Wednesday, October 30, 2013

EGS November Morning Meeting

You may or may not have heard of Steve Morse's One-Step Webpages. Whether you have heard of it or not, you're sure to learn more about using this wonderful sight at our morning meeting, Tuesday, November 4, 2013

Be sure to join us at 9:30 am at the Gail Borden Public Library at 270 N Grove in Elgin. Bill and Carol Blohm will be teaching us the ins-and-outs of the Steve Morse site and fill us in on so much more than just searching census records!

We'll be looking for you,

~ Becky

Monday, October 28, 2013

How I Spent My Weekend #2

The ISGS Conference, The Way We Were, was held Oct 25 and 26 in a beautiful facility, The Best Western Hotel and Convention Center, in Sandwich, Illinois. My only complaint (you always have to have at least one, right?) was the difficulty I had with phone and internet reception. I had no problems in our room but basically nothing in the conference area. For me, and some of my techie friends, it was like being stranded on a deserted island. However, I remembered back-in-the-day we managed to survive without even owning a cell phone or tablet/pc with internet access and I knew I'd make it through.

The choice of sessions varied from beginning genealogy to using various records to technology helps. Overheard conversations (no, I wasn't eavesdropping so much as standing near by) often mentioned the difficulty in deciding which session to attend. Whatever decisions were made, I'm sure the attendee found value in the lecture.

Even with my volunteer schedule, I was able to sit in on Thomas MacEntee's Evernote for Genealogists (Catch Thomas at Hi-Definition Genealogy), Nancy Loe's Managing Your Digital Environment and Cataloging Family Photographs (You can learn more from her at her blog, and George Morgan's Alternate Records You May Have Never Considered. I took something new from every one of these talks. Some things I'll put into practice right away, some I'll have to think on for awhile.

Our Friday night dinner talk by George Morgan (you may know him best from his work with FGS or his podcasts with Drew Smith, Genealogy Guys), When Ancestors Demand to be Found, followed his personal journey being led to and by one of his ancestors. It was heartfelt and funny, highlighting events we often call serendipitous.

All in all, I had a great time learning from others, conversing with old friends, and making new ones. Jim and I topped the day off on Saturday by stopping in Yorkville at the Lake View restaurant for a wonder dinner before making our final journey home.

Next year, the ISGS conference will be held in O'Fallon, Illinois in St. Clair county. I know that's a bit of a trek from our neck of the woods but, if you can, plan to go. I know you'll be glad you did!

~ Becky

Sunday, October 27, 2013

How I Spent My Weekend #1

Our destination (me and my husband) this weekend was Sandwich, Illinois and the Illinois State Genealogical Society's (ISGS) Conference. We headed out early Friday morning so we could get there in time to help set-up for the 1:00 pm start time. Just imagine the volunteer hours needed to put on a day and a half event for 200+ attendees, not to mention the youth workshops! My kudos to Howard Manthei ,Joan Murray, and all the committee members for the outstanding job they did.

Before any attendees could enjoy the fruits of the committee's labor, the scurry of final touches needed doing. While the vendors prepared their assigned tables, the ISGS registration booth had to be organized and the volunteers for the weekend had to be identified and reminded of their schedules. In the beginning things looked something like this:

There were name tags to be arranged and bags to be stuffed and, as is always the case, everyone wondered if we would be ready on time!

But, at last, we were truly ready to put out the welcome sign:

and open the doors to the anxiously awaiting genealogists!

I hope each attendee found the weekend as enjoyable and educational as I did. In my next post I'll tell you more about my personal experiences.

~ Becky

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Wow! What can I say except ISGS really outdid themselves with this year's conference. Great location, good food, and fantastic people and networking opportunities. Anytime I can walk away from a meeting and have learned something I feel I am a winner. This time...every session I walked away with something new including something that might help me break through a brick wall. EGS was well represented at the event and it was nice to spend time talking with everyone.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Last Night's Cemetery Program

We had a great turnout last night for our October evening meeting but not all of our members were able to attend. For those not in attendance, all I can say is "you missed a good one!"

Gail Hershenzon is a volunteer at the Woodmere Cemetery in Detroit, Michigan. Gail has spent years creating and maintaining the website which contains searchable records from Woodmere. She presented the program, "Dos and Don'ts of Cemetery Research."

The program was informative and entertaining. Rather than simply telling us what we should and shouldn't do when writing, emailing, or visiting cemeteries, Gail shared with us actual letters, emails, and personal experiences dealing with sometimes rude genealogists. Though many of the examples elicited laughter, the moral of the talk came through clearly - "we must be especially nice to make up for the person who may have come before us."

When writing - letter or email:

  • be concise (the researcher doesn't need to know everything about your ancestors or your research)
  • use proper grammar and spelling
  • provide as much detail about the individual request as possible (full name, date of birth, date of death)
  • ask for no more than five (preferably three) look-ups at a time
  • be polite (use please and thank you)
  • included a SASE with all letters and use reasonable stationery - the back of a napkin or envelope is not acceptable.
When visiting:

  • call ahead to ascertain office hours and the cemetery's procedure for in-person requests
  • be cognizant of the fact that cemeteries are businesses and current work must come first for employees
  • be especially polite, nice, and patient

Thank you, Gail, for a fun evening and I know we'll all try to take you advice!

~ Becky

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

EGS October Evening Mtg

I can't think of a more perfect program for our evening meeting so close to Halloween. Be sure to join us this Thursday, October 17, 2013, at 7:00 pm at the Gail Borden Public Library, 270 N. Grove, Elgin, IL.
Gail Hershezon, Historian from Detroit, Michigan, will be sharing the Dos and Don'ts of Cemetery Research.

Some outsiders may consider us a bit ghoulish but what true genealogist doesn't love walking a cemetery. Cemeteries are full of information, history, and beauty. The grave markers of our long departed ancestors often give us pause and strike up strong emotion.
Larson Plots - Ishpeming City Cemetery, Ishpeming, Michigan

Now is a great time to learn what one should and should do regarding this type of research.

Hope to see you there!

~ Becky