Thursday, April 30, 2015

Openings at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research for June

Have you always dreamed of attending the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) at Samford University? Well there is still time to get in the institute this June! There is space in the following courses, but you need to decide quickly as the absolute deadline is May 15th. 
I have taken both the Writing and Publishing for Genealogists and the Genealogy as a Profession courses, and recommend both of them. I know the coordinators of the other courses, and am sure they will be excellent as well.

Courses with room available for June 7-12, 2015: 

4.   Writing & Publishing for Genealogists (Coordinator: Tom Jones)
5.   Military Records II (Coordinator: Craig Scott)
7.   Land Records: Using Maps (Coordinator: Rick Sayre)
9.   Genealogy as a Profession (Coordinator: Elissa Powell)
10. Virginia's Land & Military Conflicts (Coordinator: Victor Dunn) 

You can register for any of these courses on the IGHR website here.

If you are interested the courses that are full, be sure to sign up on the waiting lists as sometime there are cancellations and you can get in at the last minute. Sign up here.  

1.  Methods & Sources (Coordinator: Pam Sayre)
2.  Intermediate Genealogy & Historical Studies (Coordinator: Angela McGhie)
3.  Advanced Methodology & Evidence Analysis (Coordinator: Judy Russell)
8.  Research in the South: The Colonies of the South (Coordinator: Mark Lowe)

Course Reviews
Here are reviews of some of the IGHR courses if you want more details on the course content from someone who attended in the past. 

“Writing and Publishing for Genealogists” - Review of IGHR Course 5 
New IGHR Course on the Five Civilized Tribes


Saturday, April 25, 2015

BCG Webinars Now Available Online

I was excited about the announcement this week that the webinars hosted by the Board for Certification of Genealogists are now available on demand. I attended most of these webinars thwen the were offered live, but have been waiting for the one I missed to become available as a recording. 

These presentations are excellent, and I recommend them to others interested in these topics. Two of the presentations are available to view for free, and the others are available for a very reasonable price of $2.99. You can watch a review of each presentation to be sure you like it before making a purchase. For more details, or to watch the recorded presentations see 

Here is a listing of the topics and presenters:

Baker, James A., “Elementary, My Dear Watson! Solving Your Genealogy Puzzles with Clues You Already Have”

Bittner, F. Warren, “Complex Evidence What it is, How it Works, Why it Matters”

Hait, Michael, “‘Of Sound Mind and Body’ Using Probate Records in Your Research”

Hibben, Jean Wilcox, “Certified or Certifiable? Why a Genealogist Would Go Through All that Trouble”

Jones, Thomas W., “Fine Wine in a New Bottle: Guidelines for Effective Research and Family Histories” (FREE)

Russell, Judy G., “Kinship Determination: From Generation to Generation” (FREE)

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.