Thursday, October 2, 2014

Family History Month ~ October 2014

A Month of Great Resources & Inspirations 

for Genealogy Research

In honor of Family History Month, we WikiChicks would like to share a different genealogy research resource or other family history inspiration each day of the month. You could probably also read this as a "Things I Am Thankful For" list, because without some of these resources our well-formed, dense-with-leaves family trees might still be mere saplings.

Day 1 - FamilySearch.  Hands down the best, biggest, highest quality, and best of all FREE, genealogy research site on the Internet. From their millions of scanned images of original documents and their army of dedicated indexing volunteers, to their boundless wealth of instructional information, if you are going to start anywhere, THIS IS THE PLACE.  :)  

Day 2- Cyndi's List. Cyndi's List is the website you should consult with every research
project. Don't know about resources for Alabama? Cyndi's List has that covered! Not sure what that “ague” diagnoses on your great-aunt’s death certificate is? consult Cyndi’s List! I remember in the good old days of genealogy when you could buy Cyndi’s List in book form.Good thing you can’t do that now. With over 332, 812 links I don’t have the arm strength to carry that kind of book around!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Wednesday Spotlight: Angela Packer McGhie

Want to enhance your genealogy education? Get to know professional genealogist Angela Packer McGhie. 

Angela Packer McGhie is a genealogical researcher, lecturer and instructor.  In the genealogy community, her name is practically synonymous with genealogical education. Her own genealogical education includes having completed the NGS American Genealogy course, and attended the Institute of Genealogy and Historic Research, the National Institute of Genealogical Research, and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy.  She now contributes to the genealogical education of others, as  the administrator of the ProGen Study Program where she manages groups studying Professional Genealogy, a coordinator of the Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum course at Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), and coordinator of the Intermediate Genealogy course at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University (IGHR).

In 2010 Angela was honored with a formal certificate of appreciation from the Association of Professional Genealogists for her leadership and service. Angela is the immediate past president of the National Capital Area Chapter of APG, and she lives in Maryland with her husband and three children.
WikiChicks: How and when did your interest in genealogy - your own family history - start?
Angela: My interest in family history started when I was in high school. My grandmother was a genealogist, and I loved hearing the stories of her parents who were immigrants, and life in the old country. She did excellent research using microfilmed records and traced her family back several generations in Scandinavia. I did not care much at the time for pedigree charts with names and dates, but wanted to see photos of my ancestors and hear the details of their lives.
In college I interviewed my grandmothers and compiled their oral histories. I also visited my great aunts and collected photographs to make a four generation photo pedigree chart. Since that time I have learned to love the research aspect of genealogy and enjoy researching in archives, libraries and other research facilities. 
 WikiChicks: What is your earliest memory of a sense of family beyond your parents and siblings?
Angela: For the first eight years of my life I lived four doors down from my cousins and in the same town as my grandmother. I played with my cousins on a regular basis and visited my grandmother often. We had extended family reunions every Fourth of July with uncles, aunts, and cousins for three generations. I knew I came from a big family where relationships were important. This feeling remained with me as we moved to California and lived far away from family. We returned every summer for the family reunion. 
WikiChicks: What all are you involved in within the genealogy community? Your name seems to be everywhere when it comes to professional genealogy education!
Angela: I love genealogy education, and that is where my focus has been for the last eight years. At first I was an avid student at genealogy conferences and institutes, and now as an instructor and course coordinator (although you will still see me in classes when I am not teaching). For the past three years I have been a coordinator of the Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum course at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, and last year I was selected as the new coordinator of the Intermediate Genealogy course at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University. I enjoy speaking at conferences and teaching at institutes, as well as writing the blog "Adventures in Genealogy Education" at
My instructional team for the Intermediate Genealogy course at IGHR 2014.
I am fortunate to have such excellent instructors teaching in my course.
WikiChicks: How did you make the move into being a professional genealogist - what motivated you?
Angela: When I had my first child I left my position as a Personal Banking Manager at Wells Fargo Bank in order to focus on raising my family. After a few years I decided to follow my passion and work toward becoming a professional genealogist. I wanted to prepare myself for this new career and so I focused on my education before I "hung my shingle out." I took the NGS American Genealogy course and attended conferences and institutes. When the original ProGen Study Group was organizing in 2008 I joined right away. I began doing record retrievals at the National Archives as a way to begin my professional genealogy business. I loved working with the federal records at NARA, and developed this as my first specialty. Eventually I began to take lineage research projects and more complex cases for clients. I lectured locally and taught genealogy courses at Howard Community College. My business grew and expanded from there, and I have been blessed with many opportunities in this field. 
WikiChicks: How and when did you get started with ProGen? Did you develop the course yourself?
Angela: The ProGen Study Group was the idea of Lee Anders. It was organized in March 2008 by Lee and a group of enthusiastic genealogists that gathered on the transitional genealogists forum mailing list. I was a part of that initial group and the goal was to go beyond “reading” Professional Genealogy and really take the time to apply the principles we studied into our daily work. Due to family commitments Lee Anders left the group in the summer of 2008 and I took over as the group leader. As others heard about the study group and asked to participate, additional ProGen study groups were formed. I became the administrator of the ProGen Study Program in the Fall of 2008 and continue to be responsible for writing assignments, organizing new study groups, working with group coordinators, and overall program management.
Just a few of the many, many, ProGen participants, photo taken at SLIG 2014.
WikiChicks: About how many folks have completed the ProGen study groups? What groups are you up to now?
Angela: The ProGen Study Program continues to grow and gain recognition, and there are now twenty-three ProGen study groups with over 450 participants from seven countries. Nineteen of the groups have finished the 18-month study program, and there are 343 alumni who have received certificates of completion. You can see the list of ProGenalumni with their areas of specialtization and contact information at
Five ProGen study group are currently working through the program. We are very blessed to have many volunteers working together to make this program a success. I am grateful to those who serve as mentors, coordinators, and group leaders. They are listed on our website at
WikiChicks: What area of genealogy do you love the best?
Angela: Besides teaching I enjoy helping clients learn the stories of their ancestors. I continue to enjoy working with federal records at the National Archives, and have developed a specialty in federal land records. 
WikiChicks: Do you incorporate your love of family history in your own family life? and how do you share it with your kids?
I enjoy sharing my family history research and stories with my children. My nine-year-old son loves to investigate the shaky leaves on and has learned to compare the records found through hints to the information in our tree. He ignores hints to other member trees, preferring to look at the original records. I think the British census records are his favorite. He is also a FamilySearch Indexing volunteer, and although he is selective about the projects he works on, he is really quite accurate (his parents check his work). My daughters are interested in the family stories, but my two-year-old is too young to research, and my seventeen-year-old is too busy. 

WikiChicks: Do you have genealogy hopes-plans-dreams for the future?
Angela: My plans include becoming certified by the Board for Certification of Genealogists and I am working diligently on completing my portfolio. I also plan to write fully documented narratives of my ancestors, and share them with my extended family. I will continue to take client projects and teach at genealogy institutes as I live my dream. I have been very blessed and I am grateful to all who have mentored me and worked along side me as I have established my genealogy business. I will continue to give back to the genealogical community through my volunteer work with the ProGen Study Group and other organizations.​

Thank you so much, Angela, for letting us get to know you just a little better!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Whaddya Miss? Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014

Peruse today's compendium of WikiChicks' shared genealogy news and tidbits - don't miss anything! Ever!



    2. The records and photos of famed US WWII bombers go online

  2. 4 million new Yorkshire baptism, marriage and burial records dating back to 1538 now on for first time. Remember - LDS members can sign up for a free account to FMP!
  3. Confederate soldier's grave has the wrong name on it, but VA won't fix.
  4. Memorable old photos from the LDS collection - Rosa Parks researching at the FamilyHistory Library in 1992, Donny Osmond's wedding, Jimmy Stewart being presented his family history, and more.
  5. Forgotten Heroines of the Civil War - great stories of brave women spies and soldiers!
  6. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania teaming up with FamilySearch to digitize HSP's select collections, starting with compiled family histories, to be made available free -

  8. 30sep1860 This survey map of Oregon published. Used to be in a locked case. Now free for all.
    30sep1860 This survey map of Oregon published. Used to be in a locked case. Now free for all.
  9. Share reasons why you want to attend the Global Family Reunion and maybe you'll make our Top 10 List! #weareallcousins#GFR2015
  10. Cemetery lovers unite on #FindAGrave Day, October 18. Look for local cemetery Meetups here:  #FGDay#familyhistory

Yakety Yak ~ Online Genealogy CHAT!

Genealogists LOVE to talk about genealogy – about their favorite websites, repositories, libraries, books; about their own research and about other people’s research; about their brickwalls, their Eureka! moments, their favorite ancestors, their notable ancestors, their notorious ancestors, their missing ancestors...  We will talk to anyone and everyone about anything to do with genealogy. Anytime, anyplace. We love to share our inspirations, our cool tricks, our new website finds with each other.  And while we love to talk, we also love to hear the same types of stories and information that other genealogists have to share. We are a very sharing and social group, aren’t we?

And we are a huge, international group!  We may have opportunities to attend our small local society chapter meetings, and maybe an occasional regional get-together. If the stars are smiling, we’ll get to attend a national conference or two in any given year – partly for the incredible educational opportunities available, but equally as much for the social opportunities… to see old friends and make new ones, but mostly to talk about genealogy!

Then we go home. Home to our genealogy caves, our desks covered with copies of probate records and images from census pages, scraps of papers with scribbled research notes, and our computers with two or more extra large screens, and superfast internet so that we can, and will, again, reach out and connect with our genealogy community, our friends.  Following are a few online options for connecting and chatting live with other genealogists, from the comfort of your own genea-cave.


Facebook offers the simplest way to connect with old genealogy friends and meet new ones. Seriously, how many times have you gotten a friend request noting you have 187 friends in common, and say to yourself, “Ah! Another genealogist!” You can pop on Facebook any time of the day or night and find one of your genealogist friends from somewhere in the world still up, still researching, still sharing their joys and frustrations. 

In addition, Facebook has over 4,000 different genealogy groups (and that only includes those that are not-for-profit!). If you aren't already spending enough of your free time on Facebook, check out the 118 page list, join a few and share in the discussions.


There are other social opportunities for genealogists online that are a bit more structured. GenealogyWise, a free genealogy social network, hosts live online chats regularly. You may check the chat schedule for upcoming hosted discussions, or sign in and just pop into the Chat room and join in a conversation with whoever else happens to be in there at that time. 

The National Institute for Genealogical Studies hosts live, scheduled online chat sessions also. Some of the Virtual Meetings are for students only, however many are open to the public. You can see the schedule of upcoming discussions in their Virtual Learning Room.

I can’t fathom writing an article about genealogy chats online without mentioning DearMYRTLE, who always seems to have some kind of interactive, interesting and downright fun genealogy activity going on.  From the regular Mondays with Myrt Hangout on Air held at DearMYRTLE’s Genealogy Community on Google+, to Genealogy Game nights, be sure to sign up for notifications of what’s coming up next. Some of the discussions are panel-led, with text chat interaction during the live presentation. You never quite know what DearMYRTLE will come up with next (how do you top a Genea-Sleepover?!) but you know you will always learn a lot, and have even more fun.


Twitter is a surprising but wonderful place to find live genealogy discussions. Less like a lecture, and more like a huge confusing mixture of 140-character messages being thrown at you in rapid succession from all directions, there are two genealogy groups that I know of that regularly hold Twitter chats, about all sorts of interesting genealogy topics.  Think 'genealogy meets ADD' – on the one hand it’s dizzying to try to follow all of the conversations going on at once; but on the other hand, the amount of great information being shared and discussed is amazing! The great part is that you can save it, and slowly read through all the tweets later, too! 

One of these Twitter chat groups is hosted by The In-DepthGenealogist blog, using the #IDGchat hashtag. There is a schedule posted on the blog with the chat dates and topics, as well as the guidelines for participating. 

Another of the Twitter chat groups is hosted by Jen Baldwin of Ancestral Journeys and ConferenceKeeper. #genchat is held on the 2nd and 4th Fridays of every month at 9 pm central. There is a third #genchat monthly specifically focusing on a geography-based topic. You can see the schedule on CK website. 

To participate in a Twitter chat, it’s best to be using a twitter dashboard like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite so that you can easily watch just the postings for that discussion/group by specifying a thread for the group’s hashtag, rather than having to pick out the group’s postings from your regular feed.  Janet Fouts has a very nice article on twitter chat etiquette and best practices, that’s worth a read through before participating in one. 


And one final online genealogy community to mention is the genealogy community in SecondLife. (You didn’t think I’d forget to mention SecondLife, did you?!) SecondLife is an online virtual world – an entire world – and not just genealogy. We do, however have a lovely community of genealogists who hold regular discussions and presentations on all sorts of genealogy topics.  On the second Thursday of every month at 5:30 p.m. SecondLife time (which is also known as Pacific Time), the SecondLife chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists holds their monthly meetings, which are open to the public, and always feature a top-notch presentation by well-known genealogists.

To participate in SecondLife, you will need a computer with decent graphics capability.  Go to and create a free account and an avatar. It takes just a little practice and patience to learn how to navigate, as well as to learn how to walk, sit, and chat in SecondLife, but it is definitely a unique way to interact with people from around the world and discuss genealogy. (Remember, though, that SecondLife is not entirely devoted to genealogy. “Search” for JustGenealogy or the Family History Centre to find the genealogy areas).  If you are on Facebook, be sure to join the Genealogists in SecondLife facebook group, to keep up with all the upcoming events, and to get help if you forget how to sit down :)


What other online genealogy discussions or chats do you participate in? We'd love to know about them, and hope that you'll share! Either leave a comment below, or post your comment on our Facebook page. Let's talk!