Tuesday, March 19, 2013

FREE Genealogy Sessions

Lucky you!! Sit at home and attend FREE genealogy sessions being presented at the RootsTechIII Conference happening in SLC. I can't as my bandwidth is insufficient & expensive. Enjoy!!

The following times are Eastern Standard times so adjust accordingly.

Thursday, 21 March 2013
10:30 AM Keynote – Dennis Brimhall, Syd Lieberman, Josh Taylor
1:00 PM The Future of Genealogy - Thomas MacEntee and panel
3:45 PM Tell it Again (Story@Home) - Kim Weitkamp
5:00 PM The Genealogists Gadget Bag - Jill Ball and panel
6:15 PM Finding the Obscure and Elusive: Geographic Information on the Web - James Tanner

Friday, 22 March 2013
10:30 AM Keynote - Jyl Pattee and Tim Sullivan
11:45 AM Researching Ancestors Online - Laura Prescott
1:00 PM FamilySearch Family Tree - Ron Tanner
3:45 PM Google Search… and Beyond - Dave Barney
5:00 PM From Paper Piles to Digital Files - Valerie Elkins

Saturday, 23 March 2013
10:30 AM Keynote - David Pogue and Gilad Japhet
11:45 AM Using Technology to Solve Research Problems - Karen Clifford
1:00 PM Digital Storytelling: More than Bullet Points - Denise Olson

Start at "rootstech.org"

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Women's History Month - March

To celebrate women's history month, my old friend Lisa Also has added a section she's named Fearless Females. She has also offered 31 prompts to help you along. Have a look at


Happy Searching!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Finding German Ancestors - 4 tips

The following is [mostly] from Family Tree University.

4 Tips for Finding German Ancestors
Not finding your ancestor in genealogical records? The name you've been searching for may be wrong. Your ancestor may have changed his surname after immigration, or English-speaking clerks may have translated it. In colonial America, Bentz evolved to Pentz and eventually Pence; Zimmermann became Zimmerman or was translated to Carpenter; and Schwarzwälder became Blackwelder. As many as a hundred names could be derived from a single German surname. Here are some hot tips for fighting through German name changes and translations.

1. Watch for regional customs. If you have ancestors from northern Germany around Ostfriesland, you may find a pattern of changing last names. This area used patronymics-surnames taken from the father's given name. For example, Peter Hansen's offspring would have the last name Petersen. Ancestors from around Westphalia may have based their surname on farm ownership. A telltale sign is when a man's surname changed at marriage-his wife was heir to a farm.

2. If an immigrant's name is different in US records than in those of his homeland, the change happened after he immigrated. Ellis Island officials didn't write names, they merely checked the passenger list that was created at the port of departure. Rather, your ancestor may have adopted an American-sounding name as a way to identify with his new home and avoid anti-German sentiments.

3. Don't use census records alone to conclude an ancestor changed the spelling of his or her name. People didn't write their own names on censuses. They (or a family member, or even a neighbor) stated their names to the census enumerator, who wrote them down. One census enumerator may write Müller, another Mueller and another Miller. Even within the same document, such as a will, you might find a name spelled different ways. Note all name variations you find and don't limit your research to the most common spelling.

4. North Americans typically use our first names. Looking at the name Johann Peter Schneider, we'd see Peter as just a middle name. But in Germany, people were often given saints' names (common ones were Johann, Maria and Anna) as first names and were called by their middle names. Your safest bet is to look for both Johann and Peter in records.

[My own east German families that immigrated into the USA in 1879 were all listed in the ships passenger lists by only one of their 'first' names - which turned out to be their saint's names, which was different than the names they were called by their families. Oh what a tangled web they weave!!]

Whether it's from difficult translation or hard-to-read fonts, we can all agree that trying to decode German records is a pain in the posterior. Gothic typeface and crazy cursive handwriting can lead to hours of squinty suffering.

Happy Searching Everyone!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Edmonton Conference Apr 2013

I am very honoured to be again presenting at the upcoming Alberta Genealogical Conference in Edmonton, April 20 & 21st, 2013. This is a fabulous conference with some really great speakers this year - a few locals, a few 'imported' Canadians, and a few from the USA ... all experts in their fields. The conference is held at the Chateau Louis Conference Centre and Hotel - an awesome venue for sure!! I love, love, love this conference ... and you will too!!!! It is always so professionally managed and run by their organized and fun group of volunteers.

Check it out http://abgensoc.ca/events.html

When you're there, be sure to say "Hi" to me please?