It has been another exciting year for the Education Committee, having produced another year in our monthly webinar series that we kicked off in January 2012. We have now held 24 webinars to-date, all of which are available to ISGS members in the Members Section of the ISGS website.
In case you missed our announcement in October, our webinar series will continue in 2014. We have a fantastic lineup of speakers and topics and we hope you will join us next year.
Our second year was incredibly successful, drawing in viewers from around the world. We are grateful to have been able to fulfill one of ISGS’s many goals, that being education. We’d like to take a moment to reflect on what we learned through the 2013 ISGS Webinar Series.
Linda Woodward Geiger kicked off the year with Beyond the Draft Cards: Additional WWI Selective Service Records. We learned the anatomy of WWI draft cards and the differences for each registration. She provided an excellent handout that shows images for each of the three registrations, in color, as well as a table outlining the differences she discussed. We also learned about other Selective Service records including docket books and induction lists. Some of the webinar attendees commented that they were going to go back and reexamine their records with the new insight they gained from the presentation.
In February, Harold Henderson presented Best Genealogy Present You Can Give Yourself: Citing Your Sources. During this highly-attended webinar, we learned about the importance of keeping track of where we find our information. Harold showed us several citation examples, highlighting the important elements for a variety of sources.
Lisa Alzo joined us again this year presenting Back to Your Roots: Planning a Successful Heritage Research Trip in March. Lisa shared tons of tips for planning a research trip, from what to expect when visiting a repository to what to pack. The presentation was primarily focused on traveling to the foreign homeland of an ancestor, but many of the tips apply to any type of research trip.
Debra Mieszala presented Digging Through Documents Word by Word in April. In this presentation, Debra explained why we need to properly review and evaluate all of the information we find. She shared several examples of how things could be overlooked and how that could affect the overall research. This is one of the highest-viewed recordings we have available in our webinar archives.
In May, Laura Prescott joined us for Timelines: Placing Your Heritage in Historical Perspective. She showed us that looking at a person’s life chronologically is a valuable research tool. Laura shared several examples of why we should incorporate timelines into our research process, as well as examples of various types of timeline formats.
Luana Darby joined us in June for The Research Calendar: A Resource You Cannot Live Without. In this presentation, Luana explained why a research calendar (a.k.a., research log) is an important tool for genealogy research. She illustrated how the research calendar helps us keep track of what we have searched and our overall progress.
Common Surnames: Ways to Identify Your Ancestors in a Crowd was presented by Juliana Smith in July. This was one of the top-requested topics we received during 2012 and we were happy to have Juliana share a variety of tips for working with common surnames. Her presentation covered distinguishing between people of the same name, different tools to help us work with our person of interest, and online search strategies.
In August, J. H. “Jay” Fonkert presented Getting to Here from There: Following your Ancestor’s Migration Trail, another frequently-requested topic. Jay introduced us to popular migration routes and how to use that information to help us understand our own ancestors’ migration patterns.
Judy G. Russell joined us in September with her presentation “To the Honorable, the General Assembly” - The Treasure Trove in Legislative Petitions. Although this may seem like an obscure topic, many attendees commented that they learned something entirely new that they were excited to pursue in their own research. Judy explained what legislative petitions are, giving various examples, and showed us how they can help us in our research and the various ways to locate them.
In October, we welcomed back Peggy Clemens Lauritzen for her presentation Up In Smoke!! What To Do When the Courthouse Burns. Her message was clear: just because you are researching in a “burned” county, it does not mean all hope is lost. Peggy provided several alternative sources and workarounds that are all helpful even if you are not working with a record loss situation.
Diana Crisman Smith presented Little Houses on the Prairie: Midwestern Research Techniques in November. She explained how Midwestern research can be different from researching other parts of the US. Diana shared several strategies using a variety of examples.
Wrapping up the year, Jeanne Larzalere Bloom presented Miracles, Mysteries & Mayhem: Online Family Trees in December. Jeanne discussed common mistakes and how to identify them. She also shared her philosophy that online trees can be a helpful starting point, but cautions us to take the information with a grain of salt.
There you have it, the 2013 ISGS webinar series in review! Remember, ISGS members have access to all of our webinar recordings and handouts through the Members Section of our website. If you’re not currently an ISGS member and would like to join to take advantage of this and many other great benefits, visit Join ISGS to learn more.
We would also like to take a moment to thank everyone who contributed to the Webinar Fund this year, as well as David A. Joens for sponsoring the September webinar. It is because of these generous contributions that we are able to continue fulfilling the Society’s education mission. A BIG thank-you to all!