I know I’ve been super quiet here lately.  What have I been doing?

Getting things lined up to start a local genealogy society


Indexing the local museum’s newsletters…that started in the 1970s.  I’m almost done with that task…closing in on 10,000 names!

So far, with the new gen society, I’ve booked a room at the library, created a website and Twitter, have been working on a mission statement, created a motto and logo, and created a list of nearly 40 topics for meetings! Whew! Not to mention looking up what I need to do to make this a tax-exempt nonprofit organization!

Lots going on here!  If you’re from around East-Central Indiana, be sure to check out the website…new stuff added:


A huge thank-you to the Wabash Valley Genealogy Society for their well wishes and invaluable information at the recent IGS Conference!

Blue River Valley Genealogy Society

Deep breaths…

Deep breaths….

I’ve never done anything like this before but was inspired by the Wabash Valley Genealogy Society at the IGS Conference, so…


I hope there are a few kindred souls in my neck of the woods who would enjoy doing something like this…I hope I’m not the only one.

I’m going to contact the WVGS and see if they will be our mentors…a model…our guides.


Now, back to indexing…

UPDATE: As it turns out, you can be a society of one! Gotta get this ball rolling!

Indiana Genealogical Society Annual Meeting and Conference

The IGS Annual Conference was hosted by the Wabash Valley Genealogy Society and held at University Hall on the Indiana State University Campus in Terre Haute, Indiana, on 25 April 2015, featuring Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGL, for four lectures. Four other lectures were offered, two about Terre Haute/Vigo County and two about DNA.

I decided to sit in on the Terre Haute/Vigo County sessions and then the final two Judy Russell speeches. Mr. Mike McCormick spoke first about the history of the settlement of Terre Haute. His speech was very informative and enlightening as to the history of the town. I was particularly interested in early business, i.e. breweries, and the Wabash-Erie Canal. Mr. McCormick is the county genealogist for Vigo County for IGS, and most of his speech was from memory!

Next up was a session about the website Wabash Valley Visions and Voices (WV3), which is a digital memory project. Donna Adams and Vikki Sordean are members of two of the charter partners, and they spoke about getting this project off the ground. The project includes partners, different regional repositories, who agree to share their digital collection online in this consortium form.  There are thousands of pictures, documents, and oral histories included on the site, searchable by subject, county, name. Much work goes on behind the scenes, including scanning fragile items, labeling them and tagging them to be found online. What a wonderful effort. I applaud them for their hard work and diligence.

image Donna Adams showing a steamboat picture (the Diana, a Wabash River steamboat) from WV3.

The annual meeting of IGS was held after lunch with general updates and an award ceremony. It was nice to hear firsthand what the Society is doing, where it is headed, and learning of achievements from all around the state. I was part of the 2014 inductions into the Society of Civil War Families of Indiana, having my ancestor Paul Mayer proven. I hope to have my father and son Civil War ancestors added to the list next year.

image image

The certificate is beautiful in person.

The final two sessions I attended were both presented by Judy Russell…you can’t go wrong listening to her speak! Her speech, titled “Staying Out of Trouble: The Rights and Responsibilities of Today’s Genealogists,” I have actually heard before; it never hurts to hear this one again though!  Many things to consider when looking for records and when using records (I’m looking at you copyright!).  The final lecture was about the black sheep in the family, “Rogues, Rascals, and Rapscallions: The Family Black Sheep.”  I hadn’t really given it much thought, other than, say, criminals being black sheep, but Ms. Russell outlined three groups of black sheep characters: Law Breakers, Philanderers, and Deadbeats.  The black sheep of the family usually provide colorful records of the past, and, while those related to the black sheep at the time have to live through their blunders, the descendants of said black sheep can revel in the record-finding!



All in all, I had a great couple days in Terre Haute, lots to learn and meeting new people. I am very much looking forward to the Annual Conference to be held 15-16 April 2016 in Fort Wayne, Indiana!

2016 Plans

I checked my 2016 calendar and it is definitely shaping up to be a banner year!

In April, there is the IGS Conference and Society Management Seminar and the OGS Annual Conference.  In July, Midwestern Roots here in Indiana.  In August, the FGS Conference in Springfield, Illinois.  In September, the APG Professional Management Conference.  This is not counting any DAR functions or special seminars, such as IHS genealogy sessions or the Indiana chapter of PALAM, which I hope to join to strengthen my German knowledge.  I need to start saving!

Something else I’ve been toying with is seeing what kind of interest there is in my neck of woods to have a local genealogy society.  We have a historical society/museum but not anything dedicated to specifically genealogy/family history. Just something I’ve been thinking about.  Not sure about the interest in this area.  At the Society Management Seminar this weekend, the Wabash Valley Genealogy Society stated that they advertised an informational meeting, expecting 5-6 people to show up…they had 60 turn out! WOW! If I do anything like that–and that’s a giant IF–it might be the first of August.  We’ll see!

Society Management Seminar-IGS

FullSizeRender (10) I think this slide sums it up very well, the current barometer of genealogy. Change is a constant in our lives, especially in our genealogical lives. I began researching in 2001, a little while after Google had been on the scene. That opened up an entire new world for me, seeing pieces of history at my fingertips. Then, of course, I wanted to see these things in person and I haven’t looked back (figuratively, literally I look back into the past a lot!). Just the changes in the past 14 years are astounding, e.g. OCR, digitalization, DNA! Change fuels this passion, I believe. Sometimes, though, it’s not easy to embrace change…it can be difficult moving out of our comfort zones, learning new genealogy software, navigating new websites, wrapping your head around DNA. I’m a fairly shy person, more of a follower than a leader. I’m trying to break out of that shell and meet people at these get-togethers to forge some acquaintanceships. I’m considering having a get-together locally to see if anyone else in my community is interested in starting a genealogy society or just learning more. Me, a leader? Yikes!

With regard to genealogical societies, one pressing issue is social media, spreading the news.  Mr. Curt B. Witcher hit the proverbial nail on the head when he said that people expect a response within an hour when they tweet or post on Faceback, no later than 24 hours. People are now accustomed to almost instant feedback, instant information. Also, people want something of value for free. Maybe a searchable database on the society’s website…maybe just that the society has a website posting information, welcoming and encouraging attendance at meetings and volunteering.

Something else I learned at this seminar, well, among a number of things, is what happens when a new society is born. A LOT happens is what happens! I thank the Wabash Valley Genealogy Society officers for opening my eyes to what is involved, how much hard work it entails and how much knowledge and fun is achievable.  The WVGS is a lovely group who hosted this year’s IGS Conference, and every person from their group that I had contact with exuded friendliness and seemed genuinely happy to be there and hosting their guests.

All in all, it was a great day…definitely worth attending!

IMG_0770 Ron Darrah, Corresponding Secretary for IGS, expounding on the benefits of your society’s newsletter/journal. Check out his blog for upcoming genealogical events and issues!

IMG_0780 Fabulous chandelier in the library. I’d like this in my house. Maybe they’ll let me live there?

FullSizeRender (11) Sullivan County, Indiana, courthouse, taken from the library.