Saturday, June 29, 2013

286. NAGARA Anyone?


Wednesday, July 10, 2013 through Saturday, July 13, 2013
Hyatt Regency Indianapolis
One S. Capitol Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46204

            We have a rather specialized records conference being held here in Indy in July by a group called NAGARA.
            NAGARA is the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators. "NAGARA is a professional association dedicated to the effective use and management of federal, state, and local government records and information in all formats." [This last statement is from their website.]
            Membership is normally by that group category-Federal, State, and Local, and is mainly for employees working in records preservation. Membership is costly--in the hundreds--but, hey, it's only tax money! Individuals can join at $75 a pop--anyone interested?
            One of our local records folks is involved on Wednesday:

9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.  -- Pre-Conference Workshop
W-1: Disaster Preparedness
Students will learn about the importance of having a disaster plan for their institution. Suggestions for disaster plan templates will be discussed and the basics of emergency response will be covered. After the presentation, students will be able to participate in a hands-on exercise in salvaging wet collections materials.
Speaker: Elizabeth Hague, Indiana State Archives

            The Indiana State Archivist Jim Corridan is also a panelist for a couple of sessions. Maybe Jim can present a session on storing your records in a modular pole barn or perhaps in dealing with a legislature more focused on morality engineering than on structural engineering.
            If you are working in the archival field, or, if this stuff just floats your boat, you can get more info from:

National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators
1450 Western Avenue, Suite 101
Albany, New York  12203
(518) 694-8472

Thursday, June 27, 2013

285. Day Trips: Academy of Hoosier Heritage, Mooresville

            If some of your ancestry runs through the northeastern Morgan County area, you should take a day trip to Mooresville, and especially to the Academy of Hoosier Heritage.
            Located in the Academy Building at 250 N. Monroe St, the A.H.H is a great little local museum and genealogy source for the area. The Academy Building, erected in 1861, housed the first high school in central Indiana. [Students from Marion County took the interurban down to Mooresville to attend high school. Perhaps one of yours?]
            Museum manager Julie Kyle-Lee gave us a guided tour and pointed out some of the holdings, including an extensive collection of Mooresville High School yearbooks and other school artifacts. Local residents and descendants have donated numerous other materials about the area. The Museum has a small library and photos galore, plus a recreated classroom.
            You can check all this out prior to your visit by going to their website or by contacting Julie at Open hours are Wednesdays from 2 to 7 and second Saturdays 11 to 3. Phone 317-831-9001 or 317-402-5321.
            As do all small museums and historical facilities in Indiana, the A.H.H. could use donations of cash and materials and could use volunteer time to sort, catalog, data enter, and do all those thing so necessary to operate efficiently. Consider doing some of that if you get a chance.
            While in the area, also check out the Indiana Room genealogy materials at the Mooresville Public Library a couple of blocks south of the Museum at 220 W. Harrison St. Website: Get a two-fer!
The Academy Building

Lots of info on local residents

The cabinets in the middle house school materials

I actually sat in classrooms like this, How about you?

The Indiana Room at the Library

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

284. FGS Early Deadline Next Monday

You may already be aware of this through other sources, but, in case it skipped your mind, your discount opportunity for the FGS Conference is fast approaching. I'm registered--see you there!

“Journey through Generations” – A Conference for the Nation’s Genealogists

Discounted early-bird registration for the 2013 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference will continue only until July 1. Early registrants receive a $50 discount for the full four days, or a $20 discount for any single day. Details at

The conference will be held 21-24 August 2013 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, at the Grand Wayne Convention Center. This year’s conference theme is “Journey through Generations,” and the local hosts are the Allen County Public Library (ACPL) and the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana (ACGSI). Platinum sponsors are FamilySearch, and

The conference offers opportunities for all who are interested in researching their family history, with over 160 educational sessions on records, strategies, and tools for genealogists at all levels. The exhibit hall features over 70 vendors offering a wide range of genealogical products and is open and free to the public.

Luncheons, workshops and special events provide additional opportunities for networking and learning. Make sure to get your tickets to these conference “extras” early to guarantee your spot.

See you in Fort Wayne in August!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

283. GSMC Move Is Getting Close!

The Genealogical Society of Marion County is close to moving into their new digs at Memorial Park Cemetery. They are looking for a little assistance from kind local genealogists. If you can lend a hand, please see below for opportunities.
  • Library Work Day, aka “Move-in assistance”: Tuesday, July 2: If you are interested in unpacking books, polishing woodwork, planting flowers, and other activities, please send a note to and let us know that you are available.
  • Library Volunteers: With the new facility, we are excited about both the building and new research opportunities we will make available.
    We want to be open more days – but we need volunteers. We are thinking “at least every Wed & Sat”, but we could consider alternative days.
    Can you devote a morning or afternoon on a regular schedule? In addition to time for your own research, we have a variety of tasks which could be worked on. If you want to discuss this more, contact

Friday, June 21, 2013

282. C'mon, folks! Publish!

            I follow Dick Eastman's newsletter daily and a couple days ago he had an article headlined, "More than 80,000 Digitized Genealogy and Family History Publications are Now Available Online."
            I thought, "Great!," especially since a half dozen or so of these are my own creations. [See below] But then I soon had the next thought: What about those millions of genealogies that are not published?
            What about all that family history sitting on someone's hard drive? All that hard-found material collected in those ring binders? That painstakingly-researched data languishing in all those file folders in those innumerable file cabinets across the country? What about them?
            The scary part of all this? How much of that material will end up in a trash bin or recycling container, placed there by a non-genealogist next-of-kin or executor? The easy remedy is if you [Yes, You!] take that material in your hard drive-ring binder-file folder and publish it.
            C'mon now, how hard can it be? Mr. Apple or Mr. Microsoft are right there at your fingertips! It is do-able. I know, because I've done it--several times. You can, too. Here's how:
             When I started mulling over publishing, ten years or so ago, I decided what I wanted to do--
            First, I didn't want to create "War and Peace," I wanted to write a family history of one family line. This is my O'Neill family book, now on FamilySearch Books. It's 76 pages, with a 14 page surname index. The several others I've done since on other lines all run around 100-120 pages. Piece of cake!
            Second, I did not want to write a Doctoral Dissertation or even a Master's Thesis. I had enough of that stuff in college. This is a hobby, people! Get a life! I find nothing more boring than reading a manuscript of 50 pages, with 100 pages of footnotes and a 20 page bibliography. Think of your audience. For most of us that would be family members; many, if not all, are probably not academics. I wanted to make my family stories interesting, not forbidding. So, if you want permission to follow that path, you have it. Go!
            Thirdly, I wanted to create these books in my spare time [Go back to that Get A Life part...] I wanted to keep it simple and as clear as possible. Language is meant to communicate; use it like that. If you want complicated, read the Tax Code or James Joyce. [See that last part? Don't do that. Don't stroke your ego by using fancy terms and obscure references. Remember KISS--Keep It Simple, Stupid!]
            OK, here's the sequence I follow--

A. Whenever I start a new family group sheet in my genealogy program, I also start a Word file on that same family. The facts go in the group sheet; the facts plus opinion, speculation, and ideas go in the Word file. As I gather more facts, I alter the Word file to reflect my new positions. After I feel I have a complete enough picture of that family with my documentation [It's a judgment call--your judgment!], I combine the numerous Word files on that family line into a printable manuscript. I add as many photos and illustrations as I can--we live in a graphic society. Look at one of my books online; you can see this pattern.

B. I usually start Chapter One with an immigrant ancestor, my first American ancestor in that line. Sometimes a previous generation goes in a Prologue--if I know that group. Chapter One is all the children of that immigrant ancestor--combine the Word files. Chapter Two is that child who is my direct ancestor and all of his/her children. Chapter Three is my next direct ancestor and his/her children, and so forth, down to the present. Will I have all the data, all the answers? Of course not--that's an impossible task. Don't get into that mental trap, "I want to find that last marriage, that last migration, that last maiden name." You'll never do anything.

C. In deciding to publish a family line book, pick a date about 9-10 months in the future. Plan to have a publishable manuscript by then. Deadlines are great; they focus your mind and get you off your butt. The three-quarters of a year is enough time to scramble around and get those last few things you have been planning to do. When the date hits, wrap it up, close it out, put it together, and take it to the printer. I use Staples and usually just take them a flash drive. I have one copy printed and take a look at it. If it's OK, I get about 10 or 12 printed and bound, which run around $12 to $15 each.

D. After the first printing, I normally just produce CD's. They run around $2 each--I'm not made of money--this is a hobby! These go to more distant relatives upon demand or to libraries to put online. If it's already digital, libraries can just add it to their website. Piece of cake!

E. Now if your personality is such that you have to dress it up, add as many bells and whistles as you want. This is your book--do it your way. If anyone gripes about it, let them do their own book! For most of us, our book is "The Book" on our family line. Authorities will tell you to always negotiate from your piece of paper, and Your Book is probably going to be the authority on that family line. Get that first plain vanilla book printed and out there; if you want to enhance it later, put out Version 2.0.

F. Nail this on your wall--"If it is to be, it is up to me!!" Your ancestors are depending on you; don't let their stories be trashed!  Do it!