Friday, March 12, 2021

NERGC 2021: Will You Be Sad About Opportunities Missed or Happy About Opportunities Taken?

 

Sunrise over the Connecticut River in Hartford

Get Serious About Attending Virtual NERGC 2021

At first when we were shut in because of the pandemic, I remember freaking out that I wouldn't have society meetings to learn and see friends. I couldn't have been more wrong. At this point I've been to every conference as I'm no longer limited by the travel expenses. I still haven't finished streaming the sessions from one national conference before the next one happens.

Don't get jaded by these conferences when you start to think about NERGC. It is unique. It is the only conference that gives you rich content about New England research. Out of the 72 sessions included in the standard registration, 28 are focused on New England research. In a virtual conference you can stream every single one of them.

Before the pandemic when we went to conferences, we could see one session per time slot, missing four or five other sessions. Now we can conceivably view every single session our registration covers. Did you see all of the NGS presentations? Half of them? Have you been missing your educational opportunities because life intervenes? We all know it’s hard to plan hours of viewing when you have so many things to do already. The Demanding Genealogist has an idea about this.

Plan Your Viewing with the List from the Demanding Genealogist

The Demanding Genealogist has scoped out NERGC's New England content and provided a plan of action for your streaming choices. Here’s what you need to do.


Your base of operations is NERGC 2021.

  1. Register for NERGC using the NERGC registration system.
                        >>>>> Click here to register. <<<<
  2. Sign up to attend NERGC’s Live Chats using the conference website.
  3. Spend April looking at the wonderful presentations on Irish research, DNA research, technology, and other topics.
Pivot in May to the New England topics in the NERGC program. Use the Demanding Genealogist's schedule to plan your streaming sessions and Relaxing Breakouts.

Download the Demanding Genealogist’s list of presentations to stream each week in May.



Join Us for Weekly Evening Breakouts

The Demanding Genealogist will host five breakout Zoom meetings during the last month of NERGC. The Zoom meetings are limited to 100 people each week. You need to register separately for each one.

Date and Time

Registration Link

Topic of the Week

Breakout Rooms

Sunday, May 2, 2021

8 PM Eastern
(7 PM Central)
(6 PM Mountain)
(5 PM Pacific)

Click here to register for this week.

What Makes New England Research Different?

CT, RI, MA, NH, VT, ME

Monday, May 10, 2021

8 PM Eastern
(7 PM Central)
(6 PM Mountain)
(5 PM Pacific)

Click here to register for this week.

What Records Were Kept by the Towns?

Breakout rooms by record types

Sunday, May 16, 2021

8 PM Eastern
(7 PM Central)
(6 PM Mountain)
(5 PM Pacific)

Click here to register for this week.

Major Resources and Repositories

Breakout rooms by resource and repository

Sunday, May 23, 2021

8 PM Eastern
(7 PM Central)
(6 PM Mountain)
(5 PM Pacific)

Click here to register for this week.

Migration Into, Within, and From New England

Breakout rooms by migration patterns

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

8 PM Eastern
(7 PM Central)
(6 PM Mountain)
(5 PM Pacific)

Click here to register for this week.

What Questions Do We Still Have?

CT, RI, MA, NH, VT, ME


Grab onto this Huge Opportunity to Focus on New England Genealogy Research

At a virtual genealogy institute, you spend eight hours a day for five days sitting in your chair watching each presentation. You might have a grace period to see the presentations you missed, but generally not longer than a week. NERGC 2021 is so much easier than that. You can spread your on-demand streaming over the entire month of May.

Think of May as a virtual example of a genealogy institute on New England research. Your body will thank you because you can spread the viewing over the entire month. You will still have time to take care of your household, shovel your snow, make meals, and talk to your family members. Once a week you will be able to hang out with other genealogists also getting their feet wet with New England research.

Join the Demanding Genealogist and her friends for four weeks of fun getting acclimated to New England Genealogy.

NOTICE: This effort to use our NERGC 2021 content effectively is an independent effort. It is not a part of the official NERGC program.

Photograph Credit: Barbara Mathews, © April 16, 2015, sunrise over the Connecticut River, Hartford.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Join the Demanding Genealogist for Weekly Evening Breakouts During May, 2021

 

Motif #1, Rockport, Massachusetts

Missing our usual hallway meetups at NERGC? Wishing you could spend an evening over a Sam Adams with your friends, catching up? Want to start your day at the Dunkin Donuts, sure to spot a few friends in line getting their iced coffee and donut? Well, we can’t do that, but we can use technology to give ourselves some break time.

The Demanding Genealogist will host five breakout Zoom meetings during the last month of NERGC. We can say Hi to each other, talk about how much fun we’re having at NERGC, and relax with our personal beverage of choice.[1] We’ll also take a little bit of time to talk with our friends from outside New England about our regional ways of doing things, with a focus on family history. Very roughly, each hangout will be divided into one-third social time, one-third small group breakouts, and one-third answering questions.

The Zoom meetings are limited to 100 people each week. You need to register separately for each one.

Date and Time

Registration Link

Topic of the Week

Breakout Rooms

Sunday, May 2, 2021

8 PM Eastern

(7 PM Central)

(6 PM Mountain)

(5 PM Pacific)

Click here to register for this week.

What Makes New England Research Different?

CT, RI, MA, NH, VT, ME

Monday, May 10, 2021

8 PM Eastern

(7 PM Central)

(6 PM Mountain)

(5 PM Pacific)

Click here to register for this week.

What Records Were Kept by the Towns?

Breakout rooms by record types

Sunday, May 16, 2021

8 PM Eastern

(7 PM Central)

(6 PM Mountain)

(5 PM Pacific)

Click here to register for this week.

Major Resources and Repositories

Breakout rooms by resource and repository

Sunday, May 23, 2021

8 PM Eastern

(7 PM Central)

(6 PM Mountain)

(5 PM Pacific)

Click here to register for this week.

Migration Into, Within, and From New England

Breakout rooms by migration patterns

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

8 PM Eastern

(7 PM Central)

(6 PM Mountain)

(5 PM Pacific)

Click here to register for this week.

What Questions Do We Still Have?

CT, RI, MA, NH, VT, ME




NERGC registration includes all of these classes and Live Chats. There are additional classes that you can add to registration if you wish.

If you are not already registered for NERGC 2021, click here to register.


NOTICE: This effort to efficiently use the resources of NERGC 2021 is unofficial and in no way developed by NERGC 2021.

Photography Credit: Deborah Parks for the US National Archives, February 1971, Motif #1, Rockport, Massachusetts, no known copyright, flickr.com.


[1] The Demanding Genealogist wishes to thank Denise Cross, cg, for her wonderful suggestion of evening social time. It immediately struck a chord.


Wednesday, March 3, 2021

If Your Roots Are in New England, You Should Attend NERGC 2021

 

The Covered Bridge in Grafton, Vermont

Every odd-numbered year a consortium of New England genealogy societies puts together the New England Regional Genealogy Conference (NERGC). NERGC 2021 has 84 on-demand presentations available for two months. There will be a banquet speaker together with a Table Talks small groups gathering. In spite of the pandemic, NERGC lives!

While the number of sessions at NERGC is smaller than in previous years, our opportunities as attendees are greater. At past conferences we were able to select only one of the six lectures in every time slot. At this one, we have two months to view every one of the 72 lectures covered by the basic NERGC registration fee. In the past NERGC has offered lectures on aspects of New England genealogy as well as methodology and other general topics. 

Even with fewer sessions, NERGC retains its unique New England focus. The Demanding Genealogist counted and there are 28 presentations on aspects unique to New England research.

You must be asking yourself, “How do I structure my time to do all this?”

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Society Management Day at NERGC 2019: Practical Ways to Meet Today’s Challenges

One successful Massachusetts Genealogical Council meeting saw
rapt audience members learn about DNA from Jennifer Zinck.
Photo courtesy of Linda MacIver.

Genealogical societies are challenged today with the declining membership of old gray heads like mine. The challenges we face include the rise of DNA, and the rise of the webinar and podcast. We’ve got mentorship, experience, friendship, and a regular reason to get out of bed on a Saturday morning and see other people face-to-face. How do we sell our society’s wonderful positives?

The speakers for the Wednesday Society Management Day are presenting ideas in four areas of proven excellence.

·         8:45a.m. – 9:30 a.m. – Registration and Welcome

·         9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. – Kelli Jo Bergheimer, “How Do We Start a DNA Interest Group?” Have you thought about starting any type of Interest Group for your society? Come and learn tips to build a successful program.

·         10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. – D. Joshua Taylor, “Creating, Packing, and Sharing Your Society to Non-Genealogists” (Speaker sponsored by NYG&BS). This session will discuss ideas and tools to assist you in introducing your genealogical society to your local community – especially for those who have little or no expressed interest in genealogy.

·         Noon – 1:15 p.m. Lunch, Daniel Horowitz, “DNA Matching Technology, A New Frontier in Genealogy.”

·         1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Daniel H. Earl, “The Next Generation: Involving Youth in Your Society.” Who will be around to run your society in 25 years? This lecture will look at how to involve the next generation.

·         2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. – Jen Baldwin, “The Social Media Manager in Today’s Society.” What – exactly – is a social media manager and does your society need one? This is a growing professional field, and societies can learn to convert the position to assist your non-profit organization, and greatly expand your reach on social media.

I caught up with two of our speakers to learn how the success of these ideas and techniques affected their societies.

Dan Earl was the first to get back to me. He had a success story of his own. 

A society at which I have spoken, was in need of someone to help them with their society's Facebook page. They announced their needs at a meeting where the topic was DNA (which tends to bring in more people), a young millennial (about 22) spoke up and said that she'd be willing to help with the Facebook page, and has been doing a great job. By waiting to announce their needs at a meeting where 'fresh blood' would be attending, they were able to draw in more people. With their new social media director, they've been able to use Facebook and other social media to reach out to younger people and the average age of their society has dropped from 70 to 50 in less than a year.

Dan also pointed out that we can get young people involved in genealogy from the get-go. He shared a success story involving his daughter’s second grade class.

My daughter's second grade class was having a "culture week" where families could come in and talk about their culture. My daughter asked me if I could come and talk about Hungary (where my maternal grandmother is from). I of course agreed. My daughter said that some of the other parents (from Ghana, Italy, Greece, England) brought in food. Not to be outdone, I asked my daughter if she'd like to help me make some Hungarian cookies. She of course, agreed. We spend a couple of hours talking about her ancestors from Hungary and making cookies. When the time came for the presentation in class, she was very excited to share the cookies with her class and help me explain her family tree (that she insisted I include in the presentation because she thought it was 'so cool').

Josh Taylor was the next to share his success story. Josh is busy right now with bringing the society he directs, the New York Biographical and Genealogical Society, to the RootsTech exhibit floor in Salt Lake City.

The need for genealogical societies to be alert and remain in touch with their community is key. When the NYG&B became aware of the proposed restrictions to New York City's birth and death records in 2017 we worked hard to spread the message beyond our community. The situation required us to work with other organizations, which included fellow genealogical societies, commercial entities, historical societies, lineage organizations, museums, and others. The result was the development of new alliances and relationships that have continued to this day. In my session at NERGC, I will be speaking specifically about working to brand your organization to those outside of the genealogical community, a key aspect of responding to threats to records access, increasing membership, and further establishing the relevance of any genealogical organization.



Friday, February 15, 2019

It's an Eye-opener: Slaves in New England


William C. Nell, The American Revolution with Sketches of Several Distinguished Colored Americans
  
(Boston: Wallcut, 1855), page number not supplied; New York Public Library
(https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47df-962c-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99).

NERGC 2019 Lectures To Include Janice Lovelace, Ph.D., on
Slavery in New England and the Black Experience in the American Revolution


It only happens once every two years. It takes two dozen genealogy societies, acting in tandem, to put on the NERGC conference, an event with as many genealogy learning opportunities as a national genealogy conference. But NERGC is always in New England, often close enough for many of us to commute rather than incur the travel and hotel expenses that come with the national conferences. NERGC 2019 runs April 3rd to 6th in Manchester, New Hampshire.

My specialty is New England research in the colonial period, specifically Connecticut and Massachusetts. About 25% of my ancestors come from that time and place. (The other 75% are Swedish, Danish, English, Irish, Scottish, and Belgian, with a tiny bit of Spanish.) That small quarter of my heritage has been a huge research task with many years invested in tracing people back.

One of those people was an enslaver in 1790. When I found this, I carefully counted the number of slave owners in Stratford, Fairfield County, Connecticut. It turns out that

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Attend NERGC 2017 to Hear Warren Bittner and Increase Your Wicked Good Genealogy Skills


It’s such a great opportunity to talk with Warren Bittner, one of the best speakers on doing genealogy better. The first time I heard Warren speak, he talked about the importance of source citation. If anyone in that auditorium wasn’t already using source citations, they were by the time Warren finished.

NERGC 2017 provides five wonderful opportunities to share Warren again. 

  • On Thursday afternoon, April 26, will discuss “Death Records as Starting Point.” 
  • Friday morning he jumps into German genealogy with ”Where Was Your Ancestor Really From? Germany’s Shifting Borders.” 
  • Friday afternoon he speaks twice, “Writing to Engage Your Reader,” and “Complex Evidence: What It Is, How It Works, And Why It Matters” (one of the best speeches ever! Anywhere! I reviewed it here). 
  • Saturday morning Warren will discuss a perplexing issue in genealogy, “Understanding and Researching Illegitimacy.”


Warren, you are one of the best evangelists I know for putting quality into our genealogy work – the focus of my own blog. How did this become a focus of your own work?

Well, I had an interesting experience where I had been doing research for about 20 years, professional research for 7 or 8, and thought I knew a lot about genealogy. I hadn’t read the National Quarterly because when I looked at the articles they didn’t interest me. They were about people I wasn’t related to and geographic areas where I didn’t do research. Then I read a few articles, and every article I read amazed me at the quality of the research and the depth of the methodology in solving difficult problems. I can honestly say my genealogy education started the day I started reading the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSQ), and the quality of the research that I saw demonstrated in the articles published there made me realize how sophomoric and uninformed my own research was. After that I went back and read 20 years of the Quarterly and learned how the best genealogists think and how they solve the most difficult research problems. It also took the quality of my own research up ten steps. 

About three years ago I was in conversation with Thomas W. Jones, current co-editor of NGSQ, and related this experience to him. He looked at me and said “Warren, I had the same experience, but for me it was 30 years. I had a Ph.D. and thought I knew how to do research, and my education started when I began reading the Quarterly.”


I hear you have a master’s degree in history. How did your history major and your love for genealogy enrich each other?

I was considering becoming a CG or an AG and then I realized that professional licensure as a genealogist was recognized in the relatively small world of serious genealogical researchers, but a Master’s degree is universally recognized. So I made the decision to get my Master’s degree before I went after licensure. It was a good decision because my history degree introduced me to a broad spectrum of historical concepts that I didn’t realize and that I didn’t understand. Concepts like how to read beneath a document to unearth what the document is telling me about the people in the historical document and the people that wrote it down. I learned about micro-history, where an in-depth study of an otherwise insignificant person or event can be used to turn upside-down generalizations made in histories of a broader scope.


What is your favorite part about teaching and lecturing?

I enjoy seeing the light that comes into the eyes of my students when I see that they are learning something in the lecture, and the hope that comes onto their faces as the mental wheels begin to turn and they see ways of looking for the ancestors they have almost given up on. 

The Demanding Genealogist is proud to be an official blogger of NERGC 2017.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

NERGC 2017 Premieres Society Management Day with Elissa Scalise Powell, Jen Baldwin, and Michelle D. Novak

Photograph placed in the public domain by Cade Martin, Dawn Arlotta, USCDCP.




Face it, many genealogical societies are aging, growing grayer, and seeing fewer people at their monthly meetings. My beloved Welles Family Association filled hotel meeting rooms with 80 to 100 attendees in the 1980s. Now we see about two dozen at each annual meeting. How can we reverse this trend?


How can we who have been leading genealogy societies for decades ensure that our societies thrive in the future?



For those of us committed to ensuring that our societies thrive long after we retire from leadership, this special track at NERGC is perfect. I spoke (that is, emailed) with the three presenters for Society Management Day at NERGC 2017. I wanted to give them an opportunity to share their enthusiasm for the future with us.

 Jen Baldwin, “Connecting with the Next Generation: Join the Conversation!"

Me: Jen, the next generation is our own children, but meeting them as a group of genealogists is a new thing. What are some of the new ways of finding our audiences that you will cover?