Friday, April 17, 2015

Scholarship Available for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy

Here is a unique opportunity to receive a full tuition scholarship to the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. The Jimmy B. Parker Scholarship is available to someone who shows a commitment to genealogical excellence and community involvement. If you are interested act quickly as essay applications are due May 15th.

SALT LAKE INSTITUTE OF GENEALOGY SCHOLARSHIP Jimmy B. Parker Applications Now Being Accepted
Salt Lake City, UT, April 8, 2015–The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, sponsored by the Utah Genealogical Association, is pleased to announce that essay entries for the Jimmy B. Parker Essay Scholarship are now being accepted.

The scholarship recipient will receive full tuition to the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy 2016. The scholarship will be awarded to the individual whose essay and application reflect a commitment to genealogical excellence and community involvement. Past winners are Debra Hoffman of New Windsor, Maryland, Susan LeBlanc of Gladstone, Oregon, and Patti Gillespie of Decatur, Texas.

Since 2012, the Utah Genealogical Association has offered this scholarship in honor of Jimmy B. Parker, a Utah family historian and teacher of more than 50 years. He said, “Few things have greater impact on us in this life than knowing about our heritage—who we are, where we have come from, our culture, our ancestors.” The winning essay with be posted on the Utah Genealogical Association’s blog.

Applicants are asked to submit the following via email to

  • A one page essay detailing how attending the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy will prepare you to give back to the genealogical community.
  • A short biography or resume detailing your previous volunteer and research experience.
  • The name of the course you hope to attend, and why.
  • A letter of recommendation from someone who has benefitted from your volunteer service.

Essays and applications are due May 15, 2015, and the winner will be announced June 15. The winner will be chosen by a committee comprised of SLIG committee members and the family of the late Jimmy B. Parker.

Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy registration opens June 20, 2015 at 9:00 AM MST.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

International Newspaper Links

I am giving a presentation on Locating Historic Newspapers and with the syllabus limited to four pages I did not have room for links to international newspapers, so I will post them here. 

International Coalition on Newspapers (ICON)
This page highlights and links to digitization projects of historic newspapers worldwide. Listing with links by country.

Wikipedia: List of international newspaper archives

Paper of Record (subscription)
Historical newspapers from around the world. Includes many U.S. newspapers.

Europeana Newspapers
Free Access to over 8 million pages historical newspapers. Includes links other libraries.

British Newspaper Archive
Over 10 million pages in almost 400 titles from around the United Kingdom. Search by country and county.

Welsh Newspapers Online

TROVE – Digitized Newspapers from Australia

Caribbean Digital Newspaper Library

Austrian Newspapers Online

Google News Archive – Listing of newspapers from around the world
Readex -- World Newspaper Archive (subscription)
Readex -- Ethnic American Newspapers (from the Balch Collection, 1799-1971)
More than 130 fully searchable newspapers in 10 languages from 25 states covering many ethnic groups.       

Ethnic Newspapers
Newspapers for 25 ethnic groups in the U.S. can be found in the Immigration History Research Center at

Join Me at the Northwest Genealogy Conference in August

There are some excellent regional genealogy conferences in the United States. Genealogists gathered in Ohio last week, and many are in New England this week, but in August we will be in Washington state. Registration opens TODAY for the Northwest Genealogy Conference held August 13-15, 2015 in Arlington, Washington. I am excited to be a part of this three day conference!

This conference will feature three days of genealogy education covering a wide variety of topics including everything from creating a research plan to analyzing DNA results. The full program can be found here. There is a great lineup of speakers ready to share their knowledge and experience, including:

Angie Bush
Janet Camarata
Lisa Louise Cooke
Luana Darby
Michelle Goodrum
Jean Wilcox Hibben
Cyndi Ingle
Janice C Lovelace
Angela Packer McGhie
CeCe Moore
Jill Morelli
Steven W Morrison
Linda Harms Okazaki
Elissa Scalise Powell
Reed Powell
Judy G Russell
Sara A Scribner
Janice M Sellers
Cari Taplin

I hope you will consider joining us at the Northwest Genealogy Conference.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Review of Advanced Genetic Genealogy and Unknown Parentage Cases

There are so many genealogy institute courses I would love to attend, but my budget and travel are limited to one per year (other than when I am teaching). I would have loved to attend the "Advanced Genetic Genealogy and Unknown Parentage Cases" course at the Forensic Genealogy Institute, but settled for following the comments the students made on Facebook. As part of my continuing series on genealogy institute courses, my friend Vicki Wright agreed to write a review of this course for others that may be interested.

Advanced Genetic Genealogy and Unknown Parentage Cases

The Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy (CAFG) recently held it's 4th annual Forensic Genealogy Institute (FGI) in Dallas, Texas. I was fortunate to attend the course, Advanced Genetic Genealogy and Unknown Parentage Cases, taught by two leaders in genetic genealogy, CeCe Moore and Angie Bush.

As this was an advanced course, students were assumed to have basic, working, knowledge of DNA inheritance patterns, results from a DNA test, and familiarity with the DNA testing companies used in genetic genealogy. Yet this course emphasized, not DNA, but the forensic genealogy skill of researching family trees forward to locate living descendants - also known as reverse genealogy. In genetic genealogy, this skill is imperative to help adoptees, foundlings, and those with unknown parentage, find their biological kin.

Course coordinator and instructor CeCe Moore lectured passionately over the 2 ½ days of class, from the general history of adoption practices and laws in the U.S.A., to the personal stories of adoptees, foundlings, and others searching for their biological identities. I was surprised to learn that prior to World War II, adoption records were generally not sealed against adoptees searching for birth parents. I was also dismayed how often a criminal element was part of individual stories, be it black market adoptions, or unethical doctors in donor conception cases. Questions and comments were welcome, and frank discussions highlighted the unique perils and pitfalls involved in working unknown parentage cases.

Instructor Angie Bush was dynamic in teaching methodology. Students learned to develop testing plans for different situations, and how to narrow down potential kinship relationships by analyzing DNA results. Many practice scenarios allowed students to apply their knowledge and skills. Ms. Bush was clear the goal of DNA analysis was to identify which family trees to build to find the answer sought. The DNA pointed the way, but the trees solved the cases. Ms. Bush also introduced us to some pretty nifty family tree websites that were new and exciting to most, if not all, in the class. Attend a live or virtual Angie Bush lecture to learn more about them!

Forensic genealogy skills were displayed in a deeply effective lecture by CAFG member, Bethany Waterbury. Ms. Waterbury used herself as a case study to emphasize not only how to find online information about the living, but also to show how drastically the information gleaned from various sites can differ. It was an eye-opening and valuable lecture.

This course is an asset to the Forensic Genealogy Institute's curriculum, and to my own genetic, and forensic, genealogy education. The instructors had more than DNA and reverse genealogy to teach us. It was clearly important to Ms. Moore that we understood the emotional roller coaster that is an unknown parentage case, and the sensitivity, patience, and professional integrity needed to work these cases. While Ms. Bush continually emphasized that although these cases start with a DNA test, they are only solved by building multiple family trees and working them in every direction. Surprisingly, for a genetic genealogy course, DNA was not the star of the show. The spotlight was kept, unwaveringly, on the individual with unknown parentage, who needs our help.

Vicki Wright   

Vicki Wright is a professional genealogist, originally from St. Paul, Minnesota. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, completed the online Boston University Genealogical Research Certificate program in 2010, is an alumna of the ProGen 11 study group, the National Institute on Genealogical Research (2011), the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (2011-2013), the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (2012, 2014), the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (2012-2014), and the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy's Forensic Genealogy Institute (2012, 2015). She recently moved to the New York/New Jersey/Pennsylvania border area, so is trying to learn about her new area's genealogical resources and peculiarities, while keeping up with genetic genealogy advances, and working on her BCG portfolio.

Monday, April 6, 2015

NGS Conference Mobile App Released

I was excited to receive the following announcement from the National Genealogical Association! The mobile apps are now such a convenience to reference the conference schedule, map and syllabus.

Mobile Conference App released–ready for download

Get the most from your NGS 2015 Family History Conference experience by downloading the mobile app. Use the app to help you make the most of your trip to St. Charles before, during and after the conference.

The NGS Conference App is available for iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, and web-enabled devices. Search your app store for NGS Family History Conferences.

New this year, we have introduced a multi-event NGS app. This allows attendees to download a single app and access all current and future NGS conferences by adding new events to this app.

The NGS Conference App is completely free! To download, go to

 Features include: 
  • The Dashboard to keep you organized with up-to-the-minute information
  • About the NGS 2015 Family History Conference to keep all conference information in one place
  • Alerts of important real-time communications from NGS
  • Twitter feed to follow and join in on the conference chatter. The Twitter hashtag is #NGS2015GEN.
You can also
  • Sync your schedule across multiple devices
  • Locate exhibitors you plan to visit
  • Access a list of Local Places based on Category
  • Connect, message, and share schedules with your colleagues through the Friends feature
  • Link to syllabus material for each lecture, which will be available about 29 April 2015
We encourage you to begin using the app now so you can plan and improve your conference experience in St. Charles.

Whether Right-Brained or Left, This DNA Class is for You!

I am excited to share a review of the “(Finally!) Understanding Autosomal DNA” course taught by Blaine Bettinger at the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research. Today my friend Cari Taplin, CG is a guest author sharing her opinion of this new course. This is part of my continuing series on genealogy institute courses, where attendees share their perspective on the course for others who may be interested in attending in the future (or in the case of the Virtual Institute, purchasing the course online).

Whether Right-Brained or Left, This DNA Class is for You!

By Cari A. Taplin, cg

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts with an emphasis in painting. I tell you this so you can understand that science and numbers don’t really come too easily for me. I rely on my calculator for even the simplest mathematical tasks, and even then, I’m never sure if I got it right. So, when DNA for genealogy became the latest and greatest research tool, I tried to pay attention at the various lectures I attended, but all those numbers just went over my head and my eyes glazed over.

Despite being more scientific than many genealogists I know, it seems that this whole DNA thing is not going to go away and it appeals to and attracts the more left-brained researcher that may have been put off by genealogical “proof” from more traditional methods. And when some of the biggest names in genealogy are taking it seriously and also taking classes on it, I took notice. I attended SLIG this past January where Elizabeth Shown Mills was a student in one of the DNA classes! Many of my genealogy friends have taken several classes on the subject. Sometimes peer pressure can be a good thing because I finally began my reluctant journey to learn more about the topic. 

I decided to take the online course offered by the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research with the title “(Finally!) Understanding Autosomal DNA” taught by Blaine Bettinger. What an excellent course! Blaine is not only very knowledgeable about the subject, being among the first to begin using DNA for genealogical purposes, but so very clear in his explanation of the subject matter. While some of the topics could have been heavy on math and science, he really has a way of breaking down the subject matter so that even I could understand what was going on. My eyes did not glaze over during the course’s roughly 12 hours of class time.

Blaine covered a variety of topics pertaining to autosomal DNA such as how autosomal DNA works biologically, how it gets passed down, how autosomal DNA can be used to determine relationships, various tools to use to help with analysis of DNA results, including those at the test providers’ sites as well as third-party tools such as GEDmatch, triangulation of DNA results, using a spreadsheet to work with your matches, and much more. He also covered such topics as DNA ethics and asking for spit in ways that get results. 

If you’ve never taken a course through the Virtual Institute of Genealogical Research (, you should give it a try. I have taken two courses so far and they have both been top notch! They are not like your average webinar. These courses take an in depth look at the topic and feel closer to a week-long institute than your typical single afternoon genealogy class. Past classes are available for purchase through the Virtual Institute’s website.

For more details on the “(Finally!) Understanding Autosomal DNA” course by Blaine Bettinger, or to purchase a copy of the recordings, see
Cari Taplin is related to Roy Rogers. Or at least the stories her grandparents told her as a child said so. As a result, she has been working on finding her true heritage since the year 2000. She is a native of Wood County, Ohio but migrated to Wyoming, Colorado and now Pflugerville, Texas which is just outside of Austin. Cari is a Certified Genealogist (sm) and is a past President of the Boulder Genealogical Society, and has been a speaker to local and state societies since 2004. She is the owner of GenealogyPANTS, providing speaking, research and consultation services. She has had articles published in the Boulder Genealogical Society Quarterly, Digital Genealogist and the National Genealogical Society Magazine. She is a graduate of the NGS Home Study Course and ProGen 16. She is the 2013 recipient of the Walter Lee Sheppard, Jr. Prize from IGHR. When she’s not working on her genealogy, she is a wife and mother of two/too cute kids.

 CG and Certified Genealogist are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists, used under license by board certified associates after periodic competency evaluations, and the board name is registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office.