22 December 2010

New Book: Proving Up: Domesticating Land in U.S. History

Like most genealogists my "to read" list grows faster than my "have read" list. My husband's only flaw is that he is not independently wealthy allowing me to buy every book I want. Of course, if I could buy all the books I want I'd also need a bigger house.

For years I focused on how-to books to learn the discipline of genealogical research. Then I started focusing more on historical essays trying to understand why my ancestors did certain things and what their life was like. I just read a review by Michelle Mart of a book by Lisi Krall titled Proving Up: Domesticating Land in U.S. History. The review made me add this book to my read soon list:
The mythic power of western land has long dominated narratives of American history. Lisi Krall seeks to challenge this myth, untangling the narratives into their component parts of philosophy, economic systems, political decision making, and spiritual awe. Her slim volume, Proving Up: Domesticating Land in U.S. History, successfully argues that the frontier myth was constructed foremost from a capitalist imperative superimposed on material circumstances. (See more of the review here.)
The SUNY Press page for the book has a button that allows you to download the introduction and another button to preview some pages of the book. The hardcover is pricy for a genealogist's budget, but there is a link to "Direct Text" that allows a PDF to be downloaded. I haven't used "Direct Text" before. The link indicates you have online access to the book for 180 days for about 1/3 the price of the hardcover. A paperback version can be pre-ordered for almost the same price as the PDF. I'd much rather have a PDF version, but not if I can only access it for 180 days.

While trying to determine if the PDF file is locked after 180 days I found this 2008 article from The Exchange Online: The Newsletter of the Association of American University Presses. This article seems to indicate the 180 day limit is for online access, but that you can download a PDF that might not have a time limit. I definitely need to learn more about this before I order a "Direct Text" book.

It would be great if all of the university presses made PDF versions of books available. Many of the books published by university presses offer exactly the kind of historical information a good genealogist needs to better understand family history. In addition to dollars, shelf space also limits how many books I can own. Electronic books solve the space issue.

If you have experience with a "Direct Text" book and know whether or not the PDF file is locked after 180 days please leave a comment so we will all know. I'm all for electronic books and saving trees but not so big on tying myself to one e-book reader. I prefer an open format such as PDF that I can read on my computer or any reader I decide to buy in the future.

© 2010, Debbie Parker Wayne, All Rights Reserved

13 December 2010

1860 Map of U.S. Slave States

The Map Room is one of my favorite blogs. Mapping American Slavery is a recent post with a link to a very detailed map of the American slave states showing slave and free populations and an article by Susan Schulten. Schulten states the map was even included in a portrait of Lincoln with his cabinet. The image of the portrait in her article is interactive—be sure to move your mouse over the image. I had not heard of Schulten before, but now her book The Geographical Imagination in America, 1880-1950 (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2002) is on my wish list.

This map (almost 30MB in size) can be extremely useful to genealogists and historians researching the southern states.

© 2010, Debbie Parker Wayne, All Rights Reserved

11 December 2010

From Deep Web to Deep Dust

Genealogical research has been revolutionized by the Web. We may look for the same records as before we had the internet, but many records are so much easier to access today. Search engines help locate information we might have never located in pre-internet days. Search engines read a Web page and follow the hyperlinks to other pages, indexing along the way. But there is also a side of the Web that is hidden to search engines—the invisible or Deep Web.

A lot of the best genealogical information is behind the wall of the Deep Web. Searches don't turn up most records on Ancestry.com, Footnote.com, GenealogyBank.com, or your county clerk's office because those records are hidden behind a wall. The information on those sites is usually stored in a database with pages created dynamically, on the fly. Those dynamic pages don't exist so can't be indexed by search engines without some intervention.

Newbie genealogists often start with Web research, finding the RootsWeb and personal pages that are indexed by search engines. Some of these pages may have source citations, but most don't. The publicity associated with "Who Do You Think You Are?" may bring the newbie quickly to Ancestry.com and other subscription sites. A lot of bad information may be copied into a database and files before the newbie learns to be more discerning about "genealogical research" as opposed to "name collection."

The experienced researcher spends more time on the original record images than in the unsourced trees and quickly learns to use the database indexes as clues to find the original records. Texas researchers soon learn about TexShare databases—available through most Texas libraries by obtaining a library card. With a login from the library the TexShare databases can also be accessed from home. Some of these same databases are also available in other states—check with local librarians.

But that still leaves the vast majority of the Web hidden from a researcher. There are some tools to help in finding useful items in the Deep Web and more of them are available every day. You might not realize you already use some of these tools. Google Scholar searches some sites that are usually hidden. Learn more about Deep Web Searching at:

The Deep Web

100 Useful Tips and Tools to Research the Deep Web

10 Search Engines to Explore the Invisible web

Don't get too complacent about the Deep Web, though. The vast majority of the records needed by genealogists aren't anywhere at all on the Web, deep or not. Most of them haven't even been microfilmed yet. Those records are sitting on the dusty shelves of court clerks, archivists, and librarians. Most of the problems we see as brick walls are solvable with that information that may be harder to access but does exist.

© 2010, Debbie Parker Wayne, All Rights Reserved

08 December 2010

Old and New: Time Marches On

Last week a scene in West Texas brought rushing thoughts about the link between old and new—technologies, families, traditions. Two months is a long time between blog posts. In my defense, these last two months have been packed with genealogical volunteer commitments, three conferences in three consecutive weekends, and some well-earned time off to visit family during the holidays. That family visit started with a 1,000 mile trip from the piney woods of East Texas to the Sonoran desert of Arizona. A drive through West Texas is usually a long, mindless trek without much to look at. I appreciate the stark beauty of the plains, but 400 miles of it with few breaks can allow the mind of even a true plains lover to wander.

Approaching Abilene we started seeing many more modern windmills than on our last trip four years ago. The towering windmills with long, swooping arms have a graceful beauty I find soothing. No new technology comes without drawbacks, but the windmills appeal to me. I bet lots of citizens complained about electrical poles and wires being erected across our lands back in the early nineteenth century as some do today about the windmills. If it helps us use less oil it can't be all bad.

We stopped and I took a few photos of the windmills. A few miles further down the interstate I saw an image that made me suck in my breath. My patient husband got off the interstate and drove several miles on the service road so I could take another photo. The framing isn't as exquisite as the view from the interstate was, but I wasn't willing to risk death for the perfect photo.
Old and new, side by side, sharing the wide open spaces. Of course, the image doesn't show the true size of the modern windmills which are much farther away than the old-fashioned windmill is. My husband's store of patience isn't enough to drive around the backroads for hours looking for the perfect photo, but I'll settle for this.

The old and new were evident in our holiday celebration, too. Daughters cooked all the dishes. I wasn't allowed in the kitchen. The dressing wasn't from my grandmother's recipe or even my mother-in-law's oyster dressing I learned to love as an adult. New traditions and dishes were introduced. When my last maternal aunt died a few years ago I bemoaned the fact I was now the family matriarch. Now I'm thinking that may not be all bad. Of course, by the time the dinner was done my daughter who hosted the dinner was exhausted so she did let me and my other daughter clean the kitchen. Too bad that matriarch thing didn't carry through the cleaning part of the day.

© 2010, Debbie Parker Wayne, All Rights Reserved

12 October 2010

Save Texas History Symposium: Discovering Spanish and Mexican Texas

The Texas General Land Office (GLO) is hosting the first Save Texas History Symposium on 6 November at the GLO office in Austin. Three speakers will discuss the history of Spanish and Mexican Texas. The announcement states:
Drs. Frank de la Teja, Light Cummins and Felix Almaraz Jr., will lead attendees through the cultural crossroads of early Texas and how the convergence of three unique cultures came together in Texas. Attendees will also be able to go on VIP tours of the GLO or Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, research the family tree, or survey the Texas Capitol through a hands-on, 19th Century frontier surveying exercise. Attendees also have the option of printing their own map and creating paper from everyday material.
See http://www.glo.state.tx.us/OC/savetxhist/symposium2010.html for more information. Registration is limited. I know many genealogists will be disappointed this event conflicts with the Texas State Genealogical Society (TSGS) Fiftieth Anniversary Conference in Waco. See http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~txsgs/TXSGS-New/Pages/Conference.htm for more information on the TSGS conference.

© 2010, Debbie Parker Wayne, All Rights Reserved

November Conferences and Seminars in East and Central Texas

There are many good conferences and seminars planned for the coming weeks. Last chance for a genealogy education "fix" before the holiday season.

On November 5 and 6 the Texas State Genealogical Society Conference is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the society. The conference will be held in Waco. The featured speaker on Saturday is Barbara Vines Little, a Certified GenealogistSM renowned for her knowledge of Virginia research. In addition to speaking about research in Virginia, she will give pointers on locating women and on census research including the non-population census schedules: agricultural, manufacturing, slave, and social data. Teri Flack will be speaking on Texas research on Friday morning. Friday afternoon will be devoted to roundtable discussions and society management topics. See http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~txsgs/ for more information.

In addition to the educational sessions, the Association of Professional Genealogists, Lone Star Chapter, offers attendees a free 15-minute consultation. The consultations are offered during breaks so no one misses the great speakers. A professional genealogist will review one specific genealogical question and offer suggestions for research that may provide an answer. See http://lonestarapg.com/roadshow_forms.htm for more information.

One week later on November 12 and 13 the East Texas Genealogical Society is presenting a seminar in Tyler with Certified GenealogistSM J. Mark Lowe as the featured speaker. He will be speaking on research techniques, researching rural ancestors, and finding manuscripts in Kentucky and Tennessee. Lowe is as well-known for Kentucky and Tennessee research as Little is for Virginia research. See http://www.etgs.org/meetings/etgsmtg11.html for more information.

These speakers are knowledgeable, entertaining, and not to be missed. I hope to see you all there.

© 2010, Debbie Parker Wayne, All Rights Reserved

06 October 2010

Texas General Land Office - W.D. Twichell Survey Records

The Texas General Land Office (TXGLO) just announced a new acquisition on H-NET. The introductory paragraph is:
Beginning more than 120 years ago, Willis Day Twichell surveyed tens of millions of acres of public and private lands in West Texas. He laid out more than 40 towns and provided surveying work in 165 of 254 counties in Texas. The lands he surveyed included the boundary between Texas and New Mexico, gave rise to the legendary XIT Ranch, funded the building of the State Capitol, helped build railroads and fund public education in Texas, and were integral to the exploration of oil and gas in West Texas throughout the 20th century. ... read more ...
TXGLO hopes to have the papers processed and available to researchers in the facility early in 2011 and online by early 2012. The correspondence covers work done beyond Texas borders in Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona and northern Mexico.

The Texas General Land Office Archives and Records division is one of the best archival facilities you'll ever work with. Knowledgeable and helpful archivists, prompt response times, and access to some of the most interesting records in early Texas history. You may learn much more about your ancestor than what is contained in the land grant files. There are records from the Court of Claims and other government entities investigating land claims to prevent fraudulent claims.

The TXGLO recently redesigned their website at http://www.glo.texas.gov/what-we-do/history-and-archives/index.html. In addition to a great new look, I found some new information since my last visit. The "Our Collections" link takes you to the online search form and to pages explaining the land grant process in Texas in great detail. If you have ancestors who moved to Texas or who fought for Texas and may have received a land grant, don't miss this site. More than two million maps are available online in PDF format.

© 2010, Debbie Parker Wayne, All Rights Reserved

26 September 2010

Proof Reading: It's Never Enough

I recently finished an essay for a big project. Several times during the months I worked on the essay, I printed it and carefully proof read. I know I find more errors in print than on a computer screen. At the end, I let the essay sit for a week then proof read it again. As expected, I found more errors and corrected them. I read the narrative out loud and corrected more errors.

I submitted the essay thinking I had done due diligence on proof reading. Of course, days after submission I found more errors in the essay. Not just typos, but I left the name of the state off of a census citation. One citation used the name of the city where a person lived at the time of death instead of the name of the state capitol where the death record is archived. There were other errors I don't want to admit to in public.

I need more proof reading tricks. Letting someone else read an essay is a great way to find typos and sentences that need to be reworded. Because my essay was essentially a test, I could not ask one of my friends to proof read it for me. I learned one week is not enough cooling-off time for a project I have been working on intensely for months and years. I need to let the essay sit longer before the final reading. Next time I will read the citations out loud as well as the narrative. Another proof reading tip is to read your essay backwards. My mind balks at reading backwards. I think I am going to have to practice this.

If you need a demonstration of how your mind "fills in" what it wants to see check out eChalk optical illusions. Scroll down to "Jumbled Words" and click on it. You may be surprised at how your mind works as you read the paragraph. This is a great demonstration of why proof reading is so important.

© 2010, Debbie Parker Wayne, All Rights Reserved

14 September 2010

Results: Glasses in the Cupboard Rim Up or Down

Asking an open-ended question of genealogists always brings out some wonderful family stories. My recent question about storage of drinking glasses caused several of us to spend some time with fond memories of moms and grandmothers. A few of us were spurred to phone home. Some of us commented on differences between mothers and daughters and others on how we do things like mom without knowing why. I enjoyed all of the responses. Thank you.

I heard someone state once that rim-side down glass storage was a result of the Dust Bowl in the U.S. I could see how those in the Dust Bowl might start storing glasses rim-side down, but there had to be other reasons in other areas. So I asked. Here are the survey results on whether glasses are stored rim-side up or down and why in different locales.

One responder had two family lines in Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl. One family stored glasses rim-side up and the other family stored them down. This story emphasizes the conclusion supported by the other responses. Even if the Dust Bowl caused some families to store their glasses rim-side down, dust and bugs exist everywhere. And there are other reasons that might cause a homemaker to choose one storage plan over another.

Thirty families are represented in this informal, unscientific survey. Twenty-six store glasses rim-side down, two rim-side up, two alternate glasses up and down.

Of those who store glasses rim-side down, eight blamed bugs and critters. Most of those were located on the east coast (New York, Maryland), the south (Kentucky, Georgia, Texas, unspecified), Hawaii, and multiple areas for a family who made frequent moves to different Army posts. Three responders from New York and central Canada blamed both critters and dust. Five responders from Oklahoma, Kansas, Illinois, and New England blamed dust. Four families placed the glasses upside down to dry completely. Four did not specify. One person pointed out it is easier to dry dust off the outside of a glass than to clean the inside if you have big hands. Another pointed out that stability often determines how we stack and store dishes. (A very interesting analysis I would bet comes from someone with an engineering frame of mind. Thanks.)

No reason was given for the rim-side up storage in Pennsylvania although other families in the same area stored rim-side down. Dust covered all the dishes no matter how they were stored in Oklahoma and Kansas. Maybe if you had to wash the dishes again before use it didn't matter much which way they were stored.

Both homemakers who alternate glasses up and down do it to save space.

I also learned something new. One family stored everyday glasses rim-side down. When crystal glasses were purchased the manufacturer recommended they be stored rim-side up to prevent the fragile glass from chipping. Interestingly, several responders mentioned they or their daughters don't follow mom's methods.

Thank you all for sharing your stories.

© 2010, Debbie Parker Wayne, All Rights Reserved

08 September 2010

Wisdom Wednesday: Glasses in the Cupboard Rim Up or Down

So, this is my first blog theme post and I'm probably bending the rules. I am going to share Big Mama's wisdom, but also ask if others were taught this same habit. Big Mama was my mother's mother. Grandma, Granny, Meema, and Nana were names already used for other grandmothers in the family by the time Big Mama's first grandchild (me) came along. But I digress.

One of Big Mama's cardinal rules was that glasses and cups were placed rim-side down in the cabinets. I never thought of questioning this. It was just the way things were done. When I met my husband I had to teach him proper dish placement. His mother had not taught him this kitchen imperative.

A few years ago I heard a presentation about the Dust Bowl. The speaker said the habit of placing dishes upside down in the cupboard came about during those years when dirt and dust blew in through every little crack and settled into everything in the house. She didn't explain why only glasses and cups were placed upside down. The image of teetering stacks of upside down plates and bowls seems to clearly indicate why this rule didn't apply to those dishes. And she didn't have a source for linking this habit to the Dust Bowl other than her family lore. We all know how dependable that can be.

My husband's family was in Buffalo, New York, at the time of the Dust Bowl. My family, practicing this rule, was in Texas during the Dust Bowl years, but not the panhandle area where the Dust Bowl hit hardest. In the East Texas piney woods the rim-down habit could have easily been instituted due to bugs or plain old dust — unrelated to the wind whipping over the plains that had been stripped of the grasses that kept the soil from becoming airborne dust.

This is much too small a group to make a sweeping generalization. If you reply to this blog post, please tell me whether your family is of the rim-down or rim-up variety and where they lived during the 1930s. If I get enough responses maybe we can figure out where this habit comes from.

By the way, I devoured Timothy Egan's The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl (Boston: Mariner / Houghton Mifflin, 2006). Even though he did not answer my critical social history dish storage question, his book is a great read. He interviewed many survivors of the Dust Bowl. His book includes the personal stories as well as the government policies that contributed to this American disaster.

© 2010, Debbie Parker Wayne, All Rights Reserved

04 September 2010

Genealogy in University Archives: Digital Legal Case Files

I have not yet "succumbed to the lure" of Facebook and Twitter. But I love the interesting tidbits of life being placed online nowadays. I can learn so much from bloggers in different fields telling of online discoveries. Although, some governmental entities are slow to put historical documents online, universities are leading the way. I suspect all of that enthusiasm and free labor from students helps.

Helen F. M. Leary and Elizabeth Shown Mills taught me why genealogists should be concerned about the law in a class at IGHR back in 2003. Benjamin B. Spratling III, Ann Carter Fleming, and Kay Haviland Freilich added to that knowledge in another IGHR course a few years later. They made me aware of Black's Law Dictionary1 and The History of American Law.2 A while back I discovered Law Librarian Blog and Legal History Blog. Both have posts of interest to historians and genealogists. All great resources for genealogists trying to learn more about the law.

The Law Librarian article Texas Tech Law Library Launches Digital Repository piqued my interest with a statement that there is "a complete collection of our publications faculty produced while at Texas Tech." So I browsed the collection. In addition to some great resources for learning about the law, the collection includes Executive Orders of Texas governors and personal papers of some professors.

Professor Daniel H. Benson was involved in an eight-year case against the City of Lubbock regarding the election system. One of the documents is a long list of exhibits and witnesses for the defense. Hand-written notes and lined-through sections on the typed documents could provide clues to the workings of a legal mind. But the best part is the deposition of one witness, maybe used during witness-prep. All of the questions and answers are there along with some directions like "you can elaborate on this."

Imagine the excitement of a genealogist in the future looking for her ancestor and finding his deposition where the first twenty-plus questions cover his background. How old are you? Where are you from? Where did you go to school? Where did you work? What have you published. Even a question similar to one that sparked a news controversy two years ago: "And do you regularly read and keep up with the journals and professional literature published by these associations and in your field of political science generally?"

Now I am hoping all of my ancestors were involved in massive law suits where the lawyer was also a university professor. University archives — when the courthouse burned or flooded — are an alternative repository for a "reasonably exhaustive search" (or compulsively unreasonable for those of us who don't know when to stop). The case number is on the digital documents so that future genealogist can also go to the courthouse and see the entire case file if the courthouse didn't burn or the files were saved from the fire or flood.

Thank you to all of the repositories making it easier for us to locate historical documents without leaving home.

Bryan A. Garner, Black's Law Dictionary, 8th ed. (St Paul, Minnesota: Thompson/West, 2004). [4th ed. recommended as best for genealogists when can find used version. Earlier editions now available on CD from Archive CD Books.] Digitized version of 1910 Black's Law Dictionary at http://www.constitution.org/dict/blacks_2nd.pdf.

Lawrence M. Friedman, A History of American Law, 3d ed. (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005).

© 2010, Debbie Parker Wayne, All Rights Reserved

27 August 2010

FGS Conference Ends

Most of my blogger friends have already written about the fun we all had at the FGS Conference held last week in Knoxville, Tennessee. I'm still recovering from the sleepless nights and a long drive home. I love attending conferences, but the constant swing from tired to exhilarated and inspired is exhausting.

The tiredness comes from late nights. It's difficult to make yourself go to bed at a reasonable hour when old friends and friends you just haven't met yet are telling great stories late at night. I marveled all week at how the conference planners, volunteers, and speakers managed to keep going all day, every day, when I just wanted to take a nap. I was especially impressed with the energy put into the conference by Paula Stuart-Warren, Lori Thornton, and Pat Oxley. There were dozens of others I never met who worked hard so I could have a great week. I hope everyone in attendance remembered to express appreciation for the work of all the volunteers. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Paula Stuart-Warren writes the official FGS Conference Blog and a personal blog at Paula S-W's Genealogical Eclectica. In her article "The FGS Conference was a Fantastic Success!" she indicates over 1800 people attended. It's a good thing the convention center was so big.

The inspiration and exhilaration come from learning. My favorite sessions were "Planning 'Reasonably Exhaustive' Research" by Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, and "Reasonably Exhaustive Search: What Does That Mean?" by Laura DeGrazia, CG. These two sessions help a researcher key on the "reasonable" part of the reasonably exhaustive search required by the Genealogical Proof Standard.1 The "exhaustive" part of the search was covered by Elizabeth Shown Mills in "Poor? Black? Female? Slave? Southern Research Strategies." She taught us about those less common and harder to find records that can bring our ancestor to life.

Now I have a couple of months to recover and get some work done before the Family Tree DNA Conference, the Texas State Genealogical Society Conference with Barbara Vines Little, CG, and the East Texas Genealogical Society Fall Seminar with J. Mark Lowe, CG.

  1.   Christine Rose, Genealogical Proof Standard: Building a Solid Case (San Jose, California: CR Publications, 2005).

© 2010, Debbie Parker Wayne, All Rights Reserved

14 August 2010

History and Genealogy: Two Worlds or One

Over the years I've been part of many discussions about the differences in genealogists and historians and why genealogists are looked down on by "real" historians. I have to admit, I don't think too highly of those who are name collectors or are only interested in looking for a prominent or royal ancestor to point to. My husband, who is not a genealogist, always wants to ask those people, 'But what have YOU done?"

But most genealogists want to know more about their ancestors as real people with real lives, black sheep or white, preacher or bigamist (or both), farmer or civic leader. To discover those real lives we need to do scholarly genealogical research to link the right people into families, have a firm understanding of the history of the times to place them in context, and meld the two together in a logical narrative. The big picture "macro history" and genealogy or "micro history" are both needed.

"Modern genealogy—appropriately done—is history in microcosm," states eminent genealogist and degreed historian Elizabeth Shown Mills, but "our field still fight[s] an uphill battle for recognition as a legitimate field of social study." She goes on to describe the rift between historians and genealogists and how it developed.1 But there is hope in her description of "new genealogists" and "new historians" and a coming together in the last few decades.

One example of genealogist and historian coming together, in one person, is Carolyn Earle Billingsley. Her book Communities of Kinship demonstrates how scholarly genealogical research "can be used to tease out the underlying nuances" of a society. In her introduction she discusses the similarities in historical and genealogical research methods.2

My current reading turned up another example of the two disciplines coming together. The current issue of Southwestern Historical Quarterly has a review of a book useful to both genealogists and historians.3 Mark Gretchen has documented slaves of Guadalupe County, Texas, using the records thorough genealogists use every day: tax rolls, census enumerations, court, deed, probate, and sale and mortgage records.4

I can't wait to read this book as I had an idea to do something similar for one of my counties, but the project has been on the back-burner for several years and may be for a few more. But I bet I get some great ideas on how to proceed.
1. Elizabeth Shown Mills, "Genealogy in the 'Information Age': History's New Frontier?," National Genealogical Society Quarterly 91 (December 2003), 260-277, particularly 260 and 261; online archives, (http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/galleries/Ref_Researching/NGSQVol91Pg26077GenealogyHistory.pdf : accessed 14 August 2010).
2. Carolyn Earle Billingsley, Communities of Kinship: Antebellum Families and the Settlement of the Cotton Frontier (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2004).
3. Deborah Liles, review of Slave Transactions of Guadalupe County, Texas by Mark Gretchen, Southwestern Historical Quarterly CXIV (July 2010): 96-97.
4. Mark Gretchen, Slave Transactions of Guadalupe County, Texas (Santa Maria, California: Janaway Publishing, 2009).

© 2010, Debbie Parker Wayne, All Rights Reserved

07 August 2010

FGS Conference in Knoxville is a Great Educational Opportunity

Continuing education is important in the genealogical discipline as it is in other fields. A conference combines education, networking, hands-on shopping, product demonstrations, and fellowship in one big event.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference (FGS) and the Association of Professional Genealogists Professional Management Conference (APG PMC) are only days away now. Important conference details are being added constantly to the FGS Conference Blog so check it often. The blog offers many articles giving details of speakers and sessions, exhibitors, optional events, and area attractions to help you plan your trip. Online registration at the FGS site ends at midnight August 8th. You can still register at the door, but some events may have reached capacity.

Information on the APG PMC is available at http://www.apgen.org/conferences/index.html. PMC sessions offer information on managing your business as well as topics of interest to advanced researchers and those who want to get published.

In addition to all of the wonderful official events on the schedule there are always many unofficial events, too. Members of the ProGen Study Group will meet for dinner on Wednesday night. If you might be interested in joining a ProGen Study Group but have questions, join the ProGen topic table at the APG PMC on Tuesday, August 14th, or ask anyone you see wearing a burgundy color ribbon with "ProGen Study Group" printed on it.

Most attendees learn so much at a conference they feel their head may explode by the end of the week. But you go home enthused and energized and ready to use all of that new knowledge.

© 2010, Debbie Parker Wayne, All Rights Reserved

05 August 2010

TSLAC Grant Awards

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) just announced the list of grants awarded to digital projects. Several projects of interest to genealogical and historical researchers are:

  • Making the Bexar Archives available online.
  • Allowing free public access to the earliest Texas newspapers held by the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at UT Austin.
  • Digitizing 19th century photographs that depict Texans from a variety of cultural groups ... as well as locations from all regions of the state.
  • Making the history of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) on the U.S.-Mexico border and the military buildup that occurred on the U.S. side of the border during those years available.
  • Digitizing and transcribing Houston Metropolitan Research Center oral histories.
  • Documenting the  lives of Texas military veterans through video oral histories.
Keep an eye out for these exciting additions to Texas history to come online. Additional projects are named in the announcement that can be viewed at the link above.

© 2010, Debbie Parker Wayne, All Rights Reserved

Deb's Delvings in Genealogy - A New Blog

I finally found time to set up the blog I have been considering for some time. Deb's Delvings seemed an appropriate name as I plan to cover diverse topics in genealogy, digging deeply into some. This blog will cover topics of interest to professional and advanced researchers and those who want to become more advanced researchers. Special attention will be given to genetic genealogy (DNA), laws affecting family history, Texas history and records, and using technology in genealogical pursuits.

After working more than twenty years in the computer industry I moved home to East Texas. In 2005 I formed Wayne Research to offer genealogical services to others. Working with computers and technology required ongoing education and the genealogical discipline is the same. Courses at Samford's IGHR, the ProGen Study Group, and attendance at as many national and regional conferences as possible have contributed to my genealogical education. I hope to share some of that knowledge as well as things I learn while researching and writing on new topics.

Feel free to add comments about topics you'd like to see covered in future posts.

© 2010, Debbie Parker Wayne, All Rights Reserved