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 –
Ahlberg | Sweden > Michigan | 1880s-current   /  Don Bryant –
Alison | Scotland<Ontario<Detroit, MI<IL | 1770-1900 / Jessica Trotter –
Allen, Betsey | PA, OH, and possibly MI | 1805–1865 / Claudette Darling –
Allison/Ellison | KY, TN, AL, AR | 1775-1920   /  Paula Naujalis –
Alt | Alsace, Ohio & Michigan | 1830-present   /  Mary Alt –
ALTHOUSE/ALTHAUS | Darmstadt,Palatine  /  Claudia Day –
Anthony | Virginia | 1850,1860   /  Erma Shaw –
Atwater | Michigan | 1850-1970 /  Vickey Parker –

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 we have

  • THREE certificates for a free 3 month World Deluxe Membership

From 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.

Saturday – Genealogy in Black & White and Blue & Gray

November 5th, 2011

Saturday’s portion of Got Ancestors?! 2011 was “Genealogy in Black & White and Blue & Gray” and consisted of 4 fascinating sessions from a GREAT presenter.

Tony’s topics were:

  1. The Nature of Genealogy
  2. The Six Phases of African American Genealogy
  3. Did Your Ancestor Serve in the Civil War
  4. Creating Order Out of Chaos

A couple of highlights of the day – attendee Jeanne Jones celebrated her 91st birthday with us, the youngest attendee was a 2 month old, and Tony Burroughs got to catch up with a grade school friend of his from Chicago – Al Odom now lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Jeanne Jones celebrated her 91st birthday with us today - with long time friend Tony Burroughs.

Jeanne Jones celebrated her 91st birthday with us today - with long time friend Tony Burroughs.

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Friday Night – Voices of Freedom

November 4th, 2011

Friday night’s part of Got Ancestors?! Genealogy in Black & White and Blue & Gray was “Voices of Freedom: African American Soldiers in the Civil War”.

It was a great presentation, with Tony Burroughs providing many recollections of African Americans who fought in the Civil War and had their recollections recorded – whether in Pension Applications, or letters to newspapers, even in books.

Tony Burroughs in full song

Tony Burroughs in full song

The evening started off with punch and nuts and mints and mingling, then the presentation got underway at 7pm. We finished up with Coffee/Tea/Punch and Mini-Desserts.

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November 4th, 2011

Today’s the Day…

I’ve updated the Door Prizes page with the final list of prizes available

THANK YOU to all those who have provided prizes

Inside the Last Week

October 29th, 2011

Well there’s less than a week to go until this year’s event with Tony Burroughs.

The forecast is looking OK

Forecast from Saturday 29 Oct to Saturday 5 November

Forecast from Saturday 29 Oct to Saturday 5 November

so your travel should be weather-troube free.

If you haven’t registered yet, it’s not too late to get your tickets to what will be a GREAT weekend.