Congratulations to the Alberta Genealogical Society and Alberta Family History Society for the great conference they put on in Red Deer on April 13 and 14. It was great to see the 2 organizations put on the conference together! Over 250 people were in attendance. You can get information on presentations including handouts by going to http://rdgensoc.ab.ca/conferenceindex.html . To get any handouts (not all speakers had handouts) click on the link to Presenters and then click on the presenter’s name.
The 2 keynote speakers were Gena Ortega on the Friday evening and Dick Eastman on Saturday morning. They were both excellent. I know many of you couldn’t come so here are my notes from their presentations – certainly not comprehensive notes, but some of the things that caught my attention. Apologies for any errors I am about to make! Please don’t share my errors!
Gena Philibert-Ortega – Researching Like a History Detective
(Gena is an author and blogger from California. Her blogs include http://philibertfamily.blogspot.ca/ Gena serves as Vice-President for the Southern California Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists. She is also a Regional Director for the California State Genealogical Alliance). Gena has a handout on the conference website.
Context is everything. Without context we make assumptions – draw false conclusions – may research someone else’s family. We tend to stick to government documents and don’t stray too far from it – need to consider other sources.
What is context? Set of circumstances that surround a particular event
PBS Show History Detectives
Genealogists are History Detectives
People in family tell us whacky stories – & we try to work it out
What do Detectives do?
Listen to witnesses – what they say and what they don’t say
What makes genealogy interesting ?
Not the forms
About going to cemeteries
Bringing ancestors to life
There is much more than Ancestry and FamilySearch websites
Analyzed some old picture
Enlarge – look for details – religious collar with SA on it
Look for unseen clues
Gather evidence from lots of people
Research Salvation Army
Use eBay – searched for vintage Salvation Army photos
Think like an historian
Find all the books you can about the locality
Genealogy is history on the micro level
Look for articles
Call reference librarians – maybe through a chat feature
Get past vital record, census, and surname searches
Don’t make assumptions
1911 England – person not in census? – suffragettes refused to be included in the census! What documents existed at this time period? History at that time? Neighbors?
Do you use library websites? University websites? Worldcat? Repositories ?
Try to recreate the community your ancestor lived in
Libcat – guide to libraries on the internet – not just USA
Repositories of Primary Sources – google search term
Library and Archives Canada – archivianet and online maps
David Rumsey map collection – can also be an add on to Google Earth
Alberta Women’s Institute website – look at the Tweedsmuir Histories
Experts are important in genealogy
How do you find experts?
Social networking – such as genealogywise – ask questions
APG – Association of Professional Genealogists
Ask local historians
Google books – can be very good – to research a topic
Put in ancestors name
5 steps to research:
- Research the individual – look at Internet genealogy databases – know sources – google person – identify primary documents – newspapers – home sources (inherited by others ) – family members – websites
- Research the family
- Research the history
- Research the locality
- Research the neighbors and community – how do you find neighbors? – research area – reconstruct community – manuscript collections
Get to know all the sources.
Look for finding aids, research books, how to books
Cluster genealogy – identifying and reconstructing a persons social network – increase the pool of people – FAN principle (Family, Associates and Neighbours – from Elizabeth Shown Mills) – Where they lived, occupations
Use Google images
Stories behind people create interest
Look at different kinds of collections
Search the catalog – special collections, digital collections – many times surnames as search terms won’t help you
Worldcat http://www.worldcat.org/ – catalog of libraries – give it your postal code -and it will find library near you that has book – can copy citations and sources. Search terms may not be what you think. Cookbooks equal cookery in catalog. Good to look at subject headings.
University libraries online – often have chat features or ask a librarian
Be flexible in what you use as key words
PERSI valuable resource – available at ancestry.com – look for articles
Context is everything
Genealogy is a puzzle
(interesting fact: US women until c 1936 who married non US males lost their citizenship)
Dick Eastman – The Family History World in 10 years time
(Owner and writer of Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter and Blog – which I read every morning before breakfast! You can find out how to subscribe to receive by email if you go to http://blog.eogn.com/ and click on subscribe to free standard edition. Dick is from Florida – so he really appreciated our spring time snow!)
For handouts go to: eogn.com/handouts/10years
Genealogy 0.5 – until c 1920 – original records – compiled sources – no microfilm – expensive – few societies – elitist
Genealogy 1.0 – 1920 – 1980 – microfilm – Alex Haley
Genealogy 2.0 – 1980- 2012 – digital records – social networks – TV shows – expanded audience
Genealogy 3.0 – 2012 and beyond – now – many records online – google books – see werelate.org – bloggers
The Future? – more records online – focus on putting images online – with transcripts and indexes – wifim (what’s in it for me) – dealing with inertia – genealogists interrupt bureaucrats real work? – archive email? Archive of Facebook – archives.org has a wayback machine
- online all the time everywhere – ease of access – information moving to the cloud – google glasses are coming
- new and better software – cloud based – comparing and matching records – collaborative – so more faster and easier – software that works on any platform – hardware OS is currently an impediment – data privacy issues?
- changing audience – getting younger! – busy family members can do genealogy in spare moments – driven by technology – TV programs – new audience has different interests such as stories of ancestors, not charts, may not join societies (not joiners) , not classified by age, gender or nationality – Boston University class 40% born a outside US, 90% had one or more grandparents born outside US – traditional data sources like census don’t work well – 50% non white – 50% did not share a surname with their own father – need global resources
Shane Robison VP HP at Rootstech 2011 said – desktop sales declining – tablet and smart phones soaring – within 5 years 60% of Internet access not from traditional computers
How is our society going to serve this audience?
Will traditional libraries cease to exist? Will all books be digitized? At what cost to access?
Back it up!