04 August 2011

Fort Wayne Ancestry Day

On July 23, 2011, my friend and I attended the Fort Wayne Ancestry Day sponsored by Ancestry.com and the Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library. 

We arrived on Friday afternoon and spent a couple hours just wandering around the Allen County Public Library - very impressive.  Equally impressive was the Genealogy Center - very large, well lit, lots of tables and computers, and an unbelievable amount of material.  We didn't know how much time we would have at the Library, so we didn't take any files or materials for research.  Next time!  Until then, here is a brief overview of the topics, speakers and some miscellaneous tidbits:

Insider Search Tips for Ancestry.com presented by Juliana Smith.
  • Start your search with basic information and then narrow it down.
  • Use the default settings link when specifying places and add multiple lived in events if your ancestor lived in different places.
  • Press the clear form tab between searches to refresh and restore.
  • When using the card catalog, the keyword search returns terms found in title and description.
  • When searching names, only use 7 letters on long names.
  • Searching census records, remember that the relationships are based on head of household.
  • Database descriptions include critical information.
  • Review the Source Information and Next Steps provided on your searches for additional information.
  • Remember to use the wildcard searches:
    • * matches zero or more characters
    • ? matches one character
    • First letter can now be a wildcard
    • Names must contain at least three non-wildcard characters
  • Immigrant considerations:
    • ethnic given names
    • surname variants
    • aliases
 How to Find Your Civil War Roots at Ancestry.com presented by Anne Gillespie Mitchell, Search Product Manager at Ancestry.com
  • Get organized - start with a plan.
    • identify families that lived in the 1860's.
    • make educated guesses about who might have served in the war.
  • Collect records. 
    • U.S. Federal Census for 1860 and 1870 censuses.
    • Civil War records - enlistment and service records; regiment records; prisoner of war records; pension records; death records.
  • Assemble the story - create a timeline.
Hidden Treasurers of The Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne presented by Curt Witcher, Manager of The Genealogy Center, Allen County Public Library
  • Monograms, cataloged manuscripts and periodical literature.
  • Large directory collection - city and county directories; church yearbooks, alumni directories, etc.
  • Biographical archives on microfiche.
  • Special manuscript collections on microfilm - Robert R. Livingston Papers, 1658-1888 from New York and 1789 Rebellion Papers from Ireland.
  • Resources for tracing medieval English ancestors.
  • WeRelate.org wiki - cooperative project of The Genealogy Center and Foundation for Online Genealogy.
  • PERSI.
  • Military histories and records.
  • Web presence - http://www.genealogycenter.org/.
  • Knowledgeable and approachable staff. 
A Dozen Ways to Jumpstart Your Family History Project presented by Loretto "Lou" Dennis Szucs
  • Review what you already know and have in your possession.
  • Find new clues in old records.
  • Networking.
  • Keep track of those that had anything to do with your ancestor.
  • Create timelines.
  • Know when and where your ancestors lived.
  • Visit and revisit websites.
  • Write biographical sketches about family members.
  • Look to see what others have published on the subject.
  • New things at Ancestry.
  • Genealogical and historical societies.
  • Amazing things happen when you organize and share with others.
Some miscellaneous tidbits:
  • 1940 U.S. Federal Census comes out in April 2012.
  • Ancestry is working on an app for Android phones.
  • Family Tree Maker 2012 will be out in September with ability to sync tree with FTM and Ancestry.
  • http://www.deadfred.com/ allows you to add old photos requesting information.
  • Google a speaker name and "presentation" for topics.
  • http://www.feefhs.org/  The Federation of East European Family History Societies is a federal organization for German research.
I have two hopes after posting this entry:  (1) this information will help someone; and (2) that I don't get into any trouble for posting this information that I obtained from Ancestry Day.

Good luck to all you genealogists out there - beginners to advanced, part-timers to full-timers, hobbyists to professionalists!!!

~Genie Sue

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