Category Archives: Ken’s Lectures

Real Advanced Family History

Moving from genealogy and family history to the history of the family is the focus of an interesting course offered by the Open University in Britain and available on-line. Its called Writing Family History but do not be deceived by the title, the course involves some meaty work.

Several years ago the Open University published some interesting books I think genealogy educators ought to study. Continue reading


Take Your Brick-wall Problems into Surgery


I spotted a notice in a British genealogical publication that some noted professional genealogist was holding a surgery at a certain time or place. I smiled. My English cousins speak as peculiar a language as my American nieces and nephews, just not the same language. A surgery is an event where you can visit a specialist and discuss a problem or issue. In North American English we often use the term “clinic” the same way. So what is a Genealogy Clinic and how could it be used?

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The Door Prize Gambit for Identifying Potential Clients


I offer a door prize at my presentations. Someone once asked if it was a real door. I wish I’d thought of that. I recently disposed of and old set of shower doors. No, a door prize is a prize for which anyone enterying the door at and event was eligible. Its not a raffle. Its a givee-away to wake up the people , add a little excitement and add value to the learning experience. Continue reading

Photo Analysis problem #1: When was this photo taken?




Years ago, in a distant library, I regularly ran a photo identification workshop. Photos like this group shot of English women would show up with the question, “When was this photo taken? The woman third from the left on the front row looks like my great great Aunt Lizzie or Aunt Edna. Can you help?”




What Can You Learn from an Old Program Brochure? Gen Ed @ the Library

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Today I stumbled on an old program brochure from a series of genealogy lectures I organized at Regina Public Library a few years ago.Neither the series offerings nor the brochure text are perfect. Therefore they are a good place to start in thinking about a similar lecture series. As you read this, realize this is a lecture series, not a class. Consider the following questions:

  1. Do the lectures fit into a logical progression/?
  2. Is the redundant information useful or a distraction?
  3. Do the titles reflect content as described?
  4. Do the topics fit the series for beginners? for intermediate learners?
  5. Would you attend? Continue reading

Thoughts on Getting a Letter From Steve


Steve Myers sent me a letter this past week. A nice letter but not a happy one. Steve is chairman of the programs committee for the Federation of Genealogical Societies 2007 Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Steve wrote to tell be that my 6 lecture proposals were among the 530 rejected proposals. There were gentle words at the end, boilerplate excuses, I mean reasons, why mine did not make the cut. Perhaps you received one too?

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Keeping Track of Your Research: Program Ideas

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As a genealogy librarian for over 20+ years, I faced almost daily the chaos of unprepared genealogists who neither knew what the wanted nor what they had! Many had no idea where they learned what they had! Out of this experience came a number of library sponsored programs on a variety of interconnected topcs. Let me tell you about some of these. Continue reading

Post-move Doldrums.

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Unpacking my files I see I shipped some junk with my goodies.It happens fromtime to time that we find ourselves holding on to things we should have dumped lears ago. For example:

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4. Learning and Practicing the Genealogical Proof Standard

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I've been struggling over a lecture I'm giving in Oshawa at the Ontario Genealogical Society annual Seminar next week. My topic, Essentials of Documentation for Genealogists addresses the second part of the Genealogical Proof Standard, "We collect and include in our compilation a complete, accurate citation to the source or sources of each item of information we use" ( BCG Standards Manual (Orem, UT: Ancestry, 2000) page 1)

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Updating My Program Evaluation Form

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A recent comment on an earlier posting prompts me to share thoughts on my program evaluation form. Let's make this like a workshop and you can participate with me. First I'll discuss my objectives in using a form, then some insights into the the reasoning behind the structure. Finally comes your part. Look at the form, then make suggestions for changes and improvements, or comment on how it looks from your perspective. Interested? Read on.

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