Monday, April 28, 2008

News from Myrt's neck of the woods

During the long drive back from my nephew's wedding in Vancouver, British Columbia, Ol' Myrt here had a lot of time to think and plan. And I've got all sorts of ideas about going forward with new blog entries, podcast interviews and the like.

Living in “genealogy mecca”
Being here in Salt Lake City, Utah with direct access to the Family History Library and its 3 million+ rolls of microfilm has been a whole new ball game for me. I’ve benefited by seeing more of the nationally-ranked lecturers, writers & researchers as they come to town for their annual or bi-annual research trips. My public speaking schedule was quite heavy this winter and spring. I also can partake of attendance at such estimable groups as the Utah Genealogical Association and the Utah Valley PAF Users Group. All of these activities are good for my professional development.

The growth of my personal genealogy research has been tremendously aided by frequent trips to the Family History Library as it is only a few minutes ride on the Trax high-speed rail from where I live in the valley. In particular, I’ve made progress on my Benjamin SAUNDERS line from Bisham, Berkshire, England, where he married Hannah HUDSON both “of this parish.” Well, they must have been new move-ins because their christenings are not found in the parish, nor is mention of their parents in their marriage entry.

The genesis of DearMYRTLE’s Salt Lake Study Group
The plight of the beginning to intermediate family history researcher is the focus of DearMYRTLE’s work. How I miss my focus group back in Florida – my friends kept me on track and well-grounded.

So in trying to replicate the sort of grass-roots sharing and learning that took place with my beloved (now disbanded) Manasota PAF Users Group, Ol' Myrt here has begun to do more personal outreach with monthly genealogy get-togethers here in Salt Lake City. My plan is to expand in the fall by meeting at a local library. I’ve discovered that I miss the interaction with regular folks who are doing family history research.

Our schedule so far is to have 2 planning meetings over a 2 month period, then a Saturday field trip to the Family History Library two weeks after the second meeting. I think that is a great format to help people prepare for doing actual research as opposed to rehashing what one’s parents or grandparents have accumulated.

My formal "teaching" is limited to 30-45 minutes where I introduce 2-3 items of interest. Last week it was USGenWeb & WorldGenWeb and AniMap 3.0. The balance of each 90 minute pow-wow is devoted to each attendee’s personal genealogical research challenges. The entire group listens to one person's research challenge. Then Ol' Myrt here guides the discussion to provide two to three avenues of possible research. I try hard to make it a point to speak with everyone, though I know as we grow this won't be possible. However, we're already seeing where some researchers share common research challenges like the use of patronymics with their Danish ancestory.

We use two laptops, a computer projector, the internet, & email for the copy/paste from various websites or the Family History Library Catalog of the suggested research microfilm (s). The focus is on attendee participation, rather than just O' Myrt teaching.
And it is a lot of fun!

UGG Union of Genealogy Groups (in Second Life)
Ol' Myrt here has expanded activities over in Second Life a 3-D virtual reality where one creates an avatar (I have two: Clarise Beaumont & DearMYRTLE Writer) and all are free to attend real-time genealogy events, chats and discussion groups. The UGG is the coordinating body. So far the following genealogy groups have emerged in Second Life:

  • LDS Family History Center (Sun nite chats in English)
  • Just Genealogy (Tues nite chats in English)
  • Genealogy Research Center on Info Island (monthly presentation, quarterly display in English)
  • West of Ireland (periodic genealogy discussions in English)
  • Wonderful Denmark (Danish, Swedish & Norwegian research in English & native tongues.)
  • French Genealogy Group (France research 15-17th centuries, Franco-American, Canadian and contemporary French research in English & French.)

So that is a little of what’s happening in my neck of the woods.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

© 2008 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

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