GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday 2020 E-News

THE GENEALOGICAL FORUM’s Thursday Evening E-News Edition April 9, 2020
Memberships will not expire during the crisis, and will be extended a month beyond the date of our re-opening. Curious about the status of your GFO Membership? We’d love to have you as a GFO Member! You may renew online with a credit card now; membership materials will be sent later after the closure ends. We are grateful for all your support. | 503-963-1932 | Be sure to check the complete GFO CALENDAR.
Also, don’t miss the current issue of The Forum Insider
GFO Adapts to a Different World
GFO’s Italian Special Interest Group met online. Have you been feeling a bit numb? Being out of touch takes a toll. What a pleasure then it was to be able to see and talk to fellow GFO members. On Tuesday, Stephanie Silenti held the Italian Special Interest Group meeting online via Zoom video conferencing. And on Wednesday, the Library Committee got a chance to catch up in the virtual world too. Yes, we had a glitch or two. No one cared. We got to chat while we waited.
1-Library Video Meeting GFO’s Library Committee had a virtual meeting that cheered everyone up. Library Chair Laurel Smith said it felt very healing to finally see and talk with each other again. I couldn’t agree more. The GFO will have some more virtual special interest group meetings and you’ll get advance notice of them here. I hope you’ll take part and find them as valuable as I have.. We got a bit of good financial news in the last week. Ancestry and Fold3 have agreed to suspend our pricey contracts for as long as the library is closed. They’ll extend our subscription by an equivalent number of months. If you’re a member, we’d welcome your renewal online using a credit card. It would certainly help us to continue paying our rent. (This keeps 74-years of collected holdings safe and sound for the future.) You’ll still receive an extension of your membership once our shutdown ends, and membership materials will be sent later. (Sorry, please, no checks sent by mail to an empty library at this time.) ▪ Vince Patton GFO President
Access Ancestry From Home For Free
We wish we had the website infrastructure to extend our library edition of Ancestry to you at home.
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Absent that, here’s the next best thing. If you live in Multnomah County, Oregon, or one of many of its surrounding areas, the Multnomah County Library is now offering you remote access from your computer. If you don’t currently have a card, you can learn how to get one online, here. Once you have your card, you can then use the Library’s Ancestry subscription.
Virtual Events Galore
Virtual Events We might as well make the best of being stuck at home. What a great time to learn new genealogy skills! (Some of you already have. Please see the survey results below.) The genealogy conference website Conference Keeper has launched a new page dedicated to online events. Tami, the organizer of the site, is doing a great job compiling virtual genealogy lessons from all over the country. Many of them are free. Check this page and bookmark it. She updates it regularly.
60 Minutes Features a New Method to Preserve History
Genealogists may be very interested in a report done by Leslie Stahl during the April 5, 2020, broadcast of CBS’s 60 Minutes. Stahl reported on the Dimensions in Testimony project designed by Heather Maio, who wanted to build upon the more than 55,000 stories of Holocaust survivors that have been recorded by Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation and take them a step further.
Lesley Stahl speaks with Aaron Elster’s digital image. Copyright © 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. All rights reserved. The aim of Maio’s project is to preserve the stories of remaining Holocaust survivors in a way that allows them to directly answer future generations’ questions about their experiences. Through the use of Artificial Intelligence, coupled with advanced filming techniques, people can interview these survivors directly. In fact, Leslie Stahl “speaks” to one survivor, Aaron Elster, who passed away two years ago. The creation of this interactive video database involves meticulous work as well as extensive testing – even by school children. People who have used the system hint at the possibilities for genealogists and historians going forward. “There wasn’t one person, literally not one, that didn’t ask me if they could do a similar interview with either a loved one, [or] for themselves,” Maio said. She has started an independent company that is trying to expand the use of this technology. “Recording interviews with other historical figures like astronauts, and eventually with anyone at all.” To read the story or view the video, click here.
Election: GFO Members Please Vote!
Vote We have an official ballot now for this year’s GFO Board election. Vince Patton is running for re-election as president. Alexa Waddle is running for secretary. Joyce Grant-Worley seeks re-election as a Director at Large. And Geoff Smith has offered to serve again on our Endowment Committee. While voting on a GFO election may not seem like a top priority right now, our bylaws require that the election be held. We are attempting to follow our bylaws despite the difficult circumstances. Only active GFO members are eligible to vote. The Forum Insider for April included online voting instructions.
Hall of Fame Nominations Sought
cup-1010916 640 You have three weeks left to send us your GFO Hall of Fame Nominations! Any GFO member may nominate another member by May 1. Nominees must have a well-documented history of service, leadership, and accomplishment in more than one facet of the GFO, over a long period of time.
Please include:
* Name, list of services, activities, positions, and accomplishments;
* A narrative describing the nature of their work in terms of its importance to the success of the GFO;
* A short biography.
Please send to by May 1.
The board will decide if any merit selection. Winners are awarded in June and receive a free Life Membership and their name on our Hall of Fame plaque.
What’s New in Online Digital Resources
cable-4498741 1920 tip Since we are unable at this time to process new books and new digital content for the GFO Library, we will be temporarily suspending our “What’s New” weekly feature. In this time of physical distancing and responsible sheltering in place, we will instead share online resources so that you can reach out and connect as well as continue to learn and build on your genealogy skills from home.
This week, we present some leads from GFO Italian SIG leader Stephanie Silenti. In addition to Family Tree Webinars, which is offering a free webinar every day in April, there are even more to choose from. Here are three:
©2020 New York Genealogical & Biographical Society The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society is also offering many free webinars. They do ask you to register, but webinars in April are free.
© 1996–2020 New England Historic Genealogical Society. All Rights Reserved. In addition, the New England Historic Genealogical Society has several upcoming events that are free on the American Ancestors website. Click here to see a list of all their webinars and scan for the ones marked as “free.”
© 2020 Bode Cellmark Forensics, Inc. All rights reserved If you’d like to learn more about DNA and forensic genealogy, Bode Technology is offering a number of webinars, too.
Support the GFO With Your Grocery Shopping
FredMeyer Rewards Wondering how you can support preserving our history while stuck at home? Here’s any easy way that doesn’t cost you any extra. Please register your Fred Meyer Rewards Card to link it with the Genealogical Forum of Oregon.
Each time you shop, Fred Meyer donates to the GFO, based on your spending. But it does not affect the price you pay. What a great win-win! We thank all of you who’ve done this already. It’ll help us to pay the bills that are still due monthly, even while we are closed.
Link Your Fred Meyer Card Here
Survey Results: Acquiring New Skills
Some of our respondents shared information about new skills they’ve acquired during their time at home.
letters-2794215 1920 I watched 5 Top Websites to Decipher the German Handwriting. It introduced me to a couple of tools I didn’t know about. The webinar was free and I don’t know how long it may be available. I have been tracing some of the new information that My Heritage constantly turns out, only to find that the actual documents are often stored with FamilySearch which brings me right back to the GFO. I accidentally found important information on the Church History Library website from the LDS Church. This is different from the Family History Library, but both are located in SLC. The Church History Library is found across from the large Church Headquarters building and the Church Conference Center. I have not been there physically, but their online catalog can be very helpful. Watched a terrific free webinar on copyright by Judy Russell. It’s will make me think twice before I snag pictures from Find A Grave and newspaper websites and upload them to my Ancestry tree.
old-photos-1941272 1920 I learned some tricks for searching for the women in my lines from a webinar from the Florida Genealogical Society and watched several Rootstech presentations on German genealogy that were interesting. Colorizing black and white photos on My Heritage and creating a family tree, thanks to the GFO for communicating this temporarily free service! I have been studying BCG’s Genealogical Standards. The second edition came out in 2019. I have also been reading background material for pre-Civil War cousins from the south; just finished Slaves in the Family and am starting Mary Chesnut’s Civil War. I learned how to watch my ancestors on the FamilySearch tree so I know when changes have been made to them. Sometimes the change is record I don’t have. Sometimes it’s a mistake I can fix. I discovered I can also easily reach out to the person who made the change to see why they made it and find out if we’re related. Extremely valuable.
New Survey: Recent Discoveries?
philatelist-1844080 1920 Most of us are stuck at home, and most of those we’ve heard from tell us they are doing more genealogy than normal. We can all use a little inspiration, so, this week, we’d like you to tell us about a discovery you’ve made recently. Please share via our survey.
Take our survey now
This week at GFO …
The GFO Research Library is closed, and all on-site groups, classes, and work parties are canceled.
Tuesday, April 14: 6 p.m.
GFO Board will meet by video conference.