement in Great Britain?

April 13

What can you find in the World Digital Library?

April 14

Have you searched the Archival Research Catalog (ARC) at the National Archives in the United States?

April 15

What can you find at the Allen County Public Library?

April 16

What can you find at the Family History Library? Try searching beyond the catalogue to see what is new at FamilySearch.

April 17

Looking for an image of Australia? Try the National Library of Australia’s Picture Australia which is now hosted by Trove.

April 18

The National Archives of Australia can help you learn more about researching your family in Australia.

April 19

Project Gutenberg Australia is “a treasure-trove of literature” and you will find many free books under the topic of Australiana.

April 20

When you check out the library website don’t just look at family history check to see what local history has to offer. The Auckland City Libraries in New Zealand have some interesting information.

April 21

The National Library of Wales has quite a few online databases for you to search.

April 22

The Archives of Wales don’t have any online databases but they have a very good how to section for Welsh family history.

April 23

Internet Archive is a great online library to help you with your research and they offer a lot more than books.

April 24

Can’t find a book in your local library? Have you tried WorldCat? Maybe you can get it through inter-library loan.

April 25

Project Gutenberg covers many countries. See what you can find here.

April 26

Check out the blogs on offer through the British Library.

April 27

The National Library of Ireland has a blog.

April 28

Check out the different digital collections you can find at the Library of Congress.

April 29

Using the National Library and/or Archives websites can provide access to some free databases to help you with your research.

April 30

Always go to the website of the National Library and Archives for the country you are researching. They may have a page or PDF dedicated to helping people who are researching their family history and digital databases that may help you.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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Ruth’s Recommendations

Last week I was at the National Genealogical Society conference in Cincinnati Ohio. I had a great time but was so busy it was hard to keep up with the blogs that I read on a regular basis. Despite all that I did manage to find a few that caught my eye this week.

Irish Genealogy News had two this week. The first is “A Friday miscellany” which covers several news items. There is one about the World War One Family History Roadshow at the National Library of Ireland last March. Some of the stories are now available online.

The other post was “Military records for release this month” which looks at records relating to the Irish Volunteers from 1913-1921 and the availability of these records online in the near future.

The last post has a personal connection to me. Fiona Fitzsimons wrote a post on the blog called “The Landed Estate Court Rentals” where she looks at the valuable information to be found in these records. She researched President Obama’s family history in Tipperary and uses some examples in the post.

Fiona references land in Moneygall County Tipperary where the Kearney’s were tenants and it was owned by Rev. William Minchin. The Minchin family in County Tipperary is connected to my family tree. Humphrey Charles Minchin of County Tipperary is my Great Great Great Grandfather.

What were your favourite blog posts this past week?

Let me know in the comments below.

Other bloggers that write their own lists are:

Genea-Musings – Best of the Genea-Blogs

British & Irish Genealogy

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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FamilySearch Blogger/Media Dinner at NGS 2012 in Cincinnati

Last night I attended the FamilySearch Blogger/Media dinner at the Hyatt hotel in Cincinnati. A great time was had by all and FamilySearch provided a tasty meal. It was all things Cincinnati from chili three ways, ribs, fried chicken and fresh kettle chips. Dessert was an ice cream sandwich made with cookies.

I enjoyed the company of Karen Blackmore of Karen’s Genealogy Oasis, Karen Miller Bennett of Karen’s Chatt, Lisa Lisson of Are You My Cousin?, Julia Langel of GeneaJulia, David Rencher who is the Chief Genealogical Officer at FamilySearch, Merrill White who is a FamilySearch Patron and Partner Services, Britnay Warnock FamilySearch Social Media and Brian Speckart of

Paul Nuata started the presentation by telling us that they now have a contract to digitize the civil registration records from 1802 to 1940 for Italy.

Every day 10,000 support volunteers are available online at to help answer research questions and provide personalized research guidance. They can respond to questions in 13 different languages.

Jim Erickson of FamilySearch gave us a great presentation on the accomplishments of the 1940 US Census indexers. They are enthusiastic and moving along at a fast rate to get the project finished.

There are 3.8 million images in the 1940 US census project. FamilySearch hope to have 400 million new images online in 2012. The Granite Mountain Vault holds 3.5 billion images.

FamilySearch are working on some new technological innovations to improve the indexing and searching capabilities of the website.

The index will be available on FamilySearch in the coming weeks and they will be announcing a new project for Memorial Day.

After the presentation everyone stayed around to chat and catch up. I met Amanda Perrine of Amanda’s Anthenaeum we share the same blog anniversary. I also met Dear Mrytle and Pam Schaffner of the Digging Down East blog.

This is just the start of a wonderful week filled with all things genealogy. Today is the first full day of lectures and the market place opens at 9:30. If you are attending please drop by and see me at the National Institute for Genealogical Studies booth.

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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Ruth’s Recommendations

Here are my favourite blog posts from this past week.

The National Archives Blog had a post called “Dastardly Digital Dilemmas: 2) Shaping our tools” which looks at the way they organize their data both physically and digitally. He ends with a quote from Canadian Marshall McLuhan.

CanadaGenWeb’s Blog has a post called “Help save Library & Archives Canada!” The Conservative government’s budget cuts are decimating an already troubled Canadian institution. How they are going to survive and continue with their mandate is in question. They are already talking about discontinuing Inter-Library loans from LAC and this would stop the access to Canada’s historic records by anyone outside of the Capital.

The blog for Australia & New Zealand Inside History magazine has a post called “Another grave tale from the Klondike by Robin McLachlan” which looks at the life of Australian Norman Nicholas Graeber in the Klondike. Norman made an enormous lifestyle change going from Australia to Canada’s far north.

What were your favourite blog posts this past week?

Let me know in the comments below.

Other bloggers that write their own lists are:

Genea-Musings – Best of the Genea-Blogs

British & Irish Genealogy

©2012 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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