Sunday, June 12, 2016

10 Top Tips for How to Bust Through Your Genealogy Brick Wall

I missed hearing David Obee speak at the recent Ontario Genealogical Society Conference in Toronto in June. (I was intrigued to read in the syllabus that David posed the question "Can you tell the story in twenty-five words? If so, that's good. If not, try". )

I was happy to have heard Lisa Louise Cooke's plenary on future technologies and I am a BIG fan of her Genealogy Gems website.

I came across both David and Lisa Louise in this great 2013 video on "10 Top Tips for How to Bust Through Your Genealogy Brick Wall" and thought it would be helpful for me to review as a way of taking on my Poughkeepsie Brick Wall

Dave Obee’s Top 10 Tips:

1. Create a Timeline – “plot her life…it’s easier to see the holes.”
2. Understand Geography – “plot movements”
3. Find Every Possible Record
4. Understand How Records Were Created
5. Read Every Local Story in Newspapers at that Time
6. Tap into Local Knowledge – “Locals know more” (historical and genealogical societies)
7. Go There if You Can in Person
8. Look for Negative Proof
9. Collaborate with Other Researchers
10. Be Diligent About Proof

Saturday, June 11, 2016

OGS 2016 - Highlights & Links Worth Repeating

Some gifts from who was one of the sponsors of the conference

I attended the Ontario Genealogical Conference (OGS) in Toronto, Ontario (June 2016) and the OGS reported that the attendance numbers were high! 

Conference attendance totals - from The OGS newsletter

I attended the following sessions at the OGS Toronto Conference:
It would take me a long time to transcribe my notes from the conference and to put ALL of the valuable things that I learned here on my blog so I have distilled the three days into the following highlights and links worth repeating and sharing:

Plenary: "The Ethical Genealogist in the 21st Century"

Judy G. Russell did the opening keynote address on Friday evening. She was delightfully animated, entertaining and most wise on the subject of genealogical ethics. I learned a lot. Highlights and links worth repeating are:

I was live tweeting Judy G. Russell's presentation
 Plenary: "Future Technology and Genealogy
Five Strategies You Need"

Lisa Louise Cooke did the keynote Saturday morning on future technologies. At the end of the plenary, I doubt that there was a dry eye in the house as she concluded her presentation with her own family history journey and a quote from her father who said to her, "you keep the quilt, l'll keep the note". Other highlights and links worth repeating are:
  • Data Visualization: Journalism's Voyage West | Rural West Initiative 
  • And while I do blog and belong to many genealogical Facebook groups, I don't podcast but I really DO want to publish my family history and Lisa Louise offered the following self-publishing resource Lulu - Online Self Publishing Book & eBook Company 
  • Most importantly - it was helpful to hear that there's always room for low-tech. Not everything is online!

Lisa Louise Cooke's slide deck

  Plenary- "Lessons From The Cutting Edge"

CeCe Moore (who we learned has Ontario ancestors!) gave the closing plenary and it was a sweet way to close the conference as she described how genealogy can unite and heal and how sometimes, truth really is stranger than fiction.

CeCe Moore's slide deck

To get a sense of what CeCe's DNA genealogical work can help people do, watch this:

FINDING YOUR ROOTS DNA SPECIAL WITH CeCe Moore from The DNA Detectives on Vimeo.

Pop-Up Talk - Rural Diaries

The one pop-up that I did attend was about the Rural Diaries project which is an amazing project for folks to get involved with. It was so great to meet and listen to Dr. Catherine Wilson and it was alarming to learn that because longhand cursive writing is no longer taught in Ontario schools, the ability to read these old journals is now being lost.

The Rural Diary Project needs help transcribing

Genealogy Bloggers
As a genealogy blogger, I was grateful that Ruth Blair - the Passionate Genealogist found me and gave me my green beads that identified me as a genealogy blogger in the crowd of several hundreds at the conference.

More Highlights and Links Worth Repeating 

Rather than recap each individual session that I attended, here are some helpful take-away links:

News To Me:
Don't Want To Forget:
Syllabus Links I Want To Explore
This was my first genealogical conference and it did NOT disappoint!! Lots of connections and lots of sharing information an learning. I definitely plan to go again next year! 

OGS Conference 2017 will be held in Ottawa ( ) and I hope to see you there!

My OGS 2016 Conference Notes - The Archives of Ontario

My tweet @cindiforeman

Our gift from the archives of Ontario

I recently attended the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference in Toronto and I was one of the lucky ones who was also able to attend the hands-on research excursion to the Archives of Ontario (AO).

The photo wall inside the Archives of Ontario
Our day started with a tour of the AO building including the preservation room and two of the twelve vaults located upstairs on the second and third floors. (Note: 90% of the AO collections are stored off-site)

The preservation lab on the second floor
Once the tour was completed, we headed to the microfiche to start our research

The microfiche room
I decided to peruse the miscellaneous municipal records for Essex county Ontario hoping to find records of the Essex gaol. There were some records (not what I was looking for) but I did stumble upon records submitted by my great grandfather John Moynahan who served as Justice of the Peace and Municipal Clerk for Ojibway since its incorporation in 1913 to the time of his death in 1933.

Municipal Records - My great-grandfather's John Moynahan's handwriting
I really enjoyed the special presentation "Preserving Your Personal Archives". The slide below that reads, "Record who, what, when with a soft pencil (2B) on the back edge of your photographs" is the best advice of the day and how I wish all of my ancestors had done that!

Advice on how to archive and preserve your own family history records
 "Saving Stuff" by the Smithsonian was the 'go to book'  recommended by AO preservation archivists and there is a great book preview available on Google Books (click here)

It was a wonderful full day, I did manage to locate the will of my 3rd great-granfather Denis Moynahan (1787-1885) and plan to revisit it in detail and see if there is anything that I missed

The group waiting for the bus after a wonderful day of research