23    Oct 20110 comments

Genealogy News: North America – 23 October 2011

This edition offers news on how genealogy societies plan to provide programming for long-distance members, nominations for the National Genealogical Society Hall of Fame, a book on today's obsession with genealogy, an Irish DNA project and new online database, as well as a new conference focusing on story telling, blogging and family history.

Technology includes podcasts and webinars, much in use these days and offering benefits for researchers around the world.

One Canadian society - the Ontario Genealogy Society's Niagara Peninsula branch - will now reach far-away members by streaming guest speakers on the Internet.

For more information (and the fee to join), see the society's website. Click on the Region 4 Meeting Box to register and pay by October 27. Recordings will not be archived.

Genealogy Hall of Fame nominations sought

The US National Genealogical Society is seeking nominations from the genealogical community for individuals whose achievements or contributions have made an impact on the field. The Hall of Fame program increases appreciation of high standards advocated and achieved by committed genealogists.

The first person elected to the National Genealogy Hall of Fame was Donald Lines Jacobus in 1986. Since then, 24 outstanding genealogists have been recognized. The person selected for 2012 will be honored at the NGS Family History Conference (Cincinnati, Ohio, 9-12 May 2012). Nominations are made by genealogical and historical societies throughout the US, and are due by 31 January each year.

Persons nominated must have been active genealogists for 10 years, deceased for at least five years at time of nomination and must have made contributions that were "unique, pioneering or exemplary."
Access nomination forms here.

Raising the curtain on the genealogy obsession

Rutgers University (New Jersey) sociologist  Eviatar Zerubavel has written Ancestors and Relatives: Genealogy, Identity, and Community.

In an article in Boston.com, writer Josh Rothman says that Zerubavel argues that genealogies are objective accounts of our ancestries, but are as much about our values as they are about the facts:

"No other animals have 'second cousins once removed,'" Zerubavel points out, "or are aware of having had great-great-great-grandparents"; only people have the more abstract sorts of relatives necessary for a real genealogy. In the meantime, as categories for relatives proliferate and family trees expand, we accrue large numbers of 'optional' relatives. We construct our genealogies by choosing, out of a nearly endless array of possibly important or interesting ancestors, the ones who matter to us.

Readers will find the rest of the book's review fascinating. I did.

All-Ireland DNA Atlas Project

Readers of Irish descent - there are millions in North America - may find this new genetic genealogy DNA project of interest.

The Genealogical Society of Ireland and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland launched the All-Ireland project to create a collection of DNA samples from individuals of Irish origin to be used to explore human genetic variation in the Irish population.

The  project will provide information on the migration and settlement patterns across Ireland – from the first farmers through the 16th and 17th centuries, and will help historians and archaeologists analyze existing records and studies.

In addition to understanding movements and population relationships, studying the health of the people is another aspect.

Participants are sought from all parts of Ireland who can trace their eight great-grandparents to a general area. Each participant will be complete an ancestry chart by the genealogical society, to be completed back to those eight great-grandparents. For more information, click here.

Irish prison records now online

North American researchers of Irish families now have a large database - more than 3.5 million records - to search online, covering the Irish Prison Registers (1790-1920), just launched by FindMyPast.ie.

The original Registers, held at the National Archives of Ireland, cover all types of custodial institutions, from bridewells, to county prisons, to sanatoriums for alcoholics. They contain over 3.5 million entries, spread over 130,000 pages, with most records giving comprehensive details of the prisoner, including: name, address, place of birth, occupation, religion, education, age, physical description, name and address of next of kin, crime committed, sentence, dates of committal and release/decease.

For more information, click here for details.

Your stories matter

Set in Salt Lake City, Utah - 8-10 March 2012 - the Story @ Home conference will present story tellers, bloggers and genealogists at a new conference. Speakers include well-known names, interesting classes and much more. See the details here.

No matter how you tell your stories – through your family history, at your child’s bedside, on your blog, or from a stage – your stories matter. ... with workshops and performances by award-winning storytellers, performers and speakers ... record your own story, start on research to learn more about your family’s history, get started on a blog and learn how to tell your story through social media.

This sounds interesting and focuses on family history in a new way.

Check out the links above. Let us know if you've found information of interest, or how you've used or plan to use the resources.

Search for your ancestors:

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