Monday, July 27, 2009

FGS Conference Press Release

Only a month left till genealogists descend on Little Rock!

In just a month, genealogists from all over the United States and beyond will be getting together in Little Rock for four full days of learning more about genealogy, finding cousins, seeing how much is online, seeing how much is not online, figuring out how to get the most out of records, determining what archives or libraries have the answers, helping your genealogy society, and spending some money in the large Exhibit Hall. Don’t let this event pass you by. The Arkansas Genealogical Society is the host for this event which is the annual conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies. You will be hearing about this event for years to come and will feel sad if you weren’t a part of it.


The syllabus consists of most of the lecture handouts and each registrant receives it on CD at the Conference. If you wish to receive a paper copy of the syllabus in addition to the syllabus on CD you must order it no later than August 1st. It will also be online before the conference but some prefer to have the full paper copy at the conference. Just order it online at when you register for the conference. If you have already registered, go back to the registration page and add the paper syllabus for $20.00 using the PIN number you received when you registered.

Door prizes
Many of the vendors in the Exhibit Hall will be giving away conference door prizes. Each registrant will receive 20 door prize tickets with your conference name tag and syllabus CD at the registration booth. The ticket will ask for your name, mailing and e-mail addresses and phone number. Bring along some of those address labels you have sitting around or print some up before you leave home to save some writing. Each participating vendor will have a black box labeled for door prizes. Each attendee chooses which door prize box to drop their tickets in depending on the door prize being given. Some will have more than one door prize drawing during the three Exhibit Hall days. The names of the winners will be posted on a bulletin board in the Exhibit Hall. If you are a winner, all you need to do to claim your prize is to revisit the specific vendor’s booth.

Conference sessions to be recorded

Many of the conference sessions will be audio recorded and available for purchase on CD. Listings of those sessions being recorded will be available at the conference. Jamb-Inc. will be doing the recording and will have a booth where you can make your on-site purchases. The CDs will also be available after the conference from Jamb-Inc. but mailing fees will be charged.

Last minute Conference Information
Be sure to read the Conference News Blog during August and even during Conference Week to learn last minute details, reminders, suggested things to bring along, types of clothing to wear, and detail on special items. Some exciting special announcements will be made in the next couple of weeks on the blog!

See you at the conference.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Enjoying a Quilt Show

The American Quilter's Society held a show in Knoxville this past week. It ran from Wednesday through Saturday. I decided that it sounded like a fun thing to do. When I was younger, one of my sisters-in-law used to enter quilts into the Mid-South Fair in Memphis. She or her mother would often win first place. Many of today's quilts are more artistic than traditional quilts. That's not saying that the quilts that our great grandmothers made were not works of art. It's just to say that many of today's quilts are meant to be displayed on the wall and not cover a bed! At the show yesterday, I saw many examples of fine quilting -- both by hand and by machine. I'll have to admit that I'm partial to the hand quilting. The exhibit hall was full of displays of quilting machines. Every time I passed one of these machines, I thought of how much I preferred something that had been hand-quilted.

There were a number of interesting quilts. There were several exhibits by societies who had challenged members to compete with a certain theme. Many of these also had a certain fabric which had to be incorporated into the quilt. It was amazing to see how some of these executed their themes and to see how different each person used that fabric. Two of my favorite quilts were in the society challenges. One was a wall hanging of a poodle that had a window behind it. It was sort of whimsical, but was very cute. It had a lot of pinks in the quilt. My absolute favorite quilt was one which someone had used to tell the story of their family. There were birth dates, marriages, and other events included in the quilt. The quilter had done a great job recreating her family tree in a form that can be treasured by generations to come.

My biggest regret is that photography was not permitted. It would have been nice to have photos of some of those quilts on display. Many of them were for sale at prices that were beyond my budget although I would not have minded owning several of the ones that were on sale!

Oh - and my favorite order of arrangement of quilts was in one of the booths that was selling quilt patterns. They had patterns for various college sports teams and had finished products for many teams from the SEC and ACC on display. They had my two favorite teams side by side: University of Tennessee and Duke University! That vendor won brownie points!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saturday Night Fun: 11 July 2009

Randy at GeneaMusings devises a Saturday night fun meme in which I rarely participate. However, this week's question interests me, so I decided to participate.

It's Saturday Night, time for some Genealogy Fun after your frustrating week of finding phantom ancestors in online family trees and trying to keep up with everybody on Twitter, Facebook and Genealogy Wise.

Here is your assignment for this Saturday Night (if you decide to accept it, of course - you can't have fun if you don't try):

1) Let's go time travelling: Decide what year and what place you would love to visit as a time traveller. Who would you like to see in their environment? If you could ask them one question, what would it be?

2) Tell us about it. Write a blog post, or make a comment to this post, or on Facebook, or in Genealogy Wise.

Now, let's see . . . the first thing I have to decide is if I'm going to go with the obvious and ask questions of a brick-walled ancestor or if I'm going to interview one of my more illustrious ancestors. I actually think that I'm going to go with someone that I think is a little more interesting and might have answers and a very interesting story about the brick wall on his line since he's not quite so far removed from it. You see, Stephen Taylor told some interesting stories about his life and adventures in The Good Old Times in McLean County, Illinois which is available full-text in Google books. You'll find his account starting on page 839 and running through page 845.

Stephen's father died too early for him to really hear very many stories first-hand, but he lived near relatives and associates who probably told him all about his father, grandfather, and about their journey to what was then Ohio County, Virginia. His mother and father were married in Washington County, Ohio. The family lived in nearby counties. Stephen himself married in Morgan County. My question to Stephen sometime around the year 1840 would simply be a very open-ended question: Tell me about your Taylor family. He was residing in McLean County, Illinois by that time. Now, I'm taking a chance by asking him that because he could go just about any direction he wished, but being the storyteller that he appears to be, I'm sure that I would get some stories that would help me to positively match his father Stephen who was born in 1780 in New York with the correct Isaac Taylor, his grandfather, who was born ca. 1750. I have a sneaky suspicion that Isaac was born in the Berkshires and migrated along with the Rathbones down to Ohio County, Virginia by way of New York. It's really a shame that I've been unable to locate any service records for his father Stephen who supposedly enlisted in the war of 1812 "at the last call for volunteers" and died of disease in Detroit.

Thoughts on Genealogy-Specific Social Networking

This week we heard about a new social network that is specifically designed for those researching family history. The network is called Genealogy Wise or GenealogyWise. (They originally did not have a space, and now they do.) It's really not officially debuting until July 17, but hundreds of folks researching their ancestry have already flocked there.

My initial reaction was, "Why would I want another social network that I would have to visit on a daily basis that limits itself to only one group of my friends?" After signing up for the site out of curiosity, my initial reaction remains unchanged.

I am unimpressed with the "groups" which seem to be nothing other than queries for the most part that are already handled well by genealogy message boards and mailing lists. I have to admit that I started one group just so I could see exactly what administrative options were present. I am absolutely unimpressed with many of the undocumented family group sheet style posts that are being posted to the groups.

I joined one group on the first day. About the second day, there were about 20 people who were members of the group. I decided to glance through the membership and see how many were members of the corresponding state society and of APG. I was the only person signed up for the group who was a member of either. That told me something about this new social networking site because I knew it had been advertised to professional genealogists.

This social network is sponsored by FamilyLink. I've seen it reported on other blogs that they are paying some people to generate content. Unfortunately it is being buried under the deluge of queries being posted.

I really prefer Facebook for social networking because most of my genealogy friends as well as friends from church, high school, college, and other parts of my life are members. If I want to post a query, I'll do it on a message board.

Am I leaving GenealogyWise? Not yet. I'm not saying that I won't in the future. I'm giving it a chance. At the moment, it is not useful for me.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Cataloging Your DVDs Online

I took a couple of hours today to try out two DVD cataloging sites. I used to belong to DVDSpot, but the developers of that site took everything offline in October 2007. I had located a couple of alternatives, but I'd never gotten around to testing them out. I decided to take a box of DVDs and try my hand at cataloging them on the two sites.

The first site I tried was DVD Count. This site's developer had been a DVDSpot user and needed a solution to manage his own DVDs so he developed one. I was hoping for more similarities with DVDSpot, but I found this site a bit clunky to use. I found myself manually having to enter about 10% of the titles in the portion of the box that I added to this site. One of the things that I really disliked about the entry form is that it defaulted to Afghanistan as the country. I accidentally forgot to change one of my manual entries, and there was no way to edit my error. I did like the detail that was included in the entries; however, it was a bit uneven because many of the entries were made by other users who provided varying levels of completeness to the record. I really don't blame them for skipping many of the fields because to a non-techy person, many of them were daunting and probably seemingly irrelevant. There was a place to add a cover image as you added entries.

The second site I tried was DVD Corral. I loved the ease of adding items. Their database seemed much more complete, but I also noted that some titles came up with incorrect titles. For example, Greater Vision Live at First Baptist Atlanta came up as Live at First Atlanta. Greater Vision wasn't even listed as performer and the word "Baptist" was omitted. There was no way to edit this. There was also no way to manually add an entry. You were prompted to send a message to the webmaster about the missing title, but that's kind of frustrating. There needs to be a way to edit an entry, and there needs to be a way to add an entry.

Online DVD cataloging sites are just not as friendly or as social as some of the book cataloging sites like LibraryThing. I think Tim and his crew need to come up with DVDThing! I'm not completely happy with either of the sites I used today.

Amusing Headline of the Day

If it took them two days to figure out that they'd even had a 2.0 earthquake, I hardly think that it ROCKED Loudon County.

Friday, July 03, 2009

ABC Book Meme

For this meme, you list a favorite book that starts with each letter of the alphabet. If you don't have a book for a letter (such as Z or X) than you can substitute a favorite book that simply has that letter in the title (ex. The Lost City of Z or Hot Six by Janet Evanovich). However, you can only do this a maximum of 3 times. (Z, X, and Q. But not Z, X, Q, and V.) Books can be of any genre from fiction to non-fiction to poetry to textbooks. (via Boston Bibliophile)

I decided to try to do mine with all genealogy and history titles. It was actually difficult to try to stop with just one title per letter in many cases! I was glad that I had my books cataloged in LibraryThing where I could sort by title. I only had to take advantage of the substitution rule for the letters X and Z. (I did have a book in my library that began with a Z, but it was a children's book called Zoo Book and did not fit with my genealogy/history theme.)

A: Ancestry’s Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources by Alice Eichholz

B: BCG Genealogical Standards Manual by Board of Certification for Genealogists

C: Cavaliers and Pioneers: Abstracts of Virginia Land Grants and Patents by Nell Marion Nugent

D: DNA and Genealogy by Colleen Fitzpatrick

E: Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace by Elizabeth Shown Mills

F: First Alabama Cavalry USA: Homage to Patriotism by Glenda McWhirter Todd

G: Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case by Christine Rose

H: Handybook for Genealogists by George B. Everton

I: Inheritance in Colonial Virginia by Barbara Vines Little

J: John A. Quitman: Old South Crusader by Robert E. May

K: King Phillip’s War: The History and Legacy of America’s Forgotten Conflict by Eric B. Schultz

L: Library of Congress: A Guide to Genealogical and Historical Research by James C. Neagles

M: Map Guide to the U. S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920 by William Thorndale and William Dollarhide

N: North Carolina Research: Genealogy and Local History by Helen F. M. Leary

O: Obituaries in American Culture by Janice Hume

P: Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers and Librarians by Elizabeth Shown Mills

Q: Quest for Power: The Lower Houses of Assembly in the Southern Royal Colonies, 1689-1776 by Jack P. Greene

R: Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy by Val D. Greenwood

S: Seeds of Discontent: The Deep Roots of the American Revolution, 1650-1750 by J. Revell Carr

T: They Came in Ships: A Guide to Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor’s Arrival Record by John Philip Colletta

U: Understanding and Using Baptismal Records by John T. Humphrey

V: Vital Records of Hampton, New Hampshire: To the End of the Year 1900 by George Freeman Sanborn

W: War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict by Donald R. Hickey

*X: Essex County Deeds, 1639-1678, Abstracts of Volumes 1-4 by Essex Society of Genealogists

Y: Ye Heart of a Man: The Domestic Life of Men in Colonial New England by Lisa Wilson

*Z: Lantz Family Record: Being a Brief Account of the Lantz Family in the United States of America by Jacob W. Lantz