Starting a new archive project is like opening a handwritten letter


Just like a letter is a window into its writer’s soul, the papers, photos, and ephemera a family treasures enough to pass from generation to generation, reveal infinitely more of the character, heart, and values of that family than the public records they left behind.

So, meet the Karch Family: my newest archival processing project at the Erie County Historical Society! I haven’t had a chance to really get to know them yet, but these two beauties, sisters I believe, immediately captured my heart and piqued my curiosity.I’m pretty sure I know their names, but I’d like to learn a little more about them before sharing their stories with you.

p.s. The history center is still in the process of moving collections to its new home at the Watson-Curtze mansion and has limited hours, so it’s best to call ahead if you need to do research in the Library & Archives. This particular collection will not be available to the public until it has been processed, catalogued, and preserved in archival quality storage.

Genealogy & the Computer Users of Erie

One of our own was the featured speaker at tonight’s Erie Society for Genealogical Research’s monthly meeting.

Dave Howell spoke about the Computer Users of Erie (CUE) which has a genealogy special interest group that meets at 7:00pm on the first Tuesday of every month. The genealogy group was organized twenty years ago, by four or five CUE members who shared an interest in learning how to research their family history. They were novices, and their mission was to learn how to do online genealogy, to develop a legacy they could pass on to their children and grandchildren, and to have fun doing it.

One of their first tasks was deciding on a software program which would produce family charts and narrative histories. They chose Legacy Genealogy software, and still use it today. They also decided to invest in one search engine. They chose Ancestry and were allowed to have a group membership which allows three online sessions at one time. Some members have their own Ancestry subscription, but for those who don’t, they have the option of buying into the group subscription. The cost varies year to year, depending on how many memberships sign opt in, but it’s typically $15 to $20 each.

The group meets at members’ homes. They tackle research problems members are having, and troubleshoot members’ software problems, working collectively to find solutions. There are lots of happy discoveries and laughter, and over the years the group has developed quite a camaraderie. They have also offered classes, geared at helping others get started on their own genealogy research.

Anyone interested in joining is invited to come to one or two meetings, and if they decide to join, a membership to the CUE is $24/year. You can find more information at the group’s website: www.cuerie.com

NGS Annual Conference is Around the Corner!

In a few days I’ll be heading to Cincinnati for the NGS National Conference. I downloaded the syllabus a couple of days ago, and I’ve been busy reading through its 600+ pages, trying to lay out a plan for the four days I’ll be there. With ten meetings offered each hour, the choices are a bit overwhelming. Here’s my tentative schedule:

Wednesday

  • Begin with the Power Tools: Transcriptions, Abstracts, and Analysis – the Rev. David McDonald (this is part of the BCG skill-building track)
  • APG Lunch – Curt B. Witcher will be giving a talk on technology’s impact on the 21st Century genealogist
  • Genealogical Research & Writing: Are You a Saint, Sinner, or Bumfuzzled Soul? – Elizabeth Shown Mills (need I say more?!)
  • Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury: The Evidence Presented Clearly Shows… – Barbara Vines Little on creating proof summaries

Thursday

  • BCG Certification Seminar – Laura Murphy DeGrazia, Alison Hare, and Thomas W. Jones on the certification process
  • Indexes! Indexes! Indexes! How to Find People Who Don’t Seem to Be There! – more ESM!
  • ISBGFH Lunch – J.H. Fonkert on British Genealogy Research (Jay’s in my NGSQ study group and I’m looking forward to his talk!!!
  • Red Herrings and a Stroke of the Dead Palsy: Analyzing and Correlating Evidence – Stefani Evans on complications from common names, impaired memory, and ongoing migration
  • War of 1812: Tracing the British Soldier – Paul Milner – could this explain why some of my male British ancestors went missing???

Friday

  • Okay, I “Got the Neighbors’: Now What Do I Do with Them? – ESM (I know this will be a great session)
  • Lineage Society Papers: Guidelines for a Successful Application – C. Ann Staley (A continuing dream of mine, but I do get requests for this, so even if it personally never works out for me…..)
  • Documentation: The What, Why, and Where – Dr Tom Jones on citations (I loved him in the Boston University program and I’ve been fortunate enough to hear him speak before, I don’t think anyone should miss an opportunity to sit in on one of his talks!!)
  • Advanced Word: Automatic Numbering for Genealogists – Alvy Ray Smith. Mastering this would be a big time saver!
  • Common Sense for Genealogists – Kay Havilland Freilich, something I can always use more of 🙂

This schedule is tentative. There are several other lectures I’d like to see, including:

– Federal Records Relating to Rivers and Canals

-Locating and Understanding the Law

-Advanced Probate Research

-Lost in Pennsylvania? Try the Published Pennsylvania Archives

-Making the DNA Connection

But…..it’s just not possible to fit everything in

 

Aside from lectures, I’ve also got plans to meet some fellow BU alums for dinner, attend a dinner for geneabloggers, stop by the Nat’l Institute for Genealogical Studies booth to say hi to Louise and Sue, and try to get together with some of my ProGen13 and NGSQ study group co-horts. Oh, and the NGSQ 100th anniversary reception should be fun as well!

It’s going to be a great trip!!