SCGS webinars: The deal of the century

I live in Missouri. California barely makes an appearance in my genealogy. Yet I’m a happy member of the Southern California Genealogical Society (SCGS). Why? Because of their amazing educational opportunities, available and pertinent to all.

SCGS offers twice-monthly webinars from big names in genealogy. For $35 a year, I became a member so that I could watch the webinars on demand. But here’s the great thing: You can watch the webinar for free, if you watch it being streamed live. However, you must register in advance. To do that, go to the webinars page, then click on the title of the webinar you’re interested in. That will take you to a registration page.

On Saturday, November 7, Cyndi Ingle (of Cyndi’s List fame) will be presenting Building a Digital Research Plan at 10 am Pacific time. Here’s a description of that webinar:

Using Internet databases and catalogs we will build a research plan to answer a specific research question. We will walk through the process of planning, researching for the plan, and keeping track of what has been researched.

I think that sounds tremendous (it’s right up my alley). If you invest $35 a year to be a member, you can view the webinar any time you want and you can also view archived webinars. You could have your own mini-genealogy conference in the comfort of your home.

Speaking of conferences, SCGS sponsors the Genealogy Jamboree in June in Burbank, California. I attended in 2015 and it was excellent. The webinar series is an extension of the Jamboree.

I am so grateful that the SCGS offers resources to folks all over the world. Membership truly feels like the deal of the century!

Do you have any genealogy documents hiding in your home?

birth certificate Dave Adams cropped2In an extreme example of the perils of letting household filing pile up, I found my grandfather’s birth record over the weekend.

Over the last few years, I’d put some effort into figuring where he was born. It was mysterious to me because the census records said he was born in Oregon, yet his residence was always Washington. My father, his son, had no recollection of any family history in Oregon. Two years ago, I blogged about it when I discovered a birth announcement in a Portland paper. At that time I said I had written away to the state archives for a copy of the birth certificate. Alas, I received a letter from the Oregon Health Authority saying that no birth record was found.

Fast forward to October 2015. I decided to stop ignoring a pile of household filing that had been sitting on top of the file cabinet for a long time. They were mostly paid bills, some records of home repairs, things like that. I file pretty consistently, I had just let this pile happen slowly over time when I had items that would take a little extra effort to file. I’d gone without touching it for some time. It had become part of the landscape.

I set my timer for ten minutes and filed. Some of the items had aged out, so I could just throw them away. It took four or five ten-minute sessions over a couple of days before I reached the bottom and, to my embarrassment (I’m a professional organizer!), I realized that the items at the bottom of the pile were set there in 2007.

Among them was a file marked with my parents’ address. In it were some documents I had snagged when cleaning out their file cabinet in 2007. I remember that epic file-cabinet clearing. My parents had saved decades’ worth of certain paid bills. There were home purchase documents and some fun records, like the hospital bill for my birth in 1962 ($261.30), which was also in the file in my filing pile. But the real gem was a certified copy of my grandfather’s birth record, issued in 1944. Apparently there was never an actual birth certificate, since this copy was based on “affidavit and documentary evidence.”

In 2007, when I saved that document from being shredded with the rest of my parents’ old records, I was interested in genealogy. But wasn’t working on it properly or seriously. I knew enough to save that birth record, but I wasn’t interested enough to file it away properly or even remember ever having seen it.

Needless to say, I was delighted, if a little chagrined, to find it. I’ve added it to the source list in my family tree software. I’ve scanned it and filed it electronically and filed the copy among my paper files. It’s now safe and sound where it belongs.

Are there any piles or files in your home that might reveal some genealogical treasures? It might be worthwhile to catch up on your filing!

What Orderly Roots guides should I write next?

10 things I wish I'd known when I started doing genealogyThis week, I debuted my first two Orderly Roots guides, 10 Secrets to Organizing Your Genealogy Research and 10 Things I Wish I’d Know When I Started Doing Genealogy. I have come up with eight more topics, but I haven’t written them yet.

I’d love to have your input to help me decide in what order to write and publish them. So I created a little poll.

Please check the topics that interest you. (You’re not making a commitment to buy one!) You can check up to three boxes. If you’d like to see an Orderly Roots guide on a topic not in the list, feel free to enter that topic in the Other box.

Thank you!

Announcing new Orderly Roots guides!

10 secrets to organizing your genealogy researchI’m very excited to announce the launch of a new series of downloadable pdfs that I’m offering for sale here on Organize Your Family History.  I’m calling the series Orderly Roots, and the first is now available for purchase.

The Orderly Roots guides give me a way to go a little more in-depth on genealogy organizing topics than I can on the blog. 10 Secrets to Organizing Your Genealogy Research, the first of a planned series of 10 such guides,  is available now!

Each guide is delivered as a downloadable pdf with ten pages of text. They sell for $8.99 each. Here’s the list of topics I’m planning so far:

I’d love your input on topics. Do any of these particularly float your boat? Are there any topics not on the list that you’d like to see me explore in an Orderly Roots Guide?

10 Secrets to Organizing Your Genealogy Research is hot off the (figurative) presses and I plan to make 10 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started Doing Genealogy available this week. [Update: I just made it available for purchase!] The rest, I hope, will be completed by year’s end.

I’d love your input on topics and may create a poll to post on the blog. In the meantime, feel free to give me feedback in the comments!