Wednesday, May 23, 2012

NGS in Ohio

Never fly to Ohio with your arm in a sling. That is my best advice when you are planning to go to a conference.
Now that we have that covered...
I have some other advice. 

Pack light, you're going to want to bring home all kinds of goodies. The vendor hall at NGS - Ohio was wonderful. Nice wide aisles and lots of great vendors. Books, Books, Books. Organizations to join or support, Classes to sign up for, Genealogy societies to join. Ancestry was there of course as was FamilySearch. 

I had a great time if you can discount the sling thing.

I attended many great classes, not the least of which was a class on Research Reports by Elizabeth Shown Mills. I also attended a class on Paleography and one on Irish research, that were both excellent.

I met up with old friends, some of which I had not seen since the last NGS conference. Others are conference junkies like me and we caught up on what's been going on in our lives for the last few months. I also met up with a gal that I had not seen since we attended the NGS Research Trip to Utah. Then there were the bloggers. Friends that I know mostly online. We gathered almost every night and laughed and got to know each other. Some I felt like I had known forever.

I was introduced to new friends. Some of them were friends of my Blogger friends, some of them were Bloggers I had not met in person before, and some were genealogists I had met before but never got to REALLY KNOW before. 

I had a great room mate. I've spoke of her before, Techie Tutor (Tami Glatz in real life). Tami was so busy working at the Wiki booth I hardly saw her and her Techie Tutor time was severely limited. We did sneak in a short lesson one evening. 

I got some new leads on some upcoming projects. But I won't be attempting anything until the CG is mailed away. (Not for at least another 6 months.)

I networked with great genealogists.

I laughed a lot. I ate a lot. 

I worked at the APG booth. I feel it is important that when you join a group or organization you don't just join and sit like a bump on a log. Get involved. This year not only did I work the booth as I do at almost every conference, but I "participated" in APG (Association of Professional Genealogists) by holding the position of President of the Second Life Chapter. (A chapter of APG in virtual reality)

I accepted an award. As mentioned above I am serving as the President of the Second Life Chapter of APG and this year we were the recipients of the Golden Chapter Award. This was quite the honor, and everyone who worked so hard to put the chapter together and get it off the ground as well as those of us who serve on the present board were absolutely floored and delighted to receive the award. 

All in all I packed a whole lot of stuff into four or five days.
Next up is Southern California Genealogical Society's Jamboree

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Good Genealogy vs Bad Genealogy

At NGS I attended a lecture on "How to Be a Bad Genealogist." It was a delivered with tongue firmly in cheek and for the most part I found it entertaining. The speaker spoke well and encouraged audience participation with some cute little interactive nonsense. Every time a slide would come up with his chosen phrase, "Believe It" the audience would raise their arms in the air and shout out "BELIEVE IT."
As you can guess the idea was to teach us how to be good genealogists by telling us what a "bad" genealogist would do.
The idea is good. But I felt that the presentation had a few flaws. Maybe I am just a tad super sensitive.

I use technology quite a bit. I use it for research. I use it communicate with clients, relatives and other genealogists. I use it to learn via Webinars and reading other genealogist's postings in blogs and on websites.

I like to think I am a "good" genealogist. I know I still have a lot to learn. I don't take anything I learn about my family from the internet as "fact" or "truth." At least I don't if it is just something else someone has "told" me. Databases that provide Whole World Trees and other contribution sites I use as "clues," something to follow up on. (To tell the truth, most of the time I don't visit these sites at all, at least not the part that is "contribution") And I have only posted a three or four generation chart on one of them with a minimum of information in hopes that my family will learn something about their heritage and/or some distant cousin will contact me.

Now, that doesn't mean I don't use the internet for my research. More and more images of actual records are being digitized and put up on this wonderful tool.

So why did the speaker throw the baby out with the bath water. He made a blanket statement to the effect that using the internet was the quickest way to become a "bad" genealogist. (Keep in mind this is our goal.)

I get what he was going for. But not the way it was delivered. He inferred that all internet was bad and that just isn't so. Not anymore. Reading blogs does not a bad genealogist make. Believing ALL blogs might mean you are not a good genealogist but to ignore ALL blogs would also, in my opinion, make you a bad genealogist. There are many blogs out there written by experienced, excellent, and knowledgeable people. They have a lot to share and teach and I for one will take advantage of that.

Many sites are the starting point to our research. Hopefully as we grow as genealogist we track down the actual records, but we may find where those records are held via the internet. We might just be surprised and find that the county we are researching in has digitized their birth records for the year we need and we can find it right there online.

What kind of a "good" genealogist would I be if I did not know that before I wrote off to the county asking for a copy of said record. Personally I think that would make me a very poor researcher.

The speaker did not advocate learning how to use electronic media (twitter, blogs, online databases, webinars) as a usful tool. He dismissed them as a whole, in one generalized sweep as bad.

I'm sure that is not what he meant to say. I am sure I am just being super sensitive.

As time moves on I am sure this speaker and others like him will find that if they do not learn to use electronic media and teach it to others they will find themselves and their students with out ALL the tools it takes to make a GOOD genealogist in the 21st and 22nd centuries.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Interview with Dear Myrtle

As she was driving across country, a couple of weeks ago, Dear Myrtle took a few moments and answered some questions for me.

Dear Myrtle is the pen-name for Pat Richly-Erickson, a nationally know speaker and blogger in the genealogy world.

What follows is my interview with her.

1.) When did you become Dear Myrt?
                     In 1995. I was teaching "techie" classes on the computer and wanted a down home friendly, grandmotherly type of character to make the class less threatening. I chose my grandmother Myrt.

2.) How did you choose that persona?
                    Myrt was my paternal grandmother. I could talk like her and write like her, using her colloquialisms and all and not have to worry about the grammar police. 

3.) When did you start writing?
                     Dick Eastman was writing everyday, so I made a list of 365 things to talk about. Once I started on my list, questions followed and I never had a problem coming up with things to talk or write about. In the 80's the first electronic form was of course the message boards, in 1995 I wrote AOL articles. 

4.) Why did you begin writing about genealogy?
                     I always had an interest in family, history, recipes, and family stories, so it just seemed like the right thing to write about.

5.) When did you begin doing genealogy?
                     At age 14 I made a hand calligraphy pedigree chart of my family. 

6.) What peeked your interest?
                     I was doing research in the early 80's because of a discrepancy concerning my Grandmother's birth date.

7.) What was your "best" discovery?
                     When I determined that William Henry A. Phillips was in the Civil War and I was able to order his military file from NARA. I had to order file after file for different William Phillips. But I finally got the right one.

8.) Who do you see as your audience?
                      Beginning to Intermediate Genealogists

9.) What all are you doing now? What are you active in?
                       I write my Dear Myrtle Blog, I produce Webinars, lecture, I founded GeneaWebinars, it kind of runs itself. I am active in GeneaQuilters and of course I'm very active in my role as Wife, Mother and Grandmother. 

More from Dear Myrt/Pat in my next post. Hope you enjoy her interview with me and learn a little about this wonderful woman.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

My Life in Song - So Long to NGS, Ohio

Carol Burnett Show Theme Song Lyrics

Title: "Carol's Theme"

Written By: "Joe Hamilton"

I'm so glad we had this time together,
Just to have a laugh, or sing a song.
Seems we just get started and before you Know it
Comes the time we have to say, “So long".
There's a time you wanna sigh for dreamin.
And a time for things you have to do.
The time I love the best is any evening
I can spend a moment here with you.
When the time comes and I'm feelin' lonely
And I'm feelin' oh so blue.
I just sit back and think of you only
And the happiness still comes through.
That's why I'm glad we had this time together.
Cause it makes me feel like I'm along.
Seems we just get started and before you know it
Comes the time we have to say, "So Long".

This song sums up perfectly how I feel each time a leave a conference. The time flies by way too fast and even though I am exhausted and totally wore out, my brain spinning from all the information, I am sad to see it end.

The time spent at the NGS conference in Ohio (or any other place for that matter) is time well spent. I attend meetings, meet up with friends, make new friends, arrange projects and jobs, attend classes and rub elbows with the experts, the big wigs, in the genealogy world.

By the time it is over I'm done. Stick a fork in me. I am in overload. But I still don't really want to see it end.

Maybe that's why I'm a conference junkie. I can't wait for the next one. That would be the Southern California Genealogy Jamboree in June. Just around the corner. Join me, why don't you?

You'll be "glad we had the time together."

Friday, May 11, 2012

NGS Conference - Ohio

I met my cousin yesterday. I met her grandfather, my uncle, last year. My uncle R. L. One of the sweetest men on the planet. So it's no wonder that his granddaughter, Nicole, would be equally as sweet. Meeting new people is hard but meeting new family is wonderful and not hard at all.

I would probably never have met Nicole and her four wonderful children if I had not attended the National Genealogical Society's (NGS) annual conference this year. It is being held in Cincinnati. I have no reason (prior to knowing Nicole) to come to this part of Ohio. I didn't even know she lived here.

It seems I have family everywhere.

Meeting cousins is one of the side benefits of attending conferences. Sometimes we just learn a new research method or tools that enable us to find long dead cousins. Sometimes we hear about a "techie" tool like Facebook or Skype or Twitter that might help us meet living cousins. Every once in a while you'll be sitting in a classroom waiting for the lecture to start and you begin talking with the person to your right (or maybe your left) and your both in the same lecture on finding Ohio ancestors because you both have Ohio ancestors. Then you discover that they are the same Ohio ancestors. You've been talking with your cousin!

It happens.

Yesterday I had to miss the lecture my cousin Claire Bettag was presenting. I had to be in a meeting. (More about that later) Claire is a nationally known and respected lecturer. Earlier this year at Salt Lake Institute for Genealogy (SLIG) we discovered we were cousins. Distant cousins mind you. I think her 6th great grandfather and my 8th great grandfather are the same or something like that.

So yesterday was my day for cousins. I had to miss seeing one and I got to meet another.

Who knows maybe today I'll be sitting next to one I didn't know I had.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Sacramento Genealogical Society - Root Cellar

About a year ago I joined one of the local genealogical societies in my area. We are very lucky to have two superb genealogical groups here in the Sacramento, California area.

I joined Root Cellar (that's the name they go by, their "common name") they are officially The Sacramento Genealogical Society. It is probably the more active of the two groups and might be the larger. This group meets in the evenings which might have a bearing on that.

The other group is affectionately called GAS. They are properly known as The Genealogical Association of Sacramento. They meet in the afternoons and are struggling at the moment.

As I said I joined Root Cellar about a year ago and this year decided to get more involved so I ran for one of the offices. I'll let you know how that turns out. I don't believe in belonging to a group and not getting involved. You have to give back.

This June I will join GAS. I feel that both groups serve a purpose and have a lot to give. They meet the needs of different groups. By meeting in the afternoons, GAS allows those who are available at that time and perhaps don't like to drive at night or are early to bed types to get their genealogy fix. While Root Cellar allows those who work during the day to meet and mingle with their genealogy pals after work.

If you are interested in genealogy, and I'm guessing you are if you read this blog, then "get ye to a genealogy society." You'll find great people, and interesting lectures, fabulous tips and more of the wonderful world of genealogy.