Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Ohio Genealogical Conference 2017

The Ohio Genealogical Conference was 26-29 April at the Kalahari Resort outside of Sandusky, Ohio. While it is too late for you to attend this year's conference, there is always next year!

This is an incredible opportunity for genealogists to augment or refresh their research skills. The conference always includes nationally renowned speakers on a vast array of topics.

I attended one day of the three day event on Friday, the 28th. There are six sessions each day and the biggest problem is that there are so many really great programs, that it is nearly impossible to choose which one to go to. But choose we must.

Pictures and recordings are not allowed during the session but I did steal a couple of fuzzy opening screen shots.

1. The first session of the day started at 8 a.m.. Since I was attending for only a single day, that meant leaving Medina very early in the morning. I arrived at 7:45 and got my registration packet and made it with time to spare to listen to Peggy Clemens Lauritzen's presentation on West Virginia genealogy.
The statues in the corridors were adorable.

Peggy stressed the importance of knowing the historical timeline for Virginia and West Virginia's history. She also emphasized the importance of knowing the migration trails, so you can better understand WHY your ancestors moved into an area. She recommended the Wiki at to learn more about migration trails. That is available HERE. The third topic that Peggy spoke about was knowing the ethnic background of your ancestors. The English, Germans and Scots-Irish tended to settle in separate areas and followed different customs.

                ENGLISH               SCOTS-IRISH           GERMAN
Settled -  E. Shenandoah         W. Shenandoah             E. Shenandoah 
Religion - Anglican/Baptist     Presbyterians                Lutheran/Protestant
Built first - Church                     Tavern                          Barn   

Finally, Peggy talked about two important online resources when researching West Virginia ancestors:
West Virginia Archives and History

2. Chris Staats is  a well known speaker in the Ohio genealogy sphere, so I was really looking forward to his presentation on Blogging. He specifically covered blogging with WordPress. I don't use WordPress, so it was very informative to me. It seems like an easy and versatile software to use.

He was specifically talking about blogging on your family history. You can use a blog to get help with a research problem or to post about a solution to a problem. Some of the blogs that he recommends are Lisa Also's and Randy Seaver. He also mentioned several other  tricks, such as using for making graphics and using a chart generator from Kid Zone.

3.  The next session I attended was about tracking your ancestors who liked to move around a lot. Titled "Tracking Your Spinning Ancestors Without Getting Dizzy" by Tina Lyons.

Sometimes, your ancestors weren't really moving from place to place, but the county's, state's or country's borders changed around them. The research techniques to solve the issue is the same in either case.

4. This was my favorite session of the day! Using Social Media for genealogy. Amie Browser Tennant was an energetic and entertaining speaker. When you have hit a snag in your research, consider turning to social media for FREE HELP when the resources you need are too far away or you just don't know what is out there.

She covered Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

On Facebook, she recommends using the FB groups for the state or county where you're researching and for Special Interest Groups (SIG) like for DNA and genealogy. I immediately tried this on my smart phone and found a group for one of my surnames in southern Ohio, the TAGGs.

Twitter is text based and she recommended following relevant people, experts and groups. Each tweet is limited to 140 characters, so you quickly learn to be concise. I may tiptoe into these waters over the next several months.

Pinterest is driven by pictures whose captions are hyperlinks to more information. By "pining" the ones you like, Pinterest "learns" to feed you more of the same.

She would be a perfect speaker for here in Medina!

5. OneNote software comes with the Microsoft Office Suite. Kelli Bergheimer covered its features. Basically, OneNote is:

  • A Digital Notebook
  • Structured place for random notes & ideas
  • An area for collections
She prefers OneNote to Evernote because  your files are always under  your control. Evernote stores your information on the "cloud" which I think makes it more accessible.

If your favorite history book has been digitized and is available as a downloadable PDF, you can save it to OneNote and access it anywhere you can access your OneNote folders.

For genealogical purposes you can:
  • Track your DNA matches
  • Take notes
  • Keep track of cousins
  • Have folders for each surname where you store your research.
  • Save your lists of IDs and passwords for all your different digital accounts.
  • Can be password protected.

Adorable hippos
6.  Dr. Michael Lacopo covered researching your ancestors in Pennsylvania. He started by emphasizing following the Genealogical Proof Standard. He covered all the different resources:

  • Check out the Family Search Wiki on Pennsylvania
  • Church records, unlike other records, your ancestors didn't have to have money to go to church.
  • Tax Records - for anyone who lived in Pennsylvania after 1750
  • Court Records
    • Court of Common Pleas
    • Court of Quarter Sessions
    • Court of Oyer & Terminer
  • Business Records
  • ArchiveGrid - the new endeavor from the folks at WorldCat that describes and directs you to historical collections in archives around the world.

All in all, it was a very educational, exciting and exhausting day!

That evening, I was inducted into the First Families of Ohio lineage society.



eabn said...

CONGRATULATIONS! It is wonderful to see your dedication and commitment to the immense field of genealogy appreciated with this official award. I know you have worked very hard for years to earn this. Your depth of knowledge benefits all who go to the Medina library with bits and pieces of family history looking for guidance in climbing their family trees. I am certain that most go away encouraged and with awareness of new sources that can help them go further.

Kat said...

Thank you for your kind words

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on an enormous achievement. We are very grateful that you
share with us your knowledge.

Lisa said...

Awesome Blog as usual! I really want to go next year to this. Also, Congratulations! You deserve the recognition for all your research!

Kat said...

Thank you for your nice words!

Wendy said...

Sounds like a great conference! And congratulations on your award and recognition!

Kat said...

Thank you!

Pat Morgan said...

Congratulations! I know you worked hard to get this award! 😀