29 November 2013

NGS 2014 Family History Conference Registration opens Sunday 1 December 2013!



Registration will open on Sunday, 1 December 2013, for the National Genealogical Society’s thirty-sixth annual family history conference, Virginia: The First Frontier, which will be held 7–10 May 2014 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center and the Marriott Hotel in Richmond, Virginia. Virginia was home to an ever-changing frontier. From Jamestown to Kentucky its people moved ever forward looking for new frontiers and it is this spirit that the conference celebrates as we move to new frontiers in research. The conference will open with Sandra Treadway, Librarian and Archivist of Virginia, who will address the issues that research institutions face as they enter the digital frontier and how they are working to meet the ever-changing needs of their patrons.

Continuing its goal of providing quality educational opportunities to its participants, the conference will again feature the Board for Certification of Genealogists’ Skillbuilding track, which focuses on research techniques useful to both the beginning and the advanced researcher. Among the eighteen lectures in the migration track are David Rencher’s “From Ulster to Virginia and the Carolinas,” Eric Grundset’s “The Chesapeake and New England: Colonial Connections and Migrations,” and J. Mark Lowe’s “The Migration Triangle: Virginia, the Carolinas, and Tennessee.” A two-day German track features lectures on German research in both the United States and Europe. Single-day tracks focus on DNA, NARA, military, and African American research and include tracks sponsored by the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society and the New England Historic and Genealogical Society. Technology and its increasing role in research is addressed in a variety of presentations including a full-day track on ways to use technology to help you share your family’s story. And, last but not least, for those who have Virginia ancestors, we promise at least one session every hour of every day.

To register online, visit the NGS website at http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/event-registration/ and complete the registration form.       
                                                                       
The online searchable program is available at http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/agenda/ and the PDF brochure is available at http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/. The brochure includes an overview of the sessions, tours, pre-conference events, registration times, and rates, as well as general conference and hotel details. Attendees are urged to visit the conference blog, which will feature tips on local and regional research facilities as well as things to do in and around Richmond and updated information on hotel availability and local restaurants.





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28 November 2013

Tomorrow is National Day of Listening -- You are Encouraged to Record an Interview With a Loved One

source: LowCountry Africana, http://www.lowcountryafricana.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Flyer.png

I have been familiar with StoryCorps for a few years.  The idea of saving our stories, given how many have been lost in my own family alone, has always “struck a chord” with me.

The National Day of Listening is a new national holiday started by StoryCorps in 2008. On the day after Thanksgiving, StoryCorps asks everyone to take a few minutes to record an interview with a loved one. You can use recording equipment that is readily available to you, such as computers, iPhones, and tape recorders.

Everyone is also encouraged to post a memory to Facebook or Twitter or to tape a tribute on youTube.  The key is to somehow document the special memories held by the members of our famly.

At no cost, though donations would always be appreciated, one can record an interview of someone in your community and then share it via the Wall of Listening.  This can be an opportunity to visit those in veteran’s homes, senior centers, homeless shelters, and other community centers to make sure that their memories are preserved for the future or just start with the family members with whom you have just shared a Thanksgiving meal!

A Do-It-Yourself video and Guide are available on the site to help you.

And, nothing says that you have to wait until after Thanksgiving!  Any day that you are with family is a great opportunity to record a family story for posterity!

Did you record someone? What was the most special memory/thought they shared with you?



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27 November 2013

November is National Adoption Month


Though the month is almost over, we are still celebrating National Adoption Month.

Learning about adopted ancestors, trying to identify the biological parents of those adopted and other challenges sometimes await those delving into the adoption stories of our family trees.  Here are some resources to help:


Have you successfully researched an adopted ancestor?  Share your story!  Tell us what was most helpful to your research success.


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copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
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Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
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26 November 2013

Are you using eBay as much as you can to advance your family history research?


Not all records are at libraries and archives. A number of historical documents can be found on eBay. With just a few keystrokes, you could find a deed, indenture, family history book, Bible, journal/diary, or other genealogy-related item to augment your research.

Finding these items on eBay can be both simple as well as frustrating. With simple search parameters, you can easily find items of interest to your research. Results can be as varied as documents and books to postcard and other ephemera. However, there are drawbacks to these searches, the most frequent being typographical errors in the seller’s title and/or descriptive information which you use as your search specifications.

Suggested search parameters:

“[name of] Co”
“[name of] County”
“[name of city] [abbreviation or spelled out name of state]” –
Use Categories on the left of the results list to drill down to more relevant items.
indenture
deed
[surname of interest]
***The asterisk is no longer supported as a wildcard character.***

Using the quote marks will require the terms to be together. For example, “Wake Co” will provide results with the search terms next to each other, i.e., Wake Co and Wake County. Without the quotes, Wake Co will result with items with just the word Wake anywhere in the title (or description if you click the checkbox under the blue Search button) as well as results with variations of the word beginning with co, i.e., comic, company, Columbus, college, etc.

Search parameters can be saved. While you are on the page of results, at the top of the list of items will be a link “Follow This Search.” Click on this link (log in if necessary), and you will start receiving e-mails when new items are listed.

By using Advanced Search, you can limit the results to items which use the search parameters in either the Title or the Description. There are many search limitations you can use, including:

  • searching only completed listings [listings that no longer active/current] and/or sold listings
  • price range
  • buying formats (auction, buy it now, classified ads)
  • whether the item is new or used (or not specified as either)
  • shipping options (free or local pick up)
  • within a certain radius of a ZIP Code
  • within specific location(s)

To find filler items for the journal, I use the above search functions, using the search parameter “deed” or “indenture” along with “Wake Co” to narrow down the results. If I find anything, I will cross-post to the WCGS member e-mail list, and someone else will cross-post to the RootsWeb list for Wake County researchers. If I have extra time, I will use other search parameters (postcard, manuscript, journal, letter, diary, etc.) along with “Wake Co”. As a rule, I am not planning to bid or purchase any of the items I find on eBay.

Here’s a slave document I found which was published in a recent issue of the journal:


There are several Facebook Groups/Pages which post a variety of genealogy-related materials from various internet sources including EBay Genealogy and Dead Fred Genealogy Photo Archive.

In a recent issue of American Spirit (Daughters of the American Revolution, September/October 2013, Page 10), there is an item “Beyond eBay: Tips for Checking Out Online Marketplaces.” Included in their list are Coollectors.com, Bonanza.com, OnlineAuction.com, and eCrater.com. I have not checked these websites, but include them here for your reference.

Try these ideas next time you are searching on eBay. Let us know what criteria *you* use to assist in your research.


Hope Blackford
(nee Janice Lee Hope)
Assistant Editor – Wake Treasures
Wake County Genealogical Society
Raleigh, North Carolina


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copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
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Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
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25 November 2013

November is Native American Heritage Month -- Let's Celebrate!


Many have Native American ancestry and since this is Native American Heritage Month, let’s celebrate!

I was reminded of this when the State Library of North Carolina unveiled its new resource page Native American Heritage which states ...

November is Native American Heritage Month. The State Library would like to take this time to honor the first inhabitants of North Carolina

Native American heritage in North Carolina, as well as the country as a whole, has very deep roots. Before the first Europeans arrived, North Carolina was inhabited by three major Native American language groups: Iroquoian tribes in the north, the Siouan tribes in the piedmont, and the Algonquian tribes in the tidewater region.

Currently, North Carolina has the largest Native American population east of the Mississippi River.There are eight state recognized tribes in North Carolina: the Cherokee, Coharie, Haliwa-Saponi, Lumbee, Meherrin, Occaneechi Bands of the Saponi, Sappony and the Waccamaw Siouan Indian Tribes.

Today, the Native American influence can be found in some of the foods we eat, the arts, jewelry, clothing and the names of cities, towns and rivers in North Carolina. Please join the State Library as we celebrate the heritage of North Carolina's first inhabitants.


Besides the State Library of North Carolina, The North Carolina Museum of History is celebrating the 18th Annual American Indian Heritage celebration and several of the local universities have and are offering special programs all month long.  Check to see if there are any programs being held in your area and any local resource collections to assist you as you celebrate and/or research Native American heritage.

Interested in celebrating?  Here are some more resources:

Did you attend a celebration?  Tell us about it!  Know of a "must use" Native American family history research resource?  Let us know!



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copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
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Want to learn more about interacting with the blog, please read Hyperlinks, Subscribing and Comments -- How to Interact with Upfront with NGS Blog posts!
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Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
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22 November 2013

Upfront Mini Bytes – Ireland, Rhode Island, WWI Trenches, NC Nursing, Lithuanian Jews, Free e-book, and more ....

Welcome to our newest edition of our bi-weekly feature Upfront Mini Bytes.  In Upfront Mini Bytes we provide eight tasty bits of genealogy news that will help give you a deeper byte into your family history research. Each item is short and sweet.  We encourage you to check out the links to articles, blog posts, resources, and anything genealogical!

We hope you found the past editions helpful.  Use your favorite search engine with “Upfront with NGS” “Mini Bytes” or use this Google search link.

Do you have questions, suggestions for future posts, or comments?  Please post a comment or send an e-mail to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

We often talk about trying to figure out how something was written based on how it was probably spoken.  If your research involves someone living in Ireland, you might find the Archive of spoken Irish from 1920s and 1930s now online interesting.  Even if you don’t have Irish ancestors, it’s fun to listen to the recorded stories, songs, prayers, charms, and parables.
 
Rhode Island State Archives Online Catalog is now available. This is an invaluable tool for anyone interested in accessing information about the holdings, detailed finding aids, images, and links to other resources found in the Rhode Island State Archives.
                                                                                              
If you want a nitty gritty look at life in the trenches during WWI (UK), see if your library has access to Trench Journals and Unit Magazines of the First World War.  You can get a sense of these publications (more than 1,500 periodicals, published between 1914 and the end of 1919) by viewing/downloading a graphic novel and see the video.

I had never heard of the term Spoonerism until I read this blog post Genealogy Challenge Pt. 1: Spot Spoonerisms & Other Name Mistakes on GenealogyBank, though I have certainly spoken a few in my day.  The post states that a Spoonerism is “the accidental switching of sounds or letters in two words, often to humorous effect.”

Lithuanian Jewish Cemetery records continue to be made available online at Litvak Cemetery Catalog. Here is a link to a map and list of status (whether digitized or not) information for each identified cemetery.  There is also an associated Facebook page.

This Old House website has a neat page How to Research the History of Your House.  If you are interested in doing a history of your own house or a house of a family member, I think you’ll find the information provided here quite useful.

Family Tree Magazine and GenealogyBank have partnered to make available a free e-book How to Search Obituaries to Find Ancestors and Trace Your Family Tree. You will need to provide your name and e-mail address to access this publication.  You can opt in to receive information about GenealogyBank.com and that is not required.

What a neat website – North Carolina Nursing History (hosted by Appalachian State University).  Two neat finds (by me) on the website are a digitized version of “The History of Nursing in North Carolina” and African American Registered Nurses in NC 1903-1935.









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copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
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Want to learn more about interacting with the blog, please read Hyperlinks, Subscribing and Comments -- How to Interact with Upfront with NGS Blog posts!
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Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
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21 November 2013

African American Researchers Must Dig Deeper, guest post by Sharon Leslie Morgan


It is easy for a family historian to get lazy these days. One can sit in front of a computer and travel the world, not to mention visit the neighborhood in which your ancestors were born.

Online research can take you a long way and you should absolutely take advantage of all that exists through digitization, which enables you to view, search, and print all sorts of documents. But everything is NOT digitized. 

Those of us who have been researching for a long time know that, at some point, you have to get off your butt and go – either to your family “home place” or to a geographically related repository of historical documents. Because so much about African American families was not recorded in public documents, offline resources may be the only way you will ever identify your ancestors and make connections with living relatives.

Here are some offline sources where you can dig deeper:

COURTHOUSES

In the past, the local courthouse was the center of legal activity for the county in which it operated. Many records of genealogical interest will be found in these locations. They are a goldmine of documents that verify births, marriages, land transactions, mortgages, wills, estate records, company and bank records, tax records, civil court records, minutes of town meetings, etc. Bear in mind that many old courthouses (especially in the southern states) suffered fires, with a resulting loss of documents. In recent years, many courthouse records have been transferred to archives.

ARCHIVES

At the state level, archives are the place to go. They are the cumulative repository of documents from all of the courthouses around the state. You will find many of the same records you would find in a courthouse plus much more. There is generally a library full of books on community and state history, political activity, biographies and special collections (like family papers). When you are uncertain about the specific county in which your ancestor lived, archives are a “one-stop shop” where you can research several different counties all in one place. Additionally, there is a collection of materials on neighboring states as well.

LIBRARIES

Local libraries used to be the heart of their communities, not only a place to read books but to partake in communal activities. Librarians, especially in small communities, tend to be very knowledgeable about local history. You will find family genealogies, indexes to public records, community history books, newspapers, maps and other materials that never found their way into an archive. Many universities maintain libraries as well.

In visiting any of these repositories, the key records to look for are estate files, family papers, sharecropper accounts and bibles. Enslaved people are frequently named in these documents and nowhere else.

Even if you do not succeed in finding your specific ancestors, you can gain perspective on the times and conditions in which they lived by visiting home communities and institutions that preserve community memory. These include historical societies, historic sites, museums, churches and cemeteries. 


Sharon Leslie Morgan is the founder of OurBlackAncestry.com, a website dedicated to African American family research. She is co-author of Gather at the Table: The Healing Journey of a Daughter of Slavery and a Son of the Slave Trade (Beacon Press, 2012). This blog expresses the views of the author and should not be attributed to the National Genealogical Society.











Editor's Note: This is the second in a sequence of four posts by Sharon on researching African American roots. If you missed the first post, The Last Slaveholder, you will find it here.






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20 November 2013

National Genealogical Society Announces Program for the 2014 Family History Conference Richmond, Virginia, 7–10 May 2014


Arlington, VA, 20 NOVEMBER 2013: The National Genealogical Society is pleased to announce the program for the 2014 Family History Conference is now available in a sixteen-page Registration Brochure, which can be downloaded at http://goo.gl/KwHTix. The online version of the program is also available on the conference website at conference.ngsgenealogy.org. Conference registration opens on 1 December 2013 at http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/event-registration/.  A number of special events have limited seating, so register on 1 December or as soon as possible thereafter if you plan to attend these events.

The conference will be held at the Greater Richmond Convention Center and Marriott Hotel located in downtown Richmond, Virginia, 7–10 May 2014. Conference highlights include a choice of more than 175 lectures, given by many nationally known speakers and subject matter experts about a broad array of topics including records for Virginia and its neighboring states; migration into and out of the region; military records; state and federal records; ethnic groups including African Americans, German, Irish, and Ulster Scots; methodology; analysis and problem solving; and the use of technology including genetics, mobile devices, and apps useful in genealogical research.

The first few pages of the brochure provide details about conference logistics and describe several special events. The daily conference program includes the name of each speaker, the lecture title, and a brief description of the presentation. A number of social events and workshops are also offered during the conference. If 2014 will be your first NGS Family History Conference, check out http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/tips-for-first-time-conference-attendees/ for additional information about what you might experience at the conference. 

An exhibit hall with more than seventy-five vendors will be free and open to the public Wednesday through Saturday at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, directly across from the Marriott Hotel. Exhibitors will include genealogy database and software providers, booksellers, genealogy societies, providers of genetic testing, and much more.

Up-to-date information about the availability, amenities, and rates for conference hotels can be found at http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/attend/accommodations/.

Sign up for the NGS Conference Blog at http://conferenceblog.ngsgenealogy.org so you do not miss conference news or announcements.

Founded in 1903, the National Genealogical Society is dedicated to genealogy education, high research standards, and the preservation of genealogical records. The Arlington, Virginia- based nonprofit is the premier national society for everyone, from the beginner to the most advanced family historian seeking excellence in publications, educational offerings, research guidance, and opportunities to interact with other genealogists.





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copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
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Want to learn more about interacting with the blog, please read Hyperlinks, Subscribing and Comments -- How to Interact with Upfront with NGS Blog posts!
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Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
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19 November 2013

Call for Submissions -- "Capturing and Preserving the 'First Draft of History' In the Digital Environment"


As genealogists and family historians the preservation of news content is invaluable to us.  Just as we salivate over digitized newspaper collections and other news forums used long ago, our descendants will want to do the same for any missives written about (or by us).  Will they be able to?  If so, what has to happen now to ensure that modern news is not lost to future readers?

If you are involved in the process of preserving news, check out this call for submissions.  And, if you are interested in what is happening in this arena, in the summer of 2015, see if you can get your hands on a copy of the Newspaper Research Journal.

==================

Preservation of news content has always posed many troublesome problems for media organizations, libraries, archives and other institutions concerned about storing the ‘first draft of history.’

The issues now are even more pressing with the growth of “born digital” publications, that is digital-only publications, “big data” projects, interactive visualizations, social media content, user-generated content and comments and all the other formats and platforms on which news content is created and delivered. In addition, the traditional linear news cycle has been replaced with a “continuous loop of gathering, processing, versioning, output, response and update,” as outlined by the Center for Research Libraries in its initiatives on preserving digital news.

In light of these developments, the Newspaper Research Journal is accepting research articles that will shed light on “Capturing And Preserving the ‘First Draft Of History’ in the Digital Environment” for a special issue of NRJ, which is scheduled for summer 2015.

This call is for manuscripts that will provide insights into the many challenges and issues facing news organizations as they try to develop methods to capture their daily news production, efficiently store it and make it accessible to users inside and outside the newsroom. Articles also may offer suggestions that would help news organizations adapt to the changing environment in which information can be stored and accessed. Researchers may want to deal with many different aspects of the process—from managerial to organizational, economic and technological perspectives.

Both social-scientific and cultural/critical approaches will be considered, as will mixed-methods approaches. Because NRJ attempts to provide a bridge between academia and members of the profession, preference will be given to research submissions that will provide solutions industry professionals can use.

Submissions will undergo NRJ’s usual peer-review process and must be original research that is not under review with any other publication, although modified conference papers will be considered. NRJ’s published guidelines regarding length, citation style and formatting of tabular material will apply.

Direct queries or submissions to:
Kathleen A. Hansen (k-hans@umn.edu, 612-625-3480) or Nora Paul (npaul@umn.edu, 612-624-8593)


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Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to UpFront@ngsgenealogy.org. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
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18 November 2013

Reading the book is just the beginning – Do you know how you learn best? Using Mastering Genealogical Proof as an example ... guest post by Shannon Combs-Bennett



As genealogists we are always learning.  There is continually something new to see, hear, or do which could aid us in our research.  See, hear, or do.  Did you know that those are the three main ways people learn?  People are visual, auditory, or kinetic learners in general.  Do you have an idea which one fits you the most? If you do, then it should be easy to figure out what is the best way for you to digest complex information for your genealogical research.

For example, I am mainly a visual learner with a small kinetic portion.  I know that I do not do well with auditory learning.  This means I like to draw things out, make color coded diagrams, and sometimes act things out.  When I read a journal article, attending a lecture, or read an educational text I actually write and draw in the margins with different colored pens or pencils and draw pictures or diagrams.  These are the tricks I learned in college (you know when most of us actually learn how to study) that helped me.  They were the same techniques I used when I read the new book by Thomas W. Jones Mastering Genealogical Proof. 

This is a great book.  If you don’t have it, you should. However, I had a difficult time getting through it.  There was a significant amount of information combined with a number of terms that I was only vaguely familiar with.  However, when you really want to know something you will figure out a way to learn it. So I did.  Out came my colored pens, sticky tabs, and highlighter.  Writing things out in my own words, drawing diagrams that I created, and making it colorful was exactly what I needed to do.

However, what if you are struggling with a concept and you are not a visual learner like me?  Never fear, you have options too.  Kinetic learners like to learn through doing.  Make sure you take breaks, build a physical model, or use flash cards.  Auditory learners do best when they hear things.  You should read passages out loud to yourself, explain the problem to someone else, or get involved in a study group.

Let’s look at how three different learners could approach learning a concept in the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS).  How about creating research questions?  Stating a good research question is the key to conducting excellent research and keeping us on track.  While the concept is simple to grasp for most people, it is also made up multiple parts that lock together which then create the perfect question.  Think about it for a second, how would you break apart this concept into usable chunks? If you have the book, look through chapter 2 of MGP to get some ideas on what you would do.

I created a flow chart on paper with colored pens, shapes, and arrows.  This not only helped me remember the concepts, because I wrote them all out, the diagram also gave me a picture to remember when I wanted to recall the concepts later.  It was simple, not overly complicated, gave me the main ideas, and fit on one page.  Cheat sheets should be also be compact since you want to keep them handy.  I am a bit, well, compelled to take my chicken scratches and turn them into flow charts on my computer.  Nice, neat, and ordered; just the way I like it.  Then I can carry them on my iPad and have them with me when I need them.


For kinetic learners I would suggest creating a fill-in chart, like a memory game, to help learn the concepts.  You can create one on your computer; print it out, laminate it, and then using a dry erase marker practice filling it in. Flash cards that could be fit together in the correct order like a puzzle would also be good.  Both ways puts the information in front of you so you can learn the concept through creating it.  Some kinetic learners also have success with flowcharts.  The act of creating it helps you remember what you are trying to internalize.

Auditory learning is more challenging but not impossible.  To learn these concepts I strongly encourage you to join a study group, even if it is one or two friends you get together with over coffee every couple weeks.  Or heck, call them on Google+ and chat if your genealogy friends are scattered!  Talk it out with your friends and colleagues or take turns teaching a concept to each other.  Creating a mnemonic that will aid you in remembering the key elements of the concepts would also be good.

Most of all don’t be afraid of recreating the wheel.  Sure, there are tons of cheat sheets and aides out there, but they may not be the right one for you.  If you have one you like, great!  You are lucky and you should use it until it falls to pieces.  However, if the one you get the best use out of is scribbled on the back of a napkin from your favorite cafĂ©, keep the napkin in a safe place and use it instead. 


Bio:
Shannon Combs-Bennett is a writer for the In-Depth Genealogist and the Youth Education Chair for NGGN.  In addition she has her own blog, Trials and Tribulations of a Self-Taught Family Historian [http://tntfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/], where she talks about her family research, interesting items in the genealogy world, and anything else that interests her. You can also follow Shannon on Twitter @tntfamhist and on Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/TntFamilyHistory].

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Editor's Note: This is the first in a planned series of periodic posts by Shannon on tools/approaches to learning important for genealogists and family historians.





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