September Genealogy Blog Party: What You Learned

I enjoyed tackling the topics that Elizabeth O’Neal offers up each month at the Genealogy Blog Party. Like Elizabeth, I am a retired teacher so September, which was the traditional month of school return for most of my career, definitely arrives with thoughts of learning opportunities.

Anthony Wayne Junior High School, 1965
My school in Wayne, New Jersey

For September 2021, the theme is sharing what we’ve learned so far this year and what we would still like to accomplish during the remaining months in terms of our genealogy education endeavors.

We are now 3/4 of the way through Year 2 of this pandemic and the brightest result of social distancing is definitely the almost unlimited opportunities for online learning, most of which are FREE when viewed live.

I have to admit I have taken full advantage of all these webinars and particularly sought out those presented by new-to-me speakers or societies.

Given that I’ve easily attended more than 100 webinars already this year, I’m not even going to try to share what I’ve learned in chronological order.

Two of my favorite presentations were on AmericanAncestors – The Story of Jewish Families and Their English Country Houses and The Country Houses of Shropshire.

Colleen Robledo Greene’s Using Zotero to Organize and Annotate Your Family History was an excellent webinar. I was aware of Zotero and had dabbled with it, but learned so much more from her talk. It’s available on FamilyTreeWebinars with a subscription.

Speaking of FamilyTreeWebinars, if you are not aware of this month’s Webtember series, all can be accessed for free through 30 September 2021.

One of my favorite speakers, Peggy Lauritzen, gave a terrific presentation yesterday. I always seem to think of my ancestors as living in two time periods – feet, horse and wagon or modern trains and cars. Peggy reminded me that in between came stagecoaches and boats, touching on the main waterways and highways that were used in southern and western migration, speaking about America’s Turnpikes, Rivers, and Canals.

Becoming familiar with Ontario, Canada records became a necessity when I picked up the trail of brothers who were children of Loyalists Robert and Catherine Carlisle, who settled first in New Brunswick, Canada and later in Charlotte, Washington, Maine.

Although I’ve forgotten the names of the presenters, there were two different talks covering genealogical resources available in Ontario.

Still on my genealogy calendar are the Texas State Genealogical Society virtual conference beginning 1 October, several Utah Genealogical Association webinars covering railroad records, more on Canadian resources, plus Researching Ulster Scots and New England Quakers.

I joined the Essex Society for Family History (England) and have enjoyed/will continue to enjoy learning more about local English history as some of my colonial New England families called Essex home.

One remaining goal is to learn to read names written in Cyrillic. My paternal grandparents’ Rusyn villages are located in an area that suffered frequent political and governmental upheaval. Church registers go on for pages and pages with entries written in Latin and then, in a blink of an eye, change literally overnight to Cyrillic writing. After a number of years, records then change back to Western writing and Latin entries.

I would really like to abstract entries from the Udol, Slovakia Greek Catholic church registers and enter the data in Excel. The earliest book is dated late 1827 with records of baptisms, marriages and burials as late as 1937, listed in roughly 800 pages.

There are probably 40-50 pages (possibly more in the modern records) that are written in Cyrillic script. Therefore, my inability to read it hampers my efforts to locate records pertaining to my family.

I have a Rusyn language textbook that I recently bought, but there is no audio pronunciation help. However, a quick look at YouTube brought up several short videos teaching the Cyrillic alphabet and, more importantly, comparing equivalent letters in our alphabet side by side.

My goal is to be able to figure out most of the names in those church entries written in Cyrillic by the end of this year. It will definitely take some practice. Often, the handwriting is difficult to read in Latin. Adding a strange-to-me alphabet into the mix doesn’t help. Thankfully, there are but a handful of notes in sentence form. Most entries are in columns filled in with dates, names and either Hajtovka or Ujak, the two villages in the local parish.

I am very thankful for all the societies and organizations that have opted to host virtual meetings during the pandemic. Not only has it been wonderful to attend mostly free talks, but I’ve become aware of many lore local societies, some of which I’ve joined.


4 thoughts on “September Genealogy Blog Party: What You Learned”

  1. It has been great learning since the pandemic started and society programs and institutes have been converted to online presentations. I viewed the Early Ontario Records by Janice Nickerson and it was very good. I keep an excel spreadsheet of all of the webinars I see because it is so easy to forget their titles or presenters. Good luck on your Cyrillic learning.

  2. This is an excellent list. I have also taken advantage of online webinars over the last 1.5 years since the pandemic restricted travel — particularly those offered by some of the regional and ethnic-specific societies I belong to. Previously, they were too far away for me to travel to, but now some of them have embraced online learning and plan to continue in hybrid fashion (in-person with an online feed) — one plus of our long confinement! Visiting from Genealogy Blog Party

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