Saturday, October 8, 2011

Reader Poll - Genealogy Education

In an upcoming post, I am going to talk about major genealogy education providers. In particular, I'd like to compare and contrast aspects of each of them which may be important to prospective students, such as cost, degree or certificate received, available class topics, etc. 

In this vein, I'd like to ask for your help. It would be great to hear many different perspectives on this question: 

When choosing a genealogy education program, what factors are most important to you?

I would really appreciate any feedback that will help me make meaningful and helpful comparisons between programs. Please answer in the comments section here, on Facebook or Tweet me.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Good News for Pennsylvania and Virginia Researchers: Legislatures Reconsidering Restrictions on Vital Record Access

Betty Lou Malesky at Green Valley News reports that the legislatures of both Pennsylvania and Virginia are considering easing their restrictions on vital record access. I've written before about how difficult it is for researchers to obtain vital records in Pennsylvania, and discussed to efforts of People for Better Pennsylvania Historical Records Access (PaHR-Access) to allow researchers to obtain vital records in a reasonable manner, while keeping any privacy concerns in mind.

This is very exciting news for Pennsylvania and Virginia researchers. In Virginia, some would like to restrict access even further - closing birth records for 125 years and marriages and deaths for 75. Currently, they are closed for 100 and 50 years, respectively, and can only be accessed by immediate family members if that time period has not yet passed. The Virginia Genealogical Society has urged the Virginia Legislature to reconsider these restrictions, and according to the above article there are currently 8 proposed options for doing so. Although it is unfortunate to see that longer waiting periods have been proposed, this serious discussion about the needs of genealogical researchers does inspire hope. If you have an interest in Virginia research, you are urged to contact the Virginia Joint Commission on Health Care by October 6th. Please see Ms. Malesky's article above for details.

In Pennsylvania, Vital Records Bill SB-361 has been unanimously passed by the State Senate and will now go to the State House of Representatives for consideration. If this bill passes, death certificates over 50 years old and birth certificates over 105 years old would become open records, and would then be transferred to the Pennsylvania State Archives. Pennsylvania researchers interested in seeing this bill passed should contact the House Health Committee members as soon and as often as possible. Thanks to PaHR-Access for tracking the progress of this legislation, and posting a list of House Health Committee members to contact here.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

SNGF - My Matrilineal Line

I am trying to get back into posting regularly after a long absence, as life has been extra...interesting...lately. I am working on a few things at the moment, aside from client work. I'm currently doing research for an article about the Crawford Expedition, in which I'm fairly sure my ancestor was a prominent participant.

In the meantime, I thought I'd jump back in here with something fun. Randy at Genea-Musings posted this challenge:

"Hey genealogy buffs - it's Saturday Night again -- time for more Genealogy Fun!!
Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1) List your matrilineal line - your mother, her mother, etc. back to the first identifiable mother. Note: this line is how your mitochondrial DNA was passed to you!

2) Tell us if you have had your mitochondrial DNA tested, and if so, which Haplogroup you are in.

3) Post your responses on your own blog post, in Comments to this blog post, or in a Status line on Facebook or in your Stream at Google Plus.

4) If you have done this before, please do your father's matrilineal line, or your grandfather's matrilineal line, or your spouse's matrilineal line.

5) Does this list spur you to find distant cousins that might share one of your matrilineal lines?"

Here's my matrilineal line:

a) My mother, Laura, whose maiden name was Fritzley.
b) Helen Ada Brenton (1924 Brownsville, PA - 2008 Pittsburgh, PA), married William Fritzley.
c) Gertrude Ada Swift (1903 Scottsdale, PA - 1953 Brownsville, PA), married Everett Brenton.
d) Delilah Ferguson (1872 Mount Pleasant, PA - 1936 Mount Pleasant), married Robert Swift.
These next two generations are unverified; many online family trees have them, but I haven't found anything to support them yet other than a few census records.
e) Catherine Pletcher (1832 Westmoreland County, PA - 1895 Bullskin, PA), married George W. Ferguson.
f) Phoebe Nichols (1802 Liberty, PA - 1872 Ruffsdale, PA), married David Pletcher.

I intend on having my mitochondrial DNA tested as soon as I can save up for it, and I'm very much looking forward to the results.

This line is one that I don't have much information about past my great-great grandmother, Delilah (Ferguson) Swift. I know there must be many, many distant cousins out there, and I hope to find more of them soon!