November 2, 2013
I really intended it to be out… oh, at least last month (preferably Monday), but the week got away from me.
This past Saturday I attended the Michigan Genealogical Council’s annual Fall Seminar featuring Lou Szucs from Ancestry.com. I enjoyed the day and (as I have said many times) I always get something out of the presentations no matter how often I’ve heard a subject discussed or a particular speaker—it’s always worthwhile. Szucs offered informative programs on “Hidden Treasures in Ancstery.com” and Midwestern Collections researchers should be aware of. In each I came away with collections ether I hadn’t been aware of or hadn’t, at the time, known a relative they might shed light on. For example to my Holden family… Did you know there was a Directory of Deceased American Physicians in Ancestry.com? It’s not something I’d happened upon yet. (Mind you, I did’t find Horatio or Charles in it, but still…).
For my breakout sessions I attended a presentation on The Clarke Historical Library on Central Michigan’s campus—I’m particularly interested in looking into their collections on the Timber industry given our Shea family’s involvement in in. I went to Richard Hill’s presentation on DNA research which was fascinating and now I really want to read his book—Finding Family. And I finished up the day in Don Hinkle’s presentation on FamilySearch.org. Other talks included researching in archives, New York research, Border Crossings, and Civil War Resources among others.
The short of it… Take time out to go and continually educate yourself—it will eventually help you over your brick walls.
And mark your calendars! The Abram’s Foundation Annual Seminar will be July 18th and 19th and feature Michael LeClerc, Chief Genealogist at Mocavo.com.
November 11, 2012
This is just a quick note to say that I had a lovely time yesterday at the Michigan Genealogical Council and Archives of Michigan Fall Seminar. These, along with the Abrams Genealogy Seminars in the summer, are always worth it and I would encourage any Michigan area researcher to attend. This time I enjoyed both presentations by featured speaker, Shirley Gage Hodges. I’ve also added the Bentley Historical Library in Ann Arbor back on to my roadtrip list again, because I’d forgotten how much they have and how little I have gotten through in past trips… thanks to Archivist Karen Jania. And most importantly, I had a great time talking research with friends!
Now, everyone mark your calendars, the annual Abrams Genealogy Seminar on July 12th and 13th, 2013 will feature Thomas W. Jones, whom I gushed about here after seeing the first of four fabulous presentations at FGS in 2011. I hope to see you there!
July 27, 2012
I have had a couple of great genealogy experiences over the past couple of weeks so I’d like to offer a quick recap and a plug for a couple of great programs.
To begin with I attended the Abrams Genealogy Seminar on July 14th featuring D. Joshua Taylor. This program is presented by the Abrams Foundation, the Archives of Michigan, and the Michigan Genealogical Council and I always come away with great suggestions research ideas—and never enough time to implement them all. Taylor’s sessions were fabulous. He crammed in a lot of information, and is an all-around great presenter. He focused on the 1780-1830 gap, and Online New England resources. His suggestions have already been useful in helping me close in on some of my mother’s more elusive New England ancestors. But that Parmenter-Fox connection may plague me forever!
My other sessions were a look at 1812 veterans’ records with Connie Reik and German research with Richard Doherty. The 1812 session offered strategies for finding information that I haven’t tried applying yet but I am fairly certain that Mother Gilbert’s father served for New York and now I have a few more sources to look at for more information on his experiences. And the German research program was informative as well. One of the things I learned here is that I simply don’t have enough information to trace people to Germany yet—though I’m getting there.
All around it was a great day with sessions for all skill levels and time to catch up with fellow researchers. I’m looking forward to the next Archives/MGC event, a family history workshop on November 1oth.
I also finally had the chance to attend a Genealogy Lock-in at the Grand Rapids Public Main Library hosted by their Local History Department and volunteers from the West Michigan Genealogical Society. It was a lot of fun both for socializing and talking out research strategies, as well as simply having research time in a positive environment.
I would dearly love to host something like this in my own library but I don’t really feel like we have the collection or staff to support it. Though, I did mention to one of the society members that I’d be there in a heartbeat if the State Archives ever considered the idea. Are you following along dear friends at the Archives?
If you have Kent County research in particular—you have to check out the collections at GRPL and I’d strongly encourage you to join WMGS. They’re one of those fabulous overachieving societies—always in the know about what’s going on across the state (and the country) and forever building fabulous resources for researches. Check out their current databases!
Looking for more information about events around you? Check out the Michigan Genealogical Council’s Community Calendar (for people closer to me) or connect with your local genealogical societies or those around where you research!
November 7, 2011
I’m playing a game of catch-up as this happened two weekends ago but… I genuinely enjoy going to genealogy workshops and conferences because I get to talk to fellow researchers, bounce ideas of people and reconnect with friends. But, more than anything I pay very close attention to my sessions because even when the topic is a resource I feel comfortable using I always come out with a new way to search, a new trick or just a fresh perspective that leaves me reinvigorated and ready to research.
This year’s Michigan Genealogical Council’s Family History Month Seminar was no exception. I attended five informative sessions—two by keynote speaker Pamela J. Cooper (one on finding church records and the other on the Homestead Act of 1862); a great intro to the Burton Historical Collection at the Detroit Public Library by the Coordinator fo DPL’s Special Collections, Mark Bowden; a session on search strategies for SeekingMichigan.org given by State Archivist Mark Harvey; and a session on Fold3.com (formerly known as Footnote.com) by Kris Rzepczynski of the Library of Michigan.
I’m not going to give a rundown of the sessions other than to say they all are great presenters. In many ways everything covered was really practical but I came out of all of the sessions with plans on how to use what we discussed. At the top of my “To Do” list after the workshop was to order the Land Entry File for Levi Hampton (my great grandfather Harrison Trotter’s uncle) to see what that might include—I’ve had the patent for years but never taken the step of ordering the rest of the file. I’m also very interested in heading back to the Burton to further my Massy family research—I’m still trying to find Naturalization records for Henry or his brothers. And there’s a lot I haven’t done on SeekingMichigan.org and Fold3. And if you read this Kris—I have deleted Footnote (in place of Fold3) more times than it shows up in the published blog post—but really, it hasn’t been that long since they changed their name!
Anyway, I would definitely suggest the MGC Workshops (usually held in October and July each year at the Michigan Historical Center) for beginners and veteran researchers alike. I always come home with new information and a renewed energy in my research.
Now, if I can just carve time for all of my plans!