Monday, April 30, 2012

Research, Classes, and Writing!

What a crazy couple of weeks! It's been a great time, but unfortunately it's meant that I haven't written much for this blog. Are you wondering what I've been up to? Well, regardless... you're going to find out! First of all, I've gotten quite excited about my involvement in writing for The In-Depth Genealogist digi-mag. I'm their "Jewish Genealogy" writer and it's really been great to be able to focus on that aspect of my own research and learning. I really hope that as time goes on I am able to really help some newbies with their research. Or even point out some new sources to those who have been doing Jewish genealogy research for a while. With my participation as a writer for the digi-mag I'm really hoping that with time I will become MORE prolific with my writing. I've always harbored a dream of writing a book... and if it happens to be about my family history research- all the better!

Regardless, as I get to know the bloggers I am working with I find myself more and more energized. In particular, Stephanie & Terri who are the leads on IDG are really quite inspirational women. I've known Stephanie about 4-5 months now and must say that I don't know how she handles all that she does. She works from home as an editor, is taking the ProGen course, home schools her daughter, maintains her own blog/ website, and somehow is starting IDG which is a booming project. Terri is equally amazing- though I don't know her quite as well as Stephanie. She's a mom, travel agent, blogger, and active with IDG starting up. These ladies must not sleep or something. What started as a monthly newsletter has turned into an entire website, community, digi-mag, and who knows what else! I'm loving it! Little did I know when I made the suggested for an alternate title of the newsletter to be "Depth of Field" that it would turn into The In-Depth Genealogist. Literally that day they checked to see if the domain, facebook, and twitter name was available. It was... so in the span of just a few days things were rolling. I'm really impressed and excited to be involved. Please take a moment to pop in and see what we're up to. Regardless of whether you are a professional genealogist or doing it for your own family-- there are some great resources and people to get to know! After all, their mission is: The In-Depth Genealogist is a digital newsletter that contributes to the advancement of all genealogists.

What else have I been up to? Well, I attended two genealogy workshops on April 21st and learned about probate records and also about African American genealogy research. Great speakers! I wrote a blog post for IDG about it and really was inspired to kick it into gear on my research! I plan to use what I learned about probate records next week when I travel with my mom up to South Bend, Indiana (where most of our relatives live). I've requested probate records for my Engel family. I'm not sure what I'll find, but I'm hopeful that there will be a nugget or two of interest in there. I've also been in contact with the South Bend Jewish Historical Society. I'm not sure if they will have much about the Engels, but I'm hopeful. I also plan to meet with some relatives and ask some questions that have been nagging me. I'll see my dad, brother, and sister-in-law while I'm up there too. It will be an action packed couple of days, but energizing in their own way.

Afterwards, I'll drive back to Cincinnati to attend the National Genealogical Society Conference! I'll be staying with Stephanie and several other great women during the conference. I can hardly wait! Did you know they have a conference app for your smartphone? I downloaded it to my Droid and it's great. I've picked out my schedule and know I'll put it to good use. Also, I got a great surprise last week when I found out that I will get to attend Maureen Taylor's half-day workshop! She writes a column for Family Tree Magazine called The Photo Detective. She's well versed in tracking down time-periods and figuring out locations where a photo may have been taken. I can't wait to learn from her!

I've also made a few field trips to libraries to do some research.  Since the Ohio Genealogical Society Library is just 40 minutes up the road from me; I decided to spend a few hours researching.  While there I looked through their obituary collection and also the books that they had on Maine.  I'm still puzzling through some connections on the Morse side and found some valuable books.  Unfortunately they only had three of the four volumes that I needed.  I'll have to hunt around and see where I can take a look at the last one.  Of course most of my people were in that last volume.  Doh!

I also had the opportunity to hang out with my Central Ohio Geneablogger pals and do some 1940 Census indexing!  I managed to do 48 of the 50 states over the past few weeks.  Unfortunately I did not get Utah or Idaho!  It was a fun exercise and now I am focusing on my own states of interest- Michigan and Arkansas.  I can't wait for it to be done so I can finally track down some more relatives.

On this past Saturday I took a trip to Ohio State's Thompson Library to help out a connection on JewishGen.  This guy had put a request out on the message boards asking if someone could do a look-up for him.  I figured that since I was an alum and had not been to the library since the remodel that I could certainly help him out.  The library is beautiful and state of the art (for the first four floors now) and though I had some trouble tracking down the book initially I did end up getting it.  After I scanned the pages he requested I cropped and cleaned them up a bit and uploaded them to my Dropbox site.  Then I just shared the link with him so that he could copy them to his own computer.  Hopefully he got all that he needed.

While there I did some exploring and found a number of great collections on specific historical time periods. Their Civil War collection is pretty extensive.  The volumes of the official records was something that I was quite impressed by.  It had three full bookshelves.  If I'd done some homework ahead of time I could have spent hours looking through for my ancestors.  As it was, I decided to see what kind of Jewish books were in the library.  This turned out to be a good thing because I'd been hunting for a connection between some names that I'd found for my Krueger family and the books on Jewish given names was quite helpful.

What I loved was when I found out what Myer's name meant...  "he shines".  It really made me smile as I thought of how my grandma spoke of her father in her biography.  I think he must have been named well.

With that, I leave you for now.  I have an article to write for the IDG on "Schlepping to the Cemetery" and I've much to do in preparation for my road trip at the end of the week. Have a great week!


Shelley Bishop said...

Wow, Jennifer, you are just tearing it up! Amazing! I'm thrilled to be working with you on the In-Depth Genealogist, and agree with everything you said. I also enjoyed hearing about your experiences at the Ohio State Univ. library. Keep up the great work!

Laura Cosgrove Lorenzana said...

What an incredible amount of great things you've got going on Jen! We're lucky to be a part of such an amazing group with In-Depth Genealogist, and I'm looking forward to reading all about what you uncover. See you at NGS!

Amy Coffin, MLIS said...

You've been busy! I've enjoyed the In-Depth Genealogist and look forward to reading more.