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Ancestry Insider

Pre-Registration for NGS Conference Ends Tomorrow #NGS2017GEN

The Ancestry Insider is a member of the NGS 2017 conference social media press.Pre-registration for the 2017 National Genealogical Society Conference ends tomorrow, 27 April 2017. The conference will be held in Raleigh, North Carolina, 10-13 May 2017 at the Raleigh Convention Center. While you can register onsite starting noon on 9 May 2017, you must register by tomorrow for meals, events, and workshops. As I write this, some luncheon choices and workshops are already sold out.

According to NGS,

The conference program, Family History Lives Here, features more than 175 lectures from basic to advanced genealogical research, including eighteen presentations on DNA science and methodology. Finding records and effectively using them is the focus of fifty-seven lectures. Among the types of records discussed are a wide range of religious records, military and associated records, North Carolina and regional U.S. records, and African American and Native American records.

Organizations sponsor luncheons during the conference and provide entertaining speakers ($32). The North Carolina Genealogical Society is hosting an evening event, “Pig Pickin” ($45). Pig Pickin’ features North Carolina BBQ, a five-member blue grass band, and local artisans. NGS is hosting its annual banquet with speaker Stuart Watson, an award-winning investigative reporter ($45). 

The conference costs $240 for society members and $275 for non-members. One day registrations are available for $110 (member) and $120 (non-member).

For more information or to register for the conference, visit http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org.

I’m happy to serve again this year as an official social media reporter for the conference.

Darned Carcinogenic Names

We depend upon records to reveal the “truth” about the past. Yet sometimes records have anomalies. Some are amusing or humorous. Some are interesting or weird. Some are peculiar or suspicious. Some are infuriating, or downright laughable. Records say the darnedest things!

What parent names their child after some kind of cancer?!

Search results for first name Cancer, last name Brain
Search results for first name Cancer, last name Lung
Search results for first name Prostate, last name Cancer
Search results for first name cancer, last name De La
Search results for first name cancer, last name Del
Search results for first name cancer, last name Brain

  • Brain Cancer
  • Lung Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Skin Cancer
  • Cancer de la Laringe (larynx)
  • Cancer de la Matriz (uterus)
  • Cancer Primitivo del Higado (Primitive Cancer of the Liver)
  • Cancer del Riñon (kidney)

Yes, records say the darnedest things!

AncestryDNA Whips Past 4 Million Samples

AncestryDNA Reaches 4 Million Customers in DNA Database.Four million. It’s staggering, really. AncestryDNA has exceeded four million samples in its DNA database!

It took AncestryDNA three years to get the first million samples. (See “AncestryDNA Exceeds Million Mark” on my blog on 22 July 2015.)

It took them 11 months to reach two million. (See “AncestryDNA Database Reaches Two Million” on 28 June 2016.)

It took just seven months to get to the three million mark. (See “AncestryDNA Zips Past 3 Million Samples” on 19 January 2017.)

Less than 4 months later, AncestryDNA has reached four million persons in the DNA database. (See “AncestryDNA Reaches 4 Million Customers in DNA Database” on the Ancestry blog, 27 April 2017.) AncestryDNA must be selling over 8,000 kits a day to grow that fast. Ancestry says as many people took their DNA test during that period as got married in the United States. They said “that’s about as fast as babies are born in the United States.”

That’s astonishing.

NGS Live Streaming – #NGS2017GEN

Live stream NGS 2017 Family History Conference sessions.If you can’t make it to the 2017 National Genealogical Society Conference, all is not lost. NGS is offering select sessions via live streaming or for three-month’s later viewing. You can purchase five sessions for Thursday, 11 May 2017 and five sessions for Friday, 12 May 2017.

  • Thursday: Viewers will be able to stream five lectures on DNA from 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. These lectures will demonstrate how DNA has revolutionized genealogy problem solving, clarified contradictions in records, and found female ancestors without a known maiden name. They will also offer advice on the best practices for analyzing autosomal DNA. $95 member, $115 non-member.

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  • Friday: View five “BCG Skillbuilding” lectures by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) from 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. This set of lectures will teach how to probe documents beyond the obvious, find rich evidence in deeds, use an ancestors’ neighbors, prepare a Genealogical Proof Summary, and build a solid conclusion from disparate evidence. $95 member, $115 non-member.

ximage image image image image

All ten sessions can be purchased for $150 member, $185 non-member, if purchased before midnight, 10 May 2017. After 14 May 2017, the price jumps to $175 member, $215 non-member.

Sessions can be viewed for three months following the conference. All packages include a full, electronic conference syllabus.

For more information, or to purchase sessions, visit http://www.playbackngs.com/7770.

Dear #NGS2017GEN Attendees

The Ancestry Insider is a member of the NGS 2017 conference social media press.For those headed off to the 2017 National Genealogical Society Conference, in Raleigh, North Carolina, from 10‒13 May 2017, I have two items: syllabus and conference app.

I attended a genealogy conference recently and heard that some attendees—first time conference attendees—were confused when presenters kept referring to handouts and syllabi. They were surprised that other attendees seemed to have copies of these handouts when they, themselves did not.

Don’t be caught in the same situation at NGS.

If you paid for a printed syllabus or syllabus on a flash drive, then you will receive said syllabus when you check-in at the conference. If not (or even if you did), you should download the syllabus PDF file beforehand and print any pages that you wish to hold in your physical paws during the conference. All conference attendees should have received by now an email with instructions on how to download the syllabus. (I received my email on Friday, 28 April 2017.) The file is 70 megabytes, so it will take forever to download if you wait and try to do it using the conference center wi-fi. Wi-fi connections at conference centers are seldom robust.

I also wanted to point out that the conference app is available now for download. To download it, visit http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/mobile-app. The app offers another way to access class syllabi. To access the syllabus through the app requires a password. You received that password in the same email that gave instructions on downloading the PDF. Reading the syllabus on a phone is difficult, but it isn’t bad on a tablet.

If you have attended an NGS conference before and never deleted the conference app, then when you install this time, there is an additional step you must take to see this year’s conference. The new conference app uses a blue color scheme (below, left). If you see the green color scheme from last year (below, right), you need to tap the icon on the bottom row that is titled “Exit to Conference List.” Then select the 2017 conference.

2017 National Genealogical Society Family History Conference app2016 National Genealogical Society Family History Conference app

The third of the two things I wanted to mention was the class schedule. Look through it beforehand to decide which classes you wish to attend, and which classes to attend if your first choices are full. If you are inclined to purchase recordings of some sessions, consider attending other sessions at corresponding times. Sessions marked “(R)” will be audio recorded and those marked “(LS)” will be lived streamed and video recorded.

Hope to see you next week, at the 2017 National Genealogical Society Family History Conference!

Darned Record: No Father — Just Growed

imageWe depend upon records to reveal the “truth” about the past. Yet sometimes records have anomalies. Some are amusing or humorous. Some are interesting or weird. Some are peculiar or suspicious. Some are infuriating, or downright laughable. Records say the darnedest things!

Reader Steve Squier shared this:

Hello, I thought you might like to use the attached image for one of your “Records Say the Darnedest Things” posts. The first entry in this register of births is for an unnamed daughter of a Miss Knox, of whose father the clerk wrote: “hain’t got none just growed.”

Source: Taylor County, Iowa, Register of Births, vol. 1 (1880–1897): 160, entry no. 110 for [unnamed female]; County Courthouse, Bedford; digital images, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org/search/catalog/679412 : accessed 16 April 2017); imaged from FHL film no. 1,035,143, item no. 1.

Unfortunately, I can’t show you the image. To see it, visit your local family history center and click here: https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-DYWS-4V5.

Review: Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook

Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook: A How-to Manual for Tracing Your Family Tree on the #1 Genealogy WebsiteSomehow I missed the release of the Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com by Nancy Hendrickson. When I reviewed Unofficial Guide to FamilySearch.org, I became a big fan of Family Tree Book’s unofficial series, so I was very happy when I received a review copy of the new Ancestry book, Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook: A How-to Manual for Tracing Your Family Tree on the #1 Genealogy Website.

Chapters are organized around record types. The chapters of the book are:

  1. Search and the Card Catalog
  2. Census Records
  3. Birth, Marriage, and Death Records
  4. Military Records
  5. Immigration Records
  6. Historical Maps, Images, Newspapers, and Publications
  7. Social History [directories, tax records, land records, histories, etc.]
  8. AncestryDNA

Each chapter contains overviews of the databases of the chapter’s record type and helpful instructions on using that type. For example, from the vital records chapter:

Death records can open up new lines of research, primarily because they can contain the name of the person’s parents (including the mother’s maiden name) as well as where the parents and the decedent were born.

Each chapter has a number of exercises. Don’t think workbook quizzes; think step-by-step walkthroughs. 

Each chapter also contains some helpful “search strategies” for the chapter’s record type. Here is an example search strategy from the census chapter:

Don’t assume your ancestor was skipped during an enumeration. Look for alternate surname spellings, first name shown as initials, or location in a neighboring county.

Each chapter contains workbook forms and worksheets for things like searching the census and abstracting birth records. Appendices have additional checklists, worksheets, and census abstract forms. While a book obviously isn’t going to contain enough copies of each form or worksheet, additional copies can be downloaded from the Family Tree Magazine website.

 

Unofficial Ancestry.com Workbook: A How-to Manual for Tracing Your Family Tree on the #1 Genealogy Website
Nancy Hendrickson
8.2 x 0.6 x 10.9 inches, 192 pp., paperback. 2017.
ISBN 1440349061
Family Tree Books
1-855-278-0408, shopfamilytree.com
$10.99 Kindle
$13.19 Google eBook
$14.57 Amazon
$21.99 Paperback/eBook list price, plus shipping.

Free Exhibit Hall at #NGS2017GEN

The Ancestry Insider is a member of the NGS 2017 conference social media press.The 2017 National Genealogical Society conference started today (10 May 2017) in Raleigh, North Carolina. The exhibit hall is free, so even if you don’t register for classes, come see mini-classes, product demos, product announcements, sell prices, and give-away prizes. If you are in the area, you should come down and check it out at the Raleigh Convention Center.

The exhibit hall opens at 9:00am each morning with the exception of 9:30 on Wednesday. It closes at 5:30pm each day, with the exception of 3:00pm Saturday.
The Ancestry booth presentation schedule for Wednesday, 10 May is:

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Ancestry, Thursday, 11 May:

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Ancestry, Friday, 12 May:

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Ancestry, Saturday, 13 May:

image

Other vendors do product demos, either on a schedule or by request. Lisa Louise Cooke included the Genealogy Gems schedule in the conference bag:

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Stop by the National Genealogical Society’s booth to enter daily drawings, buy their latest books, and get books signed by the authors. Judging from the advertising inserts in the conference bag, I imagine at the MyHeritage booth they would give you a coupon code for 30% off MyHeritage subscriptions. Likewise for a 15% coupon code from jigsaw genealogy. Genealogical Studies might give you a promo code for a free course and let you enter a drawing for additional free courses. Excelsior College has a drawing for an AncestryDNA kit.

It’s not too late to register for one or more days of the conference. Come on down and check it out.

Oh, and FamilySearch is offering free accounts in their booth. Winking smile

NGS Announces Tom Jones Documentation Book at #NGS2017GEN

Mastering Genealogical Documentation by Thomas W. JonesToday marks the opening of the 2017 National Genealogical Society Conference. At the conference NGS is announcing Mastering Genealogical Documentation by Thomas W. Jones. Tom is considered one of the top educators in the genealogical community. He is a PhD, Certified Genealogist, Certified Genealogical Lecturer, Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists, Fellow of the National Genealogical Society, and Fellow of the Utah Genealogical Association. He is the author of Mastering Genealogical Proof, another in the NGS Special Topics Series.

According to NGS, “Mastering Genealogical Documentation teaches genealogists how to describe and cite their sources—including sources for which no model citation exists. … In this new step-by-step guidebook, Dr. Thomas W. Jones provides a foundation in the principles, logic, and decisions that underpin genealogical documentation. Exercises are provided at the end of each chapter (with answers at the back of the book) to reinforce concepts and provide opportunities for practice.”

You can order the book in the store on the NGS website.

It’s true that I’m prejudiced (I volunteer for the NGS), but I’m genuinely excited to get this book. I’ve attended Tom’s lectures on documentation at national institutes and they have been most helpful.

Speaking of the NGS Conference, it’s not too late to attend. You can register onsite. For more information, visit the National Genealogical Society Conference website.

Darned Page Order

imageTracy Reinhart is a long-time researcher who remembers way back when accessing the census meant scrolling through microfilm. Long ago she discovered her Braford ancestors’ family in Cannon, Kent, Michigan was one of those split across pages in a census. Online publishers like Ancestry and FamilySearch have to identify these split families and join them back together. That’s a fairly straightforward process unless you run into the situation Tracy ran into recently.

“Part of the 1870 census for Cannon, Kent Co. Mich.  was not filmed in page order,” she told me.  “As a result,  when a family list carries over from one page to the next,  you will find wrong family associations.” She found that for Cannon, Kent, Michigan:

I was interested to see how FamilySearch handled this situation. Researchers with access to both Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org universally advise using Ancestry.com for census research and the 1870 census on FamilySearch.org is a good illustration of why.

  • If you search for Cannon, Kent, Michigan, you get everyone living in the entire state of Michigan!
  • If you don’t know where your person lived, but you somehow find them, FamilySearch doesn’t indicate where the person was!

The only advantage I see for searching FamilySearch’s 1870 census is that in a search you can specify another family member (in the “Other Person” field). That’s not possible on Ancestry.

But I digress…

As I compared FamilySearch.org with Ancestry.com, I noticed several interesting things.

  • The image order on FamilySearch.org matches Ancestry.com.
  • FamilySearch didn’t erroneously combine the Wolaver and Braford families. But they also didn’t correctly join the the two parts of the Brayford/Braford family.
  • While Ancestry has 31 images for Cannon, Kent, Michigan, FamilySearch has 32. Ancestry has left out one of the pages from the microfilm! I’ve seen FamilySearch do the same thing. Neither company discloses the censure. The companies deem the image to have no genealogical value so they delete it. This is a very bad practice! There is no guarantee the decision maker understands advanced methodologies that may require a knowledge of the existence of that page, its contents, or the lack thereof. (A little looking showed this particular page is facing page 31 on folio 139. It has no names on it.)
  • The digital folder number (004271429) and image number (00268) for Emma Bradford on FamilySearch.org match the image URL on Ancestry.com: https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/7163/4271429_00268. That’s kind of techie, but the takeaway is that Ancestry seems to be using FamilySearch images.
  • FamilySearch misindexed the name Braford on page 30 as Bradford. Ancestry did not. Ancestry doesn’t seem to be using FamilySearch’s index.

I see several lessons we should draw from this:

  • If you don’t find your ancestor on one website, check others.
  • Search several images forward and backward from your ancestor.
  • Your ancestor’s name can be spelled differently by the same person in the same record.
  • Look at and try to understand all the information on a page.
  • When the day comes that we no longer have access to microfilm, there will be errors that we can no longer detect or overcome.
  • Everybody makes mistakes. Ancestry. FamilySearch. Microfilm. Everybody.

”Just a heads up for something that I never expected to find on Ancestry,” Tracy said.

“Grrrrrrr”

Thank you, Tracy. Image credit: Ancestry.com.