Following a whirlwind extended weekend attending my nephew's wedding in gorgeous Aldergrove, British Columbia, Ol' Myrt here returned to Salt Lake at 5pm yesterday, and hit the ground running. After setting up the computer projector, I jumped in the shower to freshen up from the 2-day drive. By 6:30pm six genealogy researchers arrived for our monthly pow-wow.
The pow-wow this month focused on "You are the CLEAN-UP and GET IT RIGHT generation" using a form created by Cathy Clark. Her worksheet can accommodate six surnames and is a checklist of items to complete before the new FamilySearch is released in our area. This was a great starting point, since all of last night's attendees have done genealogy in the past (one as recently as 1978 when research techniques didn't include computerized databases or online scanned images of documents.) Note that the form was created for LDS researchers, but could apply equally as well with non-LDS research.
Another participant had taken my suggestions from last month's get-together to search microfilm of parish registers of christenings, marriages & burials in Stratford-on-Avon. SUCCESS! She located six additional children's christening records, and took the family back two generations. This breakthrough encouraged other members of the group.
We also discussed being careful to determine the correct county at the time the ancestor lived there. This will make it easier to locate documents mentioning ancestors since they might be housed in a county courthouse other than what we would expect. We discussed the following resources as examples:
- Ani-Map 3.0 clearly demonstrated the progression of county development for the states of Illinois and Virginia (where pow-wow participants had ancestors). This was an eye-opening experience for the ladies. One cannot
just take an ancestor's known town and state and look up the county in the current Rand McNally Atlas, for the county more than likely has changed boundaries over time, with the rise in population over the decades.
- USGenWeb.com has volunteer-created pages for each state and county with information about the development of the county, date, and parent county in addition to links for research ideas, databases, etc.
- WorldGenWeb.org was also spotlighted, since two ladies in the pow-wow group have Danish ancestry.
At 8pm it was time to sign on to Second Life to chat around the firepit at Heritage Book's Just Genealogy. Our topic was "Overcoming Handwriting Challenges" with links to the following online tutorials:
- German Gothic Script http://www.kindredroots.com/What/germanletters/germanletters.htm
- English Paleography 1500-1800 http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/palaeography
- Scottish Handwriting Tutorial http://www.scottishhandwriting.com
- Danish Handwriting 1600-1800 http://www.sa.dk/content/us/genealogy/old_danish_handwriting_style
We also talked about locating published family history books online through 2 main sources that (thankfully) provide free access:
- Family History Library Catalog - We used the "Surname" search to locate a book, and then find the scanned image of the entire book in .pdf format. We used the example of the surname YEARSLEY to locate a book titled
- Google Books - We went to http://books.google.com to view books in snippet or full view. We all completed a sample search for my ancestor CONRAD WEISER, and located the 1876 book titled The life of (John) Conrad Weiser, the German Pioneer, Patriot and Patron of two races compiled by Clement Zwingli Weiser. The original 449 page book is located at Harvard University.