August 2013

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This year’s FGS Conference was very successful. I heard there were about 1500 people attending and sometimes in the library it seemed like a lot more.

My friend Nancy and I traveled down to Fort Wayne on August 15th. We had research we wanted to do in the ACPL. My research plan was over 40 pages long. We spent all day Friday and Saturday in the library. We went to O’Donnell’s Irish Pub for dinner on Thursday and Saturday night and found a lovely pizza place on Friday night. The first two mornings we got a free breakfast buffet at the hotel.

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Sunday was a bit of a down day as the library was closed. Still we made good use of it. It was a late start to the day and we had breakfast at Cindy’s Diner. This is a tiny place with only about 15 stools. We started the day with “Garbage Eggs” which had eggs, ham, cheese, onion and potato. This big breakfast meant we didn’t really need to stop for lunch. The people at Cindy’s were so friendly and the food was great.

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Then it was off to the shops. We visited a couple of malls and Walmart where we picked up some things to use for breakfast in the hotel not to mention a few other items. We went back to the room to work on our research plans for the next day and had a quiet evening.

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Monday was spent in the library doing research. Tuesday was the FGS Librarian’s Day conference and it was held in the Allen County Public Library. We took a little time off on Tuesday to go and do a tour of DeBrand Chocolates. They are a local business and provide tours of their chocolate factory. It was delicious and I left with a purchase or two.

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Tuesday night I attended the FamilySearch bloggers dinner. I love this event as I get to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. Wednesday is Society day and I attended two lectures. I spent a little more time in the library but it was starting to get very busy. At the end of the day I had finished my research plan so I was pleased.

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Starting Wednesday night the library was open until midnight for three days. It was very full and they had started adding extra tables and chairs on Tuesday. The librarians and volunteers were fantastic with the patrons and how they kept up with reshelving all those books I don’t know. Wednesday finished with the Opening Social.

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There were long lines and it felt a little slow at times but we chatted to everyone in line and that made the time go quickly. The band at the social were “The Jug Huffers.” They were very entertaining.

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The Opening Social was held in the botanical conservatory and you could wander around the outdoor gardens.

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Thursday was the official start of the conference with the Opening Plenary. I will never listen to early rock and roll in the same way again. Marketplace opened at 9:30 and was open until 7:30 pm.

“The War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Files in the National Archives are being digitized and placed online for free.” This is a project being done by FGS in conjunction with Fold3, Ancestry.com and the National Archives. They had a goal to raise $20,000 in donations from the conference registrations and selling raffle tickets. The FGS would double what was raised and then Ancestry.com would double that number. After all the counting was done they had raised $23,000 by the end of the conference. FGS doubled that to $46,000 and Ancestry.com doubled that to $92,000.

In the Conference Guide they say that to digitize two images costs one dollar. So if my math is right that means they should be able to digitize about 184,000 images. I hope the pension file you are looking for is part of that group. These images can be viewed for free on Fold3.

The FGS Ambassadors got together to have a picture taken. It was taken by Tina Lyons who worked tirelessly and I hope got a good rest on Sunday. Linda McCauley was the official photographer and she has shared this photograph with the FGS Ambassadors.

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I really enjoy genealogy conferences. I would attend all of them if my time and budget allowed. It is great to meet new people and catch up with friends. At every conference I learn something new. This year I attended the NGS and FGS conferences in the United States and this allowed me to do research in the top two genealogy libraries in North America. I also attended the Ontario Genealogical Society conference this year. OGS is my local conference and fun to attend. This year I presented three lectures at the conference.

Next year the FGS Conference is being held in San Antonio Texas. I would love to go as I’ve never been to Texas and have heard San Antonio is a lovely city.

See you all there.

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Findmypastie

Another 2.5 million court registers added to findmypast.ie

Records dating from 1851 to 1913

For immediate release

Leading Irish family history website, findmypast.ie has made a further 2.5 million court records available to search online in its Irish Petty Sessions Court Registers 1828-1912 record set, which exposes the petty crimes Ireland’s residents committed and how they were punished.

This new batch features 52 new courts in fifteen counties around Ireland. A further seven courts have been supplemented with records from additional years. This brings the total Petty Sessions Court Registers on findmypast.ie to over 15 million and the overall Irish family history records on the site to over 70 million.

Notable additions this time include a significant expansion to the records available for Galway, Roscommon, Westmeath and Limerick. Donegal also benefits from the addition of four new courts dating from as early as 1851, which should prove a real boon to family historians with ancestors from that county.

The variety of cases heard gives a real flavour for life in Ireland at the time. Runaway servants, shebeens and trespassing livestock are just a taste of the misdemeanors that can be found amongst the millions of registers.

Cliona Weldon, General Manager of findmypast.ie, said “The records of the Petty Session courts are endlessly fascinating and that is why we continue to top up this resource with more great family history records. It is always interesting to find out what your forefathers did to find themselves in front of a magistrate!”

New courts have been added to the following counties: Galway (9), Roscommon (8), Westmeath (7), Limerick (7), Donegal (4), Waterford (4), Tipperary (2), Cork (2), Carlow (2), Kilkenny (2), Mayo (1), Meath (1), Sligo (1), Wexford (1) and Wicklow (1).

This collection is also accessible on all findmypast international sites through a World subscription.

To find out if you have ancestors who had their day in court visit www.findmypast.ie

It was another early start as I attended the 8 am lecture with Harold Henderson, CG presenting “Three Ways to Improve Your Speaking Ideas.” This was a very informative lecture and I will be implementing some of these ideas.

Next was “Creating Family Histories for Future Generations” with Thomas W. Jones, PhD., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS. If you ever get the chance to hear Tom Jones speak you must take advantage of it. His first piece of advice was not to go looking for ancestors but to focus on the people you have around you now and collect as much information from them as possible while you can.

“Finding the Inner Light: Researching Our Quaker Ancestors” by Diana VanSkiver Gagel, MA, OGSF was great. I have Quaker ancestors and while a lot of this lecture was focused on the United States I still learned a lot about how the Quakers worshiped and collected records.

I didn’t attend a luncheon lecture today so I went out for a walk and found something nearby.

The afternoon lecture series started with “Speak, Write, and Publish Safely: Staying Out of Copyright Trouble” with Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL. Some aspects of copyright law are different between Canada and the US but the majority of it is the same. This lecture provided a lot of food for thought.

“Researching Irish Ancestors Online” with Marie E. Daly was interesting. I knew most of it already but you never know when you may find out something new.

The conference ended with Paul Milner and his lecture “English Parish Registers: How to Access, Use and Interpret.” This was a good lecture and as usual Paul started off the lecture a little early so that people could ask some questions. Paul is a lively speaker which is great during the last session on the last day as we are all a little blurry eyed and tired.

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

It was another early start this morning. The whole experience of conference is lectures, early and late nights, and catching up with old friends and making new.

My first lecture of the day was “Effective Use of ScotlandsPeople Website” with Paul Milner. As usual, Paul did not disappoint. It was a very informative lecture.

The next lecture was “Mapping the Past: Navigating Your Family History with Maps” with Donald Hubbard, PhD. This was a very interesting lecture and it presented different ways to use maps in your family history.

Then it was on to “Image Organization Made Easy” with Eric Curtis M. Basir. This lecture was full and I was interested in learning more because organizing my digital files is on my “to do list” and I want to do it right the first time.

Now it is time for lunch. I attended the Association of Professional Genealogists Luncheon with John Philip Colletta, PhD. John presented “The Keepers and I: Tales of Accessing Historical Sources.” John always does a great job. His presentation was entertaining and distinctive not to mention his slide show was exceptional. His new version of PowerPoint did the job. You had to be there.

In the afternoon I attended three lectures. The first was “Using Your Word Processor to Create a Publication” with Pamela Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL.

The one I really wanted to see was “Evernote for Every Genealogist” with Cyndi Ingle Howells. I am just getting started with Evernote and this helped a great deal. This lecture had an unusual start because just before it was to begin the fire alarm went off in the convention centre and we all filed into the street. Even with that interruption Cyndi did a great job. I really need to start using Evernote more.

The last was “Tips and Tools for Planning and Tracking Research” with Debbie Parker Wayne, CG.

Tonight was the ACPL/ACGSI Evening at the Library and the presentation was “Journey Through the Generations with our Veterans.” This event was sponsored by FamilySearch.

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

It was an early start this morning. The Plenary Session started at 8 am. It opened with the Old Fort Color Guard trooping in the colours. They also escorted us to the Marketplace after the Plenary. The session started with awards and news from FGS. FGS and Rootstech will be presented concurrently in March 2015 in Salt Lake City. FGS will also have a smaller conference in the Fall.

We got a four minute sneak peak of the new PBS production Genealogy Roadshow. It looks great and I can’t wait until it starts on September 23rd.

After the announcements it was time for the lecture called “Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixty: The Roots of Rock & Roll and 1950s America” and the speaker was Richard Aquilla, PhD. He looked at the messages that were found in Rock & Roll music in the first ten years. Rock & Roll was born sixty years ago this year. He showed a record label for Neil Sedaka’s “Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen” and it got a cheer from the audience. It was interesting because some of the topics he pointed out in early Rock & Roll, such as, objectifying women, is a criticism heard about today’s rap songs. I will never listen to the music in the same way again.

FGS is raising money for the War of 1812 Pension Records Project. They are raising money to digitize the documents and make them free online at Fold3. Between now and the end of the conference they hope to raise $20,000 and $9,000 had already be raised by donations at the time of registration. Ancestry will match dollar for dollar any money raised between now and FGS 2014 in San Antonio Texas.

Over 800,000 images are available online and that represents 10% of the documents. They have raised 30% of the fund raising goal to date.

On Thursday I attended two lectures. The first was “DNA Testing for Genealogy: The Basics” presented by Robert D. McLaren and “Going Nuclear: DNA Discoveries to Trace All Lines of Descent” presented by Debbie Parker Wayne, CG. I now feel I know a little bit more about DNA.

At lunch time I attended a lunch sponsored by the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History (ISBGFH). Audrey Collins from the National Archives in England presented “There and Back Again: Your British Ancestors on the Move.” Audrey is a great speaker and if you get a chance to attend one of her lectures you won’t be disappointed.

The rest of the day I spent in the Marketplace going around to all the different vendors and seeing what they had on offer. I checked out some societies and asked a question at the Indiana Historical Society. They were extremely helpful and I am hopeful they will help me solve a mystery with a Scottish ancestor.

It was late opening at the Marketplace and there were many draws held during 6:30 and 7:30. Congratulations to all the lucky winners.

Now it is time to get my things together for tomorrow.

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Wednesday at the FGS Conference is focused on Societies and all the lectures are concentrated on helping societies to tweak and improve their services. I find the Society Day lectures to be helpful to anyone running a genealogy business. As a result I attended two lectures on Wednesday. The first was “Creating Master Databases from Local Genealogical Resources” by Dana Ann Palmer, CG. It was very informative and I will be using some of her tips in my local history projects.

The other lecture was “Avoiding the Pitfalls of a Society-Sponsored Research Trip” presented by Billie Stone Fogarty, MEd. This lecture provided societies with tips on whether or not to sponsor a research trip.

In the evening we attended the FGS Opening Social at Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory that was sponsored by Findmypast.com. It took a long time to get in but everyone in line was chatting and getting to know each other. There were jazz and country performers in a couple of areas around the conservatory. They served some light nibbles which were very tasty.

Then it was back to our room to get ready for the early start the next day.

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

The four of the last five days I have spent doing research at the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center and last night was the FamilySearch Blogger Dinner.

Congratulations go to Diane Loosle on being appointed Director of the Family History Library. She is going to be studying the “role of the Family History Library and 4,700 satellite branches worldwide called, Family History Centers, and how to make them discovery centers for people of all ages, not just a research facility.”

“In 2013-14, Diane says she has some very specific goals as the new director of the Family History Library:

1. Become more family and youth-oriented through providing interactive, discovery experiences.
2. Enhance the services of the Library through new collaborative research areas and better access to research staff.
3. Continue to bring the Library resources and staff knowledge to online patrons.
4. Engage more patrons from the geographic community surrounding the library.”

There are going to be youth and family oriented changes happening at the Family History Library. They are creating research collaboration spaces and staff is coming out from behind the desk and into these spaces. You will find computers, microfilm readers and staff in one space who are researching common interests.

There are 1.7 million names from historical records added to the website every day. The FamilySearch camera teams number 237 right now and their goal is to have 1000 in five years.

Family History Discovery Centers are going to be created in metropolitan areas in high tourist and high traffic neighbourhoods. They will be engaging for all age groups and knowledge bases. Three to five will be launched in the next twelve months.

Three Oral History Studios are being tested right now. You can bring a family member to the studio and interview them to capture their story. There is an HD video camera and you will be given a pre-programed flash drive to save the video. You are allotted an hour and fifteen minutes and the cost is $8 which is the cost of the flash drive. They need to pre-program the flash drive so you can’t bring your own.

FamilySearch Family Tree now has 950 million names, 41,686 are added every day and 27% are non LDS contributors. You will be able to upload documents by the end of the year.

Soon you will be able to scan your family photos at your local Family History Center. They will crop and upload your photos to your FamilySearch online account or you can bring them home and tag them.

Some of the FamilySearch third party apps are: FamilyMap, RootsMagic, Mobile Family Tree for iOS, Leaf, and Legacy mobile.

Rootstech are expecting 110,000 remote attendees in 2014. The BIG NEWS is that registration begins on Thursday 22 August 2013.

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

FGS2013_Ambassador_badge

If you haven’t registered for the FGS 2013 Conference yet, you still have time to register online, by mail or at the door. Mailed registrations must be postmarked by Friday, August 9. Online registration ends on Wednesday, August 14th. Pre-registering for the conference gives you access to some great benefits.

And don’t forget, if you have already registered for the conference, you still have time to get your tickets to the conference “extras.”

Only attendees who preregister for the conference can:
• Access the conference syllabus online prior to the conference.
• Guarantee a spot in the “extra” conference events (on-site tickets may be available to events if they have not sold out):
o 10 luncheons over the 4 conference days.
o 5 workshops over 3 days. There is still room in the Researching African Americans in University Libraries workshop. We have also added   extra spaces and still have a few seats left Researching Midwestern American Indians and Using Griffith’s Valuation to Identify Your Ancestors’ Origins. The other workshops are sold out.
o FGS Opening Social on Wednesday, August 21
o Friday Night at ACPL on August 23 with all proceeds going to the Preserve the Pensions Fund!
o Sunday Farewell Brunch with lots of door prizes.
• Register for a FREE genealogy consultation on Tuesday, August 20. You must sign up for a consultation in advance. See Conference Activities on the website for details.

You can also purchase extra tickets (except for workshops) for your non-genealogy spouses or friends who traveled with you to the conference.

Visit the website to register or add “extras” today. We hope to see you in Fort Wayne, August 21-24.

Here are my favourite blog posts from the last couple of weeks.

There are three posts of interest from Irish Genealogy News. The first is “Mount Lawrence cemetery: Phase 1 completes August” which is about the Limerick City Archives project to release the digitized burial registers for Mount Lawrence cemetery.

The next is “SeanRuad Townland Database has moved.” This is a very useful online database and thankfully someone has decided to host all the hard work of the late John Broderick.

The last post is “Familiar faces return to NAI Genealogy Service.” This is about the new consortium that has been created to provide a free genealogy advice service at the National Archives of Ireland. It was created by professional genealogists who had worked in the previous version of the Genealogy Service.

Dick Eastman is alerting us to “GenScriber 2.1.1” a free program for Windows to help transcribe many different kinds of records relating to your family history research.

John Grenham’s Irish Roots column in the Irish Times is called “Breaking up” and refers to the move of the GRO research room in Dublin.

This Intrepid Band has a post called “The ‘Burnt Records’” and it is a list of records that were destroyed the night the German’s bombed London in 1940. This is a very useful research tool for anyone researching the Great War in Britain.

The Empire Called and I Answered has a post called “Military periodicals online” which refers to the Army Lists from the British government. You can find a list of the periodicals to be found online at the Fibiwiki. FIBI is the Families in British India Society and they are very active in preserving documents.

Library and Archives Canada Blog has a posted entitled “The 1940 National Registration File” and this is a treasure not many people know about. I have used this several times and found some information that helped break down a few walls. Carefully read what is required to get a copy of the document.

What were your favourite blog posts? Let me know in the comments below.

Other bloggers that write their own lists are:

Jana’s Genealogy and Family History Blog

Genealogy Insider – Genealogy News Corral

©2013 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

Findmypastie

FINDMYPAST.IE RELEASES IRELAND’S NATIONAL ROLL OF HONOUR 1914-1921

RECORDS REVEAL DETAILS OF IRISHMEN WHO DIED DURING WORLD WAR I AND BEYOND

 

Leading Irish family history website, findmypast.ie has published online for the first time in its entirety Ireland’s National Roll of Honour 1914-1921.

These records give details of Irishmen, who died whilst serving in the British Army during the First World War. Also included are those soldiers who died in the three years after the end of the war.

The database of transcripts has been created from all known available resources for Irish casualties published before 1922, including publications like Soldiers Died in the Great War and Ireland’s Memorial Records, as well as organisations like The Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Newspaper articles, periodicals and other books were also used to collate the information. Furthermore, the material has been cross-referenced with the 1901 and 1911 Irish censuses to provide a more precise list of Irish war victims for the period than has ever been previously available to family historians.

Cliona Weldon, General Manager at findmypast.ie said “These records are a great addition to our collections, especially for anyone researching their military ancestors. The vivid details in the transcripts really bring home what the war heroes in our family trees went through in the field of battle”.

Supplementary information contained in the transcripts, including newspaper obituaries and letters home from the soldiers, bring these military records to life. One such harrowing letter home from the Front Line reads:

“Dear Sally-I am sorry to inform you of the death of poor Jackie. He was killed on the evening of the 27th February, and Goggin wounded. He was speaking to me about an hour before that. I am not in the better of it since. We were after coming out of the trenches, and back in billets when Jackie was killed. There was a big heavy shell came through the house and killed six and wounded twelve. Poor Jackie was made bits of-his legs and hands and head were blown away. His body was in an awful state. The shell also killed a Frenchman and his family”

With over 15,000 detailed entries searchable on findmypast.ie now and more to come, the National Roll of Honour 1914-1921 is a rich resource for those with Irish ancestors, who served in the British Army during the Great War and the years that followed.

This record set is also currently available on findmypast.com and findmypast.com.au as part of a World subscription and will be added to findmypast.co.uk soon.