Henry County Genealogy Alliance is brand new. My personally founded genealogy group, East Central Indiana Genealogy Alliance (ECIGA), disbanded in December 2018. From those ashes, HCGA was born. HCGA exists under the umbrella of the historical society. I’m not sure Henry County has ever had a formal genealogical society, to be quite honest.

HCGA will have one live webinar this year AND a one-day seminar.

Question for my genealogy-focused followers: What topic would you like to join for a live webinar where you could ask questions of the presenter? What kind of speakers would you be interested in seeing at a one-day seminar?

Please share your ideas! Help me brainstorm!

Webinar~Fire Insurance Maps…Google Maps of their Day! Plus Graduation!

Hosted by: Hamilton County (OH) Genealogical Society (thank you!)

Presented by: Jill Morrelli, CG

First, let me say I *big puffy heart* love Sanborn Fire Maps!  In my humble opinion, your genealogical research is lacking if you do not use this resource.  It is, in a word, indispensable!  So, when I heard about this webinar, I signed up immediately!  Right now, I’m creating a project using a story my grandfather wrote about a typical day in his life in 1933 when he was a high school senior.  He worked for a movie theater in the downtown area of our hometown, and his story is about him running an errand and running all about the downtown area, checking into different businesses and seeing different people.  He wrote this from memory for his 50th class reunion in 1983! I’m using the 1924 Sanborn Fire Map for our hometown to plot these businesses, as well as the contemporaneous city directory.  I’ve even created his avatar who will walk his remembered trail! That is his senior class picture attached to a generic body.  I think he’d approve!

Another way I’ve used Sanborn Fire Maps is to locate where my ancestors lived in Cincinnati prior to the interstates being built.  They lived very near the Ohio River.  I have used these maps in conjunction with Cincinnati’s city directories, which, again, another indispensable resource.  These ancestors rented a building and ran a dance hall out of it; I was able to find that location on a Sanborn Fire Map.  It is yet another structure no longer standing.

A third way I’ve used Sanborn Fire Maps is to find where my early Ohio ancestors lived in Butler County, Ohio, in a town named Darrville.

In Richmond, Indiana, the actual bound map books are at the Morrisson-Reeves Library.  The maps are on linen pages, making the book heavy.  When a new map was published, the old book was supposed to be destroyed but many were not.  If they were, however, the linen pages would be recycled as clothing (!) and the leather binding used on boats.

Public health service (see John Snow’s 1854 cholera map of London)

Purpose for fire insurance maps: Carriers insure for loss; not concentrating the coverage; want to know the risk for a particular building

No owners’ names! Will find building type, address, railroads and viaducts, names of additions, etc.

Map books large and heavy!

Great Fire of London, 1666: The beginning of fire insurance (1710); fire insurance in US by 1728, written in London

1790: First map published in Charleston, SC

1815: Lithographs to produce multiple maps; maps had to be drawn in a mirror image!

1850: Map created of NYC business district (George Hope)

1850: Map standardization with the companies to provide maximum info on the map

Black and white (mostly seen online), colored (usually Sanborn), colored and corrected (have layers of tiny papers when changes were made)

Daniel Alfred Sanborn (1827-1883), did 50+ maps from 1867-68!

A surveyor (“strider”) recorded each building in very fine detail

Maps were colored by hand!

Find digitized Sanborn Maps on Library of Congress website!  Also check Google, local libraries, and Indiana University.

Maps created for fire insurance companies where they had clients so some cities/towns with no clients were not mapped.

Always review the first page of a city’s/town’s map, lots of info!

Read the key for color coding!

Read the key for dwelling types!

Special Risks: Manufacturing

Who uses these maps? Urban historians, writers, architects, historic preservationists, genealogists! Also house historians and collectors.

You can analyze businesses using directories and censuses.

Use Google Maps to compare how neighborhoods appear.

Maps can also be used to analyze disasters (Fall River, Massachusetts, 1928).

So glad I was able to sit in on this webinar!  Now I’m off to check for maps online!

Before I forget, this happened:

Big day for all of us!  We extremely proud of his accomplishments thus far and what his future holds! Way to go Ben!!

Webinar~Archivists: Who Are They and What Do They Do?

Hosted by the Association of Professional Genealogists

About the Presenter:
Melissa Barker is a Certified Archives Records Manager currently working as the Houston County, Tennessee archivist. She is also a professional genealogist lecturing, teaching and writing about the genealogy research process, researching in archives and records preservation. She conducts virtual webinar presentations all across the United States for genealogical and historical societies. She writes a popular blog entitled “A Genealogist in the Archives.” She is the Reviews Editor for the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) magazine FORUM. She writes a bi-weekly advice column entitled “The Archive Lady” that can be viewed at www.GeneaBloggers.com. She has been researching her own family history for the past 26 years.

Don’t let age deter you from becoming an archivist!

You know you’re an archivist when working with “old” items (documents, photographs, ephemera, etc.) never gets old!

“Every genealogist should be an archivist and every archivist should be a genealogist!” ~ Melissa Barker ~ “An archivist’s work is never done!”

Archivist: Appraising, acquiring, arranging, describing, preserving, and providing access to records of enduring value

*Some people don’t know what an archivist or archives is; some people are overwhelmed when visiting an archives*

Check for state library and archives organizations for training!

Educational requirements vary from institution to institution.

Certified Archivist (C.A.) Certificate Program (Academy of Certified Archivists)

Society of American Archivists Certificate Program and Graduate Program in Archival Studies

Certified Archivist (C.A.): 1987, set standards for professional certification; today, there are 1,131 archivists in the US

Some have backgrounds in history, art, library science, etc.  Some are historians, archives directors, archives managers, records managers, librarians, etc.

Archivists who specialize: Specific type of collections (manuscripts, photographs), specific geographic location (southern states, midwestern states, Civil War), only work with born digital records (never on paper, electronic, digital photographs) or digitizing archived records, specific genre (women’s history, military history)

How to find a job? ArchivesGig.wordpress.com

Society of American Archivists career center

How to get experience? VOLUNTEER! County, state, and organizational archives.

“Lone Arranger” Succeeding in a Small Repository by Christina Zamon

Job Duties: Obtaining and accessing records, govt records transferred to archives; historical and genealogical records donations; every step of transfer or donation is documented (deed of gift); organize and store records (original order is essential); sorting, labeling, filing, and re-housing of records (archival quality boxes/file folders); create a finding aid; indexing; organizing records and artifacts for display; plan and arrange upcoming exhibits and displays; preservation and conservation (clean and flatten documents); daily statistics (sign-in book, records processed, requests, donations); correspondence; help with walk-in researchers, pull records and help read old handwriting; budget and purchasing (compile and present a budget for approval), take stock and purchase archival materials; apply for grant money (always looking for funding!); outreach (open houses, speak to local groups, host tours for schools and adult leadership groups)

Tools of the trade: White gloves, spatula for removing staples, brush, acid-free products

This was a truly wonderful webinar, very thorough and detailed, including many real-world examples.  I’m so glad I was able to view it live!

Webinar~Using Technology to Manage Multiple Genealogical Projects

Hosted by APG, presented by Melanie D. Holtz, CG

Asana (cloud based): Project management software

Can be used with:

Harvest Time management


Evernote (use through Zapier)


-Google Drive

Other software (all cloud based):

17Hats (includes invoicing and bookkeeping)

Trello (similar looking to sticky notes all over, looks like Pinterest)

Smartsheet (visually looks like an Excel spreadsheet)


I was interested in this webinar since I do need some sort of project management software regarding the new society, my new business, my education goal, my certification goal, etc.  Ms. Holtz mostly covered Asana since she has used it since its inception.  There is a free version and paid versions, depending on how many people you are communicating with.  I’ve been trying the free version.  Right now, it’s basically just me so I don’t need a lot of bells and whistles.  Once the society gets up and running, I might have to go to the paid version but we’ll see.  I’ve been using Evernote for some time now so I’ve got to see how I can integrate that into Asana, if I even want to.  I also use Dropbox occasionally and Google Drive.

Regarding the other software, I’d like to try 17Hats but it’s out of my price range right now.  I’d like to try it because it also includes bookkeeping and invoice capabilities.  I’ve used Basecamp in the past, and it’s very user friendly.  Trello might be worth a shot; I believe it has a free version too.  As far as Smartsheet goes, I’d never figure it out.  Excel intimidates me for some reason.

After looking at Trello more while writing this post, I believe I might give it a go.  It does have a free version and paid version (more for businesses).  Since I’m just a business of 1, I can go free.

I suppose I need to have one in place by 1 August!

A big thank you to APG for offering another terrific webinar!

Webinar~How to Keep Your Volunteers Happy, Helpful, and Engaged

Offered through FGS, presented by Amy Johnson Crow, CG

I sat in on this webinar since I’m starting a genealogical society for my area of Indiana (BRVGS).  I wanted to learn more about volunteers of a group.  I have volunteered myself and could relate to a lot of what Ms. Crow discussed.

I hope to meet new interested people for our new local society.  People who have special skills to put to use, people who want to volunteer a little time to support their community, people who want to learn more about their family history and how to document what they find for future generations.

I’ll definitely be reviewing my notes as the first meetings of BRVGS commence!

Webinar~Truth or Fiction: Unraveling a Family Yarn

Another terrific webinar in the BCG series, presented by Teresa Steinkamp McMillin, CG.

This webinar explored taking a family tale, handed down generation by generation, and proving or disproving it.  It was a very fascinating case study to dissect, and Ms. McMillin took us through it step by step.

Start with what you know and use the GPS.

I have a couple family yarns that I’ve been told.  I’ve disproved one of them, which opened up more questions than answered questions.  Another one of my family yarns is going to take some serious in-depth research to unravel.

After recording what you’ve been told, start digging into the resources, any and all that you think might be pertinent to proving the family story.  Newspapers, church records, civil records, land records, etc.  Then, compare what you’ve found to what you’ve been told and see how the story lines up.  Sometimes, you’ll find surprises in the research.

Thanks again to BCG and Ms. McMillin for providing a great educational program!

The Family Tapestry: Integrating Proof Arguments Into The Genealogical Narrative~Webinar

Another webinar in the BCG series, presented by Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG

Ms. Bloom used the analogy of creating a proof argument as in creating a tapestry, a family tapestry if you will.

In her analogy, she tells us that:

Genealogy Standards form the loom, or framework, of our proof argument.
Reasonably Exhaustive Research includes the warp threads.  Warp threads are strong and run up and down the length of the tapestry.
Argument is the woof threads.  Woof threads are woven using the direct, indirect, negative, and conflicting evidence.
Conclusion is your tapestry.  It meets the Genealogical Proof Standard and combines the five elements into a connected whole (who, what, when, where, and why).

Where the assertion of kinship is first introduced in your report is where you weave in the written and documented conclusion.

I have been considering this as I begin to put together my KDP, how to include my arguments.

Another great learning session!

Scrivener…To Do or Not To Do??

What is Scrivener? Short answer, project management software: outline, edit, and writing. I’ve been considering this and watched a webinar/mini boot camp about it recently, presented by Lisa Alzo, hosted by Thomas MacEntee.


* A great place to get your writing done, being able to import your information from other spots and have it handy.  Great tool for editing.
* 30-day free trial period is not consecutive days. If you use it one day and then let it sit dormant a few days, the next time you use it will be your second trial day and so forth.
* Relatively inexpensive. For Windows, $40 license.

Cons: Learning curve, big learning curve. It can seem a bit overwhelming at times with different screens, corkboards, the binder, files, folders, etc.

Along with the boot camp webinar, I’m also checking out some of the YouTube demos.

One of the reasons I’m considering this is to possibly be able to transcribe oral interviews for personal historians (more info here). I’d like to join their association and possibly offer my services to those who need interviews transcribed. Still in an embryonic stage, though!

Fast forward a couple months…

I took the plunge and started my free trial.

I’m beginning to write up the findings of the research I’ve done for my friend. She wanted to know more about her 2nd-great-GM, so I’ve been working on tracing that lady back. I have the info in RootsMagic7, which will give me a dandy narrative report of this lady’s ancestors. I’m going to use that as the outline and add what I can from newspaper articles and social history of the time/place that that particular ancestor lived in. I’m going to use Scrivener to create that.

The first part of the report will be about this lady and her life, Then her parents and their parents, as far back as I can document with certainty. Right now, I’ve taken this lady’s life and broken it down into different sections using the corkboard and notecards. I think I’m going to do a direct-line narrative, focusing on my friend’s direct ancestors, but will add what vital statistics I can find on the collateral relatives. What I think I’m going to like is being able to add the supporting documents to the report for my friend to have, instead of saying I found this info on a marriage license in this county, now you go get a copy of the original. I’ll put the citation, of course, but I’ll procure a copy of the document and add it to the report. This excites me! Basically, I’m doing this work pro bono for my friend to 1) gain the experience and 2) use in my BCG portfolio. It looks like I’m going to have to travel to 2 counties here in Indiana and possibly 2-3 counties in Ohio for documents.

So, I’ve committed to this. I hope to get a good amount done during the free trial and finish this up before summer ends. Lofty goals!

Webinar~Certified or Certifiable? Why A Genealogist Would Go Through All That Trouble

Another great webinar in the BCG series, presented by Jean Wilcox Hibben, PhD, MA, CG http://www.circlemending.org

BCG website

* Certification: Evaluation of competence of work samples in a portfolio based on:

Documenting, researching, and writing.

Benefits of being certified, higher standards, efforts to reap rewards (personal and financial), preparing to go “on the clock,” second round for some applicants. If you submit a second portfolio, you start from the ground up, a complete re-do of your portfolio.

Be measured by those who know the field.

Turn in application to go “on the clock” aka 1 year to turn in portfolio. Submit preliminary application along with a fee. “Time is literally money.”

Take classes to prepare properly for certification.

Take time to do some work before going “on the clock.”

Obtain the aid of a mentor (email list through BCG once you’re “on the clock”).

Clarify anything that confuses you. Ask questions.

Take the quiz to see if you’re ready (readiness quiz).

Look at sample portfolios at major conferences at the BCG booth.

Attend what conferences/seminars you can and visit the BCG booth when there.

Read On Board! It’s time for me to subscribe.

Pursue certification to ‘prove’ or test oneself, advance career, validation of skills.

Preparing to go “on the clock”, create a timeline! See the BCG website for an example.

Join APG and NGS!

*Failure first time around:

Failure to follow all instructions.

Failure to read the rubrics that the judges use.

Lack of understanding of the terminology and genealogy scholarship.

Not enough experience, turning in application before you’re ready.

Portfolio can now be submitted electronically.

**I have found the BCG webinars to be exceptionally insightful. It was announced that archived webinars will be on the BCG website soon!**