Tuesday, June 2, 2009

"Filling in the Dash"

At the graduation ceremony of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies <www.GenealogicalStudies.com> on Friday afternoon, Todd Poertner gave an entertaining speech to the 40 graduates and their invited guests in which he said his wife, Rebecca, was prone to taking genealogical vacations.

When he asked her why she was doing this, she said she was gathering information to "fill in the dash". That is that “-” sign we have all come across in our research that denotes a lifetime spent between birth and death. What type of life did this person live?

And the way to this type of research — filling in the dash — was exactly what Kory Meyerink spoke about in his speech that evening.

Keynote speaker Kory L. Meyerink — during the opening ceremonies of this year's Ontario Genealogical Society's Conference '09 — gave the J. Richard Houston Memorial Lecture on Friday evening.

"It's time for genealogists to become family 'biographers' and get beyond just names, dates, and places," was how he started in his lecture, "Beyond the Begats: Developing Biographies from Paper and Digital Sources."

He said we call it family history for a reason, and the reason is - because it is not JUST genealogy!

We just don't copy down a series of dates and say, "That's it, I am finished with it now!", or at least he hopes we don't. He encourages us to write a "Family Biography", and he gave us a list of sources to check as we start our biographies.

Continue to use the traditional sources, as we all do, like census records, BMDs, etc, but go beyond them, gathering the "extra" information like local histories, military files, court and civil records, and newspapers.

He said we have to train ourselves to focus on the "what" rather than ask "why". For example, why a person migrated can be somewhat easy to find, but what did they migrate from, and what did they migrate to, can be more difficult to determine.

He also advise us to become "miners" of databases.

This term these days is becoming rather dated in Internet times, but it still applies if you are doing genealogical research.

Some of the databases he suggests in "mining" are <www.Ancestry.com> (they have over 1,400 databases of Canadian records), <www.WorldVitalRecords.com>, <www.Footnote.com>, <www.FamilySearch.org>, and <www.CollectionsCanada.gc.ca>, which includes the Canadian Genealogy Centre.

He left us with a two page bibliography, which I intend to research. I am sure that I will come across some books that will pique my interest, and I will read them - especially the books about immigration histories.

John Becker, the editor of the OGS journal, Families, tells me that this lecture will be reprinted in a future issue. Be sure to watch for it!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

OGS Conference '09 Ends!

Well, the fun is over - Conference '09 ended at 3:00 this afternoon, with the news that next years' conference will be held May 14-16 at the DoubleTree by Hilton at the Toronto Airport.

So it's farewell to Oakville and the many friends I leave behind for yet another year.

I'll be on the road all day tomorrow, going back to Ottawa, and I will blog more about the conference and its sessions the rest of the week.

Day 3 - Conference '09

This is the last day, and although a bit tired because of yesterday's hectic schedule and last night's banquet, we are here early this morning at the computer room, still searching for ancestors.

I am going back to the Marketplace to get information on next year's conference in Toronto, to be held May 14 to 16. This afternoon, at 2:15, the closing remarks and final goodbyes will be held.

I am going to spend some time at the OGS Publications Table (as editor of NewsLeaf and its sister email publication, e-NewsLeaf).

And as a representative of the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors (ISFHWE) — in my capacity as International Director — I am letting others know what a great organization it is for writers http://isfhwe.org/

I will posting more on this conference in the next few days.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

**NEWSFLASH** - OGS Accepts Fee Increase

Just a few minutes ago, the attending members of the Ontario Genealogical Society, at their AGM, voted overwhelmingly to increase membership dues from $45 to $60 a year, beginning next year.

More to follow on this ...

Friday, May 29, 2009

''Accident" Today at OGS Conference '09

... what you get when you mix a conference, a festive atmosphere, rabid genealogists, a graduation ceremony, a librarian, coffee, and a chair ...

Conference attendee, Marian Press, reacts to casualty.

Friday Afternoon at OGS Conference '09

Up-and-coming blogging superstar, John D. Reid (on the right), of the Anglo-Celtic Connections blog <http://anglo-celtic-connections.blogspot.com>—fresh from his trip from Ottawa—is enjoying a fine cold-plate supper with fellow genealogist and guest speaker, Gary Schroder of the Quebec Family History Society <http://www.qfhs.ca>.

This is the culmination of a very exciting afternoon, filled with a visit to the Marketplace (again) to see more newly-arrived exhibitors, the chance to meet more acquaintances, a workshop hosted by the Irish Palatine special Interest Group (IP-SIG), and the graduation ceremony of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies <www.genealogicalstudies.com> (more to follow on these activities).

We're now off in a mad rush to the opening ceremonies!

Conference '09 - Marketplace - Day 1

So, here is an update on the Marketplace, and some pictures.

Dr. Fraser Dunford, Executive Director of the OGS, putting in some work at the conference, setting up the OGS kiosk -

- and John Becker, editor of OGS journal, Families, is putting final touches on his display at our OGS Publications Table.