15    Sep 20110 comments

Genealogy News: North America – 15 September 2011

This week's news includes a new online database for the names of Virginia slaves, an exhibit on Germans in Chicago,  two sources for information on digital preservation, a Massachusetts conference, a display of memorabilia for the Canadian Women's Army Corp (CWAC), and a New York City seminar on cutting-edge genealogy. 

The MyHeritage genealogy team is back from Springfield, Illinois, where we attended the 2011 Federation of Genealogical Societies conference.

Read about the conference here in an article from the local paper. The event claimed some 2,000 attendees, offered 198 presentations, and attracted conference-goers from as far away as India.

Read on for more.

Virginia Slave Name Database Online

It was a strange place to find information on a new online database for names of slaves in Virginia - but there it was in the New York Times' Antiques column.

Virginia Historical Society (Richmond) scholars are reading through 8 million documents dating as far back as the 17th century to find the names of slaves. So far, there are some 1,400 names of enslaved people and 180 owners. Find them here, in the “Unknown No Longer: A Database of Virginia Slave Names.”

Readers may search by location, profession, given and surnames and key words. The names are being found in wills, letters, Bibles, inventories and other papers, while pages are being scanned at high resolution.

The new database will help family historians and genealogists find the links for which some have been looking for generations. Read the complete story at the link above.

German Immigrants to Chicago

Chicago residents of German ancestry were an important part of the city's population at the beginning of the 20th century.  While much of the impact that segment had on the city's culture is no longer visible, a free exhibit - "Lost German Chicago" - is now on display at the DANK Haus German American Cultural Center. It traces the immigrants' travels to their new home and shows their impact on the city.

The exhibit is open from 11am-3pm through Saturday, September 29.

Digital Preservation of Family History

"Signal" is the  interesting preservation blog of the Library of Congress.  According to writer Mike Ashenfelder:

The popularity of genealogy websites and TV shows is rapidly growing, mainly because the Internet has made it so convenient to access family history information. Almost everything can be done through the computer now. Before the digital age, genealogical research was not only laborious and time consuming, it also resulted in boxes of documents: photos, charts, letters, copies of records and more. Online genealogy has replaced all that paper with digital files. But the trade-off for the ease of finding and gathering the stuff is the challenge of preserving it.

It is a fascinating article on many aspects. Read the complete paper here. This is part I and the next part will focus on database collaborations, enhanced genealogical data and biography.

More on Digital Records

As many more records are digitally preserved, there is more to learn about the technology of preservation techniques. FamilySearch.org has an excellent paper on "Preserving your family history records digitally," by Gary T. Wright.  The long article is a techie's dream.

Topics covered discuss the benefits and challenges of using digital preservation to add to and enhance your family history records, as well as solutions to those challenges, along with a list of steps on how to get started archiving records digitally.

Massachusetts Conference

The Old Dartmouth Historical Society and the New Bedford Whaling Museum will present the area’s first genealogy and history symposium from Thursday to Saturday, Sept. 22 to 24, at the museum in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

There will be presentations on local resources and collections, genealogy searching, regional cemeteries, walking tours and more. Topics include: “Common Threads” (area Portuguese, Cape Verde, Jewish, Quaker and French Canadian groups), African-American, Irish and Wampanoag genealogy, decoding logbooks and crew lists, Quaker roots, local families, and a presentation by "Photo Detective" Maureen Taylor. For more information on the program and registration, click here.

Canadian Women's Army Corps (CWAC)

The 70th anniversary of the CWAC is coming up. Readers with an interest in this event will have an opportunity to see an extensive collection of Corps memorabilia presented by collector Douglas Townend from 11am-3pm on Saturday, September 17, at the LeBreton Gallery at the Canadian War Museum.

For more information on the Corps, try the Canadian Encyclopedia.

New York 'Cutting-Edge Genealogy' Seminar

Last but not least, is a fascinating all-day seminar set for Saturday, September 24, organized by the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, at the New York Public Library. Three well-known speakers - Dick Eastman, Ruth A. Carr and David Kleiman - will address how to use new technology and thinking to move your research forward.

Topics include: Genealogy Searches on Google: Extract the Most Genealogical Information Possible from Everyone's Favorite Search Engine and The Latest Technology for Genealogists: An In-Depth Look at Today's Technology by Eastman; Other Places Your Ancestors Might Be Hiding: “Non-Genealogy” Databases and Internet Resources to Explore, by Carr; and Rediscovering the Globe: Maps Online, GIS, Google Earth and Technology & Design: Looking Good in Print and on the Screen by Kleiman. Click here for more information on the event.

Remember to search for local genealogy classes, meetings, workshops and conferences in your own town. Join a society, learn from the experts and advance your research.

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