Are you attending Midwestern Roots Family History and Genealogy Conference?

Midwestern Roots 2014 ConferenceI’m very excited! I just registered for the Indiana Historical Society’s Midwestern Roots Family History and Genealogy Conference, August 1 and 2 in Indianapolis. Indy is within driving distance for me, so when I saw the caliber of the offerings at this conference, it was a no-brainer to sign up. Presenters include Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers and High Definition Genealogy; Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems (in fact, I found out about the conference through Lisa’s newsletter); Anne Gillespie Mitchell of Ancestry.com, and Warren Bittner, genealogical researcher and trustee for the Board for Certification of Genealogists, among other great speakers.

I also signed up for a pre-conference session on preserving original family documents, presented by Romana Duncan-Huse, senior director of conservation at the Indiana Historical Society. I’m very interested in continuing my education on preserving inherited items.

If you’re an avid conference-goer like me and live near Indianapolis or wouldn’t mind traveling there, I encourage you to check out the program at the link above. At only $150, it’s a very moderately priced conference.

If you plan to attend, please let me know!

Family Search seeking volunteer indexers

Family Search needs indexersWhen I was at Roots Tech, I was struck by the generosity of genealogists.  One of the things I was inspired to do while there was to sign up as an indexer for FamilySearch.org. The patient staffer at their booth took me through the sign up process and I was on my way.

Indexes make records searchable. The reason that you’re able to do an online search on a name at Family Search or Ancestry or any other genealogy website is that humans have gone through documents, like Census records, and marriage and death records and entered the information on them into a database, which often requires deciphering handwriting. When we search, we’re searching the index. At Roots Tech, Family Search was recruiting volunteers to help index obituaries, but they’re needed for all sorts of records.

Family Search’s indexing is a project of mammoth proportions. In 2014 alone, over 111,000 volunteers have completed some 33 million records, with another 14 records awaiting arbitration. (Each record is indexed by two different volunteers and when their results don’t match, a trained arbitrator decides which is right.)

That’s a whole lot of work–and Family Search relies on volunteers to do that work. You can do it from the comfort of your home and know that you’re contributing to the research of others. You may learn further your own research while you’re at it! If you sign up, you’ll be required to download some software onto your computer and once that’s done and you’ve taken a tutorial or two, you can get started.

For more information and to sign up, go the the Family Search Indexing page.

Discovering genea-fiction

inthebloodcoverBack in the 90s, when I was a dog writer, there was a series of dog lovers’ mysteries whose protagonist was a dog writer.  There is at least one set of mysteries whose main character is a professional organizer (my current profession).

So I shouldn’t be surprised that there’s a whole genre of genealogical mysteries. I guest I should be surprised that it took me this long to discover that fact!

Last night I started reading In the Blood, by Steve Robinson. Jefferson Tayte, the book’s main character, is a professional genealogist. I’m already hooked.

I think one of the things I love about doing family history research is that I’m solving mysteries. And of course I love reading mystery novels. Throw together family history research, historical fiction, and the particulars of being a genealogist and that’s a recipe for success, in my book.

In the Blood is the first in a series, which I’m sure I’ll read. When I’m through with that series there are plenty of other series from which to choose, including Nathan Dylan Goodwin’s Forensic Genealogist books, and Jimmy Fox’s Nick Herald Genealogical Mysteries.

If you read genea-fiction, I’d love to hear any recommendations for other titles. What are your favorites?

NGS conference offering live streaming

Live streaming at the NGS conferenceI’m not going to be able to make it to the National Genealogical Society annual conference this year; my husband’s birthday falls during it. So I was delighted to see that NGS is offering, for the first time, live streaming of ten of its lectures (for a fee).

Interested genealogy researchers who can’t attend the conference (to be held in Richmond, Virginia, May 7 to 10, 2014) can sign up  to watch broadcasts of one or two tracks. Track One is Records and Research Techniques. Track Two is Virginia Resources and Migration Patterns. The charge is $65 (members) or $80 (non-members) for either of the tracks and $115 (members) or $140 (non-members) for both of the tracks

Once you register for streaming, you can watch the events live or view them at any time during the subsequent 90 days. You’ll also receive an electronic version of the conference’s syllabus.

People who are actually attending the conference may also register for the streaming, in case they want to watch these talks from home after the conference.

For complete information and registration details, visit the NGS website. Registration for streaming closes on April 30.