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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Monday
    May132013

    Day 4 Highlights and Photos from #NGS2013

    NGS 2

    So, what's with the construction hat?

    When word went out from NGS about the conference Twitter Challenge, I decided to join the spirit of the event by tweeting the ten tasks for a chance to win registration to the NGS 2014 Conference in Richmond, Virginia. Part of the challenge was to incorporate the conference theme in each tweet; the hat seemed appropriate for Building New Bridges and my grandson didn't seem to miss it from the toy box.

    Stay tuned for a recap of the challenge contest and more photos!

    Exhibit Hall Highlights

    I usually spend quite a bit of conference time in the exhibit hall checking out new services and products, but this time it was hard to find time between sessions and meet-ups to walk the aisles of the hall. I finally scheduled some time Saturday to see what's new. 

    Author Christy Leskovar

    I met author Christy Leskovar (right) with her mom and chatted about her new family history books, One Night in a Bad Inn  and Finding the Bad Inn: Discovering My Family's Hidden Past .

    Polish Mission

    Cecile Wendt Jensen and Dr. Hal Learman of the Polish Mission in Detroit, Michigan gave me a brief introduction to Polish geography! Now I know where to turn when I start working seriously on my Pomeranian and Prussian lines. Cecile's introductory book Sto Lat: A Modern Guide to Polish Genealogy looks like it will be a big help!

    Treelines

    Snapped this photo with Tammy of Treelines online timeline software as part of the NGS Tweet Challenge. Can't wait to give this program a test-drive. They won the Developer's Award at Roots Tech.

    Monday
    May132013

    Sherlock Holmes for MyHeritage at NGS2013

     

    Here I am with Sherlock Holmes and Daniel Horowitz of MyHeritage
    at the Press Conference announcing the new Record Detective feature
    of the research software.
     

    MyHeritage Announces the Record Detective

    Saturday morning I attended the MyHeritage press conference where Daniel Horowitz announced the newest feature of the software program, the Record Detective. In a clever play with the name, Holmes' costumed assistants met attendees in the hallway with the query, "Are you seeking a clue?" The direction to the second floor conference room was helpful, and the team continued with the theme in the introduction, press packet, and fun detective mustaches.

    Record Detective is a record and people matching feature that seeks out material from the MyHeritage databases to help expand research and trees. It allows users to review, and extract information to add to their own research and works on both public and private trees.

    I'm looking forward to trying it out and will post more info. Check out Randy Seaver's notes at Genea-Musings for his overview and view the video introduction on YouTube:

     

    Sunday
    May122013

    NGS 2013 Vegas Day 3: It's All in the Details

    It's becoming a challenge to continue my rather abbreviated summary of presentations at the National Genealogical Society Conference in Las Vegas. As I thought about what key lesson tied together the sessions I attended on Friday, the theme became obvious -- it was all in the details, or as Elizabeth Shown Mills emphasized "a researcher is a nitpicker."

    Here are a few notes on my schedule for the day:

    J. Mark Lowe -- Bible Thumper or Pious Pilgrim: Relgious Ancestors on the Frontier
    I wish my Bible Church ancestors left more detailed records (heck, I wish they left church records, at ALL!)
    Mark Lowe's description of the rich records in some denominations made me long for converts in my family tree. 

    Elizabeth Shown Mills -- Trousers, Beds, Black Domestic, Tacks and Housekeeping Bills: "Trivial Details" Can Solve Research Problems!
    Be a nitpicker with details.
    THINK long and hard and every which way about the information you find. Details hide answers to tough questions. 

    Jill Crandall -- Microsoft Excel: A Little-Known Genealogy Research Tool
    Excel wasn't designed for historical detail. 
    Jill Crandall makes a good case for using spreadsheets to analyze data, but I still find it easier to use tables and charts. Sorry! I DID learn, however, that you have to do some gymnastics if you want Excel to recognize dates before 1 Jan 1900 on a PC (190? on a Mac).

    Dr. Tom Jones -- Planning "Reasonably Exhaustive" Research
    Detail, Detail, Detail
    I seem to be on the methodology and Skillbuilding Tracks and the lessons to plan, document, and analyze are creating a refrain. Dr. Jones makes this task seem very do-able and not nearly as intimidating as it sounds.  

    I'm working up a list of JAMB recordings to purchase because there are so many enticing lectures I want to attend running concurrently. I noticed that JAMB is also selling 4-CD sets of lectures by Paula Stuart Warren, John Humphrey, Elizabeth Shown Mills, and Dr. Tom Jones. Worth checking out!

    Friday
    May102013

    Lessons of the Day #ngs2013

    If Day One was all about Lies, the theme for the sessions I attended Thursday must be Control

    The day starts early here in the desert, and it's really the best time to see the morning light over the mountains ringing the Las Vegas valley. I discovered a route from my hotel room in a distant tower that takes me outside along the front of the hotel directly to the doors of the conference foyer. Tradeoff: casino lights for sunlight.

    Here's a brief recap of my Day Two sessions:

    Pam Stone Eagleson -- Grandma's Treasure Chest: Investigating and Evaluating Family Artifacts
    Control the Citation. 
    [Bonus lesson: Photo captions lie; This lecture was at the top of my list after I met Pam at GRIP 2012 and discovered we have a common fascination with family artifacts. She shared items from her own collection with solid ideas for researching, citing, and establishing provenance of keepsakes. Her sample misleading photo caption attracted lots of comments following the talk and makes me rethink some photos in my own collection.]

    Barbara Vines Little -- Feme Covert or Feme Sole: Women and the Law
    Control Women.
    [well, that seems to be the goal of English Common Law. Barbara Little always manages to make a history lesson funny, informative, and VERY enjoyable. I think the women left this session rather happy to be living in 2012.] 

    Judy Russell -- Blackguards and Black Sheep: The Lighter Side of the Law (BCG Luncheon)
    Un-Controlable Ancestors Left Awesome Records.
    What's to add? The Legal Genealogist IS a treat not to be missed! 

    Elizabeth Shown Mills -- Information Overload? Effective Project Planning, Research, Data Management, and Analysis
    Control the Information.
    [I have been waiting months to hear this lecture in person after reading about it from earlier conferences. It was packed with useful tips for building a solid information management workflow. Highly recommended for anyone struggling to find a "better" way to handle mountains of data. P.S. Dust off your word-processing software]. 

    Patricia Walls Stamm and Jordan Jones -- NGS American Genealogy Home Study Course
    New Edition Under Control.
    If you have been considering enrolling in the NGS Home Study Course, you might want to get an update on plans for a revised edition coming (hopefully) later this year. Stay tuned for a more complete recap of this session.

    Thursday
    May092013

    GeneaVegas Day One at #NGS2013

    GeneaVegas Culture Shock

    Shifting from daily routine to conference pace is always challenging, but add the cacophony of casino chimes and lobby music and it's just plain ole culture shock. Where else but Las Vegas could you see by a wedding in-progress, pass by a wine bar, thread your way through buzzing, blinking slot machines, and end up in a  quiet ballroom packed to capacity to hear a keynote lecture on historical records?

    The day began with the Opening Session and National Genealogical Society awards presentations honoring newsletter editorship and service to the society. Both family association and society newsletters were included in the awards; and several individuals were named for their service to the society. Read the full details  at the NGS Conference Blog.

    In one of the most entertaining and unusual conference opening events, attendees were treated to a lively musical selection by the Mariachi Los Bravos, from the local J.D. Smith Middle School. The student group performed two numbers in the ballroom, and then led the procession out of the room and across the concourse to open the exhibit hall. Conference attendees responded by enthusiastic clapping, whistling, and calling -- mariachi style. 

    The buzz continued into the exhibit hall where scores of boots and demonstrations filled the large room. I did a quick tour of the room, stopping to check out the new Lutheran Church databases at Archives.com with Amy Crow, and then headed to the seminar rooms to get a seat for the first session of the day with Dr. Thomas Jones.

    It was hard to decide which sessions to attend, the lineup is THAT GOOD. I was really torn between wanting to hear new-to-me speakers and learn more from those instructors I had previously heard at other conferences. I finally decided to purchase JAMB tapes for some sessions and attend others.

    Here's a brief recap of my take-away notes from Day One:

    Dr. Thomas Jones -- Debunking Misleading Records
    Records Lie, Don't believe everything you read.

    Elizabeth Shown Mills -- The Genealogical Prof Standard in Action: Case Building When No Record States an Answer
    Places Don't Lie, Keep the person in the right location

    Warren Bittner - Impossible Immigrant: I Know Everything About the Man, Except Where He Came From
    People Lie, or fib (sounds nicer), German names are a puzzle

    I highly recommend each of these sessions, available on JAMB recordings, although you won't have the advantage of seeing the actual record images shown on the visual slides.

    And, if you think you've heard the topic before, think again. Elizabeth Shown Mills presentation on the GPS reflects the newest refined version of the standard and an outstanding graphic process map. This concept is also referenced in Dr. Jones new book Mastering Genealogical Proof and shows how the GPS is becoming an even better tool all the time.

    Then, of course, there was meeting up with old friends and meeting so many new genealogists. Thursday promises to another busy day. Stay tuned.

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