Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Exhibitor Spotlight: Samford Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research

The Samford Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) provides an educational forum for the discovery, critical evaluation, and use of genealogical sources and methodology through a week of intensive study. Students may choose one of the ten or more courses that range from a course for beginners to courses on specialized topics.

The objectives of the Institute are:

  1. To teach the fundamentals of genealogical research and methodology.
  2. To teach research skills using a variety of resources and facilities.
  3. To provide broad and in-depth historical and genealogical subject content.
  4. To teach the evaluation of resources, proficiency in bibliographic citation, and critical analysis of documentation.
  5. To provide instruction for those wishing to pursue careers in genealogy and related disciplines.

The institute is academically and professionally oriented and is cosponsored by the Board for Certification of Genealogists. The faculty is composed of outstanding, nationally prominent, genealogy educators. The institute regularly enrolls over 200 students from around the country.

Projected dates for the institute are: June 8-13, 2008; June 14-19, 2009; June 13-18, 2010; and June 12-17, 2011.

For more information, please visit our web site:

Speaker Spotlight: Barbara Renick

Barbara is a nationally known genealogy lecturer. She frequently lectures at the national conferences of such organizations as the National Genealogical Society, Brigham Young University, and the Federation of Genealogical Societies. She currently serves on staff and teaches at the Regional Family History Center in Orange, California. Barbara writes for several genealogy publications, including the NGS NewsMagazine, and co-authored the book The Internet for Genealogists: A Beginner’s Guide (now out of publication). Her most recent book titled Genealogy 101: How to Trace Your Family’s History and Heritage was sponsored by the National Genealogical Society for their 100th Anniversary. She is also well known for the 'Z' Links page at her Web site which is a favorite tool for many of her students. Barbara also has authored several instructional videos on how to trace your family tree on-line.

Mrs. Barbara Ann Renick nee Zuknick was born in Maryland to a German immigrant father and a Tennessee hillbilly mother. She grew up on a small farm surrounded by the forks of the Patuxent River. Even as a child, she was interested in stories about what life was like when her parents and grandparents were children. Barbara had her first exposure to computers during high school while studying at Southern Illinois University on a summer scholarship from the National Science Foundation.

In college, Barbara had a four-year scholarship in electrical engineering with an eye toward designing computers. She earnestly began to trace her family tree shortly after her marriage in 1970 when she changed her college major to nursing. Over the next few years, she took a beginning genealogy class three times before she felt she had begun to grasp the intricate methods involved in researching her family tree through Germany, Polish Russia and the hills of Tennessee. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a B.S. in Nursing in 1974.
From 1974 to 1979, Barbara attended many genealogical conferences, took more genealogy classes, and avidly pursued her ancestry. During this era B.C. (Before Children and personal Computers), Barbara took many research trips and attended family reunions in Maryland, Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. When the “Roots” phenomenon hit (thanks to Alex Haley), she was called upon to teach others what she had studied and learned.

From 1979 to 1983, Barbara had and adopted four special needs children. This curtailed her genealogical trips for a few years. However, in 1983 she purchased her first personal computer and began converting her paper genealogy filing system. Shortly thereafter, she was asked to train and supervise a crew of data entry workers for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Her small crew did data entry for the International Genealogical Index and the Ancestral File. She did this for ten years.

In 1985, she began working as a beta tester for a computer training company. Today, she is frequently asked to alpha and beta test software programs and Internet sites. From 1987 to 1999, she trained family history and genealogy consultants for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the areas of Brea, Placentia, and Yorba Linda, California. During those years, she published a free newsletter on current developments in the field of genealogy as an adjunct to her training of these family history consultants. Upon request, her newsletter was sent to others across the country filling similar positions. She began teaching Personal Ancestral File courses in 1985 and today is known in the U.S. for her many published articles about this free genealogy software program.

Contact Information:
Barbara Ann Renick,
311 Copa De Oro Drive,
Brea, CA 92823-7018
phone (714) 524-0364

cell phone (714) 273-0364
additional e-mail address
Barbara’s Web site is at:

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Research Day at Mid-Continent Public Library's Genealogy Branch

Good news for researchers during the NGS 2008 Conference. Monday, May 12, will be a Research Day at Mid-Continent Public Library's Genealogy Branch. We will be open from 9am to 11pm for your research pleasure. Buses will be running continually throughout the day from the Hyatt Crown Center, beginning at 9 am. The last bus will run from the library at 11 pm, arriving at the Hyatt about 11:30 pm. Delicatessen lunches will be available for purchase (expect to pay between $5 and $10). Just let us know when you arrive if you would like lunch or dinner and we will let you know your options. If you want lunch, please let us know by 10am.

The library will also be open late for research on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings until 11:00 pm. Buses will run from the Hyatt Crown Center to the library from 4:30 pm - 11:30 pm.

On Wednesday evening there will be a special reception at the new Midwest Genealogy Center for those who have preregistered for the event. Buses will run from 4:30-8:00 pm making three stops - the Hyatt, the Midwest Genealogy Center, and the current library location. Come and be the first to see our new facility! We regret that we will not be open for research in our new location, but all of our materials will be available to you in the current location.

Contact information:
Janice Schultz
Genealogy Librarian
Mid-Continent Public Library, Genealogy Branch
317 W. 24 Highway
Independence MO 64050
Phone: (816) 252-7228;
Fax: (816) 254-7114

Genealogy Branch closing for move May 19-26. Reopening May 27, 2008.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Exhibitor Spotlight: The Gregath Publishing Company

Since 1970, The Gregath Publishing Company has had a two-fold goal: First, to provide quality service and products at affordable rates; Second, to assist each client in every way possible to ensure his or her book is a success. We have been involved in genealogical research, writing and teaching for over 50 years. We have enjoyed our affiliation with the original publishing and commercial printing industry for over 30 of those years. Four generations of our family have been active in the Gregath Publishing Company.

We are not a huge, automated clearinghouse where every book is just a job number. Every author is valued for his or her individuality and vision. With two generations of our family currently working in the business, we put a lot of family in the books we publish.

Our base of operations, was the first office to begin in-house production, has continued to grow in scope, equipment and size, while maintaining its one to one family business philosophy. The Eastern Division (Cullman, Alabama) formally closed January 26, 2001, making the Mid-West Division the only current Gregath Publishing Company office.

The Gregath Publishing Company deals primarily in printing and publishing, in the fields of genealogy and history. This includes books (original and reprint hardbound, softbound, electronic, etc.), monthly and quarterly publications, newsletters as well as more standard magazine formats. We require each employee to be knowledgeable in genealogy and history, as well as printing and reprint and original publishing, to insure the correctness and quality of the product and the satisfaction of our clients.

As a full service printer/publisher, the Gregath Publishing Company offers a wide variety of services and products to our clients. Many of these are included in our web site. We like to remind the public that there are numerous grades and colors of paper, inks, and cover materials available to them, from simple black and white to the more exotic combinations. Many of our staff is available as exhibitors, speakers or to consult on projects face-to-face. Additionally, the company offers hosted research travel packages, monthly online free magazine, as well as hosting an annual genealogy event to assist the genealogist. We look forward to serving you in every way that we can. We are anxious to help you in every way, to complete a successful project.

The Gregath Publishing Company
Printer, Publisher and Bookseller

Monday, April 21, 2008

Speaker Spotlight: Kimberlee Ried

Kimberlee Ried is an Archives & Education Specialist for the Central Plains Region; she has been with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) since 2003. She works in all aspects of the Regional Archives program including education, outreach, and development, as well as, answering reference inquiries. She is active in the local Federal Executive Board as a co-chair for the Federal Information Council and has served as coordinator for the region's Combined Federal Campaign program. Prior to joining NARA she was a Youth Services librarian at an urban public library. She holds a BA in History and Anthropology from the University of Missouri and a MA in Library Science from Emporia State University. Through her professional association activities Ms. Ried was selected to serve on the National Council on Social Studies-Archives Committee and is president-elect of the Missouri Library Association.

Additionally, within her extensive community volunteer work she is an active member of the Junior League of Kansas City, MO; volunteers for the Children's Center for Visually Impaired; the Kansas City Ballet; Truman Medical Center; Jackson County CASA; and maintains boardmanships on the following: Historic Kansas City Foundation; Heritage League and Wonderscope Children's Museum. She was born and raised in Kansas City and has canine children, Gracie and Wallis

Contact information:
Kimberlee N. Ried,
Archives & Education Specialist National Archives & Records Administration
Central Plains Region
2312 E. Bannister Road
Kansas City, MO 64131
Phone: 816.268.8072

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Kansas City has many great shopping areas!!

If you like to shop Kansas City won't disappoint you. For details about the areas listed below be sure to visit the websites indicated for each shopping area. Most also have a great selection of fine restaurants too.

  • The Crown Center -This is the most conveniently located shopping area for conference attendees. It is connected via an enclosed walkway to both the Hyatt Regency Crown Center and the Westin Crown Center. It is of interest to note that Crown Center surrounds the worldwide headquarters of Hallmark Cards, Inc. Map.
  • Country Club Plaza - Another very popular shopping area. It was established in 1922. It is comprised of a 15 blocks with more that 150 shops and dozens of restaurants. Map
  • Legends at Village West in Kansas City, Kansas - across the river is a new shopping area with more than 90 shops. Map
  • Zona Rosa - this area is on the north side of Kansas City - Click here for driving directions.
These are just a few of the popular shopping areas in Kansas City.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Exhibitor Spotlight: St. Louis Genealogical Society

The St. Louis Genealogical Society is a not-for-profit, all volunteer organization with more than 2,000 members in almost every state and several foreign countries. Begun in 1967, it is now the largest local genealogical society in the United States, renowned for its excellence in programs, resources, classes, and membership services. More than 20,000 books of the StLGS collection are housed in the Special Collections Department at the St. Louis County Library Headquarters.

Speaker Spotlight: Mary Clement Douglass

Mary Clement Douglass, Certified Genealogist, is owner of Historical Matters - Historical and Genealogical Research in Kansas. She is a researcher, teacher, author, architectural historian, and curator. She is past chair of the Salina Heritage Commission, former Architectural Historian for the City of Salina, and author of Historic Resources Survey, Part II Salina, KS 1984-85. She is a former board member of the Association of Professional Genealogists, the Genealogical Speakers Guild, and the Kansas Council of Genealogical Societies.

Mary lectures nationally on genealogical methodology. Mary revised the "Kansas" chapter in Ancestry's Red Book, Third Edition, 2004. Her article, "Genealogical Research in Kansas," was published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, June 2004. Her articles have appeared in Ancestry, Everton's Genealogical Helper, and Family Chronicle magazines.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Less than 30 days to the NGS 2008 Conference -- Conference Tips

By now you should be registered for the conference, you should have your hotel reservations and your travel arrangements made. Now is the time to start thinking seriously about what you want to do during that conference week. Here are some tips to help make your conference experience GREAT!
  • Check your schedule again to make sure you have the registered for sessions you want.
  • Be sure to use the online planner availabe at:
  • Check meals you have registered for -- you may want to think about adding meals.
  • Check your genealogy records -- do you need to do some research while in Kansas City?
  • Check the official conference website for the latest announcements:
  • Make sure you have some cards with your contact information to hand out to those who may want to contact you after the conference. This tip is not just for those that are in business!
  • Prepare some pedigree charts or family groups sheets to share with others you meet at the conference.
  • Check the web for restaurants near the Hyatt -- this link may help:
  • If you are looking for other activities for after the conference check this webpage:
  • Do you like to shop -- you will want to visit:
  • Do you have any friends who live in the area -- make plans to see them!
  • Plan what you are going to wear to the conference. Dressing in layers is best for a variety of conditions. Plan to wear comfortable shoes.
  • Read the conference Syllabus as soon as it is available. The Conference Syllabus is available on CD only. Access to the syllabus in pdf format will be made available online to all pre-registered attendees at least 3 weeks prior to the conference. You will be notified via e-mail when access is available.

Readers -- Do you know of restaurants, activities, good ideas that made your conference experience enjoyable? If you have other conference tips please send them to me at They will be added to future Conference Tips postings.

Speaker Spotlight: Angela McComas

Angela McComas started working in family research about twelve years ago, researching for herself and friends. She is now a full-time researcher and program developer at the Genealogy & Local History Branch of Mid-Continent Public Library in Independence, MO, one of the top ten genealogy libraries in the nation. Angela teaches genealogy classes through out the Midwest and has been published in several venues. She can be contacted through her website at

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Speaker Spotlight: John Philip Colletta

John Philip Colletta is a Washington-based genealogist whose interest in family history goes back to his boyhood in Buffalo. His father's family was Sicilian, his mother's Bavarian, Alsatian and Swiss, and John was curious to learn how all these ancestors happened to converge in western New York. His research began in U.S. records. Then, while a graduate student in Paris, he ventured into the primary sources of Italy, Germany and France.

After serving in the U.S. Army, John completed his Doctorate in Medieval French Literature at the Catholic University of America. From 1984 through 2005 he conducting workshops for the National Archives and taught courses for the Smithsonian Institution. Now he lectures nationally to genealogical, historical and ethnic societies. He is a faculty member of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University in Birmingham, AL, and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy in Salt Lake City, UT. He has also coordinated and taught courses for the National Institute on Genealogical Research at the National Archives (Washington, DC), the Institute of Genealogical Research (Dallas, TX), and the Genealogical Institute of Mid-America (Springfield, IL). His areas of expertise include: tracing families of continental European origin, especially nineteenth century; federal records; and writing a narrative family history that is both a reliable document and a readable story.

Dr. Colletta has published many articles in both popular and scholarly magazines. He contributed the chart "How to Find Your Immigrant Ancestr's Ship" to a permanent exhibit on Ellis Island and his related book They Came in Ships: A Guide to Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor's Arrival Record, first published in 1989 by Ancestry, Inc. is not available in an updated and expanded 3rd edition. His book, Finding Italian Roots: The Complete Guide for Americans, first published in 1993 by Genealogical Publishing Co. is now available in an updated and expanded 2nd edition. Only a Few Bones: A True Account of the Rolling Fork Tragedy and Its Aftermath, published in 2000. This book is a narrative history that reads like a murder mystery that recounts the mysterious disappearance of a Mississippi ancestor during Reconstruction.

Dr. Colletta has been interviewed on Voice of America--Europe, National Public Radio, and has appeared on local and national television, including NBC's "Today" show. He is featured in Episode Four of "Ancestors," the ten-part KBYU-TV series that aired in 1997 and its sequel that aired in 2000. His national popularity as a speaker may be attributed to the warmth and wit, humor and humanity, which characterize his approach to the adventure of discovering ancestors.

Civil War Reenactment: Stand of Colors

We know you won't want to miss a single session at the NGS 2008, however, you might want to plan an extra day in Kansas City if you are a Civil War buff. "Stand of Colors" a Civil War Reenactment of the Missouri / Kansas of 1864 is happening the same weekend as the NGS conference. For more information see their website:

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Exhibitor Spotlight: RootsMagic, Inc.

For over 20 years, RootsMagic, Inc. has been creating computer software with a special purpose - to unite families. One of our earliest products - the popular "Family Origins" software, introduced thousands of people to the joy and excitement of family history. That tradition continues today with RootsMagic 4, the new version of our award-winning genealogy software for Windows. Don't miss this chance to see the most exciting version of RootsMagic ever as we teach classes and do in-booth demonstrations. Come see why beginners and professional genealogists alike call RootsMagic the best genealogy software they've ever seen. Visit us at or visit us in booth 403.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

New To Genealogy?

The conference offers a great way for beginners to get off to the right start in genealogy. Sign up for the Beginner Genealogy Workshop on Saturday morning from 8:00 - 11:00 a.m. Register as late as 7:00 - 8:00 a.m. Saturday just before the workshop. Conducted by Connie Lenzen and Lynda Childers Suffridge, attendees will learn how to organize what they know and to search for what they don't know. They will learn about many sources available with or without a computer. This workshop is limited to 50 participants, and registration for the rest of the conference is not required.