May 2013

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My first lecture on Friday was Microsoft Excel: A Little Known Genealogy Research Tool with Jill N. Crandell, AG. It was a great lecture on how to use the tools in Excel to help you research your family history. She had some great suggestions about using Excel for trying to find your ancestor in a database. Now all I need is the time to go in and try this for myself.

The next lecture I attended was Would the Real Molly Brown Please Stand Up? with Julie Miller,CG. This was one lecture I was really looking forward to and it did not disappoint. It was facinating to follow the trail to find the siblings and family of Margaret Tobin Brown and JJ Brown. I am a fan of the movie The Unsinkable Molly Brown starring Debbie Reynolds and Julie interwove the movie with the real story. There weren’t many similarities.

I missed the last lecture because I wanted to get ready for the Banquet. There were awards presented and door prizes given away before the speakers took the podium. First up was Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak who talked about her Grant Program which is celebrating its thirteenth anniversary and she introduced a new program. Megan is going to give away thirteen grants to people who go into pawn stores to rescue family heirlooms and do the research to return them to the right family. When you have completed this you apply for a grant.

The highlight of the evening was Mark Hall-Paton of Clark County museums and the Pawn Stars TV show. His topic was “Do You Think Anyone’s Going To Watch This Show?” He had the hall laughing with his first sentence. His stories were very entertaining and it was great fun.

It was nice to end the day on such a nice note.

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Thursday was a long day filled with lots of learning and fun.

The first lecture was Maximizing Your Use of Evidence with Thomas W. Jones. I had seen this one before but I like to see this type of lecture several times as I can pick up something new each time. Then it was Finding Ancestors through Their Lawsuits in English Chancery Court with Ronald Ames Hill PhD, CG, FASG. I have some English ancestors and wanted to learn more about these records.

The next lecture I went to was Organizing Your Family History Electronically with Ann Carter Fleming CG, CGL, FNGS. I am at that awkward in between stage of paper and digital. I was looking for tips to start my digital organizing.

I didn’t go to the final lecture of the day because my friend and I went to Ceasar’s Palace and had an early dinner at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill where the food was wonderful. Unfortunately no room for dessert.

Then we went and saw Elton John in concert. It was the best concert I have ever attended. The music brought back memories. He opened with The Bitch is Back and ended with Crocodile Rock which had the joint jumping. His encore was The Circle of Life. The two hour concert was filled with music, stories, chat and just plain fun.


©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Arlington, VA, 8 May 2013: The National Genealogical Society honored excellence in the categories of newsletter editorship and service to the Society with the presentation of several awards at the Opening Session of the NGS 2013 Family History Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, on 8 May 2013. The Opening Session keynote speaker was historian Marian Smith, Chief, Historical Research Branch, US Citizenship and Immigration Services who spoke on the topic People, Policy, and Records: The Importance of Historical Background after which NGS President Jordan Jones presented the following awards.

Each year, the NGS Newsletter Competition recognizes the hard work, long hours, and creativity that editors devote to their newsletters. A panel of three judges reviews each newsletter on material interest, variety, organization, quality of writing and editing, readability, and attractiveness. This year’s categories and winners are:

Family Association Newsletter:

Winner: The Andreas Killian Descendants Historical Association Newsletter, edited by Charles D. Killian of Ellenwood, Georgia.

Honorable Mention: The Seeley Genealogical Society Newsletter, edited by Paul Taylor of Alexandria, Virginia.

County/Local Genealogical and/or Historical Society, for societies with less than 500 members:

Winner: The Newsletter of the Irish Family History Forum, edited by Patricia Mansfield Phelan of Freeport, New York.

Honorable Mention: The Quarterly Newsletter of the South Bend Area Genealogical Society, edited by Eric Craig of South Bend, Indiana.

Major Genealogical and/or Historical Society, for societies with more than 500 members:

Winner: PastFinder, the monthly newsletter of the Silicon Valley Computer Genealogy Group, edited by Janet Brigham of Mountain View, California.

The President’s Citation is given in recognition of outstanding, continuing, or unusual contributions to the field of genealogy or the society. The National Genealogical Society President selects the recipient and this year Jan Meisels Allen has been selected.

Jan has been a key leader of the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC), a joint committee of NGS, the Federation of Genealogical Societies, and the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies. Over the last few years she has tracked legislation that may impact genealogists’ access to the Social Security Death Index in the US Congress and access to vital records in many states. She is relentless in writing statements as appropriate to House and Senate committee chairs as well as governors and state representatives advocating open records access. She is a dynamo on RPAC as the voting member representing the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS). She doggedly finds bills being proposed that affect records access and brings them to the attention of RPAC, and thus the genealogical community. She has served in many roles, including vice president, IAJGS; president, Jewish Genealogical Society of Conejo Valley and Ventura County; and board member, Friends of the Agoura Hills Library. Jan receives the President’s Citation for her vigilance in support of records preservation and in defense of public access to public records.

NGS also recognized several individuals for their dedicated efforts in support of the NGS 2013 Family History Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada:

The Award of Honor was presented in recognition of dedication and sustained service in support of the conference. Recipients of the award were Michael Brenner, Chair, Local Host Societies; and local host societies Centennial Las Vegas Genealogy Society, Clark County Nevada Genealogical Society, Jewish Genealogy Society of Southern Nevada, Las Vegas FamilySearch Library, Nevada African American Genealogy Society, and Nevada State Society Daughters of the American Revolution.

Certificates of Appreciation were given to recognize the committee chairs who spent countless hours preparing for the conference. NGS is aware that there could be no conference if it were not for the volunteers’ efforts and commitment. So honored were Lynne Bogner and R. Wayne Stoker, Co-Chairs of Volunteers; Patricia Dell’aira and Rebecca Eisenman, Co-Chairs of Hospitality; Betteann Meyers, Publicity Chair; Carole Montello, Registration Chair; Leo Myers, Exhibits Chair; and Bill White, Local Events and Tours Chair.

We arrived around lunch time on Tuesday and once settled in the hotel we went and registered for the conference. It was nice to have the conference bag filled with very useful information. My favourite has been the syllabus on a flash drive. I had printed off syllabus material at home of the lectures I wanted to attend but once here I considered some different lectures so it was nice to have the syllabus material to help me make that decision.

It was early to bed on Tuesday because of the early start on Wednesday morning. The Opening Session was People, Policy, and Records: The Importance of Historical Background by Marian Smith.

The Marketplace opened at 9:30 am with the help of a wonderful Mariachi band.


(C) 2013 by the National Genealogical Society, Inc. Used by permission of the National Genealogical Society and the photographer, Scott Stewart.

The first stop in the Marketplace for me and many others was the NGS booth to purchase the new Thomas W. Jones book called Mastering Genealogical Proof.

Then it was off to Lisa Louise Cooke’s lecture called How the Genealogist Can Remember Everything with Evernote. As usual Lisa did not disappoint and I can’t wait to find a quiet corner and start learning more about Evernote. I already have the program downloaded so that is a start.

After lunch it was Genealogical Writing Made Easier with Scrivener with Kimberly Powell. This is a program I have been considering downloading to see how it will help me with my genealogical writing.

The last lecture of the day was Research Ties: The Power of an Online Research Log with Jill N. Crandell, AG.

In the evening we went to Bennihana for dinner and that was quite an experience. Then it was an early night. Another big day tomorrow.

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

On my last visit to the Archives of Ontario I had the chance to try out the new Archives of Ontario Vital Statistics Database. At the moment the only years available are: births 1915; marriages 1930 and deaths 1940. It is hoped that either later this year or early next year that they will add: births 1916, 1917; marriages 1931, 1932 and deaths 1941, 1942.

This database is only available in the Archives on the microfilm scanners. They have hooked them up to the internet and when the Archives homepage comes up you click on the star on the tool bar for Favourites. Then on the right hand side you will see a list and you can choose Archives of Ontario Vital Statistics Database.

It takes a while to load the database. You can do an advance or basic search. You can tick a specific search for birth, marriage or death or you can search all three. You are prompted to put in the first, middle and last name but only the last name is a required field.

The search results include: first, middle, last name; date of event; place of registration; type of event (if more than one is ticked on the search form); registration number; and details. The basic search gives you 10 search results per page.

When you click on details this takes you to a colour digital image of the document. If more than one page is linked to the document it will say page 1 and page 2 across the top. There is also a link to view the original index page. It is a good idea to view the index page as well.

Across the top of the digital image you get: registration number; name; event; date and place. So you would get something like “John Smith married 1/1/1930 in Hamilton.” The digital image is clear and the fact that it is in colour can help with the clarity.

There is a back to search button which takes you back to the original search page. You can’t get back to the search results so you have to keep repeating the search. So if you are looking for someone and don’t have much information on them you have to keep repeating the search every time you look at an image.

You can still view the vital statistics indexes on microfilm and get a copy of the registration from microfilm.

They are digitizing and creating a database for the Ontario Land Patent Plans but there is no timeline on when it will be released.

The printers in the reading room are gone. There are only two rows of microfilm readers that you can use to print a hard copy. You just hit print and it automatically prints out at the reception desk in the main hall. It is $.25 a copy and you can still use your copy card.

They are encouraging people to use thumb drives. I use both systems depending on the project.

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Conferences are great fun and I enjoy attending them. I have already set up the NGS App on my IPod and have my schedule in it. I like the fact that I don’t have to be online to use it which is helpful if you can’t get internet access. The maps are great and I have got a rough idea of where things are located. I have even marked the vendors in the marketplace that I want to visit. We also got some tickets to go and see the Donny and Marie show. I am a child of the seventies and they are considered the best show on the strip. The confirmation for the hotel has come through and the flights are booked. Now what to pack?

I am one of the in-between generation. I was not brought up with computers so I use both computers and the old fashioned pen and paper. I am slowly getting away from the paper as I find more time to learn the new programs that are available and hope to learn more about these programs at NGS. There are lectures on Evernote, Rootsmagic and Scrivener so I will be attending those.

There is a lecture entitled “Landlords and Tenants: Land and Estate Records for Irish Family History Research” with Brian Donovan. This lecture is sponsored by Findmypast.com and I am hoping to learn more about Irish land records. This lecture focuses on the tenants but I would also like to learn something about records for the landlords.

Paul Milner is presenting “Finding Ancestors through Their Lawsuits in English Chancery Court” which may help me learn more about a few of my English ancestors.

“Organizing Your Family History Electronically” is one lecture I really need to attend as I am in the process of changing things over to digital and have amassed a collection of digital files that need organizing.

One lecture I am really looking forward to hearing is “Would the Real Molly Brown Please Stand Up?” One of my favourite movies is “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” starring Debbie Reynolds and would like to know more about the real Molly Brown.

I will be attending my first NGS Banquet this year. The speakers at this event are Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak and Mark Hall-Patton of “Pawn Stars.” Mark is the Museums Administrator for the Clark County museum system.

As an Official Blogger for the NGS Conference I get no remuneration but I do get to meet new people and learn new things while at the same time sharing them with you.

Are you going to the conference in Las Vegas? If you are please come and find me and say hello. One of the best parts of a conference is meeting the people who follow my blog.

This could be one time when what happens in Vegas won’t necessarily stay in Vegas.

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

I have received my attendee information from the National Genealogical Society. The conference is getting closer and there is lots of preparation going on.

WiFi Hotspot

NGS wants you to stay connected! In order to offset the expense of in-room Internet fees, the NGS has partnered with Platinum Sponsors Findmypast.com and FamilySearch to provide conference attendees with free WiFi Internet access. A password-protected Internet café (WiFi Hotspot) just for NGS attendees will accommodate up to 300 users at a time, 20 minutes per session, 24 hours per day, Monday through Saturday the week of the conference. The free WiFi Hotspot will be located in Pavilion 5 and in the Pavilion Foyer between the Pavilion and the Paradise Event Center Foyer.

Thank you Findmypast.com and FamilySearch!

Conference App

Our conference app this year includes a daily schedule, personal schedule, speaker and exhibitor information, floor plans, and more. To identify sessions that will not be recorded, the app includes a separate line below the lecture description that states, “No recording available. Take notes.” You can select the sessions you plan to attend, create your own conference schedule, and add personal appointments and meetings. For more information and to download the conference app, please visit the NGS website.

Download the App it is a great tool!

Syllabus

The conference syllabus is now available online for registered attendees. The syllabus highlights the major points of each lecture as submitted by the speaker, and is often referenced during the sessions.

You will receive a digital copy of the syllabus at conference check in. If you purchased a print syllabus prior to the early bird registration deadline, you will also receive the print syllabus at conference check in. You can prepare for the conference before you leave home by viewing and printing syllabi for the sessions you would like to attend. NGS will not provide printing stations at the conference.

The syllabus material for the lectures I want to attend have been printed off.

Clothing

Dress in layers and wear comfortable shoes and clothing. You will do a lot of walking and sitting, and despite weather conditions outside, some areas of the event center will be cold.

Comfortable shoes are a must!

Registration and Attendee Check-In

Attendees must register or check in at the registration desk in person to retrieve conference materials (bag, program, name tag, and syllabus on flash drive). Materials will be released only to the person named on the registration and upon presentation of a valid ID that is consistent with that name. No exceptions.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013
12:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013
7:00 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Thursday, 9 May 2013
7:00 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Friday, 10 May 2013
7:00 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Saturday, 11 May 2013
7:00 a.m.–12 noon

Registration times duly noted.

Exhibit Hall Hours

The Exhibit Hall is free and open to the public. See the interactive map online. To see exhibiting company details, select a booth number, and then click to expand profile. Find a listing of all exhibitors by selecting “companies” at the bottom left corner of the page. Exhibitor information and the Exhibit Hall map are also on the conference app.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013
9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

Thursday, 9 May 2013
9:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

Friday, 10 May 2013
9:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

Saturday, 11 May 2013
9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.

I have already marked the exhibitors I want to visit in the Exhibitors section of the App.

Las Vegas here we come!

MyHeritage delivers historic U.S. Census records to millions of families worldwide

Travel back in time: Global family history network gives users a snapshot into the lives of their ancestors from 1790 to 1930

PROVO, Utah & TEL AVIV, Israel – May 1, 2013: MyHeritage, the popular family history network, today announced that it has added the entire collection of U.S. Federal Censuses conducted each decade from 1790 to 1930 to its growing database of billions of historical records. Combined with innovative technologies and affordable prices, MyHeritage makes it easier and more accessible than ever to illuminate the lives of one’s ancestors during this fascinating period in American history.

Among the nation’s largest and most important set of records totaling around 520 million names, the Censuses provide information about individuals residing in the U.S. including age, address, education, occupation, place of birth, race, native language, marital status, relationship to head of household, neighbors – and more. Family history enthusiasts can now search the indexed images of the U.S. Censuses and discover the legacy of former generations between 1790 and 1930 in the U.S.

To make discoveries easier, MyHeritage offers a sophisticated system of automatic record matching for the family trees on the site, dramatically reducing research time. New information uncovered in the Censuses triggers a domino effect of new discoveries within the MyHeritage global network of family trees and records. Resulting connections with other family trees could shed light on the roots of many families who immigrated to the U.S., connecting them to long-lost relatives abroad. Translated to 40 different languages, MyHeritage is the only company to deliver discoveries from the U.S. Censuses to a global audience.

The new records, which include the remaining fragments of the 1890 U.S. Federal Census mostly destroyed in a fire, complement the existing 1940 U.S. Census which is already available on MyHeritage. A summary of any census record can be viewed for free and users can choose between affordable pay-as-you-go credits or a data subscription for full unlimited access to all historical content, including the images of the original census pages.

“Adding the U.S. Censuses is paramount for offering a one-stop shop for family history”, said Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “With this move we maximize value for users by combining the best family tree tools and the most powerful matching technologies with a massive library of historical content. The U.S. Censuses add incredible new value for our users, who will receive a string of new discoveries, and act as a catalyst for taking research further into the past and across new borders. This is just the tip of the iceberg as we’re set to add significant additional collections of historical records, both from the U.S. and around the world, in 2013.”

The U.S. census records are also being added to WorldVitalRecords and FamilyLink, and will be made available soon to the users of Geni – three additional websites owned and operated by MyHeritage.

About MyHeritage

MyHeritage is a family history network helping millions of families around the world discover and share their legacy online. Pioneers in making family history a collaborative experience for the entire family, MyHeritage empowers its users with innovative social tools and a massive library of historical content. The site is available in 40 languages. For more information visit MyHeritage.

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