Our area's genealogy club was pleasantly shocked recently when a seminar on Polish genealogy quickly overfilled.
A second seminar hurriedly was scheduled. That one was set for this weekend. I wouldn't be surprised to see more.
What the Northeast Pennsylvania Genealogical Society's experience proves is that there's a great hunger for advice and information on genealogical research from the point of view of a nation or ethnic group. Some of us try a one-size –fits-all approach to researching our ancestors, and that's a recipe for failure.
If you study Irish history, for instance, you find that the millions of Irish people who sailed west didn't all come directly to America. Many migrated to Canada, with some staying there and some filtering southward into the United States through Great Lakes ports, giving us additional footprints to check. You'll also learn of the disastrous fire that destroyed nearly all of Ireland's historical records and see how a genealogist can work around that sad fact with the help of institutions in Ireland today.
So it makes good sense for family historians to look for seminars like the recent one on Polish genealogy and to visit local bookstores in search of specialized how-do-do-it books on German, Italian, Spanish, African or whatever ancestry. You'll speed up your progress immensely.
Resources: How would you like a photo of grandmother the year of her college graduation. Want to see great-grandfather suited up with his football buddies? There's a possibility you can find them today, with colleges and universities beginning to put their archived yearbooks online. Of course not all the schools are doing this yet, but you might give it a try. Search for the school's name, and refine your search with yearbook. If you know the name of the yearbook, so much the better. Remember, though, that most yearbooks didn't carry photos until the early 20th century.
The December issue of Family Tree Magazine contains, as always, a list of articles published throughout the year. There you'll find information on ordering reprints. Better still, get yourself a copy of the magazine every month and you won't have to bother with reprints.
Cyndi's List, the world's largest collection of genealogy-related websites, continues to expand and modernize. It's easier to follow and read now. Go to www.cyndislist.com.
Genealogical Society News: There are some changes in the way you contact the Northeast Pennsylvania Genealogical Society. Because of difficulties with the previous host, the society has no website for now, but it's promising a new host in the near future. Watch this column for details. In the meantime, you can access the society via its blog. That's gotonepgsblog.blogspot.com. You can also check out the society's new Facebook page at www.facebook.com/NortheastPennsylvaniaGenealogicalSociety.
News Notes: Local history writer Elena Castrignano will hold a signing for her new book Images of America: Wilkes-Barre at the Barnes and Noble bookstore, Arena Hub Plaza, Wilkes-Barre Township, on December 15, beginning at 5 p.m. Castrignano is the author of the postcard history series book on Wilkes-Barre, published in 2008. Several other Images books about Wyoming Valley towns have already been published.
In 1972, after many parts of Luzerne County were devastated by flooding spawned by Tropical Storm Agnes, help from many quarters poured in. We above all others should look for ways to assist the victims of the deadly storm Sandy.
Tom Mooney is a Times Leader genealogy columnist. Reach him at [email protected]