Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ohio Genealogical Society's 2010 Fall Seminar

On October 2, 2010, I had the pleasure of attending the OGS's 2010 Fall Seminar, held at the Samuel D. Isaly Library of the Ohio Genealogical Society in Bellville, Ohio. The library just opened in July of 2010. Curt Witcher, Genealogy Center Manager and Senior Manager of Special Collections at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana, was the speaker for four separate presentations.

In "The Road Not Taken," Mr. Witcher suggested searching online by geographic location, ethnicity, occupation, and religion, as well as by the surname of a particular family. He pointed out several bibliographic databases to consult: The National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC for short); The Archival Research Catalog of the National Archives; The Access to Archival Databases at the National Archives; The Catalog of U.S. Government Publications; and Worldcat. While these sources may not lead to direct genealogical information for researchers, the search results retrieved may lead us to other sources that do have important genealogical data.

In the session on "Doing Effective Research in Libraries," Curt Witcher suggested always visiting a library virtually, before actually making a trip to the library. State Libraries, State Archives, and Special Focus Libraries often have specialized collections that can aid in research within a specific state or area.

In the session entitled "Fingerprinting Our Families," Mr. Witcher stressed how understanding what was happening in both the home country as well as the new new homeland of our immigrant ancestors, can help us gain deeper insight into the reasons that our ancestors left one country to migrate to another.

The last session of the Fall Seminar was "Using Periodical Literature and PERSI in Genealogical Research." Curt Witcher stated that we could be missing significant sources of genealogical information if we don't look in periodical sources. He told us about using the * as a wild card, and ? for an unknown letter within a word, when conducting PERSI searches at Heritage Quest Online. The day in Bellville was well spent, and I look forward to returning to the Samuel D. Isaly Library to do more research!

Note: The Dutch Heritage Restaurant, located very near the Samuel D. Isaly Library of the O.G.S. is a very delightful place to have a meal, following a busy day of genealogical research.

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