23 April 2014

Being Organized

Julie Miller, CG

The theme of my three lectures in Richmond is organization. I have spoken to many genealogists over the years and have found that, like me, they hate using research time to organize. Being organized doesn't have to be difficult, complicated, or time-consuming.

"Adding Evernote to Your Genealogy Toolbox"

Thursday, 8 May 2014, 8:00 a.m., T210

Evernote is free software that helps you to gather, copy, store, and retrieve almost anything. And it allows you to sync the information across all of your computers and devices while storing it in the Cloud. Come and see why so many genealogists (including me) say they can't live without it!

P.S. I promise not to ask you to give up your genealogy software.

"An Ounce of Prevention: Making a Genealogy Disaster Plan"

Friday, 9 May, 11:00 a.m., F323

Genealogy documents, photographs, mementoes, and databases are a family’s most prized possessions. They could be lost in an instant in the event of a disaster. We are seeing it happen again and again as our weather becomes increasingly unpredictable. This lecture focuses on how to plan before you encounter a crisis. Being proactive could minimize your losses and keep your genealogy legacy preserved for future generations.

"Organizing Your Research Without Losing Your Mind"

Board for Certification of Genealogists® Skillbuilding Lecture
Saturday, 10 May, 11:00 a.m., S421

Most of us struggle to identify the best system for organizing our genealogy. The truth is, there is no "best system," only the best system for YOU. This lecture will discuss different methods and techniques to organize your genealogy research so you can spend more time researching a
nd less time reorganizing.

"Becoming an American: Naturalization Records"

Wednesday, 7 May 2014, 2:30 p.m., W143

Due to a speaker cancellation Julie has stepped in and will be delivering a fourth lecture in the Migration Track. The Conference Committee thanks Julie for always being willing to step up and provide what is needed.

Julie Miller is a native of Northern Kentucky who has lived in Broomfield, Colorado for twenty-two years. She was the genealogy columnist for the Broomfield Enterprise from 2001–2011. She is NGS Vice President and was chair of the 2010 and 2012 NGS Family History Conferences. Julie has been a volunteer at the National Archives at Denver for over 16 years.


22 April 2014

Methodology Track

Helen A. Shaw

The Sociology of Cemeteries

Helen A. Shaw, MA, CGsm

Wednesday, 7 May 2014, W-152
Salons A-D, Marriott Hotel

Cemeteries are important because of what they can tell us about our ancestors; not just about them personally, but about them as a part of the community in which they lived.

This is not a talk about cemetery records; it is about what influenced people in their choice of where to be buried.

Given a choice, there are several factors which direct people in choosing a place of burial for family members or themselves. Understanding those factors can help narrow the search for a place of burial. If the place of burial is known, understanding those factors as expressed by the cemetery, the lot, and the grave marker(s) can lead to a better understanding of your ancestors.

Attendees are encouraged to bring a printout of the syllabus material to the lecture.

Old German Church and Cemetery
Waldoboro, Maine

I am an anthropologist by formal training and approach genealogy as a community wide study. I am a member of the Association for Gravestone Studies, the Maine Old Cemetery Association, and the Cemetery Committee for the town of Rockport, ME. Recently I have been working with state legislators to revise laws protecting Maine’s ancient burying grounds.


Important Conference Hours

Pre-Conference Registration Closes 22 April 2014

Today is the last day to pre-register for the conference or register for any of the meal events at http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/event-registration/. On-site registration will be available in Richmond, but all meal events close today so NGS can place the orders with hotel catering. No meal tickets will be sold at the conference.

If you have already registered for the conference, you may want to remember the following dates, times, and locations


Attendee check-in and on-site registration is located on the second floor of the Greater Richmond Convention Center, directly across Fifth Street from the Marriott Hotel.  

Greater Richmond Convention Center
Tuesday, 6 May 2014
12:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014
7:00 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Thursday, 8 May 2014
7:00 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Friday, 9 May 2014
7:00 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Saturday, 10 May 2014
7:00 a.m.–12:00 noon


The Exhibit Hall is located on the second floor in the Greater Richmond Convention Center, directly across Fifth Street from the Marriott Hotel. 

Wednesday, 7 May 2014
9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

Thursday, 8 May 2014
9:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

Friday, 9 May 2014
9:00 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

Saturday, 10 May 2014
9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.


The Hospitality Booth will be located in the lobby of the Greater Richmond Convention Center, directly across Fifth Street from the Marriott Hotel near lecture rooms B15ABC.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014
11:30 a.m.–7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014
8:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Thursday, 8 May 2014
8:300 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Friday, 9 May 2014
8:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.

Saturday, 10 May 2014
8:30 a.m.–12:00 noon


21 April 2014

Trials and Tribulations Family History

Shannon Combs-Bennett 


Even though I was interested from childhood in the family stories and history my grandmother’s told me, it wasn’t until  the fall of 2010 that I thought about perusing more than I already knew. A simple family tree project my son brought home was the trigger to put me on the path I am on today.

In that short amount of time I have kept a breakneck pace with my education and research.  I was the second Family Tree Firsts blogger from Family Tree University and quickly transitioned into a columnist for The In-Depth Genealogist.  At IDG I write about one of my passions, lineage societies.  Last fall I became a member of class OL13 when I completed the Boston University Online Genealogical Research Certificate.  Fifteen weeks of intense study, but it was worth it to bring my research skills to that next level!  Currently I am enrolled at The National Institute for Genealogical Studies and write about my experiences with the classes I take as their student blogger on the Institute’s blog.

I love the Library of Virginia. See my 15 April 2014 blog post on my tips for research at the LVA at http://tntfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/. Love that place, was there last week and will be down there again next week!

From the beginning my personal blog, Trials and Tribulations of a Self-Taught Family Historian (AKA Trials and Tribulations Family History) was how I chronicled my adventure.  Over the last 3 years I wrote about my research, my views, interesting finds, books, or anything else that came to mind.  While I was with FTU it was also a supplement to what I was writing there.

Last year I started lecturing locally on a variety of subjects from DNA to organization. At one point in my life I toyed with the idea of becoming a teacher since I love to help others learn. This must be that suppressed teacher in me coming back out into the light. Being in front of a group talking is in some ways easier than writing it all down for a blog post!

This love for education, and my passion for helping kids, is why I am currently the Youth Education Chair with The NextGen Genealogy Network.  While still in its infancy, the community it addressing the needs of younger adults and youth genealogists.

You can find me on a variety of social media outlets so come on by and say hi!  I am on Facebook (Trials and Tribulations Family History), Twitter @tntfamhist, Google + (Shannon Bennett), and Pintrest (TNT Family History) to start.

Happy Hunting!
Shannon Combs-Bennett
Trials and Tribulations Family History


20 April 2014

Conference Menus

Vegan, Vegetarian, and Gluten Free Menu Selections

All the conference meal events will be held at the Marriott Hotel. The Marriott Chef has just published the vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free menus for the upcoming NGS 2014 Family History Conference which are listed below. The regular menu is in black; vegan and vegetarian choices are in green; and gluten free choices are in blue.

Conference attendees have through Tuesday, 22 April 2014 to register for meal events or to change their selection to vegan, vegetarian, or gluten free at http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/event-registration/. All the luncheons are $32.00 including taxes, tip, and service charge. Several of the luncheon events are (sold out) which is indicated on the website. The Banquet is $51.00 all-inclusive and tickets are still available. The First Timers' Breakfast also has some seats and the cost of the breakfast is $24.00 all-inclusive.


First Course:

 Mixed Green Salad with Cucumbers, Tomatoes, and Carrot Curls

Served with Balsamic Vinaigrette and Ranch Dressing

GF/VEG/VEGAN: (same)

Main Course:

Lemon Herb Chicken

GF: (same)


Served with Mashed Potatoes, Broccolini, and Carrots

GF: (same)

VEG/VEGAN: Roasted potatoes, Broccoli, and Carrots


New York Cheesecake

GF: Flourless Chocolate Cake

VEG/VEGAN: Mixed Fruit


First Timers' Breakfast 

Assortment of Breakfast Pastries and Muffins

GF: Gluten Free Muffins

VEG/VEGAN: (same)

Assorted Cereal with Milk

GF: (same)

VEG/VEGAN: Oatmeal

Whole Fruit

Freshly Brewed Regular and Decal Coffee

Assortment of Hot Tea

Orange Juice

GF/VEG/VEGAN: (same)


First Course:

Traditional Caesar Salad

Served with Homemade Croutons and Shaved Parmesan

GF: (same without Croutons)

VEG/VEGAN: Lettuce, tomato, Carrots, Cucumbers with Balsamic Vinaigrette

 Main Course:

Beef Lasagna Served with Green Beans

GF: Chicken Breast with Balsamic Caramelized Onions, Squash and Zucchini

VEG/VEGAN: Grilled Vegetable Stack with Roasted Red Peppers, Zucchini, and Portobello Mushrooms


Vanilla Mousse

GF (same)

VEG/VEGAN: Dairy Free Mousse


Main Course:

Chilled Grilled Chicken Salad

With Bib Lettuce, Cucumbers, Cherry Tomatoes, Roasted Red Peppers, Shallots, Feta Cheese

Served with Red Wine Vinaigrette

GF: (same)

VEG/VEGAN: (same with Portobello Mushroom and no Feta)


Mango Teardrop

GF: Mango Sorbet

VEGAN/VEG: Mango Sorbet


First Course:

Mixed Greens and Arugula in a Cucumber Robe with Grape Tomatoes

Served with Ranch Dressing and Raspberry Vinaigrette

GF/VEG/VEGAN: (same)

Main Course:

Grilled Flank Steak with Burgundy Wine Reduction

GF: (same)

VEG/VEGAN: Polenta with Cannelloni Beans and Pepper Ragu

Served with Fingerling Potatoes and Vegetable Medley

GF/VEG/VEGAN: (same)


Key Lime Pie

GF: Mixed Fruit

VEGAN/VEG: Mixed Fruit


First Course:

Wedge Salad

Served with Diced Heirloom Tomatoes, Bacon Bits, Blue Cheese Crumbles

GF: (same)

VEG/VEGAN: (same no Bacon, no Blue Cheese)

Main Course:

Hanger Steak with Boursin Cream Sauce

Served with Potato Tart, Brussel Sprouts, and Cherry Tomatoes

GF: (same, no sauce)

VEG/VEGAN: Marinated Grilled Tofu with Roasted Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, and Cherry Tomatoes


Chocolate Cake

GF: Flourless Chocolate Cake

VEG/VEGAN: mixed fuit


18 April 2014

Official NGS Conference Photographer

Scott Stewart

The Official NGS Conference Photographer, Scott Stewart, will join us again this year in Richmond.

A photographer for many years, he opened Scott Stewart Photography in 2012. Usually found behind a camera at some of our recent conferences, he was officially appointed at the 2012 Cincinnati conference.

Scott has been an enthusiastic genealogist for decades, pursuing ancestors in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and a regular conference attendee since the NGS 1993 Conference in The States in Baltimore, Maryland.  

You will see Scott moving through the conference taking official as well as casual pictures of events and attendees to make this a richer experience for all our NGS members.  He loves taking pictures of people.  He said, “I see the beauty in each person I photograph, and want to share how great they look to me with others. I think it is sad people hate to have their pictures taken. Trust your photographer, because people love you just the way you are and want to treasure the moments and memories they have with you!  Love them enough to love yourself.”

Scott spent his career in the US Government, retiring in 2005. He is a full time consultant for a company developing trusted and unique solutions to address the global challenges faced by the National Security community. He is married and the proud father of a daughter who recently graduated from Virginia Tech.


17 April 2014

State Research and German Tracks

Ernest Thode

For 22 years I was a local history & genealogy librarian at the Washington County Public Library in Marietta, Ohio, a fact which impacts both of my talks.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014, W146

Ohio: Virginia's Next-Door Neighbor

"Ohio: Virginia’s Next-Door Neighbor" is an appropriate topic because my library is located six blocks from the Ohio River, old Virginia’s border, also her daughter West Virginia’s border. There is much interaction across the river. Some of the implications for genealogy include vital records laws, land surveys, slave vs. free, ownership of the river, the Underground Railroad, occupations in natural resources, and the clash between New England and southern ways of life.  

Friday, 9 May 2014, F324

Using Historic German Newspapers Online

My talk on "Using Historic German Newspapers Online" got its start from from a patron researching his Washington County Schneider family.  After we found his ancestor’s place of origin in local church records, on a whim I searched online for “Bledesbach” plus “Daniel Schneider.” We found a notice in a Bavarian official newspaper announcing the sale of the family’s land prior to emigrating.  To test whether that was a fluke, I looked for my colleague’s “Jacob Jung II” plus “Ehweiler” and found his emigration application.  I was on to something! There are more German papers online than I dreamed. Historic German newspapers are a huge untapped resource with millions of pages from hundreds of titles worldwide, digitized, online, some searchable, for vital records, emigration records, land sales, military records, court summonses, and lists of appointments.