I didn’t want to let it go too long without saying that the second day of the Abram’s Family History Seminar was great! I attended two presentations by Dr. Thomas W. Jones (who I gushed about here). He presented “The Jones Jinx”—a case study on narrowing down ancestors with common names—which I’m still pulling great research ideas out of even though I’ve heard it before. Dr. Jones also presented on Probate Records—which I haven’t spent nearly enough time on. It was totally worth having someone walk through the steps and terminology of probate with examples of how this can help you in your research.

I also attended Dick Doherty’s “Cost Effective Research: Accessing Irish Records from North America” which gave me a nice list of records to find and tips on using them. I’m hoping to use them while further researching the Massy family as well as my Byrne/Cunningham/Dowdall lines which I’ve unfortunately been ignoring for the past few years.

And Karen Krugman’s session on sourcing offered interesting tips on sourcing for yourself—so that you can put your hands on an information source quickly should you need it again. She made a good point about the level of need for different researchers but also noted that while she had never intended to write a book she now has and that’s meant going back and having to track down source material from before she was adequately sourcing her research.

All in all, the two days were a success from my point of view.

Kudos to Kris R., the rest of the Archives of Michigan staff, and the Michigan Genealogical Council for a great seminar!

Happy hunting!

Jess

PS. Save the date for the MGC/MHF Seminar on Saturday, October 26th featuring Lou Szucs!  Info forthcoming at the MGC site in August.

This was my first full day at FGS2011 and I had a blast from plenary to most of the way through the Society Showcase—I did sneak out before 8 pm. My session choices for the day were:

  • The Jones Jinx: Tracing Common Surnames presented by Thomas Jones
  • Searching Your African American Roots on Ancestry.com presented by Lisa Arnold
  • ICAPGen Application Forms Presented by Kelly Summers
  • Getting Beyond the Bare Bones presented by Thomas Jones

I enjoyed and got a great deal out of all of them, but I think my pick of the day would have to be “The Jones Jinx.” So, a very big thank you Kris R. who told me that Tom was great when I told him I’d been going between that and another presentation! The case study layout of the presentation—a walk through on finding the parents of his relative, C. R. Jones—was one that particularly clicked for me. I came out with a list of things I wanted to work on with various ancestors (common surnames or otherwise)—including looking at the set date of birth that H. R. Allison/Massy uses all over the place that doesn’t quite match up with other information I found. Or starting over completely on my Johnson women in Arkansas—a current brick wall line. If you get a chance to see a lecture by Tom…Go!

The Ancestry class wasn’t really new material for me but it was still interesting to hear and it reminded me that with all sites: you’ve got to keep checking back to see what’s going on. I’ve been so focused on what’s worked for me (ex. FamilySearch.org’s Arkansas Marriage Records) that I sometimes forget to check out the updates elsewhere that may move me along in my research.

The ICAPGen session was interesting, not because I’ve decided to get certified but, because it helped me to think about the range of resources and geographic areas I have worked with over the years—as well as the range of courses I’ve taken.

And finally, I attended Tom Jones second presentation because I loved the first one. And I wasn’t the only one, because that room was absolutely packed! This was, again, very practical advice but it was laid out with examples that I found personally useful as well as interesting to hear about.

So, I’m deeming it a successful day. I’ve met and chatted with tons of interesting people and already learned a lot… And there’s still two days to go.

Happy Hunting from Springfield!

Jess

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