May 16

Live Streaming From the 2014 NGS Conference

Last week, 7-10 May, was the annual National Genealogical Society [NGS] Conference, held in Richmond, Virginia. The 2014 Conference, entitled Virginia: The First Frontier, offered over 175 lectures during the four day conference.

Genealogical conferences, whether national, state, or local, are a wonderful means to learn and network. I enjoy attending them as often as I can, if they are within reasonable driving distance, which for me is no more than five to six hours travel time. It would have been about a nine hour drive to this year’s conference. Plus it just did not fit into my schedule this year. So I did not attend the 2014 NGS Conference.

Although I was not there in person, I was able to see a few of the sessions. Live. Right here at home, in my office, on my PC.

Viewing_PCThat’s right. This year NGS offered something new, something for those of us that could not attend the conference for one reason or another. For the first time NGS offered “live streaming” of certain sessions, making those sessions available to persons with an Internet connection anywhere. I was able to watch and listen to the sessions live, at the same time they were being presented. Or I can watch them later if I was busy when they were shown live. Roots Tech, a conference that focuses on genealogy and technology, has offered live streaming the past couple of years.

NGS offered ten sessions for live streaming, in two tracks that consisted of five sessions each. They chose lectures on popular topics presented by nationally known speakers. You could chose to view either or both tracks, at a cost of $65/track or $115 for both, for NGS members. Non-members could also sign up for the live stream, at $80/track or $145 for both. Membership has its advantages.

Track one was Records and Research Techniques and track two was Virginia Resources and Migration Patterns.

I chose to watch track one, which consisted of two lectures on Thursday afternoon and three on Friday morning. Sessions were: “Using Evidence Creatively, Spotting Clues in Run-of-the-Mill Records,” Elizabeth Shown Mills; “Can a Complex Research Problem Be Solved Solely Online?” Thomas W. Jones; “Using NARA’s Finding Aids and Website,” Pamela Boyer Sayer; “Disputes and Unhappy Differences…Surprises in Land Records,” Sharon Tate Moody; and “A Sound Mind and Body, Using Probate Records in Your Research,” Michael Hait.

I watched Elizabeth Shown Mills and Tom Jones present their sessions live on Friday. Then on Saturday I watched Sharon Tate’s presentation a few hours after its completion. I will watch the other two sessions some time in the future.

The nice thing is that I can watch the lectures as often as I want, whenever I want, for ninety days after the end of the conference. NGS On Demand Online Access was to be available within 24 hours of the recording, but it was actually available sooner than that. I watched one of Saturday’s sessions a few hours after the session had ended.

Live stream registrants also received a digital version of the conference syllabus, all 628 pages in PDF format. The syllabus includes the handout material for each session, which is usually four pages per session. The syllabus itself is a great source of information and interesting to look through.

LectureNGS selected Playback Now to broadcast sessions live and show the recordings after that. The live stream was simple enough to set up. I simply went to the conference live streaming website and logged in with my password. It worked extremely well. The video and audio were excellent. The video was a good mix as it went back and forth between the speaker and their Power Point slides.

There were a coupe disadvantages to the live stream for me:

  • It used a lot of data. I use my tablet as a hot spot for my Internet connection and I found that two sessions use about 1 GB of data.
  • There was a limited number of sessions for live streaming.
  • I did not get to chose the sessions I wanted to view.  They were already chosen.

It appears the 2014 NGS Conference live stream was a success. I received an e-mail from NGS yesterday announcing that they were taking registrations until 31 May for post-conference viewing of the ten sessions mentioned above. Before the conference over 400 signed up for the live stream, but others learned about it after the conference and want the opportunity to view the sessions, too. Post-conference registrants will be allowed to view sessions in track one, track two, or both tracks for the next three months, at the pre-conference price. The digital syllabus is also included.

I also have another option to hear the lectures I missed. I can purchase an audio recording from JAMB Tapes, Inc. They offer recordings of most conference sessions on audio CD for $12 each. The 2014 conference CDs will be available soon. And I can follow right along with my syllabus.

I still enjoy attending conferences in person to learn, to network with other genealogists, to see old friends and meet new ones, to shop in the exhibit hall, and to see the various conference venues, but I cannot attend every year. Live streaming was a nice opportunity to see some presentations this year.

It is almost the next best thing to being there.





May 13

Tombstone Tuesday–Infant Son & Daughter of A.L. & N.M. Schumm

Infant son and daughter of A.L. & N.M. Schumm, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

Infant son and daughter of A.L. & N.M. Schumm, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of stillborn twins, the son and daughter of Arnold and Naomi (Schumm) Schumm, located in row 8 of Zion Lutheran Church Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Infant Son & Dau. of
A.L. & N.M. Schumm

Zion Schumm’s records show only that the infant son and daughter of A.L. Schumm were buried in 1926.

Ohio death records indicate that a stillborn male was born on 18 April 1926 in Van Wert County to Arnold L. and Naomi Schumm and was buried on 19 April. [1] The index below shows the information about the stillborn infant. [2] Neither of the state records mention the twin girl, although the FamilySearch record was an abstract of the original.

SchummStillbo DR 1926, ODH - Copy

Ohio Death Index 1908-1932.

About the parents: According to Zion Schumm’s records, Arnold Ludwig Schumm was born 7 August 1890, the son of John and Wilhelmine (Breuninger) Schumm. “Naemi” Margaretha Schumm was born 2 March 1897 to Fredrick Jr and Maria (Buechner) Schumm. Her name was spelled Naemi in her baptism and marriage records, but was spelled Naomi in later church records.

Arnold and Naomi were married at her parents’ home on 16 November 1922 by Rev. R.O. Bienert. Witnesses to their marriage were Amos Schumm and Salome Schumm.

It appears that the twins were the first children born to Arnold and Naomi. Other children born to the couple:

Lois Margaret 1928
Frederich John 1933
Wilma Louise 1936

Arnold Schumm died in 1968 and Naomi died in 1982.

[1] “Ohio, Deaths and Burials, 1854-1997, ” index. FamilySearch ( : accessed 11 May 2014), Infant Schumm, 18 Apr 1926; citing Willshire, Van Wert, Ohio, reference item 11 cn 40; FHL microfilm 1952874.

[2] Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-2007, and 1958-2007, from Death Certificates and Index, Ohio Division of Vital Statistics, December 20, 1908-December 31, 1953, on-line database, ( : accessed 11 May 2014), Stillbo Schumm, 18 Apr 1926; from State Archives Series 3094, p.7530, Ohio Historical Society, Columbus, Ohio.

May 09

Chattanooga On Google Earth

Last week I wrote about Google Earth and posted some area photos that I screen captured while looking around in the program. It is interesting to look at the photos from various years and different views on Google Earth. This week I have some photos of Chattanooga, Ohio, from Google Earth.

Google Earth’s most recent aerial view of Chattanooga was taken 26 February 2012. Chatt’s downtown area looks pretty much the same today as it did in 2012. The Chatt Bar is in the left center of the photo below. Notice that the 2012 aerial view shows a vacant lot to the south of the Chatt Bar.

Chattanooga, Ohio, Google Earth, 26 Feb 2012 photo.

Chattanooga, Ohio, Google Earth, 26 Feb 2012 photo.

But when I switched to Google Earth’s Street View in front of the Chatt Bar I got a big surprise. I noticed that the aerial view and the street view were taken at different times. The street view photos were taken October 2008, four years before the aerial photos were taken. And I noticed something very interesting in the photos. The old brick building, once located south of the Chatt Bar, was still standing in October 2008 and it can still be seen in Google Earth’s Street View photos.

Chatt Bar and brick building, Google Earth, image Oct 2008.

Brick building & Chatt Bar, looking north, Google Earth, October 2008 photo.

That old brick building was once the Chattanooga Bank. Yes, Chattanooga had a bank at one time–the Farmers & Merchants State Bank. It was in business by 1917 and closed about 1930. A plat map of Chatt from the 1920s shows the bank was south of the hotel and bar. Semon Egger’s property and businesses were between the two.

Part of Chatt Plat Map, c1920s, showing Chatt Bank.

Part of Chatt Plat Map, c1920s, showing Chatt Bank.

A document from the Chattanooga Farmers & Merchants State Bank, dated 1917.

Farmers & Merchants State Bank, Chattanooga, Ohio, 1917.

Farmers & Merchants State Bank, Chattanooga, Ohio, 1917.

The brick bank building later housed two grocery stores, Heffner’s Grocery and then Bollenbacher’s Grocery.

Heffner's Grocery, Chattanooga, Ohio, undated photo.

Heffner’s Grocery, Chattanooga, Ohio, undated photo.

By studying Google Earth’s aerial maps of Chatt I was able to determine that the old brick building was torn down between July 2009 and August 2010. Someone from Chatt probably knows the exact date.

Chatt Bank/Grocery & Chatt Bar. Google Earth, October 2008 photo.

Chatt Bank/Grocery & Chatt Bar. Google Earth, October 2008 photo.

At one time there was another building between the Chatt Bar and the brick building. That building was Semon Egger’s grocery, which also included the Chattanooga Post Office and Egger’s mortuary, which was upstairs.

When I was a child that building was the home of the Chattanooga Volunteer Fire Department. At that time there was a large garage door on the ground level and the Chatt Chums 4-H Club would sometimes meet upstairs. Back then we had no idea the second floor had once been a funeral parlor.

Chatt Volunteer Fire Dept, undated photo, c1970s, courtesy of Jerry Miller.

Chattanooga Volunteer Fire Dept, undated photo, c1970s, courtesy of Jerry Miller. The building was once Egger’s store. Notice the former bank building to the left.

Today Chatt’s Fire Department is across the street, in the building that once was Wendel’s Garage and Auto Sales. My parents purchased Pontiac autos from them years ago. Below is a Google Earth photo of that building as it looked in 2008.

Google Earth, October 2008 image.

Google Earth, October 2008 photo.

I am grateful that the 2008 Street View images of Chatt still remain on Google Earth and that I am able to see that old brick building once again.

Google Earth, October 2008 image.

Chatt Bar and Bank, looking south, Google Earth, October 2008 photo.

I did not have a photo of the brick structure before they tore it down, but I do now, thanks to Google Earth.


(All images accessed from Google Earth 30 April 2014.)

May 06

Tombstone Tuesday–Emma Germann

Emma Germann, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

Emma Germann, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. (2012 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Emma Germann, located in row 11 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Schumm, Van Wert County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:


Emma Germann was born 14 January 1907 in Harrison Township, Van Wert County, the daughter of Friederick “Fred” C. and Clara C.M. (Pflueger) Germann. [1] [2]

I found very little information about little Emma. Her baptism was not recorded in Zion Schumm’s records because her family probably attended another church at that time. Nor could I find her Ohio death certificate, but her death and burial information was recorded in Zion Schumm’s records. I was able to locate more information about her parents, however.

Fred Germann, Emma’s father, was born 30 December 1866 in Harrison Township, the son of Henry and Magdalena (Boyer) Germann. Fred was a timber dealer at the time of his marriage and a farmer at the time of his death. Emma’s mother Clara was the daughter of Abraham and Elizabeth (Hofmann) Pflueger, born 2 April 1881 in Monroeville, Indiana.

Fred and Clara married in Van Wert County on 5 August 1900 and afterward they lived in Harrison Township. They had at least two daughters, Pauline C., born about 1903, and Emma, born in 1907.

Fred Germann died 28 January 1909 in Harrison Township of “cancer of superior maxilla,” probably cancer in the upper jaw or sinus. His death certificate indicates that he had this affliction for 9 months. Fred is buried in the Evangelical Protestant Cemetery, several miles northeast of Schumm.

In 1910 Clara Germann was a widow, living with her two daughters in Harrison Township. Soon after, Clara married William O. Myers on 15 May 1910 in Van Wert County. William was born in Pennsylvania on 25 February 1863 to John and Anna (Painter) Myers. William had also been married once before.

Emma Germann died 29 December 1917 in Willshire, at the age of 10 years, 11 months and 14 days. She was buried on the 31st. Survivors included her mother, her step-father, 3 sisters and 1 brother, according to the church records. Pauline was Emma’s full sister and Mildred, Oscar, and Louise Myers were her half-siblings. Since I could not locate Emma’s death certificate, I do not know the cause of her death. The church records did not mention that fact.


[1] “Ohio, County Births, 1841-2003,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 04 May 2014), Emma E. Germann, 14 January 1907; citing Harrison Township, Van Wert County, Ohio, Birth Registers 1899-1908, Vol 4, p.185, from FHL microfilm 1015857.

[2] Zion Schumm’s records indicate Emma was born 15 January 1907, but her Van Wert County birth record indicates her date of birth as 14 January 1907.

Other sources of information:

“Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 04 May 2014), Friederick Germann and Clara C.M. Pfleuger, 5 August 1900; citing Van Wert, Ohio, Marriage Records 1899-1903, Vol. 10, p. 193; FHL microfilm 1015863.

“Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 04 May 2014), Frederick C. Germann, 28 January 1909; citing Harrison Township, Van Wert, Ohio; FHL microfilm 1952875.

1910 U.S. Census, index and images, Van Wert County, Ohio, ED 90, p. 16B, dwelling 283, family 292, Clara C.M. Germann;  digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 04 May 2014); from NARA microfilm T624, roll 1238.

“Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 04 May 2014), William O. Myers and Clara Germann, 15 May 1910; citing Van Wert, Ohio, Marriage records 1908-1912, Vol 13, p. 310; FHL microfilm 1015864.

1920 U.S. Census, index and images, Blue Creek, Adams County, Indiana, ED 1, p. 2A , dwelling 29, family 30, William Myers; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 04 May 2014); from NARA microfilm T625, roll 420.



May 02

Looking Around With Google Earth

If you haven’t checked out Google Earth yet you are missing out on some interesting photos and a whole lot of fun. Google Earth is a program that allows you to look at places all over the earth and view them from the air or at street level.

These are not just maps, they are actual satellite images, aerial photographs, and 3D images from the geographic information system, from various sources—old satellite photos, the US Geological Survey, the State of Ohio, and the USDA Farm Service Agency.

And best of all, Google Earth is free. You can download the program from this Google Earth link. It works best with a fast Internet connection and it does use a lot of data, if you use a data plan like I do.

When viewing the aerial photo images you are able zoom in on an area and see how far above the earth that particular view is. The 3D views make browsing even more realistic. There is a search feature and all you have to do is type in an address or place name and within seconds you see the aerial view. You can also “pin” a location that you want to visit again, sort of like a bookmark.

Chattanooga, Ohio, Google Earth, Feb 2012.

Aerial view of Chattanooga, Ohio, Google Earth, Feb 2012 photo.

Another feature that I enjoy is the Street View. To activate the street view and take you from aerial view to the ground, simply move the yellow person icon to the street area in front of a building or place. The yellow icon is located on the right side of the screen. Street view appears as though you are standing in the street looking at the building or place. You can rotate the street view 360 degrees and toggle back and forth between aerial and street view by clicking the Exit Street View button in the upper right.

Drag the yellow person in front of a building to activate Street View.

Drag the yellow person in front of a building to activate Street View.

Street view photos are panoramic photos that were taken from a “camera car” as it drove down the road, capturing photos every few yards. Unfortunately the street view is not available for a lot of the rural areas. They photographed the panoramic views on the main roads but not all of the back roads. However, I did notice that Frahm Pike is available on Street View. There is also a ground-level view option, but it is a very flat view.

I have also noticed that the aerial view and the street view were not taken at the same time. In fact the dates of the two views can vary greatly, even on the same highway. At this time, street view images on State Route 49 south of 707 were taken October 2008. Images on State Route 49 north of 707 were taken July 2009. Images on State Route 707 east and west of 49 were taken September 2013. It appears Google is updating their images all the time.

You can do and see a lot with Google Earth.Google Earth enables you to view places and things that no longer exist. For example, Lefeld’s John Deere is no longer north of Chatt, but the street view photos below were taken in 2009, when it was still in operation.

Lefeld's Google Earth Oct 2009 - Copy

Lefled’s John Deere, State Rout 49 north of Chatt, Google Earth, July 2009 photo.

Lefled's John Deere, State Rout 49 north of Chatt, Google Earth, July 2009 image.

Lefled’s John Deere, State Rout 49 north of Chatt, Google Earth, July 2009 photo.

With Google Earth you can view you ancestor’s home or farm without even leaving your home. Below is a nice photo of my great-great-grandfather Friedrich Schinnerer’s home east of Willshire, where he lived in 1880. The photo below was taken in 2013. Notice the improved quality of the photo compared to the above two photos.

Friedrich Schinnerer home in 1880, Google Earth, Oct 2013 image.

Friedrich Schinnerer lived in this home in 1880, Google Earth, Oct 2013 photo.

Here is a photo of the Schumm barn, which is no longer standing. The barn was taken down in 2012 and the photo was taken in 2011. On the slate roof: L. Schumm 1886. Louis Schumm was my great-grandfather.

Schumm barn, Google Earth, May 2011 image.

Schumm barn, Google Earth, May 2011 photo.

This is an aerial view along the St. Marys River, west of Rockford, where I believe my great-great-grandfather Friedrich Schinnerer’s grist mill once stood.

Probable location of Schinnerer's Mill along St. Marys River, Google Earth, February 2012 image.

Probable location of Schinnerer’s Mill along St. Marys River, Google Earth, February 2012 photo.

Occasionally you will see some people in a street view photo. The two men below, from the Willshire area, were probably talking about the 2013 harvest.

Van Wert County, Oct 2013

Farmers near Willshire, Google Earth, October 2013 photo.

Google Earth 6 provides Historical Imagery, which gives a variety of aerial imagery dates to chose from. You can view the old aerial maps by clicking on View in the Menu Bar, and then Historical Imagery. Viewing older images enables you to note changes in the towns and landscape below.

The oldest aerial photos date back to 3 April 1994, taken by the US Geological Survey. Some of the older images are not very clear. Over the years the clarity of the aerial images has improved dramatically and the most recent street view images are also very clear. The new 3D imagery is amazing. I have yet to determine if there is a way to view the older Street View images.

There are other features on Google Earth that I have not tried, such as overlaying a map. I hope to learn to use them some day.

Fun and interesting stuff! You should try it.


Source of photos: Google Earth, photos accessed 30 April 2014.


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