08 November 2014

James Beidler's Presentation at Fall Family History Event

Michigan Genealogical Council (MGC) and The Archives of Michigan holds a Fall Family History Event every year and for one reason or another I have not been able to attend.  Last Saturday, November 1st, I finally went and what an excellent educational opportunity it was.  James M. Beidler presented four sessions on the topics of Germany and Pennsylvania Research, two areas that are important to my research.

The morning started at The Forum in the Michigan Historical Center with a Welcome by Thomas Koselka, President of MGC.  Kris Rzepczynski, Archives of Michigan Archivist followed with a few newsworthy announcements:

  1. The Archives of Michigan is the recipient of the Detroit News archives, including their index cards.  The index cards are available on Michiganology. 
  2. The Archives of Michigan has been working over the past year on making naturalization records available online as well.  The index will be made available to Family Search and the actual images will be at Michiganology
  3. Currently, Seeking Michigan has images of Death Certificates from 1897-1920.  It was announced a while ago that more certificates, 1921-1952, would be available at Seeking Michigan. Genealogists kept hearing they would be available soon.  There have been a couple of glitches getting those records online.  Saturday, we heard they would be online soon!  They are coming. Michigan imposes a 75 year restriction on access to death records and when the next group is released it will be for years 1921-1938, 1939 if not released until January.
James M. Beidler was introduced and started his first presentation, Contrasting German Migrations: 18th vs. 19th Century Waves.  James took participants through the scale, geography, motivations, religion and economic class of the immigrants arriving in these two distinct periods of German immigration.

The second session was on Pennsylvania Church Records, which are very desirable records for research of Germans who came to America.  Overview of the denominations (Lutheran, Reformed, and Moravians), types of records available, where the records are kept, general tips, and resources were provided. 

During lunch I took advantage of a tour of the Archives of Michigan.  Kris Rzepczynski led the tour, which included a behind the scenes look of the Archives. I hadn't been to the Archives since the Abrams Collection was relocated to the Archives.  I thought the Archives seemed more user friendly than the last time I visited.  

The tour was followed by eating lunch and a visit to the Michigan Historical Center's store. James Beidler's books were available for sale, but I already had both of those, so I bought "Among the Enemy" a Michigan civil war soldier's journal.  I even picked up a Christmas gift for someone special.

Exploring Pennsylvania's State Archives and State Library was the topic of the next presentation. Details were provided on visiting the archives and library and the marquee resources available.

The fall history event ended the day with a session Success Story: Finding a European Village of Origin.  Using a case study of Johannes Dinius, James showed how piecing together all the research pieces can lead to a hometown of your immigrant ancestor.

Throughout the day, Beidler, showed records and maps to enhance the presentations.  He wove stories and humor throughout the day to make the sessions enjoyable.  If you are looking for a great genealogical educational opportunity put the Fall Family History Event on your calendar.

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