Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Still Time to Register for the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh

The Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) early bird deadline is May 15th, after which regular tuition pricing will be in effect.

There are still few seats available in the following courses offered at GRIP July 22-26, 2013:
  • Military Records
  • Writing Your Immigrant Ancestors' Stories
  • Intermediate Genealogy: Tools for Digging Deeper
  • Bridging the 1780-1840 Gap (migration from New England through NY, PA, and OH) 
  • and one seat opened up in Advanced Land Research: Locating, Analyzing, Mapping
For a detailed class schedule for each of the six courses offered at GRIP July 22-26, 2013 click on the course title link at http://www.gripitt.org/?page_id=547. There are still dorm rooms available for those interested in staying on campus.

I am excited to attend GRIP this year and lecture in the Advanced Land Research: Locating, Analyzing, Mapping course. I hope to see many of you there!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Gen Proof Study Groups – How To Get In

I appreciate all the interest there has been in the Gen Proof groups studying the new book Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones. [See the announcement and details on these new study groups here. Order the book here.] There are over 100 members on the Mastering Genealogical Proof Google + Community page. We have decided to create a waiting list to join the study groups so that registration for each of the study groups will be very orderly.

Make a Commitment
The study format we have chosen is small groups of ten people including a mentor who will guide the group discussions and answer questions. Because there is limited space in these study groups we are asking that anyone who applies to participate is willing to make a commitment to the following:

1)    Read Mastering Genealogical Proof and complete all of the practice exercises. 

2)    Commit to discussing each chapter with your group members and mentor. For groups that meet at a designated time each week this would mean attending ALL the discussions for eight weeks (or every other week for 16 weeks).

3)    Be prepared to share your thoughts and insights on each of the following topics:
Chapter 1 -- Genealogy's Proof Standard
Chapter 2 -- Concepts Fundamental to the GPS
Chapter 3 -- GPS Element 1: Thorough Research
Chapter 4 -- GPS Element 2: Source Citations
Chapter 5 -- GPS Element 3: Analysis and Correlation
Chapter 6 -- GPS Element 4: Resolving Conflicts and Assembling Evidence
Chapter 7 -- GPS Element 5: The Written Conclusion
Chapters 8 & 9 -- Using the GPS and Conclusion

If you are traveling, have major commitments this summer, or do not have at least five hours per week to dedicate to studying Mastering Genealogical Proof, then please wait until you have the time to sign up to participate.

Formats and Scheduling
Each of the mentors that will study in the first group with Tom Jones is evaluating their schedule and deciding upon a study group format and start date for their group. A list of the Gen Proof mentors will be posted in May. As the format and time are the choice of the mentor there will be some variety in the options available.

  • Video chat on a certain day/time each week via Google Hangout
  • Text chat  on a certain day/time each week via Basecamp private chat room
  • Ongoing discussions boards sharing questions and thoughts via a private Google + community page. Participants can post thoughts and questions on an ongoing basis on the chapter being studied during week and the mentor and group members will posts their thoughts and responses.
Meeting times:
  • Some groups will meet and study one chapter every week for 8 weeks, and others will meet every other week for 16 weeks
  • There will be a variety of start dates beginning in June, July and August
Those on the waiting list will be able to choose a study group time and format that works best for them on a first come first serve basisThere is only room for ten people in each group, so if all the groups fill quickly then more groups will be scheduled in the fall.

Registration Process

1) To join the Gen Proof study group waiting list send an email to genproofstudy at gmail.com 

2)   We will email an application form to those on the waiting list which will include the name of each mentor with their study group start date and format.  Participants will reply with a commitment to participate and indicate their first and second choice for study groups.

3)      Once we have those on the waiting list divided into study groups your mentor will contact you and give you access to the private Google + community or Basecamp website where you will participate in your group discussions.

4)      Have fun studying this wonderful new book with a great group of genealogists!

Questions can be asked on the Mastering Genealogical Proof Google + Community page or via email at genproofstudy at gmail.com

Alternative Program
If you would like to study the book Mastering Genealogical Proof, but do not want to participate in the in-depth small group discussions in this Gen Proof study program, then you may like to follow along with others studying the book in Dear Myrtle’s MPG Study Group by watching a panel discuss each chapter via Google Hangouts on Air or YouTube. 

New Guide to Research in New York City

The National Genealogical Society has a new addition to its Research in the States series. This one focuses on New York City and the surrounding areas and is written by New York research expert Laura Murphy DeGrazia. I have enjoyed Laura's presentations at national conferences and am excited to see this new research guide.

The NGS Research in the States books are useful to learn about the records, repositories and resources for genealogical research in a specific state or area. They can be purchased in paperback or electronic formats. There are currently research guides available for eighteen states, with more to come in the future.

Here is the press release issued by the National Genealogical Society:

National Genealogical Society Announces Release
of New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County Research Guide

Arlington, VA, 29 April 2013: The National Genealogical Society announces the release of the newest edition in its Research in the States series: Research in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County. This publication was written by native New Yorker and nationally recognized genealogist Laura Murphy DeGrazia, cg, fgbs. Laura is a trustee and former president of BCG and co-editor of the NYG&B Record. Barbara Vines Little, cg, fngs, fvgs, is a former NGS president and is the current editor of the NGS Research in the States series and the Magazine of Virginia Genealogy.

Research in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County is an introduction to resources and repositories essential to genealogical research in these geographic areas. “Millions of Americans have ancestors who spent some time in the New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County area,” said Laura Murphy DeGrazia, author, “and knowing what resources exist and where they are located can help family historians be more successful in their research.”

The guide will be available for sale at the NGS 2013 Family History Conference in Las Vegas from 8–11 May in the NGS booth (#205). Author Laura Murphy DeGrazia will be available for book signings at the NGS conference booth on Thursday, 9 May from 9:00 a.m.–10:50 a.m.

Research in New York City, Long Island, and Westchester County will be available in the NGS store at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/research_in_the_states in a PDF and print version beginning 8 May; the print version will ship after 20 May. Other titles in the Research in the States series, which are also available in PDF and print form, include Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Additional states and a full New York State guide are planned for the future.

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogy education, high research standards, and the preservation of genealogical records.  The Arlington, VA-based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian, seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, research guidance, and opportunities to interact with other genealogists.  Please visit the NGS Pressroom for further information.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

"Gen Proof" Groups to Study Mastering Genealogical Proof

I am excited to introduce "Gen Proof," a new group studying the book Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones, PhD, GG, CGL, FASG, FNGS. This book is published by the National Genealogical Society (NGS) and can be ordered here.  I have worked with Thomas W. Jones to organize the study program and provide an opportunity for individuals to discuss the material in each chapter. 

The press release from National Genealogical Society describes the new book:

“As a unique textbook on genealogical methods and reasoning in the twenty-first century, Mastering Genealogical Proof guides readers in acquiring genealogical skills transcending chronological, ethnic, geopolitical, and religious boundaries. Dr. Jones, a noted writer, lecturer, and editor in the field of genealogy, explains and develops the level of proof that is appropriate to genealogy.”

We are very fortunate to have Tom Jones mentoring the first Gen Proof study group, and the participants in that group will turn around and mentor future groups. The first group will begin on May 19th and the subsequent groups will begin this summer. Watch for more details coming soon.

 The study group participants will:

  • Study one chapter at a time
  • Complete all the exercises included in the chapter and check their work
  • Discuss the content of the chapter with ten group members including a mentor
  • Share their insights on each subject with study group members 

Study Group Platform

We will be using Google + private communities as a platform for these study groups so that there will be no expense involved to participate. You will need to have a free Google + account. Once organized each Gen Proof study group will have their own private Google + community where they can ask and answer questions anddiscuss the book content and assignments.

The groups will meet in one of three formats selected by the mentor. 

1) Some of the groups will meet in video chat discussions via Google Hangouts and will require headsets and microphones along with a camera on a computer or tablet. This is a fun way to interact with other study group members. 

2) Other groups will discuss the book in asychronous (ongoing) discussions on the board in the Google + private community. Participants will not need to be online at the same time every week, but will carry on a conversation on each chapter of the book throughout the week.

3) A few of the groups will meet in private online text chats via Basecamp or Campfire. These groups will meet either once a week, or every other week to discuss a chapter of the book with their mentor. 

Joining a Gen Proof Study Group
UPDATE: See the following blog post  with updated information on how to join the Gen Proof study groups.  Gen Proof Study Groups – How To Get In 

If you are interested in participating in a Gen Proof study group then please send an email to genproofstudy at gmail.com to be added to the waiting list. Those on the waiting list will be contacted in the order they applied to join and be invited to select one of the study groups to join. 

Mastering Genealogical Proof Google + Community

We have created a public Google + community page to encourage discussion of the book. The link to the Mastering Genealogical Proof community page is https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/109187935060995685018

To join this community just click the red “Join Community” button at the top of the page.

Everyone is invited to join this community page and begin discussing the book. It is fairly simple to use so log on and give it a try. There is a category on the left side of the page for each chapter of the book. Please post comments and questions in the category for the correct chapter. 

Another Study Group
Pat Richley (Dear Myrtle) is also organizing a Mastering Genealogical Proof study group in a webinar format on Google + Hang Outs on Air. She has posted information at

These two study group options will provide an opportunity for many people to participate, and individuals can choose the study format that will work best for them.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Follow Friday: Forensic Genealogy Institute Re-Cap

For the "Follow Friday" blog theme I would like to share posts by Amy Coffin on The We Tree  Genealogy Blog about the Forensic Genealogy Institute. I know Amy from the ProGen Study Group and was excited when I heard she was attending the Forensic Genealogy Institute as I knew she would blog about her experiences. Those thinking about attending the Forensic Genealogy Institute in the future will benefit from her insights. Here are links to her three posts on the subject:

Forensic Genealogy Institute Re-Cap, part 1

Forensic Genealogy Institute Re-Cap, part 2

Forensic Genealogy Institute Re-Cap, part 3

I have written previously about the Forensic Genealogy Institute, as well as other genealogy institutes, here. 

Valerie Elkins has also posted on her Family Cherished blog about the Forensic Genealogy Institute. You may find her insights valuable as well.

CAFG Forensic Genealogy Institute - Day 1

CAFG Forensic Genealogy Institute - Day 2

CAFG Forensic Institute - Day 3

Saturday, April 13, 2013

2013 APG PMC Syllabus For Sale

If you missed the Professional Management Conference (PMC) put on the by the Association of Professional Genealogists, or if you attended the conference virtually and would now like a copy of the syllabus, electronic PDF files of the syllabus are now available for purchase. I attended the conference virtually and would have loved to have been there in person for the workshops that were not broadcast online. I have purchased the PMC syllabus for the last few years as part of my continuing education.

Kathleen W. Hinckley, the Executive Director of the Association of Professional Genealogists, sent the following announcement:

The syllabus from the 2013 APG Professional Management Conference (PMC) held 19-20 March 2013 in Salt Lake City is available for sale. Go to http://www.apgen.org/catalog/products.html to place your order.

The syllabus is $15 and will be delivered in electronic format (PDF).

The theme of the PMC was "Strategies for Building a Successful Business." Lecture topics and speakers included:

Overcoming Research Barriers--An Interactive Case Study by Thomas W. Jones, PhD., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS

Variables in Professional Genealogists' Approaches to Research by Thomas W. Jones, PhD., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS

Order in the Court: Hands-on with Court Records by Judy G. Russell, J.D., CG

Client Reports: Dos, Don'ts, and Maybes by Thomas W. Jones, PhD., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS

Launching an Effective Marketing Campaign by Thomas MacEntee

More Than the Begats: Using the Law to Spice up a Research Report by Judy G. Russell, J.D., CG

Video Marketing: Killer YouTube Strategies by Lisa Louise Cooke

The Best Educational Plan for You: The Workshop by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL

Organization for Genealogy Speakers by Jean Wilcox Hibben, Ph.D., M.A., CG

Friday, April 12, 2013

New NGS Conference Mobile App

I downloaded the new NGS 2013 Family History Conference app and I love it. I have already planned out my conference schedule and have it on both my iPhone and iPad. Here are some of the app features I find useful:
  • Browse by speaker so that you are sure not to miss any of your favorites
  • Read about the exhibitors and star the ones you want to visit
  • Access maps of the conference center and exhibit hall to locate rooms and vendors at the conference
  • Follow Twitter feeds right from the app
  • Share contact information with friends
  • Download handouts when they become available
  • See news and updates
Julie Miller has given me permission to share the announcement about the new mobile app from the NGS 2013 Family History Conference blog:
Get the most from your NGS 2013 Family History Conference experience by downloading our new and improved mobile app. Use the NGS app to help you make the most of your trip to Las Vegas before, during and after the conference.

The NGS 2013 Family History Conference app is completely free! Improve your conference experience by taking the schedule, maps, Twitter, and more with you on your phone or other mobile device.

The app is available for iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, and web-enabled devices.
The NGS Conference App is easy-to-use with these convenient features:
  • The Dashboard keeps you organized with up-to-the-minute info
  • About This Show keeps all show information in one place
  • Alerts allow attendees to receive important real-time communications from the show organizer
  • Built-in Twitter feed to follow and join in on the show chatter
  • Sync your schedule across multiple devices
  • Attendees can locate exhibitors they want to visit
  • Connect, message and share schedules with your colleagues through the Friends feature
To download the App, go to http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/maximize_your_experience

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Review of “Advanced Methodology for Irish Research”

As part of my continuing series where guest authors share reviews of courses at genealogy institutes, here Ann G. Lawthers writes about one of the courses at the British Institute  which is sponsored by the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History.

Review of “Advanced Methodology for Irish Research”
by Ann G. Lawthers

Do you have an Irish brick wall? Or do you merely have ancestors from Ireland you wish to know more about?  David Rencher’s course “Advanced Methodology for Irish Research” at the week-long British Institute helps you scale the walls and follow the trail of breadcrumbs left by your ancestors. The course principally builds research skills, but also introduces the student to the rich array of Irish resources available at the Salt Lake Family History Library. Many of the FHL resources can be ordered and sent to your local Family History Center. Since Irish records suffered a devastating blow with the demolition of the Public Records Office in 1922, the tools, skills, and strategies learned researching one’s Irish ancestors also apply to researching an ancestor from a burned county in the US.

Students begin by learning to thoroughly mine what they know about ancestors on this side of the pond for clues about the people left behind in Ireland. Next, transferring the focus to Ireland, students learn to evaluate and use pre-20th century lists of names, such as Griffiths Valuation, for clues about ancestors. And location, location, location. A wealth of resources about Irish places and institutions awaits you at the Family History Library: the Parliamentary Gazetteer, Ordnance Survey maps, county histories and more. For those with ancestors from Northern Ireland, the course spends a day introducing the student to the special problems of Scots-Irish research.

I would highly recommend any of David Rencher’s Irish courses. He is an engaging presenter and thoroughly knowledgeable about the subject. You will learn research techniques that help you not only with your Irish research but can be used for other family lines as well. You will find yourself regularly referring to the excellently organized syllabus when you return home to remind yourself of specific strategies. To top it off, being in Salt Lake for the course and having the resources of the Family History Library at your fingertips, makes for a priceless experience.


Ann G. Lawthers researches her Irish, German, French-Canadian and English ancestors from her home in Massachusetts. She has completed the BU Certificate course, the BU writing course, as well as the 2012 British Institute course, “Advanced Methodology for Irish Research.” Ann juggles a full-time job, various volunteer posts, participation in ProGen 15, as well as the siren call of her family’s history, but hopes to achieve Certified Genealogist status one day.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

2013 British Institute Announcement

I received the following announcement from the ISBGFH regarding the British Institute. Note that registration opens on April 8, 2013. Class size is limited and some courses may fill quickly.

The International Society for British Genealogy and Family History Announces Courses and Instructors for 2013 British Institute

WESTMINSTER, Colo., 3 April 2013—The International Society for British Genealogy and Family History announces the courses for the 13th annual British Institute, to be held 7–11 October in Salt Lake City at the Radisson Downtown, located two blocks from the Family History Library. Registration will open 9:00 a.m. Pacific daylight time on 8 April 2013 and class size is limited.

“The best kept secret is out for continuing education institutes!” said ISBGFH President Ann Lisa Pearson. “The British Institute is the place to be, providing students with a unique learning experience while working with their own research. Instructors will be available each afternoon to consult with students throughout the time of the Institute, applying classroom education and the opportunity to do more in-depth, on-site research in the records at the Family History Library.”

“The opportunity to be taught by the best teachers in the presence of the largest genealogy library was a dream come true!” said Paul Hawthorne, 2012 attendee.

Featuring top-notch educators and British resources

• Award-winning genealogist: Thomas W. Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS
• Irish research expert: David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA
• From England: Maggie Loughran, Paul Blake, BA, Dip Gen, FSG and
  Graham Walter, MBCS
• Personal research consultations
• Access and instruction with British collections at the Family History Library
• Morning educational program followed by afternoon research sessions in the library

The 2013 British Institute offers four tracks taught by expert genealogists:

From Simple to Complex: Applying Genealogy’s Standard of Acceptability to British Research
– Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS Through hands-on activities, lectures, and discussions, participants will learn how to use widely accepted standards to measure their genealogical work’s accuracy and to assess others’ genealogical conclusions. In the process they also will learn about genealogical research planning, its implementation, genealogical reasoning, and the preparation of credible genealogical products.

Irish Land Records and Fragmentary Evidence Correlation
David E. Rencher, AG, CG, FIGRS, FUGA This course is designed to address Irish genealogical research for both the landed and landless families in Ireland. When land records are meager, there are still methods to research the landless in the land records and the associated record fragments created from land use. Assembling this meager evidence provides the clearest picture possible for an Irish family in the 17th to 20th centuries.

Sources for Tracing Pre-mid-nineteenth Century English Ancestors
Maggie Loughran and Paul Blake, BA, DipGen, FSG
Concentrating on tracing pre-1850 English ancestors, this course will interest those whose ancestors emigrated to North America before English civil registration in 1837, or those who have traced their ancestors back to the early 1800s. For each record category, examples of original documents will be used to guide you through interpretation, locating, and lastly, how to access through the Internet, the Family History Library, and other available resources.

Using the Cloud for British Family History Research
Graham Walter, MBCS
This course will provide an introduction to “The Cloud” and how to use it to one’s research advantage. Learn how to choose the right combination of computing devices to enhance any family history research trip. The Cloud allows moving data seamlessly between devices and the ability to share with family and other researchers.

Registration Information
Online registration is available at the ISBGFH’s website: www.isbgfh.org

If preferred, a mail-in registration form is provided. If you have any questions, please e-mail institute_director@isbgfh.org

Media Contacts:
Ann Lisa Pearson
International Society for British Genealogy & Family History
PO Box 350459
Westminster, CO 80035
Phone: +1 303-770-7164