OGS Conference 2017 Day 2

OGS Conference 2017 – Day 2 – Workshop Day!

The morning was spent with Jane E. MacNamara Think Like a Genealogist: Creative Research Techniques to Help You Follow the Right Ancestral Trail”. Jane went through some trial documents to show us how to make the best out of each piece of information on varying types of documents from Passenger Lists, Church Transfer Papers, Collections of manuscripts and Death Certificates. The intention was to think about other resources any small piece of extra information gleaned could be used to find a new research avenue. Not just to find new resources, but think more deeply about each resource.

We spent the afternoon with Kirsty Gray Using Family Reconstruction to Break Down Brick Walls”. While she’s a lot of fun, she’s also a tough teacher encouraging attendees to start thinking hard on research goals and get cracking! She was all about really digging into detail and filling out as many of the siblings branches as possible to create a richer family community in order to broaden parameters. Kirsty also had us analyzing documents in order to ask questions to determine potential resources to refer to in order to collect all the details possible. She also talked about varying levels of Reconstruction – how deep and broad to research. And then of course, Organization, and reaching out for Help.

After that was a “First Timers” gathering where I got to add another ribbon to what is now starting to look like a small collection. (I haven’t gathered nearly as many as some other crazy ribbon people I’ve seen!  ;P )

And then Opening Ceremonies with some words from Dr G. Berthiaume, Librarian and Archivist at Library and Archives Canada (LAC) and Keynote Lecturer Journalist Dave Obee.

Dr. Berthiaume spoke about all the current projects in the works at LAC, and all the new ones soon to come. So much work has gone into the digitization of the WWI CEF records being copied and uploaded for all Canadians to access.  There are plans to carry on the digitization of resources and incorporate co-operative scan projects with the public using applications that LAC is developing for that purpose, which generated a lot of excitement from the full theatre.  His understanding of the importance of Family History Research to Citizen Genealogists, and passion to connect people to those resources and tools was wonderfully acknowledge by Mr. Dave Obee.

Mr. Obee spoke at length on the topic of Immigration. With acknowledgment to our presence at Algonquin college on traditional First Nations lands, considering, briefly immigration from the perspective of those experiencing the newcomers. He shared his own family’s experiences emigrating from various other places into Canada. Their stories, their dire hardships, and their points of view about being in Canada. “Push and Pull”. He reminded all of us, that as Genealogists, we, probably more than anyone else, should be fully aware of what immigration Means. There are events and forces and reasons behind every family leaving their homeland for another. We need to acknowledge how those events continue to cascade. History doesn’t stop at the Immigrant with a straight line through descendants, but instead, ripples. Suffice it to say, Mr. Obee delivered a powerful lecture that was broadly appreciated.

OGS Conference 2017

I’m super excited about this week’s events – The Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) Annual Conference , held this year at Algonquin College in Ottawa Ontario!

This will be my first year attending, and there’s so much going on, I’m sure I’m going to be in pure genealogy overload. I’ll try not to explode!

For me, conference will be starting off the evening of Thursday June 15th with “British Pub Night” (SOLD OUT) hosted by The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO). There are some events scheduled earlier in the day – Research Excursions to Library and Archives Canada (SOLD OUT), The Canadian War Museum, The Ottawa Public Library and The City of Ottawa Archives.

Friday will be Workshop Day – there are loads of them offered! 6 concurrent workshops in the morning, and in the afternoon. I’m looking forward to “Think like a Genealogist: Creative Research Techniques to Help You Follow the Right Ancestral Trail” with Jane E. MacNamara, in the morning. And then after lunch, I’ll be at “Using Family Reconstruction to Break Down Brick Walls” with Kirsty Gray.

After the workshops are finished, there is a “First Timer Gathering”, and then OGS Board/Branch meetings. After dinner, Opening Ceremonies and Keynote Lecturer Dave Obee followed by Reception.

Saturday & Sunday – I look forward to lectures given by D. Joshua Taylor MA, Dr. Blaine Bettinger, Linda L. Reid, Linda Corupe UE, Kathryn Lake Hogan UE.  Saturday evening there will be a Banquet with guest speaker D. Joshua Taylor MA, MLS.  Closing Ceremonies are Sunday afternoon.

Monday, 19th June is “Using Ancestry Day” – All day, all things Ancestry 🙂

The Market Place will be open to the public for the duration of the Conference – please come and check it out!

 

Genealogy Guys – Podcast

These two charming guys really know their stuff!

The Genealogy Guys   podcast run by Drew Smith and George G. Morgan has been on the air since 2005 and still going strong with their additional podcast the “Genealogy Connect” interview format show.  They’re both prolific Podcasters, Speakers, Researchers, and Writers.  They’re definitely a ‘Go-To’ for all things Genealogy and are available on multiple listening platforms.

For enjoyable genealogy podcasting, these two are worth spending time with.  I have been listening to them for a few years now, and pretty much every episode offers some useful tidbit of information.  These episodes have reviews of  books or technology, updates on various source repository news and listener mail.

I sent in a query in which they provided very helpful information regarding researching family in Hong Kong back on April 5, 2015 Episode # 286 .  I was very pleased to have George answer my questions so thoroughly and most of the sources he talked about are listed in the show notes.

This information is still relevant now, because shortly after the airing of the podcast, my Father-in-law (who’s family I was querying about) passed away.  I’m only now gearing up to resume researching that part of our family, and George’s on-air response and show note links are my first stop!

I’ve really learned a lot from listening to their show – Thanks Guys!

 

 

 

CONWAY, James 1815-1875

Why am I writing about a long-dead guy called James Conway? Because he was one of my direct ancestors that has eluded tracking for many, many years.

Why am I excited to talk about him?  Because I have been doing genealogical research for almost 25 years, and over those many years, have tried time and again to expand on my knowledge base of this individual.

And then recently, I spent two grueling days (not grueling, as in -suffering in the desert for weeks with no water or wifi – kind of grueling, although, sometimes it felt that way…) bouncing from website to website doing genealogical gymnastics in order to find a death record for James Conway.  The ‘Right’ death record, because James Conways – there are many. Many.

I recently joined BIFHSGO    (British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa), from which I was able to obtain access to some archived conference videos.  In particular for this blog post, I listened to quite a few presentations given by Maurice Gleeson, who frequently attends Genetic Genealogy Ireland Conferences.  He gave a lot of great talks on DNA testing and how to use it for Genealogy.

Despite the fact that Ireland is notoriously difficult to research (almost as difficult as ( Newfoundland), his talks gave me hope that I can probably find ‘something’.  He suggested that Irish researchers try IrishGenealogy.ie   because a lot of records are available for viewing at ‘no cost’.  ‘No cost’ is great, because when you’re searching across many sites that aren’t free, credits/fees get unruly and costly.  And I will tell you, that website was incredibly helpful and my husband has been trying to pry me out of it since I discovered it.  Within it, I’ve also found records for my other family branches in Ireland.

So with my consortium of websites, new hope, and using the FAN (Family-Aquaintances-Neighbours) approach I achieved victory.

Websites:  IrishGenealogy  ,  FamilySearch  ,  ScotlandsPeople  ,  FindMyPast  ,  National Archives of Ireland  ,  GRONI (General Record Office Northern Ireland) / (Northern Ireland Direct)  ,  EmeraldAncestors  ,  Belfast City Council  .

Different records can be found across different resources, but many also have the same records.  For instance, Family Search (FS) is always my first place to go when I begin a research session because it has new content being uploaded all the time.  It is also my primary resource because its contents are free and the search engine if very useful.  For the time period I was searching, in most databases the vital records for Ireland are available in Index format, which is a great start.  Some website search engines offer varying degree of information viewable, which is why it’s good to search more than one site when possible.  They’ll likely duplicate one another, but sometimes they’re complementary too.

I actually went into IrishGenealogy (IG) trying to find a marriage record for James Conway and his wife Sarah Kirk.  I had no idea if they were married in Ireland or in Scotland.  Scotland?  I thought you said you  were searching  in Ireland??    Haha!  Yes, yes I did, BUT, as I’ve discovered over the years, during the 19th century people hopped the Irish Sea as frequently (and without paper trails) as people crossed the Canada-US border during the same time period.

From past research stints, I gathered that James Conway and his wife Sarah Kirk (as per their children’s’ BDM records)  were living:

  • 1841 Scotland Census – East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, Scotland
  • 1845 Scotland – Christening of daughter Mary (b.1843 Lennoxtown, Stirlingshire)
  • 1851 Scotland Census – Barony, Lanarkshire, Scotland
  • 1863 – Ireland – Marriage of daughter Mary (Belfast, 1st husband)
  • 1868 – Ireland – Street Directory  [LennonWylie]
  • 1868 – Ireland – Marriage of son John (Belfast)
  • 1869 – Ireland – Marriage of daughter Mary (Belfast, 2nd husband)

The census records both indicate the James and Sarah were born in Ireland, but I wasn’t sure if they were married there, or met and married in Scotland, as I’d seen often enough with other families.  I also wasn’t positive on the birthplaces of their sons (Thomas & John born ca.1838-1841)) because they weren’t consistent from census to census, and I haven’t yet been able to locate records for their births in Scotland, nor Ireland.

I was able to track information about John through the Burial records for Belfast City, which led to a death record as well as pointing toward his wife for a marriage record (1868) and some of their children, through the burial listing and the appearance of the family on the 1901 Ireland census.

From there, and still not able to find anything directly on James, I decided to try to find more information on their eldest son Thomas.  This is where IG helped crack things open.  I found  Thomas’ full death record on that site, which led to 1911 census retrieval on the NAI site.  After much index matching, I was able to find their marriage record (1872).

On all of the marriage records for the children, none of them had James listed as ‘deceased’ (whereas in some cases spouse fathers were).  So I figured, he was still alive by 1872 and did more searching on IG& EA to try to narrow down options and gambled that his was the 1875 entry then went to the GRONI site to look at it and was ecstatic to find that I chose the right one.  John was listed as present at time of death, the occupation was correct and the address was close to where his daughter Mary lived around that time.  It also stated that he was a widower, so that lets me know that Sarah died before he did.  I haven’t gone looking for her death record yet, but with all that I found recently, I have a lot of fleshing out to do.

I don’t know if I’ll be able to push back another generation with this family, since no parent names are listed on the death records, and as yet, I still haven’t found a marriage record for the couple.

The biggest help that I have had while searching this family – also that of Mary’s 2nd husband, is the occupation.  James Conway was a Block Printer (also sometimes listed as CALICO printer)  by trade, (way more useful than ‘labourer’) which isn’t something that I have seen a lot of  –  Mainly in those skilled families in the textile industry – especially in Renfrewshire Scotland (Glasgow region).  Think Paisley – as in the famous Paisley shawl that was very popular during the early Victorian era.

According to WikipediaWoodblock printing on textiles is the process of printing patterns on textiles, usually of linen, cotton or silk, by means of incised wooden blocks. It is the earliest, simplest and slowest of all methods of textile printing. Block printing by hand is a slow process. It is, however, capable of yielding highly artistic results, some of which are unobtainable by any other method.” 

I would also surmise that it’s a toxic occupation, as most of the men that I have come across that were  Block Printers, died young in the 50-60 age range.  However, having said that, their causes of death might also be a combination of work environment and poor living conditions.  Mary’s 2nd husband Robert and their eldest son James (my direct ancestor) were also Block Printers in Belfast.  The family lived in row housing, seeming to move every few years or so.  Both men also died young, the son having died of tuberculosis aged 32.

I mentioned them, because I’m pretty sure that Mary’s husband Robert learned the trade from her father James Conway along with her brothers, in Renfrewshire, long before she married him in Belfast.

If I could impart some of the most important aspects of genealogical research that I made use of in the discovery of the Death record of James Conway?

  • The value of Genealogy Organisations like BIFHSGO,  and knowledgable individuals like Maurice Gleeson
  • FAN technique
  • Cross-check and revisit multiple archival websites
  • Tenacity and Flexibility

While it may all seem quite convoluted, it does come together in the end.  There is so much involved in the research, revisit and cross-checking documents and websites, going back and forth in the timeline, moving between family members, jumping between countries, and cringing over subscription and credit costs…  So much excitement from the seat of my armchair, in the comfort of my living room!

 

My Childhood Pop-Culture Influences

My list is likely considered by some a collection of bad movies/tv.  I embrace it!  While I appreciate quality art, I have also always enthusiastically embraced fun art first 😉  Besides, it’s all stuff from childhood and teen years.

James Bond – World class spy (based on novel series by Sir Ian Flemming), who goes into dangerous situations to thwart world-destroying plotters. Well-trained, he always knew what to do, had the coolest gadgets and cars, and did everything with class. connerybond-01Especially Scottish actor Sean Connery’s Bond. I’d watch anything he acted in! On a side note – I recently watched “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” and Bond posed as a Genealogist wearing a Scottish kilted-suit to infiltrate the bad guy’s secret lair. 😀

Who didn’t love Star Wars? Adventure to save the Galaxy! sw-01A regular farm kid gets pulled into a group of seemingly unrelated individuals coming together to defy the Empire, discovering he’s part of the Galactic elite along the way, AND has inherited powers. All led by a no-nonsense Princess (who also now has her own comic book: Princess Leia). The ‘nobody’ discovers that he’s a powerful ‘somebody’. When I was a kid, I thought I was going to marry Luke Skywalker… funny that. When my husband was a kid – he wanted to be Luke Skywalker. Huh.

Indiana Jones – adventure for treasure! indy-01An archaeologist adventuring to exotic locations for the prize, and falling into a scenario where he has to decide between his mercenary ways and stopping evil-doers from using his treasured artifact as a supernaturally charged weapon. (Sean Connery made his way into this series too…). Similarly, I also really enjoyed The Mummy series, and the Tomb Raider movies.

Wonder Woman t.v. lyndacarterwonderwoman-01series staring Linda Carter – A female superhero all about truth and justice, and just as powerful as Superman or Batman. I’m excited she finally has her own movie due out, and that female super heroes are almost as plentiful as their male counter-parts. Her comic book series has been long-running, but the artwork in the latest graphic novels has been pretty spectacular and worth checking out.

 

Romancing the Stone – An insular romance writer forced out of her rts-01small comfort zone on an adventure to Columbia to save her sister, doing all the things she previously only ever imagined her protagonists doing. I love her story arc. My favourite scene is at the beginning when she finishes her latest novel and is wandering her apartment for some kind of tissue to blow her nose.  She’s pretty relatable 😉

 

Cartoons: She-Ra & He-Man – Inter-realm fantasy, where Princess She-Ra fights with a sword and rides a Pegasus, while He-Man has a sword and rides a tiger, and magic abounds. Scooby-Doo – group of kids sleuthing to debunk paranormal activity. X-Men – where everyone had cool powers – Storm was the coolest.

Back to the Future – Wouldn’t it be fun to time travel and see what your parents were really like before adulthood, and maybe change things a little bit for the better?

Star Trek t.v series – in all of its incarnations st-01– a hopeful future where humanity has finally united and go on Exploration Missions to meet new species. So many first contact stories – and mostly doing it right (but not always). My favourite technologies were the holo-deck, transporter and the food replicators.

Highlander – Immortal medieval Scotsman battling for ascendancy into modern day. (Admittedly, I would have preferred that Sean Connery played the Scotsman rather than a Spaniard; or even that the lead role was an actual Scottish actor rather than a French man – but that’s Hollywood)

Quantum Leap t.v. Series – I absolutely loved the idea of ‘leaping in’ to people’s lives to fix events to help redirect host’s lives for the better.

Robin Hood – Errol Flynn’s swashbuckling version.  Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves – Returning home from a questionable war in the middle east to discover real oppression at home and doing something about it in a way that matters to your community (with Sean Connery as your King). ros-01And there was also the 1980’s British drama Robin of Sherwood (in which Jason Connery starred in later seasons). The Robin Hood legend is a great one, and I’ve enjoyed pretty much every version of it that I’ve seen over the years (maybe not ‘men in tights’ so much).

Ghost – love transcending death.  The idea that souls live on after death and can interact with the living.

Last of the Mohicans” by James Fenimore Cooper. This story, I read in 6th grade for a book report, and really liked it. It is a classic, and written in that descriptive style.  Later on when the movie came out in theaters, I fell in love with it. Such an intense story of survival in culturally and politically complex 18th century North America.

Ignoring the weird Sean Connery theme – all of these are well known movies/series, but the point being that they have common touch points that still feed my interests now. Okay, and slight Sean Connery obsession.

Maybe someday I’ll do a Sean Connery tribute post.

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CAN-CON 2016 pt.2

Following up directly after Can-Con 2016 over the past weekend (Sept.9-11 at Novotel in downtown Ottawa ON), – the Con was great as always!

At Registration, everyone’s badge was an RPG sheet you had to fill out, and there were weapons to be collected from vendors and guests.  I was awarded a +2 battle axe for purchasing a copy of Clockwork Canada a Steampunk anthology edited by Dominik Parisien.  I didn’t partake in the RP but there were some mysterious formidable Secret Monsters to be found and battled who were busy on twitter.  They may be back again next year.

Books I picked up over the weekend: Ninja versus Pirate featuring Zombies by James Marshall, Angel of Death by Karen Dales Revelations by Jennifer Carole Lewis and as mentioned before, the Clockwork Canada Anthology.

Some of the historically themed panels I attended were: Archeology with Heritage Coordinator Katrina Guy and S.M Carriere, Medievalisms with K.V. Johansen and David Szarzynski, and Local History Sourcing with Amal El-Mohtar and Kate Heartfield.  Of course there were many other authors sitting in on each panel.

My daughter particularly liked the Saturday panels on Animal Senses with Nina Munteanu and Julie Czerneda, and Fairy Tale retelling with Charles de Lint and Melissa Yuan-Innes.  She wasn’t able to see the Comic Creation panel with  Dominic Bercier  and  Jay Odjick  (who had prints of his CAN-CON 2016 Program cover art for sale in the dealer room) because it was scheduled for Sunday.  She was also very pleased to have found some Harry Potter jewelry and magnets in the Dealer’s Room.

This year, the best Business panel was Laurie Stewart ‘s talk on Authorpreneurship about writing and taxes.  I took sooo many notes and am very thankful she provided attendees with printouts!

My favourite philosophical panels were about the domesticity of Horror with Sandra Kasturi, Brett Savory  and Matt Moore, Antagonists with Erik Scott de Bie and Gregory A Wilson, and Witchcraft & Druids with Can-Con Co-Founder Farrell McGovern, Mary Pletsch and Prof. Brendan Myers.

And of course, the timeslots devoted to TEGG Project.  Over the course of the last year or so, I’ve heard Ed Greenwood talking about Onder Librum on PlanetXPodcast with Marie Bilodeau, Jay Odjick and Ken Bonnie , and also on The RoundTable Podcast with Dave Robison.  The first open panel was about the business of the TEGG project with some discussion on the already launched Hellmaw world.  Most of the authors were on hand for the published books to date – Ed Greenwood, Erik Scott di Bie, Suzanne Church, Marie Bilodeau, and Gabrielle Harbowy.  The second panel was devoted to the Storm Talons world, for which Gregory A Wilson was also on hand. The last public timeslot was a small discussion about the TEGG project with Deputy Lore Guardian Marie Bilodeau for more information and Q&A.

Can-Con 2016 was another success and I’m looking forward to what Co-Chairs  Derek Kunsken and Marie Bilodeau and the wonderful network of hardworking Volunteers produce next year.