National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair

NARA Virtual Genealogy FairComing in October . . . the National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair!
The fair takes place online October 26th and 27th. It is free and being broadcast via YouTube. Viewers watching it live will have opportunities to interact with speakers and other attendees. All sessions are recorded and can be viewed at a later date. Visit the fair page for details and the session schedule. You can also watch sessions from previous fairs.

GeneaPress: WikiTree Announces Source-a-Thon

WikiTree will be kicking off Family History Month with a three-day sourcing marathon, October 1-3, 2016. Individuals and organizations from around the genealogy community are coming together to support this event by donating door prizes for participants. Over $3,000 in genealogy prizes have already been pledged.

Citing sources is required on WikiTree’s collaborative, free family tree, but inexperienced genealogists don’t always record them. As Mags Gaulden, a WikiTree leader, states, “In a perfect world all genealogies would be well-sourced, but unfortunately this isn’t the case. We have all run across online genealogies that are just repeats, copy-and-pastes, of what someone else had thrown up based on what aunt Mabel told them back in the 70s.”

Second-hand family information deserves to be preserved and shared, but it needs to be verified. Generous genealogists in the WikiTree community help each other every day by confirming the information in unsourced profiles and adding citations. 200,000 profiles on WikiTree’s 12-million person tree are currently identified as needing independent verification. The Source-a-Thon is a major community event to slash that number, draw attention to the importance of sources, and to have fun doing it.

Live chats will be hosted every few hours during the three-day event for participants to cheer each other on. During the chats, random winners will be drawn for valuable prizes including full memberships at MyHeritage, FindMyPast, Ancestry, Fold3, Newspapers.com, and GenealogyBank, DNA tests from Family Tree DNA, conference passes for RootsTech, software, books, gift certificates, t-shirts, research assistance, and much more.

To be eligible for door prizes, participants must register in advance and get a “race number.”

See http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Source-a-Thon for details and to register.

Indexing Records at  FamilySearch.org

FamilySearch is sponsoring an online indexing event beginning July 15th. Indexing is what makes records searchable and is a great way to help move genealogical research forward.

Everyone deserves to be remembered and you can help make this possible. No special skills or time commitments are required. Together, we can help people from around the world find and trace their ancestry for free. Watch the video to find out, in just a few short minutes, what indexing is and how it works.

Learn more at FamilySearch.org

Society Events – Personal Archives

Society Events – Personal Archives …

Sometime back I sat in on a panel discussion of the future of genealogy. Most of the discussion revolved around technical advances and digital content being added at the large database sites. I was surprised that little was said about the impact of personal archives. While the large databases are a treasure trove of vital records, probate records, immigration records and such, personal archives…

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Society Events – Personal Archives

Sometime back I sat in on a panel discussion of the future of genealogy. Most of the discussion revolved around technical advances and digital content being added at the large database sites. I was surprised that little was said about the impact of personal archives. While the large databases are a treasure trove of vital records, probate records, immigration records and such, personal archives are where the letters, journals, photographs, portraits and artifacts reside that add life and personality to our ancestors. I don’t know about you, but these items are the life blood of my research and storytelling efforts.

My family has been knocking around an idea to photograph many of the family heirlooms to create a book that would allow each of us to “share the heritage”. In researching what it would take to pull such a project together, I realized this could easily become a massive effort. In addition to lighting and photography equipment, wouldn’t it also be wonderful to have conservators and appraisers available to offer expert advice? Wonderful? Yes! Affordable? Not so much.

It was at that point that it dawned on me this would be a perfect project for a local historical or genealogical society. Societies have the expertise and connections for both digitizing and documenting family heirlooms. Putting on such an event could also give them access to personal archives which would expand their knowledge base. And, they could ask for digital copies with appropriate releases as a part of the digitizing/documentation service. Then, there’s also the possibility for negotiating loans of artwork and other artifacts for special exhibits in local museums. Individuals get digital copies of their artifacts along with conservation tips and some idea of their history. And, hopefully, everyone has some fun in the process.

Our mobile society means a small local genealogy society needs the support of distant members to survive and prosper. This is increasingly difficult when their record collections are only available in print format. Projects to digitize both the society’s collection and their members’ personal archives can go a long way to attract new members and create a vibrant community where both local and distant members can actively participate.

And, by attracting more people to the joys of genealogy, they will help the commercial side of our community too.