Saturday, May 28, 2011

Resources and Timelines in the Hunt for Martha/Mary

As I continue to spin my wheels while trying to find my Great Grandmother, Martha/Mary Evingham/Smith (this family line picked up and discarded names at will), my frustration level inches ever higher.  Once I received my Grandmother's (Una/Viola) death certificate listing her mother and father's names I thought for sure that was the break through I needed.  No, the brick wall is now another generation taller.

I added Martha and Joseph to my online tree at Ancestry and waited for the "shaking leaves" to appear.  That's how it happens on the commercials, right?  I am still waiting. Not one, single hint has appeared.  My searches are to no avail, my queries posted on message boards remained unanswered.  Time to go back to the drawing board.

I began listing the resources available to me.  Some I had already contacted using my Grandmother's name, but now that I have Martha/Mary and Joseph I need to revisit.  I also need to revisit the Genweb site for Livingston County, Illinois and, well, I actually need to revisit every source and/or website that I visited looking for Una/Viola.  This is the point where I realize just how important a research log is...I don't have one, so I really have no idea what sites/resources I did visit/review when looking for Una/Viola.  Take note budding genealogists, that is a lesson in what not to do!  Illinois will be my starting point as that is where Una was born, Nebraska and New Jersey will follow.

I started going through the images of documents and photos I have for this family and started asking myself "what is it I really know about them?".  I was struggling with the "big picture" and making sense of the Illinois, Nebraska, New Jersey maze.  A timeline came to mind as a tool to help me visualize the information I had.  I was hopeful that getting my information into the proper sequence would shed some light on where and when I needed to focus my research.

The timeline showed me I had documents and details for my grandfather, Joseph, a few details about Una/Viola, very little on Martha/Mary and nothing on great grandfather Joseph.  I will not let this deter me, I feel better having the information written down. My next step will be to add these timeline items to a digital timeline that will show me the current events at the time.  This might also be a good time to bring Google Earth into the picture.  Illinois, Nebraska and New Jersey are not right next door to each other and moving from one to another seems so random to me.  If I'm missing a significan clue, perhaps seeing that migration route will bring clarity to my search.

Now that I have a defined direction I feel much better, no more stumbling around.  Famous last words! :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Musings On A Munday Lack of Courtesy or Lack of Common Sense?

 Is lifting/borrowing/copying documents and photos from one tree to add to your own without contacting the tree owner a lack of courtesy or a lack of common sense?  Those "lifters" do realize that the documents and photos were added by another individual.  They don't think that put them there do they?  Like maybe the shaking leaf appeared and so did a document?

I added a handful of photos and documents to my tree last year.  My thought was that surely somebody would contact me once they see this great information.  That didn't happen.  Don't they wonder if there is more where that came from?  Don't they wonder how we are related?

One person lifted a German church record from my tree and added it to theirs.  This church record is from 1788 in Klepsau, Baden, Germany.  It took me a long, long time to find this record (scrolling, scrolling, scrolling through microfilm) and took me a long time to eventually get it translated.  The devil in me wants to email this person, that placed in on their tree, and ask "do you even have a clue as to what that document is or says???"  Well, I did email them...twice but have received no response.  I let them know that my tree is what I use as a sort of "working" tree and that I have so much more than what is online.

At this point I'm wondering if they are really that rude as to not answer after I've reach out to them twice.  I also wonder if maybe they are embarrassed to have been "caught" lifting.  After reviewing their tree I can see I have a lot to offer them but if they don't have the comment sense to reply to my emails there is nothing I can do about it.

It's not the borrowing of the documents I have a problem with.  I do that myself.  But I never borrow without contacting the owner and letting them know we have a common ancestor and I am happy to share what information I have.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Musings on a Munday My Response to Genealogy Conferences - Selling the Goods

My response to Genealogy Conferences - Selling the Goods.

Exhibit Booths are a Gamble:  Gamble is Thomas' word, that I don't like at all, but I'll go with it.  Trade show exhibiting is like anything must research, prepare and practice.  Exhibiting is a discipline (Certified Trade Show Marketer) unto itself and must be approached as any other marketing channel by setting objectives and planning out your strategy.  It's only a gamble if you don't do your research and take the time to educate yourself.  
  • Why are you exhibiting?  Are you only looking for sales?  Do you need to perform product demos?  What about client relationships?  Face-to-face marketing at a trade show allows you to see 10, 20 or more current clients in one place.  There is real value in developing and maintaining client relationships. You need to calculate that into your return on investment for the trade show.
  • Inventory. I am still surprised when I enter an exhibit hall at a genealogy conference and see how much "stuff" is in the vendors booths.  In this day and age of "going green", shipping boxes and boxes of pamphlets, books and do-dads is, and should be, a thing of the past.  Put your products on a slide show and have it running on your laptop or iPad in the booth.  If you feel you must have samples in your booth, limit them to what is absolutely necessary.  Run a special on shipping if an attendee orders from you ten days before, during and ten days after the show. That should help to alleviate any resistance to not having the product in their hands at the show.
  • You should be advertising that you are exhibiting at a conference in the months leading up to it and the conference management should be assisting you with this.  Look at their media kit and sponsorship opportunities.  Ask for an email template that you can use to send out to your current customer base.  Use social media channels to promote your attendance, LinkedIn is a good avenue for pre-show marketing.  If you don't feel you can't afford to advertise or purchase a sponsorship, see if you can co-op with another vendor that is not in direct competition with you.  
  • can not exhibit if you are not in the booth.  I realize many exhibitors go it solo.  Have you calculated the potential to make more sales if you have a second person with you?  You could be missing out on sales when you are away from the booth, but also while you are at the booth and helping others.  Attendees have a limited amount of time and may not wait around for you to finish talking to another customer.  If you truly can't afford a second person, have you asked the conference management for assistance?  Do they have volunteers that could, at a very minimum, keep your booth "open" while you go to get lunch?  Ask!
  • Booth appearance is critical!  As an exhibitor, you want to put the same effort into looking professional as you do in any other aspect of your work life.  Too much information is not helpful, it is harmful.  Project a clear, concise message as to what your product is and what it can do for the customer.  This can be done very economically with some thought and pre-planning.  Booth appearance guidelines should apply to the staff also.  Make sure everyone in the booth is clear about what their attire should be.
  • Booth layout is important and should be planned out.  Exhibitors have a tendency to place that 6 foot, draped table right at the very edge of the isle.  Exhibiting is full of barriers and obstacles why place another one in front of you?  Why barricade yourself in your booth?  Place the table in the back or to the side of your space.  This will give you room to welcome attendees INTO your booth.  Get them out of the isle where they are more apt to just keep on moving.
  • This is where I will vent on my largest pet peeve against exhibitors.  Do not be sitting in a chair in the booth.  Just don't do it.  If you have customers that are in need of a chair, by all means provide them one but they are for customers only.  I know it's a long day (I've done it), I know your feet hurt (I bring a change of shoes to switch into during the day and that helps). When that exhibit hall is open you should be standing up front and center ready to draw the customers into your booth.
Welcome to the Land of Nickel and Dime:  The heading says it all.  Nothing is "included" you will pay for it.  However, you can minimize costs by making sure you place orders before the discount deadlines expire.

Education Included:  If you plan to hold a mini-class in your booth, educate yourself on the other vendors.  Work with conference management to make sure your booth is not near several other vendors that will also be hosting classes.  There will be less confusion and you won't have to try to talk over them. 
New Models:  Educate yourself and think out side of what you know (you thought I was going to say box, didn't you!:)  Don't worry about what you have "always" done or what the other vendors are doing.  You must tailor your exhibit experience to what you know, your product and your personality.  I've listed a few resources (there are many more) that can jump start your ideas.  Theses are NOT just for the large 20x30 booths and don't make the mistake of thinking your are not big enough to implement some affordable and effective exhibit strategies into your program.

Conclusion:  The exhibit hall is probably the most popular area at any genealogy conference.  I agree!  Exhibitors and conference management need to work together to provide a trade show experience that is interesting, informative and engaging.  Good luck to all the current exhibitors who are working on refining their strategy and to the newbies that are giving it their first go!  

Sunday, May 8, 2011

GHLL Weekly Updates

New Genealogy and History Data posted for week of May 9, 2011 - May 15, 2011.

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    International Resources
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    Book Review
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Happy Mother's Day

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My mother loved flowers and gardening.  I inherited that love from her.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Musings On A Munday Shaking Leaves and their “shaking leaves” are they a help or a hindrance?

I’ve heard comments made that are negative towards the television commercials that basically say “click on this little leaf and voila, there is your family tree all done for you”. While I understand that is an extremely simplistic introduction to family history research, it is an introduction, isn’t it?

Would you rather not have the shaking leaves? Do you really want to clutter up the process with pop-up disclaimers stating: DO NOT TAKE THIS INFORMATION AS FACT, check your sources, cite those sources, yada yada yada? I don’t.

I get the gripes, but I also know that I started using without any notion of what I was doing or how I was supposed to do it. I think I figured it out pretty quickly and others will too. Sooner or later some family member, that the tree is shared with, is going to ask the question “how was our great-grandmother born before her mother was?” In the end I think it will all work out. I'm glad to have the shaking leaves.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

GHLL Weekly Updates

New Genealogy and History Data posted for week of May 2, 2011 - May 6, 2011.

Click tree to view updates to:
    International Resources
    Domestic Resources
    Book Review
    Web Site of the Week