Sunday, June 24, 2012

Church Record Sunday: Florida Church Archives Inventory

Form 20HR,
The Works Progress Administration (WPA) left us with a rich legacy. From building projects, to art to writing and even historical inventories, the WPA continues to be important.

The WPA left records of great value to genealogists including inventories of church records done as part of the Historical Records Survey. These inventories were done across the United States. Florida has made available not only information from these inventories but the actual tools used to record the interviews about the state's church records.

The Field Manual for the Church Archives Inventory states, "When the Church Archives Inventory for the United State is completed, historians will be able to analyze the churches of our country as to why they were organized , the type of records they keep and the contributions they have made to the cultural, historical and genealogical background of our country." (Emphasis mine).

Form 20HR was used for this inventory and included such information as church name, pastor name,  address, building details, location of church records and more.

The WPA Church Records Collection is found on the Florida Memory website. The collection can be searched or browsed in alphabetical order by church name.

The field manual used by WPA employees can also be found on this website as well as Form 20HR and a history of the project.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Three Reasons You Should Write for Your Society Newsletter

Writing. It can be a chore, especially when you are writing/editing an entire society newsletter by yourself. Sure you make impassioned pleas every month to members to provide you with content (really, any content). But like the previous month that goes ignored and you find yourself faced with the prospect of writing an entire newsletter by yourself.

A Society Newsletter: Who Cares?

A society newsletter is important for many reasons. First and foremost it is the voice and face of your society. It encourages new members and keeps current and potential members informed. However, the position of newsletter editor can often be a thankless one.

You (Yes, You!) Should Submit an Article

One of the  reasons members don't submit articles is they think "I'm not a writer!" Ok, but maybe the newsletter editor was never a writer/editor  either. It really benefits you to write something, even a small something, for publication in your society newsletter.

1.  Networking. Yes, this word is used to death but a society newsletter will enhance your own research by getting the word out about your research and what surnames you are researching. If your society publishes the newsletter online, exchanges newsletters with other societies, or participates in PERSI your research is going to be seen by others.

2. PERSI. PERSI deserves to be mentioned again. Just think about it. Write an article about that brick wall ancestor and eventually when it is indexed by PRESI it will be searchable by genealogists the world over. PERSI is available on and Heritage Quest. Make sure that the title of your article has the name of your ancestor and/or the place they lived in, making it easier for a researcher to find it. If you know little about PERSI, I've written about it here.

3. Karma. At the very least, if you help the newsletter editor, they may help you the next time you're elected Refreshment Chair or Field Trip Coordinator or heaven forbid, Society President.

I wrote more about the subject of finding content for your society newsletter for the FGS Forum magazine (Spring 2012). Forum is available by subscription or through a membership to FGS.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Church Record Sunday: Church of England Archives and Libraries

Have Church of England ancestors?  You might be interested in this webpage that lists several Church of England archives and libraries. Archives and libraries mentioned include:

Canterbury, Durham, Exeter, Guildford, Hereford, Lichfield, Lincoln, Manchester, Norwich, Oxford, Peterborough, St. Paul's, Southwell, Wells, Westminster Abbey, Winchester, Windsor, Worchester, York, and St. Albans Cathedrals.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Where's Your Ribbon? Networking at Conferences

(c) 2012 Gena Philibert-Ortega
At genealogy conferences  various vendors, organizations and people hand out ribbons to affix to your name tag. These ribbons may proclaim a characteristic of the wearer themselves (at Jamboree there were people who were sporting "tired feet" ribbons) or just act as a mini-advertisement for a website, company or group. So that got me to thinking, where are your ribbons?

Now, I'm not talking about how many ribbons did you get at the last conference. I'm referring to in what ways are you letting other people know about your research. Because this is a larger discussion which includes online and offline activities, let's just look at conferences, society meetings and other genealogical events that you attend.

Networking with other researchers is important on many levels, one of which is the potential in finding someone who is researching the same surname or place you are. I've connected with possible cousins in many ways while I've been out and about. At one conference a person was reading a family history book  between sessions that covered one of my families. Although we were not from the same branch, it was nice to talk about our common surname research.

There are many different ways that I see people "advertising" their research. Some societies print special t-shirts with the places and/or surnames they are researching. A few genealogy societies sell pins that members wear with their name and the surnames they are researching.

What are some ways that you can get the word out about the surnames you are researching? Here's a few to get you started:

Business Cards: Print or have printed business cards that provide your contact info and the surnames you are researching. Then liberally give them out at conferences; don't hold on to them. Introduce yourself to people, give them out to as many people as you can think of. Some genealogists remember the surname of fellow researchers and refer them to others with the same surnames.

Use Surname Walls: If the conference has any kind of "Surname Wall" where they allow attendees to post surnames they are researching, take advantage of that. In fact, bring your own labels that you have already printed out with the surname, dates and places.

Enhance your Name Tag: No matter what conference or event you attend, you most likely are going to get a name tag. Why not enhance that name tag by adding the Surname/s you are currently researching. Brightly colored ink  will get the attention of all those that pass by you. If you keep and reuse your own lanyard you can add to that.

Carry your Surnames: Not too long ago, craft stores sold tote bags that had clear pockets that you could slip photos in. I still seem business women carrying these with advertisements for their business. Whether you find a similar tote or buy a plain canvas tote at the craft store, use that to embellish with names, places, a map or anything that calls attention to your research. One of the benefits to this idea is that everyone at a conference is carrying the same totebag, the one that the conference organizers provide. Your embellished tote will get some attention and maybe even net you a new cousin.

Use the #Hashtag: I know I said I wasn't going to talk about ways to attract attention online but this goes with the theme of genealogical events. Most genealogy conferences, at least the major ones, have an associated hashtag for Twitter. #NGS2012, #SCGS12, #FGS2012, #FHExpos are all hastags used on Twitter this year. Use those hashtags to not only tweet what conference you are going to but to also announce your research interests. Everyone searching via that hashtag will see your surnames and in some cases when the conference organizer has a live Twitter feed display at the conference, even non-Twitter users potentially will see your tweet.

So how do you "advertise" your surnames at genealogical events?

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Day After: My Top 10 Jamboree 2012 List

I am exhausted after 4 days of the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree. But in some cases being exhausted is a good thing. And in this case it definitely is.

If you haven't been to Jamboree you may want to consider going. This conference is one of the best. I am a big believer in ongoing genealogical education and Jamboree delivers.

What's to like about Jamboree? Well here's my Top 10:

10. Prizes, Prizes, Prizes! Jamboree provides so much to participants. $17,000 of prizes were given out and that's not counting the drawing exhibitors did at their booths. Attendees who strolled the Exhibit Hall towards the end of the conference were awarded with last minute sales and deals from the vendors.

9. Audio Recording. Even if you weren't able to go, many of the sessions were audio taped. You can order these recordings from Conference Resource. They save these recordings as audio files and you can even order a USB drive with the audio files of the entire conference. There's nothing like getting audio files from a conference and listening to them over and over to help you enhance and expand your research skills.

8. Networking. Networking is so easy at a conference. It's a time to introduce yourself to others, ask questions, find cousins and more. With opportunities  between classes, the Surname Wall and the Exhibit Hall you have no excuse not to get the information you are seeking.

7. Location. Now the location isn't perfect but guess what, no location is. There will always be conferences that are too far, too small, too cold or too hot. What's nice about Jamboree is that it's in the same place each year making planning easy. It's literally across the street from the airport and down the street from the train station. You can come by plane and walk across the street if you wanted. Restaurants, a grocery store, the post office and an electronics store (in case of technology failure) are all within walking distance.

6. Streaming Sessions. Can't go to Jamboree? Well there's always the streaming sessions. My friend who lives in Virginia  attended Jamboree via these sessions, complete with handouts. The good folks at Jamboree do a great job of partnering with sponsors to make sure Jamboree is accessible to as many family historians as possible.

5. The App. Yes, there is an app for everything nowadays and Jamboree is on the forefront of that. Jamboree had an app last year and this year. That app provided schedules, handouts, maps and even a way to plan out your own schedule. A great tool that should be used by all those who attend and even those who can't.

4. Research Assistance. Members of the Southern California Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists (SCCAPG) provided Jamboree participants with one-on-one help with their genealogical brick walls. Did I mention that this was professional genealogical help for Free? Participants were able to sign-up prior to Jamboree to ensure their spot on the schedule. Make sure you take advantage of this next year, this is a wonderful benefit of Jamboree. (Yes, I am Vice-President of SCCAPG but I was not a part of this effort).

3. The Exhibit Hall. Like all conferences, the Exhibit Hall is important. Now, I'm not saying that because I was working in the booth for the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. I'm saying that because it provides attendees and the general public (the Exhibit Hall is free) to talk with companies, solve problems, seek assistance and learn. It should be the place for you to seek out help from the companies whose products you use and to learn about services you might want to begin using. There are also mini-presentations given by some of the vendors. Jamboree had a lot of great vendors from subscription websites (GenealogyBank, Find My Past, Ancestry) to social networking websites (WikiTree) to Societies (Sons of Norway, SCCAPG, CGS, CSGA and many others) to those who will help you edit your family history book and date your vintage photos (Stories to Tell, PhotoTree) and authors (Ron Arons, Lisa Louise Cooke, Denise Levenick). Now, these aren't all the vendors it's just a sprinkling of those that attended.

2. California. Why should you come to California for a genealogy conference?  Jamboree is conveniently located to many great research facilities like the Los Angeles Public Library and of course the Southern California Genealogical Society Library. The Immigrant Genealogical Society Library is also down the street. Within 2-3 hours of beautiful downtown Burbank is the Carlsbad Library and the National Archives.

1. The Presenters. All I can say is WOW! There was such a great mix of presenters at Jamboree. Starting with Steve Luxenberg who while not a "genealogist" wrote one of the best books using genealogical research, Annie's Ghosts. If you have not read this book, you should. The list goes on and on of who was there including Megan Smolenyak, George Morgan, Drew Smith, Jana Sloan Broglin, Tom Kemp, Steve Morse, Maureen Taylor and so many others. This is your chance to listen to the greatest in the genealogical world.

Now's the time to start planning to attend this event. You'll be glad you did. To learn more about Jamboree, check their blog and website.

The not so small print: Now in case you are wondering, yes, I was a speaker at Jamboree. Yes, I was audio and video recorded and yes, I did receive some compensation for speaking just as I do for any speaking engagement I do. I have been attending Jamboree long before I was a speaker there and believe in this conference whether I speak there or not. No one asked me to write this nor paid me to. I only blog in things I believe in.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Church Record Sunday: Texas Archival Resources Online

Texas Archival Resources Online " makes descriptions of the rich archival, manuscript, and museum collections in repositories across the state available to the public." You can learn more about what repositories are part of this catalog by clicking here. This website is searchable by repository or by keyword.

A search of just the word "church" brought back 1412 hits. Lots of great collections can be found including records for various Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Baptist, Lutheran, and Catholic churches as well as records for church groups like Church Women United.

If you have Texas ancestors, this is a great  place to look for records.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Signature Quilts: A Short Bibliography

This Sunday is the Jamboree Quilt Breakfast and I am honored to be speaking about a signature quilt top I own. My presentation Cigars, Murder and Women: Reconstructing a Signature Quilt's Community will be a look at signature quilts, their importance and some stories from one I am researching. I also will be bringing some other signature quilts with me.

Signature quilts are a wonderful resource for studying women's lives. Want to learn more about them? Check out some of the resources below.

Chenoweth, Lynda S. Philena's Friendship Quilt: A Quaker Farewell to Ohio. Athens [Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2009

Haagenson, Heidi. The Tenney Quilt: Celebrating the Women of Minnesota's Tiniest Town. Minneapolis, MN: Mill City Press, 2007.

Nicoll, Jessica F. Quilted for Friends: Delaware Valley Signature Quilts, 1840-1855. Winterthur, Del: Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, 1986.

Nicoll, Jessica F. A Mirror to Show Thy Friends to Thee: Delaware Valley Signature Quilts, 1840-1855. , 1989.


Album and Signature Quilt History 1830-Today. New Pathways into Quilt History by Kimberly Wulfert, Ph.D.

Signature Quilts: The Humble and the Proud., America's Quilting History.

Nineteenth Century Signature Quilts. Quaker Quilts. Lynda Salter Chenoweth and Mary Holton Robare.

Researching Signature Quilts. Quilt History Reports. KarenQuilt.