May 3, 2013

OGS 2013 Conference: Day Two

Today I’d like to continue my overview of what I learned at the 2013 Ohio Genealogical Society Conference, which took place last week in Cincinnati. If you missed it, I wrote about the first day in OGS 2013 Conference: Day One. Word is that nearly 700 people attended the conference, which spanned three days and featured a number of great speakers. Recordings of the lectures should be available soon from Jamb, Inc. The presentations I enjoyed at OGS on Friday, April 26 included:

First Steps in Indiana Research (F06), by Harold Henderson—Harold’s talk was full of inside information and tips for using Indiana repositories and resources, both online and in person. He actually had me enthused about doing Indiana research at 8:30 in the morning—and that’s no easy task, believe me (a morning person I am not). I won’t give away his last line, but let’s just say we all left the room chuckling. Harold will also be giving this lecture at FGS 2013 in Ft. Wayne, for those of you who might be able to catch it there. And, he’s written a handy and thorough guide to researching at the Allen County Public Library that he’s offering as a free download on his website, I’m searching for clues on an ancestor in Indiana, so I really benefited from the guidance of Harold’s experience.

The War of 1812: America’s “Forgotten” War (F12), by Peggy Clemens Lauritzen—Well, if I wasn’t awake already, I would have been five minutes into this talk—and by the end, I was on fire. Peggy presented a riveting, fast-paced synopsis of War of 1812 history, including the various fronts, battles, issues, and key moments. I think I learned more about the War of 1812 in this one hour than I could have in several hours of reading. She also touched on bounty land applications and other resources for finding information about a War of 1812 soldier or sailor. I’m in the process of analyzing my first War of 1812 pension file, so I found this lecture especially timely. I could easily have sat through another hour or two.

Publish & Place Your Family History Writeup (F17), by Sunny McClellan Morton—I felt like I hit a home run on Friday morning after enjoying Sunny’s enthusiastic and informative lecture. She presented a variety of ways to get your family history story out of your head and into print, including some easy, non-intimidating formats. Her talk was full of practical tips and encouraging words. If you’ve hesitated to write a story because it seemed too complicated, or didn’t know how or where to get it published, you might reconsider after hearing what Sunny has to say. As a bonus, she’s generously posted the slides for her presentation on her website, (click on “Speaking Engagements” to find the link) for the month of May. That way, if you order the CD of her presentation, you’ll have the slides to match. It’s the next best thing to being there.

Over the Top: Researching Your World War I Ancestor (F27), by Michael Strauss—this was a good introduction to the records created about World War I soldiers and sailors. Michael went over where to find online databases, as well as the records that have never been microfilmed or digitized, and talked about what information they might hold. My great-uncle, Roy Eberhard, served in World War I. This lecture reminded me I should start looking into his service.

Finding Rejected Claims and Pension Records (F34), by J. Mark Lowe—I must have been in a military frame of mind on Friday—or perhaps I’m realizing how valuable military-era records can be. At any rate, Mark’s presentation opened my eyes to some things I might be missing. Some of the records he talked about are available online through the Library of Congress/A Century of Lawmaking or Fold3, but many others might still be hiding in original federal documents. Even if your ancestor did not fight in a war, he or she may have been affected by it and filed a claim for damages. Because these records have the potential to provide rich genealogical detail, it’s worth the effort to look for them—and I appreciated Mark’s demonstration of how to do so.

With my brain on overload, I spent the last session of the day in the Exhibit Hall. That’s actually one of my favorite things to do at any conference. But I was so engrossed in talking to the vendors that I forgot to take any pictures. I had dinner with fellow members of the Great Lakes Chapter APG and ProGen Study Group. It certainly was another full day. And one more still lay ahead…

P.S. This marks my 200th blog post


  1. Shelley, congrats on your 200th blog post! And thank you for your recap of OGS conference sessions. Glad to hear some of these will also be featured at FGS 2013 in Fort Wayne. I'm hoping....

  2. Thank you, Jacqi! It does feel neat to hit that 200 mark. Glad you enjoyed the recap, and hope very much to see you in Ft. Wayne!

  3. Shelley, thank you for this full account. I love reading about what went on at conferences. You are very informative, and it's a consolation for not being able to attend myself.

    And I copied Harold Henderson's website, with the free download about research at the ACPL. I know that research there is in my future (I've already given them some archived letters on the "photo return" program), because our daughter lives in Fort Wayne.

    Also copied the Jamb, Inc. website where the OGS lectures will be. Thank you immensely!

    1. You're so welcome, Mariann. It's hard to pack the "flavor" of a conference into a blog post, but I know how much I appreciate it for the ones I can't attend myself. Hopefully you'll get to go to FGS, and we'll get to experience that one together!

  4. Shelley,

    Congrats on your 200th blog post! That's awesome!

    It sounds like OGS was wonderful. Thanks for the recap. By the way, I absolutely love military records. I have several pension files, including one from the Revolutionary War, one from the War of 1812, and several from the Civil War. They are so full of fascinating and valuable information.

    1. Thanks, Jana! The more I get into military records--especially pension files--the more I appreciate them. You just never know what you might find. Sounds like you've been lucky in that respect. Thanks for reading!


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