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Mt. Timpanogos Temple, photo by Rick Satterfield, used with permission

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Two Free Presentations for the Public at the FEEFHS Conference
Curious about your ancestors or distant cousins that lived in Eastern Europe during Nazi Rule? The Foundation for East European Family History Studies (FEEFHS) invites you to attend two special guest lectures during their upcoming conference. Diane Afoumado, Ph.D., and Ina Navazelskis, MSc, MA, both from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington, DC will be presenting on topics of interest to anyone with ancestors of Eastern European origin, Jewish and non-Jewish alike.
Ms. Afoumado will be presenting “How the Records of the International Tracing Service (ITS) May Surprise You” at the opening plenary session, Wednesday, August 12th, at 7:15 pm.  The ITS collection contains diverse information about the persecution and murder of Jews and non-Jews — Poles, Ukrainians, Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians, Soviet prisoners of war, Roma and Sinti, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and persons with disabilities — under Nazi rule.  Diane is Chief of the Research and Reference Branch of the Holocaust Survivors and Victims Resource Center.  She will also be available throughout the remainder of the week for one on one consultations by appointment; you may schedule a time to meet with her following her presentation.
Ms. Navazelskis will be giving a brown-bag lecture, “Oral History Interview Collection, US Holocaust Memorial Museum,” at 12:15 pm, Friday, August 14th.  A journalist with 30 years experience in East European affairs and modern history, Ina has worked with the Oral History Branch of the museum since 2001.  Her presentation will introduce you to the Oral History Archive, designed to document and preserve testimonies as primary sources for future generations to hear and see the people who experienced, witnessed, or perpetrated the genocidal policies and crimes of the Germans and their collaborators.
Both presentations will be held in the Aspen Room, lower level of the Salt Lake City Plaza Hotel, 122 West South Temple, Salt Lake City.  No tickets are required; lunch not included.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

August 2015 Webinars and Classes at the Salt Lake Family History Library

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August 2015 Family History Library Webinars and Classes

During August 2015, the Family History Library will be hosting several family history online webinars as well as free classes at the library. These classes and webinars are designed to help individuals and families find their ancestors and teach important family history techniques. They are free to the public. Information about specific classes, as well as information on how to register for classes, is listed below. All class times are mountain daylight time (MDT).
For instructions on how to log on to Family History Library webinars, click on the following blog post: Connecting to Family History Library Webinars—Easy to Follow Instructions.
Online Webinars
August 13Planning a Research Trip Webinar, 1:00 p.m.
August 15GenealogĂ­a Descendente Webinar, 1:00 p.m.

Classes at the Library
August 6—The 1798 Irish Rebellion and Its Effect on Family History Research, 1:00 p.m.
August 13—Finding and Linking Ireland Records to Find Families Post-1800, 11:00 a.m.
August 13—Case Studies in 17th-Century England Emigration to North America, 1:00 p.m.
August 15—Boy Scout Genealogy Merit Badge, 10:00 a.m. (1½ hours). To register, call 1-801-240-4673 at least one week before the workshop to find out which requirements should be completed before attending.
August 26—Italian Indexing Series
Italian Death Records: Preparation for Indexing, 2:30 p.m.
Indexing Italian Death Records, 6:00 p.m. (1½ hours)
August 27—Italian Research Series
Italian Emigration and Finding the Place of Origin, 2:30 p.m.
Where to Find Italian Vital Records: Repositories, Online, and Microfilm, 6:30 p.m.
August 28—Italian Research Series
Italian Marriage Records, 2:30 p.m.
Latin Records, 6:30 p.m.
August 29—Italian Research Series
Reading Italian Birth and Death Records Workshop, 10:00 a.m.
Reading Marriage Records Workshop, 11:30 a.m.
Reading Latin Records Workshop and Q&A about Research Problems, 1:30 p.m. (1½ hours)
August 31—Irish Roman Catholic Church Records: Better Access Than Ever! 11:00 a.m.
For parking and additional information see the Family History Library wiki.

    Monday, July 27, 2015

    A New Helper in the Family History World!

    Family History Guide Overview
    The Family History Guide has now been released. I like the format it uses, complete with links to other sources and helps.

    The goal of The Family History Guide is to "raise the number of people involved in family history, worldwide, and help them be more successful."

    Bob Taylor, CEO of The Family History Guide

    Saturday, July 18, 2015

    Early Bird Deadline Ends Today, So Act Fast!

    “Don’t miss the early-bird discount deadline for FEEFHS conference, today, 7/18 FEEFHS - Foundation for East European Family History Studies. This is a great opportunity to learn all you didn't know you didn't know regarding eastern European family history research!

    Thursday, July 16, 2015

    Up Close & Personal with Baerbel Johnson

    Baerbel Johnson
    Baerbel Johnson
    Baerbel graduated from BYU with degrees in Sociology and “Family and Local History Studies” as it was called back in the day. She is a widow and has three children of her own plus a foster son: two girls, two boys, but all grown up at ages 32 to 24. Baerbel loves to sing and has been a member of the German Chorus Harmonie for over 20 years. She served an LDS mission from 1978-1980 in Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia and she loves gardening.
    Johnson has an incredible amount of experience in the world of genealogy. She worked in the Family History Library for 20 years as an international reference consultant. In her words, “This was a wonderful time for me because I am a people person and there I had lots of opportunities to help people directly with solving research problems and teaching them to work with various records. Because of my language background I supported research in various part of Europe, Africa, and the West Indies.” On a personal note, I have a friend who does German research and whenever she had a problem, she told me that she always “went to see Baerbel in Salt Lake because she was kind, knowledgeable, and didn’t make me feel dumb with my questions.” What a great recommendation!
    Baerbel has been working under Joe Everett on the International Eastern Hemisphere Patron Services Team since 2013. She supports the family history centers in  Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.
    Baerbel loves to problem solve using her “ancestor detective” mindset. In her words, “It is a wonderful feeling when you find that one clue that makes a brick wall crumble….And I enjoy gathering more than just names; really learning about an ancestor in the context of his/her social and cultural environment. It’s amazing how even after 40 years of research new sources become available that add color to the picture. For instance, just recently I browsed through a new book published by Ernie Thode, a listing of digitized German-language newspapers. This prompted me to search the Internet for newly digitized material from my home area. In the process  I found two newspaper notices that showed that my great-grandfather was both mechanically inclined and creative. He received two patents: for inventing some kind of valve and for a process to make leather from cows’ stomachs.” You never know when you are going to find something wonderful!
    Another thought from Baerbel in her own words, “All my grandparents were dead before I was born, so I never learned much about them growing up. But in the years since I began my family history journey I have learned some amazing things about them, and somehow feel that I know them. This connection is another special gift I get out of doing genealogy. I love to teach people how to find their ancestors and have similar wonderful experiences. Their successes make me very happy.”
    Here is another interesting note; the name Baerbel is a diminutive form of Barbara, like Peggy is for Margaret. Baerbel says that “the name is common in Germany, but kind of weird here. My kids say that I’m barely bearable!” Somehow, I doubt that!
    Make a plan to attend Baerbel’s classes at the FEEFHS Conference. She will be teaching Resources from German Research in formerly Eastern Areas, German Civil Registration and German Digital Libraries. It will be well worth you time and effort.

    Tuesday, July 7, 2015

    Hey Dave... Where is Volhynia?

    VICTORIA, B.C.: JANUARY 7, 2010 New head shot of Dave Obee inVictoria, B.C. January  7, 2010. (DEBRA BRASH, TIMES COLONIST). For City story by Stand Alone
    Dave Obee is one very busy man. He is both a journalist and a genealogical researcher with a dozen books and almost 600 presentations at conferences and seminars in Canada and the United States to his credit. He travels the world both researching his family and helping others with their family research.
    Dave is Editor-in-Chief of the Times Colonist in Victoria, British Columbia. He has worked as a journalist since 1972 in both British Columbia and Alberta. Dave is passionate about school libraries and other literacy projects and was one of the founders of the annual Times Colonist book drive. This book drive has raised more than $1.5 million since 1998.
    If you read either Internet Genealogy or Your Genealogy Today magazines (formerly Family Chronicle), Dave’s name is probably familiar to you. He writes the back page column in every issue of both of these magazines. In addition, Dave is the man behind a couple of other Internet sites: CanGenealogy and Volhynia.
    Canadian icon, Shirley Douglas, OC, actress, daughter of Tommy Douglas (the father of Canada's Medicare) and mother of Kiefer Sutherland (star of the hit show, 24), is presented with her family tree in Toronto, Thursday, May 25, 2006, by Dave Obee, genealogist and member of the Canadian Advisory Board.  (PR DIRECT PHOTO/
    Canadian icon, Shirley Douglas, OC, actress, daughter of Tommy Douglas (the father of Canada’s Medicare) and mother of Kiefer Sutherland (star of the hit show, 24), is presented with her family tree in Toronto, Thursday, May 25, 2006, by Dave Obee, genealogist and member of the Canadian Advisory Board. (PR DIRECT PHOTO/
    Dave has had many honors over the years. In May 2006, Dave had the opportunity to present Shirley Douglas (Canadian film and stage actress and activist) with a published copy of her family history at the official launch of
    Dave Obee doctorateIn 2012, the University of Victoria awarded Dave an honorary doctorate of laws for his tireless work as a historian, genealogist, and journalist.
    In 2014, Dave was presented with the Governor General’s Caring Canadian award for his work as a community volunteer. As you can see, Dave is no slouch!
    On a personal note, Dave has visited 17 countries in Europe, doing genealogical research in most of them. He has a great interest in the world war battle areas in France, Belgium, and Luxembourg.
    Dave was born in British Columbia, and his roots there are traced to his great-great-grandfather who arrived from Manitoba in 1890. Dave had paternal ancestors arrive in North America two centuries ago, settling in New York State and Ontario. Dave’s mother was born in the Soviet Union, now Ukraine. Her ancestors were from Germany, now part of Poland. This explains Dave’s interest in Volhynia.
    Dave served as the president of the Federation of East European Family History Societies (now Foundation for Eastern European Family History Studies) from 2004-2007. For more information about Dave Obee, go to
    We invite you to Dave Obee’s presentations this year at the FEEFHS Conference. After all, Where is Volhynia?

    Monday, June 29, 2015

    DNA and Genealogy...A Match Made in Heaven?

    Paul Woodbury is a new presenter at the FEEFHS conference this year. I thought that we should get to know him a little more before the conference. He will be talking to us about genetics and DNA in genealogy. I’m excited to have him answer my burning question—”I’ve done some DNA testing, now what?”
    Memorizing all of the capitals of the world and being able to draw each nation’s flag from memory by the 2nd grade combined with a family history binder from his grandma led Paul Woodbury to his love of family history. A pedigree chart showing ancestors from France, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, England, and Isle of Man caught his attention.
    Throughout his school years, Paul researched his own family. He started as a collector of names, dates, and places. After that came stories, biographies, and photos. As a junior in high school, Paul organized a family history tour through Denmark and Southern Sweden, visiting the places where many of his Scandinavian ancestors lived.
    Paul’s introduction to genetic genealogy came in 2006, when PBS aired the television series African American Lives. In the program, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. investigated the family histories of prominent African Americans using traditional research in tandem with genetic genealogy. Paul said that “I was fascinated by this application of genetics to a field I loved, and I decided I wanted to become a genetic genealogist.”
    Paul studied genetics at Brigham Young University between the years 2008-2014. He also minored in Family History. In his genetic studies, Paul found that most of his genetics professors “didn’t know what to do with me.” In the end, most of Paul’s genetic genealogy education was self-taught or through the mentoring of other prominent genetic genealogists like Angie Bush and CeCe Moore.
    Paul taught for three years at the BYU Family History lab, offering weekly classes on various topics. He developed syllabus materials on genetic genealogy for use by the family history professors. Paul participated in a genealogy study abroad to France, Spain, and Italy. During the course of the trip, he toured and/or researched in nearly 30 archives including the Archivo Militar de Segovia (Military Archive of Segovia), the Real Chancilleria de Valladolid (The Royal Chancellery of Valladolid), the Archivo Storico di Firenze (Historical Archive of Florence), and the Archivo Segretto Vaticano (The Secret Vatican Archive).
    While still at BYU, Paul began presenting at various conferences on genetic genealogy, French research, and other methodology topics. To date, he has presented at more than 20 local, national, and international conferences.
    Genetics and family history aren’t the only loves in Paul’s life. He will be married in October 2015 to Robin Ellis. His favorite food is pumpkin cheesecake. He also enjoys good food, skiing, singing and dancing.
    Copyright 2013 by Rayanne Brunski Melick,
    All Rights Reserved.