Last weekend several members of my local genealogical society, Durham-Orange Genealogical Society (D-OGS) met in the small conference room of the Chapel Hill Library to watch live streaming videos of some of the presentations that were broadcast from the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree in Burbank, California!
I brought in some sweet tea, lemonade, cheese and crackers and homemade cookies for snacks! I hooked up my laptop to the projector that was provided by the nice library staff and started up the live stream of video and audio projecting on the somewhat smaller than usual, but workable, screen.
Photo of my laptop, projector and projector screen. The audio from the presentation came from my laptop. Had there been more people, I probably would have needed an additional set of speakers hooked up to my laptop. I will remember this for next time. Photo by Ginger R. Smith, 11 June 2011
The first live broadcast started promptly at 11:30 am with Lisa Louise Cooke talking about “Google Search Strategies for Genealogists.” If you were watching this video at home, you might have heard Mrs. Cooke give us a shoutout – she mentioned that there was a genealogy society in North Carolina meeting at the local library to watch some live streaming video presentations together! Talk about getting the word out there! All the way from Burbank California! We all waved back to her on the video screen and I was just tickled pink!
I don’t know about all of you, but I thought I knew everything there was to know about performing Google searches. Boy was I wrong! Did you know you could put dates in your searches? Just type in Ginger Smith 1990…2011 and the search results will come up with my name and then it will bold all of the years mentioned in this time frame?
And did you know there was a synonym search using the ~ ?
What about the *? You can use this between two words in your search to catch phrases that might have an additional term between them.
Another feature that I found interesting was the use of the related tool. If you find a website that you like and you want to find other pages just like it, you can type in your search related:http://www.webaddress.com to find other pages just like it. This can be useful for finding those family pages.
These are just some of the things I learned in Mrs. Cooke’s class. I wasn’t the only one who took several NEW things away from this class!
Photo of Curt Witcher, Senior Manager for Special Collections at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, IN. Photo from the SCGS Jamboree Page
The next video we watched was by the Allen County Library Director, Curt Witcher, who was to talk about “Using Ancestral Origins As a Genealogical Research Key.” We had several technical difficulties with this video, as did the several hundred other people who tuned in to watch. Luckily the people at home also had access to a live chat room, so we were able to share in the experiences of the technical difficulties. We used this time to discuss some of the “business” of our society and our website. We have formed a great partnership with a local guy named Allen Dew who has created an outstanding website cataloging the local cemeteries in North Carolina and Virginia. On his website, cemeterycensus.org, he has links to each NC county, with each cemetery listed and transcripts posted along with photos and links to google maps and directions on how to find the cemeteries.
Not all counties are complete at this time, but the counties of Durham and Orange, and the present day counties of Chatham, Caswell, Randolph, and Wake that were originally part of Olde Orange County are already populated with over hundreds of cemetery listings.
Allen also has links and helpful hints about how to inventory, photograph, and upload information about cemeteries you run across and would like to make available on the website.
And because we have a cool little partnership going on with him now, he added this nifty little banner with a link to our society’s website:
Check it out! Cemeterycensus.org.
OH, and back to the Curt Witcher video, he talked a lot about determining the ethnicity of your ancestors and then learning all you can about that particular ethnic group in that part of the country in which they lived. He recommended that you seek out ethnic-specific newspapers and journals.
He also emphasized that our ancestors stuck together in their tight little ethnic groups: they emmigrated together, they settled together and they migrated together, so if you cannot find your ancestor, look for their neighbors or other members of their close ethnic group. Also, if you are having trouble identifying your ancestor’s ethnic group, look at their religion for clues. They too will have records.
Photo of D-OGS members Ginger, Holt and Carol watching David Lambert’s video on Finding your Union Civil War Ancestor. Photo by Ginger R. Smith, 11 June 2011
My faithful society members and I stuck around for the 3rd video in the series which was by David Lambert who spoke about “Researching Your Union Civil War Ancestors.”
We talked a LOT during this presentation about the various records David displayed on the screen and exchanged stories about what we had found – or not found - on our own ancestors.
A good time was definitely had by all. I wrote this post to illustrate what you can do even as a little genealogical society. This didn’t take much to prepare – all I had to do was call the library to book the room and request a projector and screen, announce to the society members and cross post to other society newslists, and then wait for them to show up! I probably would have had more people show up if it weren’t summertime and if I had had more advanced notice about this event. I found out about the live streaming of these videos being offered on Monday, waited two days to hear back from the library and announced on Wednesday for this meeting on Saturday.
The free live streaming of these presentations were made available by the Southern California Genealogical Society and RootsMagic. Thank you!