Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fun Day at the Omaha Public Library

Some readers of LongLostRelatives.net are aware that 2011 has marked the beginning of my genealogy speaking "career." While I have done public speaking and training workshops for many years, hitting the genealogy speaking circuit presented something new and challenging - and a lot of fun!

Yesterday, I had the privilege of sharing my passion for genealogy blogging with fellow genealogists at the W. Dale Clark Library in Omaha. My friends and I arrived at the library early, so we were able to spend time in the genealogy room and get a quick tour of the available resources from Karen, one of the volunteers from the Greater Omaha Genealogical Society (GOGS).

Could it be magic?

The first thing that caught my eye was the card catalog of Omaha area obituaries. There was one in particular that I was looking for, so I pulled out the drawer and set it down on the table. Somehow, the drawer of hundreds of index cards opened up and the obituary that was staring me directly in the face was for my second cousin! Was magician Criss Angel in the room?

Fellow genealogists know that quite often these moments of synchronicity just happen. What is even more amusing to me is that my very first blog post was an "obituary wanted" for this man's mother. That blog post is the first example in my blogging presentation about how to use your blog to locate long lost cousins. At that moment, I knew it was going to be a great day.

Susan and Evelyn
Cousins? Quite Likely!
After getting a lay of the land of all of the wonderful genealogy resources at the library, we headed for the conference room where I would be speaking. I was approached by a delightful woman who introduced herself, and I knew her immediately from a comment she had left on my blog last year.

She is Evelyn Pecht, and our Pecht families both hail from the same area in Pennsylvania. Now that we've met, I have no doubt that we will kick up our efforts to find out if we are, indeed, cousins. Since this is a unique surname and the families lived in the same vicinity, I'm guessing there's a very good chance we're related. Attending genealogy events doesn't get any better than this! Even if we're not cousins, I'm thrilled to have met Evelyn - I really enjoyed our brief conversation and look forward to getting together again.

Then I gave my talk about genealogy blogging. As I mentioned to chief geneablogger Thomas MacEntee, I'm sure that I said the word 'geneabloggers' no less than 75 times! I think I may have convinced a few more genealogists to give blogging a try. I know that my friend, Jan, came home and started a blog on her Hillhouse family, so that's one more genealogy blog born this weekend.

All I can really say about my presentation is that I had a great time. The audience was attentive, seemed interested and open to the concept of blogging and asked very good questions! I enjoyed visiting with everyone who stayed to chat and ask questions afterward.

A very special thank you goes out to Martha Grenzeback, Librarian at OPL, who organizes these events and made arrangements for me to speak yesterday. She gets five gold stars!

Genealogy Resources at the W. Dale Clark Library in Omaha

The one thing that I forgot to do was to get my Omaha Public library card, since the Lincoln and Omaha libraries have reciprocity with one another. That is an amazing service and I thank both library systems for making this available to readers and researchers in both communities. I am looking forward to my next research trip to the W. Dale Clark Library this fall - when I'll come prepared with my notes, netbook and "To Do" list!

To learn more about the genealogy resources and events at OPL, click here.

Follow Omaha Public Library on Facebook and Twitter.

My friends and I had a great lunch afterwards at Stokes in the Old Market, and no trip to Omaha is complete without stopping at the Baker's Candy Factory in Greenwood. It was great fun for a Girls Day Out!

Thanks again, Martha, OPL, and what I hope will be a new group of genealogy bloggers!

7 comments:

  1. Susan is too modest to say what an excellent speaker she was! Her talk was clear, informative, and very entertaining. We received many enthusiastic comments on her presentation!
    And I put her suggestions into practice and went home and gussied up my own blog. It now has a search box, among other recommended attributes...:)

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  2. Thank you so much, Martha. I am still on a high from such a fun day at OPL! I may not wait until Fall to come back for my research trip!

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  3. I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation, Susan. Your knowledge and sense of humor made the time just fly. Am really excited about starting a blog as soon as I can come up with a pithy title. I'm looking forward to sharing Pecht genealogy with you in the future. Evelyn Pecht

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  4. Evelyn - thanks so much for the comments. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I was so thrilled to get to meet you! We definitely need to put our Pecht families together to find out how they match up! You have my email address, so feel free to contact me any time! I'm looking forward to seeing your blog, so keep me posted and let me know if I can help!

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  5. Susan, congratulations. Although I haven't heard you speak yet, I know you are an excellent genealogist. Anybody who heard you speak is very lucky. I'm looking forward in reading a few new blogs too.

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  6. You're too sweet, Barb! Thanks so much for always being there for me - across the miles.

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  7. Susan, I'm jumping in the pool. Check me out at iowagirlmemories.blogspot.com. Hard to teach an old dog new tricks, but we shall see. Evelyn

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