April 28, 2013

OGS 2013 Conference: Day One

Tom Jones
The first day of the Ohio Genealogical Society 2013 conference got off to a nice, relaxed 11:00 am start—which was good, because from then on, it was one busy day. I attended three class sessions and a banquet, and made a couple of quick laps around the exhibit hall. The Millennium Hotel is in downtown Cincinnati, right across the street from the Duke Energy Convention Center, site of the 2012 National Genealogical Society conference. This gave me a little déjà vu feeling every once in a while. The Hamilton County Genealogical Society certainly worked hard as host for these two big conferences back-to-back.

While I won’t actually summarize the lectures I attended, out of respect for the presenters’ material, I’ll try to offer a couple of take-away points from them. This is partly to help people who might be interested in ordering the recordings from JAMB, who taped the presentations. The recordings should be available soon. You can see the full schedule of presentations here.

Tom Jones opened the conference with the keynote address, “Strategies for Finding ‘Unfindable’ Ancestors.” This was the kind of lecture you can listen to over and over again and pick up something new each time. I think it’d be especially helpful to listen to it again after studying the articles in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ) that he referenced. Tom noted that recognizing why your ancestor seems “unfindable” may help you figure out how to find him or her. He identified 38 research barriers in eight categories, illustrating his points with samples of four case studies drawn from the NGSQ. Although he warned us that there is no quick and easy way to solve these difficult cases, he offered a number of strategies that may lead to success. This is an information-rich lecture that gives intermediate and advanced researchers a lot to think about.

Some quick notes on other sessions from Thursday, April 25:
  • “Proving Immigrant Identities: Once in Europe, Then What?” (session T07) by Warren Bittner—After encouraging us to think deeply about our documents, Warren offered a variety of tips for U.S. and European research on immigrant families. He advised doing thorough U.S. research before trying to jump the pond, using gazetteers and maps, and tracing friends and associates. My take: Dates and locations, rather than a name, might be the keys to an immigrant’s identity. Given the complexities of German records, I have more work to do here before I try to find my Herrel family there.

  • “Self Publishing for the Genealogist: Tips, Tricks, and Tools” (T11) by Lisa Alzo—Lisa presented an informative lecture on the rapidly growing and changing world of self publishing, particularly digital publishing (ebooks). She outlined some questions you should ask yourself, steps to follow in the family history writing process, challenges you might face, and various platforms and distribution types. My take: With all the choices available today, it’s tremendously helpful to get practical advice from someone who has experience with these publishing platforms. Lisa shared her knowledge generously. 

  • “Documents and Books on the Web” (T22) by Barbara Vines Little—Barbara walked the audience through a variety of websites that are publishing original documents and materials. I knew about the Library of Congress/American Memory site before, but didn’t realize how much it offered. I also discovered many university sites that are making their unique collections available. My take: These sites will make it easier to find social, topical, and historical background for my family history, and should keep me busy exploring for a long time.

My day concluded with the Century Families of Ohio banquet. Century Families is one of four OGS lineage societies. To join, you need to document that your ancestors resided in Ohio by 100 years ago—in this case, by 1912. I proved eight of my ancestors and nine of my husband’s (I’ll list their names in a separate post).

J. Mark Lowe
The banquet speaker, J. Mark Lowe, gave an engaging presentation on “Roads and Rails ‘Cross the Ohio River” (T24). He talked about the factors that influenced migration from place to place, characteristics of those who migrated earlier vs. later, and the practical aspects of travel. He also talked about different tools and records you can use to flesh out the story of a migrating ancestor, including diaries, travelers’ guides, and maps. The talk was recorded, and I also noticed that Mark will be giving a similarly titled lecture at the upcoming 2013 FGS Conference in Ft. Wayne. Since I find migration to be a fascinating—and often challenging—piece of my family’s puzzle, I really enjoyed his presentation.

Like I said, it was a full day—and two more still lay ahead. It takes me awhile to process these things, but I promise to continue the recap soon—though not until after I unpack and regroup! 


April 25, 2013

Ohio Genealogical Society Conference Opens

Can it really be late April already? It’s been a whirlwind month in my house. But an exciting one, especially as I’m now in Cincinnati getting ready for the opening of the 2013 Ohio Genealogical Society Conference. The theme, "Expanding Your Ancestry through Technology," is a good one, and I noticed a lot of technology and social media presentations on the schedule. Tom Jones will kick off the conference at 11:00 am with the keynote address, “Strategies for Finding ‘Unfindable’ Ancestors.” That’s a topic I’m eager to hear more about, since I have an abiding suspicion that a couple of my ancestors were dropped off by aliens. After that, the doors to the Exhibit Hall open, and a in the afternoon a great line-up of speakers will take to the podiums. The action continues pretty much nonstop through Saturday afternoon.

OGS doesn’t have Official Bloggers or any such thing, but I’ll try to fit in a few reports, time permitting, during or shortly after the conference. In the meantime, if you’re at the OGS conference and see me, please stop and say hello. I’d love to meet you!

April 12, 2013

Sporting My New FGS Conference Ambassador Badge

I recently received—and accepted—an invitation to become a Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) 2013 Conference Ambassador. Even though the FGS Conference isn’t until August 21-24, I’m already starting to get excited about it. For one thing, I can’t wait to get back to Ft. Wayne and do some more research at the Allen County Public Library. The last time I was there, I found some really good stuff just as I was leaving (isn’t that always the way?), and I want to follow up with it. For another, the line-up of speakers and activities at the conference looks fantastic.

But one of the biggest elements that makes a genealogy conference fun is the people there. So I want all my friends and readers to come (well, it makes sense to me!). If you haven’t taken a look at the schedule yet, why not head over to the FGS Conference website and browse around?

As my first semi-official act as an Ambassador, I’d like to make a recommendation: sign up to get posts from the FGS Conference News Blog. You can subscribe to it either through email or an RSS reader (if you’re not familiar with RSS, just choose the email option). The blog provides a wealth of information on conference speakers, programs, and events, and gives tips for researching in Ft. Wayne and other nearby areas. It gives practical advice for visiting Ft. Wayne and getting the most out of your conference experience. And it shows the level of excitement that’s already building for the event. After you’ve read a few posts, I think you’ll see why I think the FGS Conference is going to be the place for genealogists to be in August. Will I see you there?


April 4, 2013

A Virtual Gallery of Civil War Photographs

Photographs have a way of bringing history to life, don’t they? I recently discovered a website with an amazing collection of Civil War photographs: Mike Lynaugh’s Virtual Civil War. If you’re looking for images to help you understand a battle or identify a Civil War soldier, or if you’re interested in Civil War era history, it’s well worth a look.

Lynaugh’s Virtual Civil War website showcases five of his collections. Two of these contain original historic photographs of soldiers, places, and events. Honoring Those Who Served is a collection of individual and group portraits of soldiers, some identified by name or company. Original Photographs of the Civil War contains fascinating images of cities, battlefields, troops, officers, houses, encampments, bridges and roads, government buildings, and events, as well as poignant images of the wounded and dead. Words don’t really do it justice; let’s just say there’s a lot to ponder here.  

The other three sections of the website consist of modern color images of Lynaugh’s own work: The Battlefields Today, Reenactments, and Remembrance Day Parades. I found his photographs of the cities and battle sites as they appear today both lovely and haunting, the peaceful beauty of the surroundings in sharp contrast with the events they commemorate.

Mike Lynaugh is a professional photographer/photojournalist based in Washington, D.C. You can read more about him on his other website, Mike Lynaugh Photography. I didn’t see any terms of use posted on the Virtual Civil War site. While the old photographs are probably out of copyright, the modern images are protected. My  suggestion is that if you’d like to use one of Mike’s photos for anything other than your personal research files, to contact him at mike@virtualcivilwar.com and ask permission. I hope you enjoy browsing the site as much as I did.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...