20 May 2021

NGS 2021 LIVE-Day 2

 Boy, was I tired last night. I think it was information overload because I didn't do anything strenuous yesterday. I must have been excited for today as I was awake from 2:30 to 5:00 a.m. I was ready for day two of conference sessions after having a chai tea!

The day started with Crista Cowan session, "Ancestry DNA: Putting Your DNA Results to Work to Further Your Research." This was an exceptional presentation. I imagine I will be watching it again. Crista walked viewers through the tools Ancestry DNA users can incorporate to help you get more from your DNA information. 

A short break was followed by a breakout session. Attendees had four choices they could choose one to attend or move in and out of the four at your leisure. I chose one, Elizabeth Shown Mills, "Finding Females: Wives, Mothers, Daughters, Sisters, and Paramours." Elizabeth gave numerous examples of records to look for and how to analyze the records to glean all the information one can from them. During this presentation I was thinking about my female headache ancestor, Huldah Rowley Fenn. I think I have the answer in my research, I just need to re-analyze it and write a proof argument.

I took a lunch break today. I needed to hydrate as it is 86 degrees at 2 p.m. I used some of the break time to check out the Expo Hall. The Expo Hall has videos, resources, handouts, coupon codes, and more for conference goers. 

One vendor I want to check out further is Ancestor Tracks. Ancestor Tracks is a resource for Early Pennsylvania landowners. Their website has tools for researchers, statewide references, and county atlases. 

I entered Special Guest Ric Murphy's "The Story of Virginia: Arrival of the First Africans" late. He discussed the story of the thirty-two African American men, women, and children who arrived, in Virginia, in 1619 having been kidnapped from Kabasa, Angola. 

I had a tough choice to make for the next breakout sessions. I wanted to hear all four speakers, but I will have to listen on-demand to three of them. I chose Colleen Robledo Greene and her session, "After the Fire: Reconstructing a US World War I or II Military Service Record."  My purpose was two-fold: to enhance my own research and to help those who request help via Fort Custer Historical Society, which I am a board member.

The last breakout session of the day was Angie Bush's "Leveraging Genetic Networks to Break Down Brick Walls." I have a lot to learn about DNA and I thought this would be a good one to attend. Angie did not disappoint. I have heard Angie present before, and I like her style of presentation. 

The end of the two-day LIVE portion of the day concluded with a presentation by Marquis de Lafayette sharing the fight for independence and tourist suggestions for Richmond. 

Tomorrow will be the Focus on Societies programs. See you there.

19 May 2021

NGS LIVE is Open!

 The first thing I find out when I wake up to get ready for two days of the NGS Virtual conference is that our internet is out! Yikes! I get on my phone and check the outages for our area, and it says it will be back on by 12:30. NOOOOO! The conference starts at 11:00 a.m. I signed up for a text message to tell me when the problem is fixed. I never got one. I just asked my friend Alexis for the time and discovered it was working. Time: 11:05. Whew! I only missed a couple of minutes of Kathryn M. Doyle's welcome. 


By the time the Opening Session, "Beyond the Blue Mountains: They Came with a Dream, Their Descendants Followed" I was up and running. Barbara Vines Little presented a particularly good session on the migration of people to Virginia, via rivers, roads, and canals. She used excellent maps as she told the story of Virginia growth. Her syllabus provided many resources for Virginia researcher to check out. It left me wishing I had Virginia ancestry.


National Genealogical Society (NGS) awards were presented next. The first one to the host society, Virginia Historical Society for their help with the virtual conference. The 2021 Hall of Fame award was given to John T. Humphrey (1948-2012). A wonderful tribute to John can be found on The Legal Genealogist blog.


Elizabeth Shown Mills presented "Elusive Ancestors: Never Too Poor to Trace." I was sure she was talking about my ancestors. Elizabeth dispelled stereotypes about researching the poor and talked about cultural reasons for not owning land. She provided numerous resources for records where, no matter the income amount, they may be found. Her syllabus included a Ten Step program for your research and a large check sheet of records to look for. 


Special Guest was Dani Shapiro, author of "Inheritance", a memoir detailing her family secret discovered through DNA. If you haven't read the book, check it out. I found it to be well done and enjoyed reading it.


NGS Awards for Excellence were announced. Awards were presented to: 

  1. Kyle Hurst for her book, "Ancestors and Descendants of Charles Le Caron and Victoire Sprague.
  2. Honorable Mention to Michael Grow for his book, "John Grow of Ipswich, Massachusetts and Some of HIs Descendants: A Middle-Class Family in Social and Economic Context from the 17th Century to the Present.
  3. Elizabeth Shown Mills for her book, "Professional Genealogy Preparation, Practice, and Standards.
  4. Honorable Mention to Peter J. Malic for his book, "New Haven Town Records, 1769-1819."
  5. LaBrenda Garret-Nelson for her NGSQ June 2020 Article on "Parents for Isaac Garret of Lauren, South Carolina: DNA Corroborates Oral Tradition."


The next session was with Thomas W. Jones' "Writing About and Documenting Genealogical Conclusions Writing DNA Test Results." He broke his writing suggestions down into the beginning, the middle, and the end. He recommended using charts to help readers understand relationships. I need to understand my own DNA before I start to explain it to others! The syllabus included fifteen peer reviewed case studies to read as examples.  Always remember to get the permission of the test taker before sharing.



Writing awards were announced and the following were recognized:

  1. Amy Larner Giroux for "The Many Names of Frances Ellsworth."
  2. Newsletter Award given to small societies (less than 500) to "The Irish Family History Forum" newsletter
  3. Honorable Mention for small society newsletter went to "Our Endicott Heritage Trail."
  4. Newsletter Award given to large societies (more than 500) went to "The Traces", the newsletter of Hamilton County Genealogical Society
  5. Honorable Mention went to the Virginia Genealogical Society newsletter.


BCG Skillbuilding: Establishing Identity and Kinship with Military Records with Craig R. Scott session ends the educational part of the day. Scott went through four case studies that showed records which identify family members by using NARA, Ancestry, and Fold 3 examples. He named several of NARA record groups and showed finding aid books for these records.


Throughout the breaks door prize winners were announced. Gifts were given by the sponsors of the conference. Gifts included DNA test kits, MyHeritage subscriptions, RootsTech gift bags, registrations for NGS 2022 conference and more.


The day ended with the NGS Annual Meeting.

Today was a jam-packed day of powerhouse speakers. It was a great start to the conference. Things looked so seamless and easy from my standpoint, but I know it takes a lot of work from a lot of people to get to this point. Thank you NGS!

18 May 2021

SLAM! Idea Showcase at NGS Virtual Conference

The National Genealogical Society hosted a SLAM! Idea Showcase. This is a new addition to the NGS conference experience, replacing the Librarians Day this year.

SLAM stands for societies, libraries, archives, and museums (SLAMS). The purpose of the program was showcase ideas and programs that can help repositories and people interested in genealogy.

The day started with a short message from Scott Holl, the SLAM Showcase Coordinator followed by Guest Host, Judy G. Russell, aka The Legal Genealogist. Judy did an excellent job of keeping the afternoon going with her enthusiasm for genealogy.

First on Judy's list was the announcement of 2021 Filby Award for Genealogical Librarianship, sponsored by Pro Quest. The winner was David E. Rencher Director of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Ashley Ramey, from the Library of Virginia, gave an overview of the Library of Virginia. Don't think you, or your ancestors, must be from Virginia to get the most from them. I found Salem Witch Trial records in their online records.

There were 32 'poster sessions' of which 6 were chosen for awards-three honorable mention and 3 award winners. 

Honorable Mention went to 

1. Kentucky Historical Society and their project "Kentucky Ancestors Town Hall."

2. St. Louis Public Library and their project "Rooted in Inclusion-Forging the Family Tree Model." 

3. Godfrey Memorial Library for their project "Roundtables"

$250 Award Winners

1. St. Louis Genealogical Society for their "Congregations Project."

2. German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C. for "German Heritage in Letters."

3. Chester County (Pa.) for "1777 Chester County Property Atlas."

These six videos about their projects are available on You Tube. I found the easiest way to find them is to enter "You Tube NGS Slam" into googles search box.

After the award announcements, Judy Russell led a question and answer session with the winners. SLAM attendees were encouraged to submit their questions. 

What is up for tomorrow? Wednesday and Thursday is the LIVE portion of the conference. There will be lots of genealogical learning going on. 

17 May 2021

Are You Attending #NGS2021 LIVE?

Today, May 17, 2021, the National Genealogical Society (NGS) is kicking off their #NGS2021LIVE seminar. It is being held virtually due to COVID19 restrictions. 

I registered for the seminar and my participation will start on Tuesday. Monday is for the NGS delegate council.  Delegates are appointed by NGS member societies and they are the only ones attending on Monday. The Michigan Genealogical Council's delegate is Thomas Koselka, a past President of MGC.

Tuesday is the SLAM Idea Showcase. SLAM stands for societies, libraries, archives, and museums. It is a place for SLAM's to be creative and innovative and show seminar attendees what they offer. Also, it includes presentations from those who provide services to librarians and genealogists.  SLAM Showcase will be held from 3-6 pm, Tuesday.

Wednesday is the day for live learning opportunities streamed right to your device of choice. Wednesday's program offers a full day of sessions from some of the top names in the genealogical community: Elizabeth Shown Mills, Thomas Jones, and Craig Scott. Special Guest Dani Shapiro, author of Inheritance, will speak on Family Secrets. The Keynote Speaker is Barbara Vines Little, who will be presenting Beyond the Blue Mountains

Thursday is another full day of sessions, including three breakout sessions with your choice of four lectures per session. I looked at the sessions and am thankful I will be able to watch the other choices on demand because they are all great sessions. If this isn't enough for attendees the NGS awards will be presented, expo hall opened, door prizes given, and bonus lectures from sponsoring organizations. It is sure to be a full two days of learning.

Friday closes out the seminar with a Focus on Societies sessions. It is day of lectures centering on strengthening societies. Sessions include ones on sharing ideas, building leadership, attracting new members, keeping volunteers, planning meetings and events, creating newsletters and more. 

Beginning June 15 there will be additional sessions on demand. That list is amazing, and I can see my summer being taken up with viewing these great presentations from great speakers.

Everything I have written about will be held virtually. The NGS 2021 conference was going to be held in Richmond, Virginia but was converted to virtual. I was looking forward to visiting Richmond because of its proximity to Washington, D.C. and Williamsburg, VA. Oh well, it has been a year of change and I am appreciative of NGS holding it.

I will be busy this week, but I hope to be able to live tweet about my experiences. Check out these hashtags to read about the seminar  #NGS2021LIVE #NGS2021OnDemand #NGSDelegateCouncil #NGSFocusOnSocieties #NGSSLAM! 

Even though I will miss in person events such as meet ups with bloggers, luncheons with geneamates, browsing the exhibit hall, buying books and gadgets, and more I will be wearing my geneabeads and enjoying all the virtual activities.

15 May 2021

Do You Know About WWI Registration Cards for Women?

The May delegate meeting of the Michigan Genealogical Council had Jo Ellyn Clary from the Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council as our guest speaker. She presented, "A Genealogical Treasure-The WWI Registration Cards of American Women." I am embarrassed to say that I knew little about these cards even though I updated a paragraph on them in the NGS Research in the States: Michigan book.

The United States entered World War I in April of 1917. Soon after women got organized by forming 17,000 local committees, with over 400,000 women, to help the Woman's Committee of the Council of National Defense. Enrollment cards were created and some of those cards are available for genealogical research.

The cards are, as the title of Jo Ellyn's talk says, a genealogical treasure. The cards are rich in biographical information including education levels, ethnicity, references, skills, and employment status. If your ancestor is included in these cards you will see what early twentieth-century women were like. 

The Special Collections at the Grand Rapids Public Library holds 20,000 of them for the Grand Rapids area. You don't have to travel to the Grand Rapids library as you can see them online. 

Go to https://bit.ly/2SSA8vb which is the Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council (GGRWHC) section of the website where you will find the digitized images of the WWI Women's registration cards.

Scroll down the page to see other known card collections for Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, and South Dakota. In addition to the Grand Rapids cards, Michigan has a collection for Flint, Michigan. Flint's 12,000 cards are at the Michigan State Archives in Lansing. Midland, Michigan has a few housed at the Midland Center for the Arts. 

Why are there so few of these cards? Jo Ellyn Clary says they are a buried treasure. Over 900,000 cards were collected in Michigan alone, minus Detroit. Many of the cards have yet to be found. They are hiding in attics, basements, closets, filing cabinets, etc in township or city repositories. Many have been destroyed. The genealogical information these cards provide makes this collection one to seek out.

Jo Ellyn encouraged the MGC delegates to go back to their societies and dig, dig, dig. I challenged our member societies to do the same. I told them they had homework to do. Now, I am challenging my readers to locate cards in their area. This would be an excellent project for a society to take up. When you find them and I believe you will, please let the GGRWHC know by emailing at info@ggrwhc.org. They are creating a database of known cards. 

One place to start is with newspaper research for April 1917 to November 1918, the United States WWI involvement time.  Look for articles on Woman's Committee of the Council of National Defense, WWI women's registration cards, women's registration cards, or WWI women's enrollment cards, etc. We are genealogists, we know how to search.

If you are wanting to know more on World War I Homefront movements read Ida Clyde Clarke's 1918 book, American Women and the World War, Caroline Bartlett Crane's 1922, History of the Work of Women's Committee (Michigan Division), and Report of the Woman's Section of the Indiana State Council of Defense.

While you are at https://www.ggrwhc.org/ be sure to look at other sections of the website. There is information on Women Who Ran, Suffrage Resources, and more.

Note: The card above is for my maternal Great Aunt Mary H. Fredrick Bruce. 

Where Does the Time Go?

Keeping a blog active can be a lot of work. I celebrated my 11th year of blogging in March, but really it should be more like eight years. I'm not going to make excuses as I am sure we all have times when life gets in the way. I can't promise I will be back to the 80-90 and more posts a year I used to do, but I miss blogging and want to get back to it.

Recently, I have attempted to regain some of my own time. I have been volunteering heavily in the past few years. I am relinquishing some of my genealogical board commitments. I am not getting out of volunteering altogether as I really enjoy it, I am just looking to lessen my being responsible for a few things.

I hope you will hang with me as I find a new normal for volunteering, blogging, researching, and moving. I will write more about the last one later. 

Thanks for hanging in there with me. Feel free to tell me of your blogging efforts lately in the comment section. I didn't think I needed to moderate my comment sections until I started getting so much spam. I like puppies and all, but I don't want to advertise for you. I will be checking the comments more frequently now and would love to hear from you.