2013 Got Ancestors?! Are You Having Fun Yet?! Seminar Topics Announced

August 19th, 2013

We’e chosen a great lineup of topics for this year’s Got Ancestors?! Are You Having Fun Yet?! seminar.

Thomas MacEntee — will present these sessions:

Friday  11 October 2013 evening

  • Internet Killed the Family History Star: How Technology Has Changed the Face of Genealogy

Saturday 12 October 2013

  • Successful Collateral and Cluster Searching: Researching non-direct relations as well as those friends and neighbors in your ancestors’ network
  • Blog Your Ancestors: Read ’Em, Write ’Em, Find ’Em!
  • Mind Mapping Your Research Plans and Results: Creating a diagram or flow chart of ideas and concepts
  • 10 Ways to Jumpstart Your Genealogy: Energize your research and be ready to hit the ground running.

Full details are available on the schedule page here.

We look forward to seeing YOU there.

2013 Got Ancestors?! with Thomas MacEntee

May 31st, 2013
Thomas MacEntee

Thomas MacEntee

We’re excited to announce that the Speaker at this year’s Got Ancestors?! 2013 will be Thomas MacEntee from Chicago.

Thomas is a genealogy professional specializing in the use of technology and social media to improve genealogy research and as a way to connect with others in the family history community. When he’s not busy writing blog posts, organizing the 3,000+ members of GeneaBloggers, teaching online genealogy webinars and more, Thomas MacEntee is busy in his role as “genealogy ninja.” Stealth is not easy, but he manages to get the inside track on emerging technologies and vendors as they relate to the genealogy industry. After being laid off from a 25-year career in the tech industry in 2008, Thomas has been able to “repurpose” his skill set for the genealogy community and loves to see other genealogists succeed, whether it is with their own research or building their own careers in the field.

Keep watching this site for updates as we plan the schedule of talks we’ll hear Thomas give us on Friday evening and Saturday.

Save the Date

May 23rd, 2013

We’re working on plans for this year’s Got Ancestors?! Seminar.

It will be on 11-12 October 2013 at the Prince Conference Center.

Mark this date on your calendar to ensure nothing else gets booked for this date.

Further details will be announced here as they become available.

2012 Got Ancestors?! Registrant Questions & Answers

October 29th, 2012

Below are the questions submitted by registrants to this year’s Got Ancestors?! seminar.  We had many answers to these questions; too many to list all here in this article. Some answers are suggested places to look and others are very detailed. Take a look. You may find the answer to your questions! Click here for a complete list of GotAncestor?! Registrant Questions with Answers. Thanks to all who contributed the Questions and the Answers!

QUESTION: (Vickey Parker) To narrow the search of common last names, is there a trick one could use?

QUESTION: (Sue Irvine) Where would I find records (1745-1812) for a Quaker who married a non-Quaker in central New York? Assuming no birth records, where would the children be baptized?

QUESTION: (Sally Akehi) My great aunt, born 1894 in Iowa, raised in Allegan MI, also married there, but left her Husband & baby in 1915 and went…somewhere!! Chicago, we think. We know maiden name, 1st married name, but NOT 2nd married name!What resources do we have for IL with searchable field for maiden name?? How to break thru this brick wall??

QUESTION: (Mary Alt) Does the Allen County Library have confederate soldier records from the Civil War? Read The Full Entry »

The 2012 Seminar SURNAMEs!

October 29th, 2012

The 5th Annual GotAncestors?! Seminar is now a memory. To followup we’re posting 100s of surnames being researched for all to find. Look for your common interests and make contact.

Here’s a preview:

Adrianse | MI | 1840’s-now  / Betty Snow – snow2@erols.com
Ahlberg | Sweden > Michigan | 1880s-current   /  Don Bryant – bryant@wellswooster.com
Alison | Scotland<Ontario<Detroit, MI<IL | 1770-1900 / Jessica Trotter – jmt.trotter@gmail.com
Allen, Betsey | PA, OH, and possibly MI | 1805–1865 / Claudette Darling – Genealya@aol.com
Allison/Ellison | KY, TN, AL, AR | 1775-1920   /  Paula Naujalis – naujalis@wmis.net
Alt | Alsace, Ohio & Michigan | 1830-present   /  Mary Alt – altm7@aol.com
ALTHOUSE/ALTHAUS | Darmstadt,Palatine  /  Claudia Day – claudiaday@gmail.com
Anthony | Virginia | 1850,1860   /  Erma Shaw – eshaw@kcconline.org
Atwater | Michigan | 1850-1970 /  Vickey Parker – parkervic1969@frontier.com

Click here to download the entire list (PDF) 2012 GotAncestors?! Registrant Surnames List.

[Update 2 November – added a revised PDF file that is searchable, and the eMail addresses are clickable.]

Door Prizes To Date

October 9th, 2012

We have some great door prizes lined up:

From Ancestry.com we have

  • THREE certificates for a free 3 month Ancestry.com World Deluxe Membership

From Fold3.com we have

  • TWO certificates for a free year of membership valued at $80

From the National Institute for Genealogical Studies

  • we have THREE certificates to take a free course valued at up to $89
  • a voucher that can be exchanged at his Sales booth for either an 11 x 14 color map or a genealogy wall chart.
  • A $25 Gift Certificate to the Western Michigan Genealogical Society Sales Table.
  • A Tee Shirt of the winner’s choice.


Remember – you can’t win if you’re not going to be there!!!

Got Ancestors?! 2012 Message from President Don Bryant

August 15th, 2012

Message from President Don Bryant

2012 marks our fifth consecutive GotAncestors?! annual seminar! This year’s program approaches genealogy from diverse perspectives that highlight ways you might not have thought of to uncover your family’s hidden information. Curt B. Witcher will demonstrate and explain approaches you can take to answer your research question marks – those people in your history who seem to appear out of nowhere only to disappear.

Several years ago, I studied the 1630s Great Migration to New England. Then at one of our previous seminars, I was reminded of another Great Migration – that of the African-American populations from the southern states to the north. Different ethnic groups, but exactly the same concepts are involved when studying migration patterns. Cluster research focuses on ethnic and family origins in order to research family history as a group and is one of the five topics at this year’s seminar.

Mr. Witcher offers his expertise on other subjects. Military records, which exist for practically every generation, provide a key perspective to understanding your ancestors in historical context. Federal population schedules, key components of any family history project, are not the only census records valuable to genealogists. One should not ignore other types of censuses that shed light on areas like agricultural, social, slavery, manufacturing, and mortality. Learn how and where to find new internet resources. Finally, because there are more answers “off-line” than online, learn methodologies and effective ways to use libraries – specifically ACPL. Who better to pose your questions to than the top librarian of one of the best genealogy libraries in the country?

I hope you will join us for the 2012 Got Ancestors?!  seminar. Come with your questions and leave with answers about how to fulfill your genealogy endeavors.

Got Ancestors?! 2012 Seminar Topics

August 13th, 2012

Friday Evening 12 October 2012

Pain In The Access: Getting More From The Internet For Your Genealogy

Library, archive, government, and GenWeb internet sites have much to offer genealogists if one knows how and where to look–and it is not as complicated or painful as it might first seem. This presentation demonstrates various websites and creative strategies for getting information that is more meaningful from the web, and guides genealogists to using the Internet for more than just hunting for names.

Followed by Dessert & Coffee and Mix & Mingle.

Saturday 13 October 2012

Fingerprinting Our Families: Using Ancestral Origins as a Genealogical Research Key

This lecture explores how the idea of “America, the Great Melting Pot” may really be a flawed concept and that identifying the particular ethnic group of one’s ancestor or potential ancestor can pay significant research dividends. Concepts in this lecture include building a historical context for one’s ancestor, studying population clusters, recognizing patterns of all sorts (naming, migration, settlement, etc.), understanding the “push and pull” of migration (i.e. the motivations behind families or individuals migrating), and locating repositories for various ethnic groups.

Boot Camp & Roll Call: An Overview of Military Records and New Sites and Sources For Military Research

This extended session takes an in-depth look at military records, from the earliest times of our country’s history to the present day. Discussed are the five major types of military records; where one can find such documents; the typical data found in sample records; and contents of what one might call other “minor” military records. Then our presenter explores the growing number of consequential websites for military & family history researchers – from bibliographic databases to sites that provide copies of first-hand accounts and images of actual records.

All That Other Stuff!: Other Census Records Beyond The Population Schedules

Learn about the many census schedules that researchers often overlook when using federal population census records. Agricultural, manufacturing, mortality, slave, social and statistical censuses are among the types of census schedules explored in this talk. Using all these schedules in combination with the population schedules provide significant additional information about ones’ ancestors and his/her community.

Effective Use of the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center

By providing a detailed description of the holdings of the Historical Genealogy Department of the Allen County Public Library, this lecture folds research methodology into an exploration of the resources of the nation’s second largest genealogical research facility. The presentation considers not only the materials available for research on-site but also how researchers can access data about the collection remotely.

Planning is Under Way

June 27th, 2012

The Got Ancestors?! committee is hard at work planning this year’s Got Ancestors?! 2012 Seminar.

Our speaker this year is Curt B. Witcher, MLS, FUGA, IGSF. Curt is the Manager for The Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He is a former president of both FGS & NGS, and the founding president of the Indiana Genealogical Society. He is coeditor of the Periodical Source Index.

One of the hardest parts of getting this set up is choosing just 5 topics – 1 for Friday evening and 4 for Saturday – from Curt’s 7 page list of available topics. We’re expecting to have topics on Military Research, Census Research, and the Allen County Public Library. Details on this will be posted here in the next week or 2.

We’re using the popular Prince Conference Center at Calvin College again.

Remember the dates – Friday and Saturday 12 and 13 October 2012.



Dates for Got Ancestors?! 2012

January 26th, 2012

We’re excited to announce that the dates for Got Ancestors?! 2012 have been chosen.

We have moved our annual Seminar into Family History Month, and will be holding the Got Ancestors?! 2012 Seminar at Prince Conference Center on Friday 12 October – Saturday 13 October 2012.