Monday, March 02, 2015

Finding Social History at Accessible Archives

As family historians there's certain websites we are very familiar with. I'm sure in a matter of seconds you could name your top five favorite websites to research your family history.

But what else is out there? There are other subscription websites targeting genealogists and historians. In some cases you can only access these through an institutional subscription. In others you can purchase an individual subscription.

Here's one to become more familiar with, Accessible Archives.

What does Accessible Archives offer? "Primary source materials from 18th and 19th century publications." African American newspapers, women's suffrage newspapers, women's magazines, and county histories make up this unique collection of documents.

So how will this help your research? Unlike the resources we are most accustomed to, you may not find your ancestor's name within the holdings of Accessible Archives. Sure they may be listed in a county history or newspaper but even if they aren't, that's ok. What you will find is materials to help you better understand their lives and time periods. That can help you tell a story or find additional records.

Lucky for us, for Women's History Month they are offering a discount. For this month save  $55, so your subscription is only $34.95/year. To learn more see their website

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Studying Your Female Ancestors: Women History Month Resources 2015

From the collection of Gena Philibert-Ortega

March marks Women's History Month 2015 and once again I'll be spending the month blogging resources to help you better understand where to research and learn about your female ancestors.

But I do have confession. These are not going to be your typical genealogical resources for the most part. I see research as part of a bigger picture that involves traditional genealogy resources (government documents like the  census and vital records for example) and historical resources. I firmly believe that you need to understand the time period your ancestor lived in order to do really good research.

So with that confession (though not surprising for those who know me). Let's spend some time this month studying our female ancestors and getting to know them and the world they lived in.

Enjoy your discoveries!

Friday, January 30, 2015

When Genealogy Meets Geology Or Why I Won't Be At RootsTech This Year

RootsTech, there's no doubt it's a huge event for the genealogist. And this year combine it with the annual FGS conference and you have a raging genealogy party. Education, networking, friends, and time at the Family History Library. It's a genealogist dream come true.

But I won't be there.

Gena Philibert-Ortega and research poster at the GSA 2014 conference. Photograph used with permission.

For the last few years I've had the privilege of researching a rare book archived at the Richard T. Liddicoat Gemological Library at the Gemological Institute of America. This privilege has given me the opportunity to trace the life of a 19th century British woman and her commonplace book that not only is unique but has traveled from England to Australia to the United States.

I'm not related to the subject of my research, Martha Proby  but I probably know more about her than many of my own ancestors. Her life has been a focus for these last years and in making it a focus I have networked with her present-day family, archivists, librarians, writers, research friends on Twitter and participants at the 2014 Geological Society of America conference. Like all research, the more I find, the more questions arise. This research is far from over.

My latest adventure in this research will be presenting to the Geo-Literary Society at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society Show, the same weekend as RootsTech. At this presentation, I will not only talk about Martha and her book but also the book it's based on, written by James Sowerby. I'll also discuss her connection to well-known science figures like Charles Darwin.

This is where genealogy meets historical research meets social history meets geology. A very exciting mix.

So if by some slim chance you aren't attending RootsTech/FGS 2015 and happen to be in Tucson, Arizona that weekend, please stop by and check out my presentation, “Sowerby’s British Mineralogy and its Influence on Martha Proby.” Presentations are free and open to the public.

**I want to publicly thank the staff of the GIA Library including my co-authors,  director Dona Dirlam and librarian Cathy Jonathan who have supported this research in many ways.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Viva Las Vegas Genealogy

Gena and Jean are on the road again. This time we are on our way to the Clark County Nevada Genealogical Society Fall Seminar where we will be presenting a day of genealogy.

There's still time to join us. Learn more at the Clark County Nevada Genealogical Society website.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

On the Bookshelf: Ron Arons' Mind Maps for Genealogy

I'm a big fan of genealogist and author Ron Arons. Ever since I read his book The Jews of Sing Sing I've admired his research and approach to telling the stories of his ancestor's lives.

Ron's latest book is Mind Maps for Genealogy. Enhanced Research Planning, Correlation, and Analysis. This is an important work that provides researchers with ideas not only on how to incorporate mind maps into their research but also how to navigate mind mapping software. Ron writes of the book,

 "This publication introduces you to the basic concepts of mind maps: what they are, how to create them, and how to use them for planning genealogical research, logging, correlating/analyzing, and reporting. This publication also shows how mind maps complement the Genealogical Proof Standard..."

Why is this important? I'm visual, I like images and photos. No, I'm not an artist  but I do draw mind maps, either by hand or using software on my iPad. I use mind maps to help me visualize connections between people in a community. I draw them to flesh out ideas for my writing. I even draw them to better understand what questions I have about a particular ancestor. This book is a creative and much needed approach to research planning, analyzing and reporting on research.

While I am a frequent user of mind maps I will be the first to admit that I am not utilizing all of the capabilities of my mind mapping software. I don't have the patience to read software manuals but with Ron's book I don't have to. Ron takes readers through a  tutorial of how to use various mind mapping software programs including Free Mind, Simple Mind and X Mind. This section helped answer my questions and give me ideas for how I can be building better mind maps.

Looking for ways to plan out your research or share facts about your research with others? Go visual and use mind maps. Not sure how to do that or need some help? Check out Ron's book, Mind Maps for Genealogy. Enhanced Research Planning, Correlation, and Analysis.

Disclaimer: I had the honor of being a beta reader for this book and am proud to call Ron a friend. I was also gifted a copy of this book by Ron. However, that doesn't mean it influenced my review. Believe me, I wouldn't have a problem stating my opinion even after getting a free book.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014



Contact: Tami Osmer Glatz,

The WikiChicks Genealogy News Network (WikiChicks GNN), an engaging genealogical news service, has officially launched. “WikiChicks GNN is a new way for genealogists to stay informed of current industry news and relevant stories. By using social media tools we can provide information in a way that allows folks the ability to both read and share it easily with others” said Tami Osmer Glatz, co-founder of the group. “What I like about this concept is that it is a great example of how genealogists can come together, collaborate and make great things happen!” said Eowyn Langholf, co-founder. WikiChicks is different from existing community news services in that it is accessible through many platforms, and news is shared throughout the day, with evening digests of the day’s events created as a single blog posting.

WikiChicks’ goal is to share information of interest to genealogists daily via popular social media sources, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flipboard, and Storify.

WickiChicks’ postings combine aggregate information with new content. For those who don’t spend all day perusing social media sites, the team publishes the “Whaddya Miss” posting every weekday evening on the WikiChicks Genealogy News Network blog , This segment includes all the day’s shared links and stories in one place.

Additionally, the WikiChicks team shares regular weekly columns on the blog,  such as Monday’s Muse, a collection of interesting genealogical tips, tricks and stories to motivate you for the week ahead; Tuesday’s ChickTips, featuring websites and resources helpful for research; Wednesday’s Spotlight, sharing personal stories and information about folk’s genealogical journeys; Thursdays Tweets, a collection of the week’s interesting and informative “don’t miss” comments from various genealogists on Twitter; and Friday’s Weekend Warmup, a recount of a few select news stories to get readers “warmed up” and ready to research over the weekend.

The website,, includes the blog, as well as an all-inclusive genealogy calendar of events, searchable by state or event type, such as conferences, webinars, etc.

Who are the WikiChicks?
The WickiChicks began as Eowyn Langholf and Tami Osmer Glatz.  The two met as team members for the collaborative family tree website, WikiTree, where Eowyn is the Forest Elf and Social Media Manager, and Tami is the Playground Manager & Courtesy Counselor (aka Community Assistant).

Tami’s contributions to the genealogy community have included the free Relatively Curious Internet Genealogy Toolbar, and presentations and classes on using the Internet for research while maintaining professional-level genealogical standards and practices.  Eowyn is smart, funny, wonderful, wildly successful working for a major published author & celebrity, and single. She recounts “Tami and I were manning the WikiTree booth at RootsTech, modeling our fashionably orange WikiTree shirts when Genea-Musings blogger Randy Seaver stopped by for a chat.  He took one look at us and said ‘You two must be the WikiChicks.’  We give him credit for the name and now refer to him affectionately as ‘Uncle Randy’”.  

Eowyn and Tami are pleased to announce the latest  contributor  to WikiChicks, author and researcher Gena Philibert-Ortega.  “Gena has been a part of so many aspects of the genealogy community, from her articles for WorldVitalRecords, to her being the genial hostess of the Genealogy-Wise online forums, to her behind-the-scenes research for Genealogy Roadshow, and so much more. Her breadth of knowledge is going to be a huge asset.”

About WikiChicks
The WikiChicks Genealogy News Network (WickiChicks GNN) is a free service that  provides social media posts to help educate and inform genealogists and family historians about news, events and research tips.  The WikiChicks’ GNN team share information of interest to genealogists daily via popular social media sources, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Flipboard, and Storify.

To have your society or group’s events included on the Calendar, or to share  news and press releases, please email To learn more about WickiChicks see their website at

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Going to Jamboree

It's time for the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree. I've written about Jamboree for the GenealogyBank blog including information for how to attend Jamboree from home.

Here's what I will be speaking on during the conference.

FR000E Friday June 6, 9:45 a.m.-10:45a.m.
10 Tips for Finding Newsletter Content
You have just been asked to edit your society newsletter, now what? Writing and editing a society newsletter is a vital job in the overall health of a society. The newsletter's mission can be a complex one including; informing members, potential members and non-members or upcoming events and projects, exposing members to new genealogical methods, research, websites and technology, providing a place where members can pass along information and get assistance and perhaps even a vehicle for some fundraising. With all that a society newsletter can be, it can feel like an overwhelming job that never ends. Whether you are a new newsletter editor or have been doing it awhile and need some new ideas, the ideas in this session will make your newsletter a must read and most importantly make your job much easier.

SA030 Saturday June 7, 2:00-3:00 p.m.
Journals, Store Ledgers and Letters to Aunt Mary: Using Manuscript Collections
Manuscript collections are an overlooked resource in genealogy. Housed in archives, museums and libraries, manuscript collections can provide you with genealogical gems often overlooked when researching solely online. In this presentation we will look at what manuscript collections include and how to find them.

SA009 Saturday June 7, 8:30-9:30 a.m.
Using America’s Ethnic Newspapers to Find and Document Your Family
Typically, when we consider newspaper research we narrow ourselves to a city newspaper that served our ancestor’s hometown. But the reality is that there could be multiple newspapers that reported on an area. In a large city, finding a mention of a person can be difficult at best. Ethnic communities often had their own newspapers. Because of possible prejudices, you may have a better chance at finding an ancestor in an ethnic newspaper than a general area newspaper. Join me as we discuss what treasures ethnic newspapers hold and how you can find them on GenealogyBank.

SU002 Sunday June 8, 7:00-8:30 a.m. - Scholarship Breakfast
Of Elephants, Gold, and Dashed Dreams: Researching the California Gold Rush
Did your ancestor come to California seeking their riches in gold? Maybe they came to make money off those with golden dreams. Whether your ancestor was a miner, a merchant or somewhere in between their story can be found in the social history and records.

SU021 Sunday June 8, 1:00-2:00 p.m.
GenealogyBank - Inside and Out
Everything you need to know about
See practical examples of the genealogical information contained in newspapers. Learn about this extensive U.S. newspaper archive with more than 6,500 newspapers from all 50 states, spanning the years 1690 to today.

I hope to see you at Jamboree.