Saturday, June 20, 2009
Research Opportunities - 2009 Convention of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia
Research Opportunities - 2009 Convention of the American Historical Society of Germans from Russia in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada
One of the best features of this convention is being able to access research resources usually held at AHSGR headquarters in Nebraska. Many - file cabinets and all - were brought here for this week.
Family card files in one room have details on individuals and families. A volunteer searches for your family names - one at a time - and you can read the cards and transcribe the information.
In another room are computers and the helpful SOAR volunteers. SOAR is the AHSGR Saving Our Records project. Thousands of names have been indexed from a great variety of records and publications relating to the history and genealogy of Germans from Russia, including censuses, cemetery records, maps, newspapers, books, articles and the AHSGR's own surname charts, family card files and publications. SOAR is an on-line resource that's available with pay options or to AHSGR members with 'enhanced' memberships. I have a number of new references now to follow up on my interests (HOLLANDER, KAATZ).
Downstairs there's the bookstore. Most of the AHSGR's extensive publication list is for sale here, along with some village census listings, maps, DVDs and even some novelties. I now have a bag full of new books to take home and a nice new lanyard for my flash drives.
And then there's the library, alongside the bookstore, with hundreds of family and local histories, maps, inventory lists, census listings, passenger list transcriptions and indexes and much more. There are files of articles and other material filed by village name, and there are guides to much of this material available, as well as some very knowledgeable volunteers. Again, I found a local history book here that I've been longing to read, and I found that a AHSGR member had already indexed that book too!
And, in addition to all this, there are displays of maps and guides for various geographical areas and many of AHSGR's Village Co-ordinators are here and ready to help. Thursday evening there was a special gathering, Village Night, when people could meet in groups with those descended from families in the same geographical areas.
And other related groups and booksellers are here with displays and publications for sale, for example, the Society for German Genealogy in Eastern Europe.
Next year's conference will be in Lincoln, Nebraska, AHSGR's headquarters, 1-8 August, 2010, so there will be even more opportunity for research then.