Sunday, November 28, 2010

Leaving your legacy

Is it just me or have the rest of you noticed a sudden interest in what happens to our research after we leave this earth? I read two blogs regularly and ran across related articles in both of them today. In Eastman's Online Newsletter today was an article titled "From the In-box: What to do with Collected Data" (, which basically asked for readers' suggestions on how to handle our collected genealogy research materials. It generated a large number of responses. Then on Michael John Neill's was "Cleaning Mother's House" (, a purportedly fictional account of one family's handling of the deceased mother's research. I suspect I'll be having nightmares from that one!
Both articles got me thinking about the role SGS should be playing in helping our members (and others) make their research available to others who might benefit from our research in the future. Right now we have at least 20 to 30 boxes of member's research files stacked in our storage area. Our Library Trustees have recommended creating a Director of Archives position and making part of the library into a genelaogical archive. At the present time, we have neither the space nor the funds needed to do this. Should we be weeding our book collection to make space for an archives area? Should we be madly fundraising so that we could move into a larger space? Which is more important to you--a library or genealogy archives? Please cast your vote at right and leave your comments below. Thank you!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Is DNA Testing for You?

I attended the SGS DNA Special Interest Group this morning for the first time. Actually, that's not strictly true. I was present at one of the group's first meetings, but didn't understand much of what was said. The DNA SIG has developed a new format so that both beginners and more advanced genetic genealogists have a chance to learn. They are now meeting quarterly (rather than every other month), but for a longer time period at each meeting. The first hour is for beginners. Today's first hour covered the basics of what the different tests are, what you can expect to learn from them, and who should use which tests. I think I finally know enough to start working on my uncle to get tested. He's the last male in my mother's line and if I don't get him tested, I've lost my only chance to verify that family line.
The second hour went into more detail on how to learn more about genetic genealogy. Cary Bright and Ida McCormick, the co-presenters, provided a great handout with suggested books and websites. It looks to me like there's plenty of material to keep me busy for many, many hours.
At the end of the meeting, a group member talked about his experience with genetic testing--without going into all the technical details. Because he started testing a number of years ago--before many of today's tests were available--he has had to go back and purchase additional DNA testing multiple times.
Unfortunately, these tests cost money.....and not inconsiderable amounts of money, at that. We can all save a little by ordering through the SGS SIG or through a surname or geographic area group.
For the first time I came away from a DNA discussion thinking that I really need to jump on this bandwagon. With family names like Collins, Campbell, and Sharp, I've still got lots of brick walls that pre-date most US records. Hopefully DNA will provide the answers that my record searching has not.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Genealogy Tip of the Day

Have you discovered Michael John Neill's "Genealogy Tip of the Day" blog yet? It's absolutely free!
Check out:
Michael posts short genealogy tips to his blog at least once a day. If you're on Facebook, you can become a fan of his companion page and the "tips" will show up on your page, too.
To go to Michael's Facebook page, follow this link:!/pages/Rio-IL/Genealogy-Tip-of-the-Day/136180964378
Michael has been a professional genealogist for some time, specializing in research techniques and resources. He also writes a weekly genealogy newsletter called "Casefile Clues" for paying subscribers. These are in-depth analyses of specific records and research questions. You can obtain samples for review from his website at Right now he's running a special--$12.00 for a year of his e-newsletters (a savings of $5 off the regular price).
While I've been doing family history research for a very long time, it never ceases to amaze me what I don't know. Reading Michael's "tips" and "Casefile Clues" has definitely opened my eyes to new avenues of research.