PMC Conference: Day 2

Yesterday was a great day — capped off by a terrific celebratory dinner with friends in the evening.1

2015 PMC APGBy 8:00 am Karen and I had hung my poster outside the breakfast area–a terrific place for the posters as conference attendees could stop by while they were eating their breakfast.  I spent most of my time during breakfast and during the prescribed poster session time, explaining the research (gender balance of peer-reviewed genealogical journals) and describing the three research questions, the findings and the conclusions.  Many viewers commented on methodology or asked questions about what was included–or not.  As someone made a comment or gave me an idea, I filled out a post-it and placed it on the poster itself.  I now have a record of these comments which might become ideas for future research.

Tom Jones, editor of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ) and one of the studied periodicals, stopped by early in the day.  He raised questions about how I arrived at the percent of qualified authors and the selection of the peer-reviewed journals.  The question most often asked by the later attendees was whether women were submitting but not being selected — data not available nor sought by me. When I asked Tom, he believed that the women were not submitting articles for publication that reflected their population in the pool of qualifier authors but this had not been quantified.  In other discussions, the concept was raised that the primary form of articles in the peer reviewed journals (family lineages and proof arguments), might be a deterrent to female authorship. (When I tested that concept with the women at the dinner, they agreed.)

Harold Henderson also stopped by early to discuss his thoughts in support of the findings. (I want to thank him for his advice on how to handle a possible, but resolved, ethical issue related to publication.  Thanks, Howard.)

Some other thoughts from those who stopped by:

  • The pool of qualified authors might be improved by including the American Society of Genealogists (ASG, the top 50 genealogists in the country) and International Commission for the Certification of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen.)  Our quick and very unofficial count  of the ASG showed that 25% are female and 75% male. Author’s note: the numbers of this group are so small it won’t affect the 65% used for female pool of authors where n=>2300. ICAPGen however, could significantly change the percentages as they are a large group of accredited genealogists. (Quick check: of 20 newly named or renewing ICAPGen genealogists: 3 of 20 were male or 85% female and 15% male.)
  • Additional time frames of study might be good to view trends.
  • The  inclusion of The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record would complete the genealogical peer-reviewed journals studied. (The Genealogist was suggested but they didn’t begin publishing until the 1980s.  Pennsylvania’s journal was also suggested but there seems to be some current publication difficulties.)
  • Gender balance  hasn’t been studied before and is overdue.
  • At one time the genealogy community considered founding a new journal focused on scientific inquiry in methodologies but for a variety of reasons did not get launched. A suggestion was made that it could “go digital” as an online journal only.
  • “I don’t think I want to read this.  It will only make me mad.” stated  a well known female genealogist.

Attendees were still discussing the findings over dinner.  We wondered if women might write more family histories.  Debra checked the gender balance of the winners of the Family History Writing Contest sponsored by NGSQ (gotta love the Google!). For the 6 years that she could find the winners–33% were female and 67% were male — thus, the hypothesis did not survive the test.

Another dinner companion shared a conversation she had had with two men– they viewed it as a goal to be published in the NGSQ and they subsequently have been.  She never even thought to have that as a goal. Another saw herself as more of a verbal communicator and had no desire to write much except for her own work.  Women also do not have the license to ignore household tasks and the needs of children.

In spite of the many thresholds over which women must surmount to submit to journals, all felt the need to encourage women to write and to submit.

During the day I attended presentations on using Scrivener for genealogy, “5 Ways to Improve Your Writing,” and  Billie Fogarty’s presentation on giving better presentations.  I corralled 3+ people to review my lecture list and give me feedback on my responses to Call for Proposals. I attended the ProGen Reunion and the attendee dessert at the end of the event.  Had a great time!

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last posting:  See above.

1 Clockwise from the lower left: Pat, Jill, Amy, Victoria, Debra, Cecily, Angela. (Note to self: Ask Judy if I need to get waiter’s permission to use this photo.  🙂 I got permission from Debra as it was her phone/camera but who really has the rights to the photo? Inquiring minds want to know.)


PMC/SLIG Preparation

pmc2014logoI am getting ready for the three day Professional Management Conference (PMC) sponsored by the Association of Professional Genealogists and the week long Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) which are back-to-back starting on Thursday of this week.  I thought I would pass along some of my preparations.

I have numerous goals for these 10 days:

  • Attend the Professional Management Conference.  This 2.5 day event is great fun with good classes on how to be a better professional genealogist.
    Action: I have reviewed the classes and events.  I will be attending Tom Jones’s class on citations and I will send my avatar to Judy Russell’s presentation on “Finding the Law.”  Cece Moore, seen on “Finding Your Roots” is doing a session on using DNA in adoption cases but Billie Fogarty, a very skilled presenter, is conducting a session on improving your presentations at the same time.  Decisions, decisions!  My avatar will be busy.
  • Show my poster on Friday.  I did not respond to their Call for Presentations but thought the poster session might be a good way to get to know some people.  Little did I know the paper would take about 6 weeks to write before I even did the poster!
    Action:  Poster is printed and I pick it up on Monday. I have business cards, flyers and a table tent ready.
  • The following week, starting on Monday, about 30 of us will start the five day SLIG Advanced Practicum class.  We receive one problem per day and then reconvene at the end of the day to see how we did in solving the research question.  When I took the Advanced Methodologies course last year, I was very inefficient and did not reach any of the conclusions to the questions.  I would like to do better this time (coming up from “zip” should be easy! right?)
    Action: I vow to…. think of each of the assignments as one of my 10 hour “stints” for a client and to develop a research plan.  Most importantly, I must not go down the “rabbit hole” and instead must stay disciplined and focused.
  • Conduct personal research for my certification portfolio.  If my personal research takes longer than I anticipate, I might just not do one of the five assignments of the Practicum.
    Action: I have my records identified (film numbers etc.)   As I discovered a gap in my knowledge I recorded where I might find the information in Evernote and tagged each research need with “FHL” for Family History Library. Yesterday I copied/pasted each need into a master document and attached a priority.  I will actually record my findings on the same research document as I accomplish each task.
  • Quiz at least three national speakers on topics to submit for the National Genealogical Society Conference for the 2016 “Call for Papers.” I also want to ask them about tips for better responses to Call for Papers.  I have until April to submit eight. I didn’t get selected last year, but my resume looked pretty skimpy.  This year it looks much better.
    Action: I have my list of lecture topics updated and I am reworking my contract.
  • Connecting with old friends and making some new ones.
    Action: I want to meet some of my blog readers.  I will promise to introduce myself around in every situation rather than just talk with my friend from Chicago (although I will do a lot of that as well.)

I will report back as to how I did!

I have a new laptop which I will be taking.  Last year I suffered with my tablet.  Not again.  Dropbox is proving invaluable.  It allows me to work on my desktop, store my info in the cloud and then using my laptop, download the information so I can use it while I travel  So handy!

I still have to pack etc.  I am trying to think what I need to take with me because I only want to carry one bag onto the plane. Genealogists have a tendency to pack a lot of books, papers etc.  Hopefully the laptop will alleviate that need.

Another adventure!

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last posting:  I have written a number of the Jens Dahle “One Day in the Life of…” postings for the blog.  I will be sad when the last one is written. …end of April 1865.  Finished up my poster and got it printed.  I went to pick the poster up last Friday and they had the wrong size and the wrong type of paper.  Sigh.  So, I will have to go back and pick it up again on Monday.  I am starting to go through the mountain of books I have (more than 12) which I have on long term inter-library loan.  These books are related to the topic of my KDP.  So much to do; so little time.  …and last night I read a book which will be very helpful for my KDP.  I will resume my 500 word/day “diet” on my KDP or Case Study right after my return from SLC.

PMC 2015 logo is used with permission from the Association of Professional Genealogists. Thanks, Kathleen.

Presentation Improvements: Whatcom Genealogical Society

WGS seminar 2014I had a terrific time at Whatcom Genealogical Society’s Fall Seminar yesterday.  I was warmly greeted by both Cindy Harris and Sharon Neem at the door and found they were surprised I had arrived before Jim Johnson of Heritage Quest spoke on land records.  They didn’t know that I am naturally an early riser so it was reasonable that I would want to attend the first session of the day given by Jim.  After Jim (he also runs Heritage Quest book store in Sumner, WA) did an online presentation of interesting options on land records, including a film clip from Lisa Cook’s CD on using Google Earth for land analysis, I was up!

As regular readers know, I had spent the last week redoing all three of my presentations to simplify them and  incorporating the ideas offered from the Transitional Genealogist and the APG listserves.  Not one of the three presentations was spared a total re-do.  It was many late nights to get it ready.  Of course, I had to submit the syllabi early and so those did not have the benefit of the re-do.

Some of the ideas I incorporated included:

  • used one theme for all of them and customized it with “my” color, a grayed teal.
  • included my logo on the first and last slides
  • removed all web addresses from the presentation…they cannot get them copied down in time anyway
  • made the verbiage less an outline of my talk by removing words and putting them into the notes instead (I probably reduced the word count by 30%!)
  • animated numerous items throughout the presentations (I had to teach myself how to do them first), but was careful to make sure they were used appropriately
  • simplified many slides by making them all graphics
  • inserted Whatcom county examples into the context slides of the Non-Population Schedules presentation
  • clarified the slides that were about evidence and those that were about context in the same presentation

…all the while being mindful to avoid the concept of context as “stage set design” but rather that it is fundamental to understanding the motivations of our ancestors.

My first talk was “Genealogical Proof Standard for Beginners.” approached the topic from a slightly different perspective than most who speak to the intermediate to advanced audience attendee.  I remember what it was like to be “partly there.”  My goal was not to make each one a NGSQ writer but to have each researcher “ratchet” up their genealogical game just one increment–whatever that might be.  I also tried to make the GPS relevant for the “non-believer,” illustrating ways the GPS can help at any level.  It was very well received.  I had several individuals say that they had sat through many presentations on the GPS but this was the first one that made the topic feel relevant to the work they were doing.

After a very nice lunch, the topic was “I Found My Family on the Internet! Now What Do I Do?” a look at four websites that have contributed family histories–Ancestry, Rootsweb, FamilySearch and FindAGrave. I focused on how a “consumer” can analyze and evaluate what they see.  This one raised lots of questions about what you can use on the internet and what you cannot.

To wrap up the day, we had fun with “Using the Non-Population Censuses for Evidence and Context.”  We looked at four different non-population censuses, Agriculture, Manufacturing/Industry, Mortality and the Social Statistics (including Defective, Dependent and Delinquent) Schedules of the 1800’s.  I did not cover the Slave Owner, 1890 Veterans or the 1935 Business schedules.  In each case, I described what they were and gave examples of how to use them for evidence (if possible) and context.  I discovered that my gggrandfather’s land which he bought for $694 in 1854, was valued at $3240 just six years later–over 400% return in just 6 years!  The next 10 years did not yield as good a return–just 14% per year!  We also looked at community statistics: in 1860 a carpenter in Whatcom County earned $4/day without board.  In 1870 that same carpenter was making $6/day–a 50% increase in 10 years.  Day laborers lost ground, however.  It is amazing what you can find.

Next week I present to SGS one of my favorites, “Soldiers, Spies and Farm Wives: the Changing Roles for Women during the Civil War.”  I love refreshing that one each time I give it.  Did you catch the statement in “The Roosevelts” (PBS) that Eleanor Roosevelt’s role became one of an activist during the Great War because her husband was away so much?  Wars can “change the rules” for women; Rosie the Riveter was not an anomaly.

So, I am still in a recovery mode but put the day to good use.

Happy Hunting!


What I did since the last posting:  incorporated comments and principles from Presentation Zen into my presentations for Whatcom Genealogical Society.  I worked (a lot) on “Unraveling Family Myths using the Principles of Logic” (to be presented on 8 November) and worked (a little) on Ostfriesen Culture Overview (gotta come up with a better name before this is given on 11 November).  I proofed the last article for the SGS Bulletin and even started laying it out.  Can’t do too much more until I get this one article to the editor and back.

What’s New in the ‘Hood: King County Archives

2014 0913 KCA LuciOn Saturday, 13 September, Historic Seattle hosted another of their “Digging Deeper” series of tours of archives/repositories in the Seattle area.  The King County Archives staff opened up the archives off-hours to a group of 15 of us for the last tour of the series and a spectacular one it was.  This was a stellar presentation, tour and handouts!  We even had cookies!

Luci Baker Johnson of the program staff of Historic Seattle introduced us to the archives staff—see photo at left (Luci, Kelley Gradey and Carol Shenk, Director of the Archives) . Carol gave an overview of the holdings of this archive and how to access the documents.  I was one of three attendees who had used this repository prior to the tour (when I was pulling the documents for the house history of my home.)  I had no idea the extent of the other documents that can add even more depth to place-based research.

Seattle does not make this easy! The title company does not hand you a nice packet of all of the deeds etc. of a property when you purchase it as we received when we purchased our home in Oklahoma.  Instead, you have to research in at least three different archives and online to gather the requisite documents to get to the equivalent.  It consumes a lot of time for just the document pulling.  And this does not include the architectural assessment of the house, its construction and the neighborhood which is a critical element of a house history.

2014 0913 KCA GregAfter Carol completed her overview, Greg Lange, also on staff and formerly of the Puget Sound Regional Archives,(see photo no.2) used a house in West Seattle as a case study to illustrate the extent of the holdings.

Greg “walked us through” the variety of documents which are available at the Archives and of help to the house historian in King County. The following were included in our packet:

  1. Cadastral Survey Map (1862)
  2. Deed granter/grantor index showing a sale (1922)
  3. a Deed (1871)
  4. map of incorporations (the property my house sits on was incorporated in 1891)
  5. Plat maps (2, one of which was a revision to accommodate the topography) (1909)
  6. Statutory Warranty Deed (you can count the tax stamps and if you know the tax rate and the conversion rate you can calculate the appraised value of the improvements)  (1962)
  7. Real estate Tax Receipt (1962)
  8. List of building permits (latest entry 1919)
  9. Building Permit Street Ledger (1910)
  10. Map by Baist’s Real Estate Atlas of Surveys (1912).  Comparable to Sanborn Insurance Maps but compiled for the real estate industry
  11. Property cards (OK, everyone in the country can now be envious–each card has a photo of the improvement on the property taken in 1936 conducted by  the WPA.)
  12. Marriage certificate (1913) (see photo no. 3: the first recorded marriage of early settlers in Seattle, David Denney and Louisa Boren in 1853)
  13. Death certificate (1924)
  14. Bill of Sale (1915)
  15. Honorable Military Discharge (1919)

2014 0913 KCA 1st marriageAll these documents reside at the King County Archives! These were just the documents they showed us.  They gave us numerous finding aids and how to guides to make research at the King County Archives easier.

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last posting: made some progress on my BCG Case Study; committed to attending SLIG 2015 (Advanced Practicum) and Professional Management Conference (PMC) sponsored by Association of Professional Genealogists (APG); decided to submit a poster session proposal “Gender Balance in Authorship in Genealogical Publications,” finalized arrangements with Jefferson County Genealogical Society for an all-day presentation in March; finalized arrangements with Whatcom County GS for an all day presentation in early October.  Was accepted to make 3 presentations at the local LDS Family History Expo 2014 and received my rejection on my presentation proposals from Ohio GS.  Busy time ahead.

What are the “Lessons Learned” after lecturing at the WSGC 2014?

WSGC 2014I was honored to be selected to present at the Washington State Genealogical Conference 2014 in Arlington, Washington this month.  Of the five ideas for presentations that I submitted, the conference planning committee selected “Just Do It! Writing Your Memoirs & Self-Publishing.”  The venue was terrific and was attended by 300 + attendees.  Josh Taylor of Our Family Heritage was the keynote speaker on Saturday. Eric and Karen Stroshien did a great job in planning it.

I had an audience of about 40 who were totally engaged and a delight.  They asked terrific questions of which I could even answer!  I was so energized by the audience, I felt good all day.

My good friend Steve Morrison attended the session and like all good friends he gave me a great critique.  He thought I truly engaged the audience at the beginning but lost them at the end.  (I tried to do an actual publication but due to a mix up in the timing, I did not quite complete.  This is a big no-no!).  I should focus more directly on the topic–probably shouldn’t have taken questions during the presentation as they consumed too much time and he thought it siderailed the presentation.  He noted that some of my slides had a point size of font that was too small.   (The experts say 32 point.  I increased mine to 24.).  It is better to stop early than to run out of time.  He also thought my handout could be much improved.

I agree with all his suggestions and when I gave it again that next weekend to SGS I incorporated much of what he said.  (I actually had a person who attended both.  She was disappointed at first because she thought it would be repetitive.  It was; but with a much smaller audience, we could get more personal.  She confessed that liked hearing the presentation again and thought it was good to have heard it twice!)

So, I am also excited that I will be presenting three presentations to the Jefferson County Genealogical Society in March 2015.  This will be an all day event.  While we have agreed on terms, they have not decided which of my presentations they wish to hear.  I will find out that information in September.

I asked the Association of Professional Genealogists listserve for comments specifically geared to day-long presentations. Here are their recommendations:

  1. Know your topic inside and out
  2. Start early to deal with contractual issues
  3. Start early with presentation preparation
  4. Practice, practice, practice.
  5. Take questions at the end of each segment or you cannot get through the prepared presentation
  6. The time in-between sessions must be managed to allow yourself time to “reset” (physically and mentally) for the next presentation.
  7. Have a table to place your brochure, business cards, publications etc. (Bring a nice tablecloth and other items to “dress” the table.)
  8. If you have a product to sell, include in the contract the rights to sell at the event.

i don’t have anything to sell but I do have a little “give-away”.

I have applied to two other conferences to speak and am waiting to hear from them. I have already heard that I was not accepted to present at FGS in February. I plan on submitting to at least two others soon. This is fun!

In addition to my 3-day gig, I will be speaking at four SGS events in the coming months.  Drop by and learn something new.  These sessions will be:

  • 28 September: “I Found my Family on the Internet! Now What Do I Do?” Evaluating genealogy, specifically those with family information, websites
  • 12 October: “Soldiers, Spies & Farm Wives: the Changing Roles for Women during the Civil War” A look at how Rosie the Riveter was not an anomaly.
  • 9 November: “Using the Non-Population Schedules” For context and even restricted records, nothing is better than the non-population schedules–short of paying the lawyer!
  • 7 December: “Family Myths: Using Analysis & Correlation to Resolve” Do you have an Indian Princess in your family?  Well, somebody has to!  We will explore how to resolve this often puzzling family stories–and sometimes they are true!

Happy Hunting!


What I have done since the last posting:  Well, not exactly, but I really worked on the presentation for the 28th of September.  It was lacking a construct which popped into place this weekend.  I really feel like it is in a good place now.  I need to revisit the content of my lecture proposals; I do not believe I have done a very good job of pointing out the uniqueness of the different proposals.  I am getting very comfortable with my hardware.  That’s good.  The new laptop is doing great.  I worked up a lecturing contract for Jefferson County and worked on a client report which is very interesting–Scotland!



Day 2: Professional Management Conference in Salt Lake.

It was another good day!

It started with a very nice breakfast at Blue Lemon, a little breakfast place down the street from the hotel. I decided to play hookey and went to the Family History Library for some research rather than listen to Judy Russell talk about copyright and contracts.  It was a tough decision because I love to hear Judy.

But it was productive time in the library.

i knew that I wouldn’t have big chunks of time to do research so I instead identified more but smaller tasks to accomplish.

Task no. 1: Daniel Suhm, a Danish soldier moved to a different county every ten years.  I wanted to check the Danish military records to see if they can answer the question of his residence  in the late 1770’s.  Danish military records unfortunately start after the Daniel “retires” to the village of the birth of his wife.  Therefore, no additional information is found and there is no resolution to the “brick wall” question of naming the father of Anne Kirstine Suhmsdotter/Danielsdotter.

Task no. 2: Swedish tax records may yield direct evidence as to the birth year of my ancestor Bengt Andersson, b. 1774.  It also may provide “bridging information” for missing parish recordS.  Records were reviewed. Because the family has lived in this tiny parish for more than 300 years before emigrating, I copied every page of the tax schedules for four years– 1712, 1734, 1740, 1815.  I’m excited about taking some time to really check these records.  The records will provide additional direct evidence of the birth year which is in conflict with two other recorded birth years.

Task 3: My goal was to see if any additional progress can be made on my Frederick Eilers problem of Stephenson County IL.  I may not even get to this  problem at the library but Karen and I brainstormed this problem and identified an approach using the 1865 IL and the 1870 Federal censuses to see if we could find Berg family.

I think it is very important to be realistic about the time you will have available and the tasks you need to do.   My preparation would have been quite different if I would have anticipated large blocks of time available to do the work.

I came back to the conference and attended an excellent presentation by Cece Moore on advanced DNA analysis. I am so much smarter about this and now have a better idea of  what I do not know.  I learned how autosomal DNA tests are being used to solve adoption cases and other intractable problems. It was very interesting and made very accessible to this genealogist.*

Tomorrow will be quiet.  Karen and I are going to hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  There is a reception for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) in late afternoon.  It shouldn’t interfere with Downton!

Happy Hunting!


* just listened to an interview by a SLC TV news reporter of Cece about the Tom Lipport case. At the end, after FIVE tries, three of which named our organization the “Association of Geologists” she stumbled out the name of Association of Genealogists.  Of course, our name is the Association of Professional Genealogists. Geesh.

A Diversion– the Professional Management Conference in SLC

This week, starting yesterday (Friday), I have been attending the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) Professional Management conference and it has been a blast!  I have been meeting old friends and new, doing a little research in the FHL  and attending sessions oriented towards becoming a better genealogical business person, however one may define it.

Some highlights include:

  • Seeing my friend Karen Stanbery from Chicago who was also my Mastering Genealogical Proof mentor
  • Interviewing Jeanne Bloom who will be the Seattle Genealogical Society’s Spring Seminar speaker for our newsletter.
  • Attending a session by Angela Packer McGhie on building a genealogical business plan– our ProGen assignment for this month
  • Hearing (and subsequently talking to) Harold Henderson discuss the road to his NGSQ article.  A personal goal of mine is to submit and have printed an article in the Q.  It was also a thrill when HH complimented my blog.
  • Meeting Barry Kline, a member of my ProGen group and mutual attendee next week in Tom Jones’s Advanced Methodologies class. I have also met about eight others that will be in the class as well . (I am told to buy groceries because there will not be enough time to eat!)
  • Hearing Josh Taylor talk about his experiences with working with corporate clients and how that differs from working with single clients.  Josh will be the speaker at the Washington State Genealogical Conference in August in Arlington.
  • Meeting and talking with Jay Fonkert, who will be a speaker at  the Ostfriesen Genealogical Society of America (OGSA) conference I am chairing.
  • Meeting new friends including Mary, a researcher who specializes in Italian research; Anne, a Wisconsin genealogist; Margaret, a blog contributor and on and on and on….

Great fun but I must pace myself–Advanced Methodologies is next week!

Happy Hunting!