23 March 2014

Jamboree - Meet the Headliners: John P. Colletta, Ph.D., FUGA

Jamboree headline speaker, the knowledgeable, entertaining and experienced John Philip Colletta, is a popular Washington, D.C.-based lecturer on topics of family history research and writing. For twenty years, while laying the foundation for his career in genealogy, he worked half-time at the Library of Congress and taught workshops at the National Archives. Today Dr. Colletta lectures nationally, teaches at local schools, and conducts programs for the Smithsonian Institution’s Resident Associate Program. He is a faculty member of the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University (Birmingham, Ala.), the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, and Boston University’s Certificate in Family History program.

His publications include numerous articles, both scholarly and popular; two manuals – They Came in Ships: A Guide to Finding Your Immigrant Ancestor’s Arrival Record and Finding Italian Roots: The Complete Guide for Americans; and one “murder-mystery-family-history,” Only a Few Bones: A True Account of the Rolling Fork Tragedy and Its Aftermath. In March of 2014, The Teaching Company will release Dr. Colletta’s 15-lesson course, “Discovering Your Roots: The Fundamentals of Genealogy,” as one of their “Great Courses” on DVD or CD with accompanying manual.

Dr. Colletta has received many professional awards and honors and appears frequently on podcasts and local and national radio and television. His PhD in Medieval French is from The Catholic University of America. For more information, visit www.genealogyjohn.com.

FR003 Friday June 6, 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Erie Canal Genealogy: The People of Upstate New York and the Midwest

Triumph of American ingenuity and wonder of the world, the Erie Canal affected the lives of millions of our ancestors from Maine to Minnesota. This lecture chronicles the building of the canal, 1817-25, and describes the many ways our ancestors may have worked for, on, or along the “Big Ditch.” It also explores numerous ways they may have used “Clinton’s Folly” or benefited from it.

FR035 Friday June 6, 7:30-9:30 p.m. - Friday Banquet
The Keepers of the Records and I: Tales of Accessing Historical Sources

Without written records, there would be no genealogy. Family lore and artifacts can tell us only so much. We rely heavily on evidence found in the written record of the past. Four decades of hunting for evidence of my ancestors have brought me face-to-face with a diverse assortment of keepers of records: archivists, librarians, priests, curators, court clerks, secretaries, and cousins who got all the good stuff. To access the treasures these custodians control, I have had to develop skills of diplomacy, negotiation, good humor, melodrama, stealth, groveling and bribery. This humorous banquet talk relates three episodes that teach valuable lessons for genealogists eager to access historical sources about their ancestors.

SA004 Saturday June 7, 8:30-9:30 a.m.
The County Courthouse: Your “Trunk in the Attic”

State archives hold vast collections of materials that document the lives and activities of the state’s residents. Each state’s archives is tied organizationally to the state library, and sometimes to historic sites and museums. These repositories hold population censuses, vital records, land transactions, public school, hospital and other institutional records, newspapers, manuscript and cartographic collections, cemetery information, military service and pension records, naturalization and other court records, and more. This lecture examines the Web sites of select state archives from the North, West, East and South, displaying the wealth of genealogical and biographical resources they contain. It also explores the electronic and paper finding aids that help family historians access the treasures in state archives.

SA012 Saturday June 7, 10:00-11:00 a.m.
State Archives: What They Are and How to Use Them

County courthouses vary from one county to the next. They may be congenial places to do research or dismal places to do research. They may be modern with records organized for easy access or old and totally chaotic. Some burned down once, some burned down twice. County clerks and their staff members differ dramatically in temperament and expertise, too. In general, though, courthouses are chock full of family information. This lecture examines the full scope of their precious contents and reviews many resources for learning about the records created in your ancestors’ counties. Using courthouses, you will get tired and dirty. But you will reap a rich harvest of information about your ancestors, almost discovering a trunk in the attic.

SA021 Saturday June 7, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Seventeen Repositories, One Life: Uncommon Original Sources Portray a 19th-Century Immigrant

Myriad small, specialized repositories across the country hold original records containing information about our ancestors. These collections are usually maintained on a shoestring budget by a staff of one or two people. We don’t know about them until an ancestor’s work or creed or social activity leads us to one. Carl Ludwig Richter is a good example. The facts of this 19th-century Prussian immigrant’s marriages and children may be gleaned from “standard” genealogical sources. However, the more interesting and historically significant aspects of his life come to light only by exploiting original historical sources in seventeen different repositories. This lecture encourages family historians to explore small, specialized collections for the personal details of their ancestors’ lives.

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