09 January 2015

#FGS2015 Registration Deadline: ACT NOW!

I received this press release today from the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) regarding their upcoming 2015 Conference in Salt Lake City. I hope that you will join FGS, and me!, for what is sure to be a not-to-miss, once-in-a-lifetime event. And hey! Maybe you could come to one of my lectures? 

For Immediate Release
January 9, 2015
2015 FGS Conference Early registration discount Ends January 23

January 9, 2015 – Austin, TX. The early registration discount for the 2015 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference ends January 23. Early registrants pay $159 for the full four days. The online registration price increases to $189 after January 23. The cost to add-on RootsTech remains $39. Register now to pay the lowest registration price.

The FGS 2015 conference will be held February 11–14, 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah in conjunction with RootsTech. Visit www.FGSconference.org to learn how those two conferences will operate while sharing the Salt Palace Convention Center and to find out about sessions, speakers, luncheons, and special events. If you have already registered, log in to your account at FGSconference.org to purchase luncheon tickets.

Subscribe to the FGS Voice blog at www.voice.fgs.org and FGS social media channels (links available at www.FGSconference.org) to keep up with the latest news and announcements about the 2015 conference.
See you in Salt Lake City in February.

About the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS)

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) was founded in 1976 and represents the members of hundreds of genealogical societies. FGS links the genealogical community by helping genealogical societies strengthen and grow through resources available online, FGS Forum magazine (filled with articles pertaining to society management and genealogical news), and Society Strategy Series papers, covering topics about effectively operating a genealogical society. FGS also links the genealogical community through its annual conference -- four days of excellent lectures, including one full day devoted to society management topics. To learn more visit http://www.fgs.org.



Federation of Genealogical Societies
PO Box 200940
Austin, TX 78720-0940
phone: +1 (888) 347-1500
fax: +1 (866) 347-1350

03 January 2015

It starts with just one clue...

About a year ago, I received another box of genealogy goodies from my family. Unfortunately, it sat for a while, as other part of my life took precedence. I finally got a chance to really dig into the material recently, and I found this photo... 

Jennie Yoe has been a great source of information for me in the past. I first learned of Jennie as I was examining the widow's pension file for Frances (Lawrence) Brown. As Oscar's widow, Frances submitted her paperwork almost immediately after his death, and her file is quite large (for which I am grateful!) Included in that material, is an affidavit, written by Jennie Yoe: 

"State of Kansas, Montgomery County.
I Jennie E Yoe being duly sworn... I am a niece of Oscar F Brown who died October 12th, 1906 at Central City, Nebraska, that I had known him since girlhood, that I knew him before the war, and he was guest at my father & mother's home in Shelbina, Mo, after the war, when not employed elsewhere. That I know he was never married until he was united with Miss Frances E Lawrence June 14th 1874. That he corresponded before and after his marriage, that in the summer of 1893 he visited me at my home in Independence. I had also visited him and his family in Nebraska.
 ~ Jennie E Yoe" 
The excitement when I first realized what this letter contained - Oscar's stated niece - was incredible. She is either the daughter of Oscar's sibling, or Frances' sibling, and this was a connection that was new-to-me at the time. I've had the Lawrence tree filled in for a while, and Jennie didn't seem to fit there anywhere, but I double checked it all for a connection to a Yoe family. I found none. Other sources have told me that Oscar had several siblings, so I started to look at Jennie Yoe to learn more. Who was she? 

Thankfully, she had a successful husband. 

Jennie was the daughter of Harriet Brown and Warren W. Weatherby, both of Shelby County, Missouri. I knew that Oscar had spent some time in Missouri before the start of the Civil War, and eventually put together that he lived with his married older sister and her family as a young man in that county. Jennie had married William Thomas Yoe, who had moved to Shelby County in 1866, after his own service in the war. 

In 1868, W.T. Yoe and his brother, Charles, began the Independence Tribune newspaper with two others, and in 1871, they moved it to Independence, Kansas. Thanks to A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans (and Google Books), I have a great 2 page summary of the Yoe family, and their newspaper history in the area. I was able to compile all of this research and connect these dots back in 2011 - 2012, so I've known all this for a while. 

Last year, I got a box.

I didn't have a lot of time to look through the box when I received it from my family. The pieces had mostly been taken from the household of my great uncle, who had recently passed away. A few days ago, I felt like I was ready to take another look, so I pulled it back out. And that's when I found it. 

A simple brown paper bag, with "Independence, Kansas" written on it. I'd seen similar wrapping and the careful handwriting before, and I believe it to be that of another of my distant Aunt's. My family truly is blessed in that we have a great deal of personal material that has been passed down. Seeing the label on the bag, I very carefully removed the contents. Of course, I immediately recognized that whatever was inside likely had to do with the Yoe's and therefore, may include another clue on Oscar or his family. 

Jennie Yoe
Inside, I was astonished to find a picture that was just about right... the woman was about the right age... had the family "look" about her... the clothing was the right era... and when I turned it over, I could barely make out the name, written in pencil, "Jennie." It took me a bit longer to find "Yoe," but it is indeed there. 

Included in the envelope with this amazing, now treasured, photograph are several others. Most have hand writing on the back, indicating the people in the image and a year. Some include mention of "Hattie," and the Yoe's did have a daughter named Harriet Elizabeth; I've seen her referenced as Hattie elsewhere. With a bit more research, I am fairly confident that I will be able to connect the photograph's with Hattie Yoe.

I also found a card stock envelope from the Ford Optical Company (a Kodak and Eyeglass store) in Denver, Colorado. It is addressed to Mrs. Ben Shearston of Brighton, Colo., who is a niece of Frances Lawrence. To my knowledge, the Shearston's never lived in Kansas, so it would appear that the collections got mixed, however it adds more understanding to some of the other photographs. Many refer to "Ben," and initial review indicates that is probably Ben Shearston, rather than a relation to Jennie Yoe, as I have not yet been able to find a Ben or Benjamin in Jennie's line. 

Another connection back to the Lawrence family is a photo of two headstone's, one of which clearly says "Lawrence," and the other, though more difficult to read, I believe says John H. Lawrence. On the back, "Taken May 29, 1918 Father lies at the left of the stone, Mother at the right. Little Ruth at Dear Mother's feet. Brother Jesse beside little Ruth." If I am right, then this is the grave site of John H. Lawrence, Jr., a veteran of the Civil War, his wife, Martha Augusta Ransom, and their children. Although the name Ruth is new to me, I do know that they had a son Jesse, who died at the age of 8 years old. 

Back side of the photo of Jennie Yoe. The handwriting with her
name is right about center, at the top of the image. It's there. I promise.
I'm quite excited to continue this line of research. The biography of the Yoe brothers in the Kansas and Kansans text lists several family members, including Jennie and W.T. Yoe's children. It would certainly be incredible to trace the family to current day and try to find a descendant of my 2nd great grand aunt, Harriet Brown! 

William E. Connelley. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, Volume IV. Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, New York, 1918. (http://books.google.com/books/about/A_Standard_History_of_Kansas_and_Kansans.html?id=s6IUAAAAYAAJ)

22 December 2014

Setting the stage for success

In February, 2015, I will be traveling to Salt Lake City, Utah for the combined FGS and Rootstech conference. I am thrilled to have the chance at a bit of research at the Family History Library along with the conference activities. This is my version of pre-planning for this research adventure. 

#FGS2015 is right around the corner.

Believe it or not, February will be here before most of us can blink. There is much to do before this once in a lifetime event, and many attendees will be making sure that they get quality research time in at the Family History Library. I'm one of those folks. 

Admittedly, the library will be crowded. Like no-room-to-sit, 15-people-in-every-aisle, staff-run-ragged busy. Imagine this incredible library filled with people, and then realize that every one of them have computers, binders, notebooks, bags, and all the other "stuff" most of us take into a research facility. Then pile on heavy winter jackets, hats, mittens, and scarves. A lot of people, a lot of stuff. This equates, in my mind, to preparation. In order for me to be successful, I need to be ready as soon as I walk in the door. 

Last year when I attended, I was able to stay after the conference and spend two full days in the Library. That was fantastic... but I don't think I'm going to have that luxury this year. I also learned last year that although I felt very prepared with my research goals in hand, I was simply not prepared enough. I was still successful - I found some great material that has helped me considerably in my research. However, I could have done more. 

Changing Tactics

In 2014, I used Evernote to log my research at the library. It worked, to a point. I needed a better set up for inputting search results, and tracking my progress. I would have benefited a great deal from reading through Cyndi Ingle's Evernote for Every Genealogist blog, and using her advice to create a better template. Evernote is a great tool, and I use it daily, but the other realization I had was that it didn't work for me in that environment (at least, not in the way I had it set up). 

Moving to Excel

I have found that Excel is such an amazing tool for genealogy, and I have used it in several other research projects and in a variety of ways to organize my data. I decided that for 2015, I needed to go back to what I was comfortable with, instead of trying to learn enough about Evernote to make it work. I'm creating a template specifically for research in the FHL, so I can pull it out for any project, any time. 

The template will include the following:
  • Tabs for each primary surname I am researching. 
  • Columns for key elements.
  • A column for prioritization, so that I can quickly sort and organize my data based on what is most important for me. 
Some of the other benefits of using Excel in this way include the fact that I can sort by location, or by ancestor. 

Excel, genealogy, family history, research plan, research log, FGS2015, Rootstech, Family History Library, research trip, spreadsheet
Screenshot of my Excel research log. 

As of right now (and always subject to change) the column headings include: 
  1. Priority
  2. Film #
  3. Item #
  4. Collection Title
  5. Objective
  6. Individual
  7. Location
  8. Year (if known)
  9. Other Parties
  10. Objective Met? (Y/N)
  11. Notes
  12. Citation
  13. FamilySearch Link

Putting together my list is actually fairly simple, thanks to a tip I picked up from D. Joshua Taylor a few months ago. His suggestion was to maintain a running list of resources I want or need to pursue at any of the major genealogy libraries around the country. You never know when you might have the opportunity to research at the DAR library in Washington DC, or the Allen County Public LIbrary Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne, for example. Life happens fast, so these unexpected research trips may not leave you with a great deal of time to prep. If you have the running list handy, you can take advantage of these random moments of genealogy heaven. I took this advice to heart; and since I travel a lot more these days due to my work with Findmypast, I thought it was a great idea. Therefore, I have a running list of film's to look at the Family History Library (ironically, I keep this list in Evernote!). All of this means that all I need to do is transfer the information to my spreadsheet, and I'm good to go. 

One thing I will be missing this year, more than anything else, is my research partner. Last year, my daughter was able to spend a day at the Library with me, and we had a marvelous day together exploring our history. She was only four years old at the time, and really got excited exploring the microfilm, the stacks, using the reader's, and seeing the museum style displays around the library. Unfortunately, she won't be joining me in Salt Lake City again this year. 

My daughter, selecting film at the Family History
Library, February, 2014.