Last Saturday I attended the Indiana Genealogical Society’s Annual Meeting at the Allen County Public Libraryin Fort Wayne. Speakers included Debra Mieszala, CGSM, Michael Hall, Melissa Shimkus, and Curtis Sylvester. I focused on the Internet sessions, hoping to get some new information and tips about on-line research.
[Update: Several hours after I posted this blog FamilySearch Indexing on Facebook posted that Indiana is NOT 100% indexed, as was reported last Saturday. Evidently not all of the Indiana images and batches were included when they started indexing but they are now available. FamilySearch apologized for the confusion. Nevertheless, the Indiana indexers, as well as all indexers deserve Kudos.]
Michael Hall’s first session was “What’s New with FamilySearch.” I was impressed to learn that Indiana is 100% indexed as far as the 1940 census is concerned. Kudos to the Indiana indexers! It is the third state to be completely indexed, following behind Delaware and Kansas. The index for Indiana should be available on-line in 2-3 weeks.
Michael talked about other FamilySearch indexing projects. Indexing the 1940 census is at the forefront now but there are over 125 current indexing projects in 7 languages. He pointed out that indexing provides a meaningful service that allows one to give back and pay it forward.
The last couple days I have indexed several batches of 1940 census pages from neighboring Allen County, Ohio. I would love to index Mercer County! I enjoy indexing and plan to continue with other indexing projects after the 1940 census is completed.
There are over 125,000 volunteer indexers and most are not LDS members. He also mentioned that there is a phone app to index the 1940 census but stressed that it would not be advisable to index while driving.
The most recent FamilySearch initiatives are the 1940 census, their Civil War Project and the Italian Records and Research. They hope to have all the records in the Granite Mountain Vault digitized in 5 years.
I was excited to learn that FHL microfilms can now be sent to your local library. Michael pointed out that it is very helpful if the library has a microfilm reader.
Michael also talked about some features of FamilySearch.org that I do not regularly use. About 40 pages are added to their Wiki each day. He showed examples of scanned documents and collections from some Indiana counties that are on their Wiki and pointed out that it would be a good place to detail your local society and their holdings. You can connect with people around the world on the FamilySearch Form. He gave the example of getting help with a German language translation. FamilySearch has over 400 free on-line Research Courses that range from beginner to experienced researcher.
Melissa Shimkus presented a session “Becoming Expert on Using Ancestry”. Melissa gave many tips for achieving good results from an Ancestry.com search. Her tips ranged from using wild-cards to the simple and advanced searches. A ? will replace 1 character and an * will replace multiple characters. You can use the symbols together and you use multiples of either.
Melissa suggested populating only 3-4 items/life events when performing a search on Ancestry.com. Most important would be first and last name, the place where they lived and possibly date of birth. Giving too few items will result in many hits while being too specific will result in fewer, more precise hits.
Ancestry.com has over 30,000 browsable collections and they are found in their Card Catalog, under Search.
Saturday’s conference was very informative and I even had time to go upstairs and do a little research.
Next week is the annual National Genealogical Society [NGS] Conference in Cincinnati. My friend Miriam and I will be traveling to the conference together. I will get early access to the exhibit hall since I volunteered to help set up the BCG [Board for Certification of Genealogists] booth. FamilySearch is hosting a dinner Tuesday night for the Geneabloggers. I am an Official 2012 NGS Conference Blogger so I will try to blog about my conference experiences every day.
I have been trying to get things organized and ready to take to Cincinnati. I have been putting conference information on my netbook and my Kindle. I have been trying to decide which sessions to attend and what booths I want to be sure to visit in the exhibit hall. NGS has a helpful daily conference blog that that tells about the speakers and exhibitors. And there is the shopping. Yes, I have my list of items [mainly books] that I want to purchase. It should be a good time
I never look forward to packing and this year is no exception. I always take too much, but we always drive, so who cares?
One thing I am rather excited to try out on this trip [I’m going put on my dental hygiene hat and talk a little dentistry now] is the travel case of my new Philips Sonicare DiamondClean 300 Series power toothbrush. The case is the charger and the power cable has a USB connection that will hook up to an electrical outlet or to my laptop! How cool is that?? My toothbrush is a tech tool!
I look forward to seeing some of you at the conference next week. Even if you aren’t in Cincinnati you can read all about it here.