NERGC – Day 1

Today was an eventful day at the New England Regional Genealogical Consortium biennial conference.

After we checked in, our first stop was the Exhibit Hall… you know, to check it out for filming later.  We met a lot of great people and saw many great items. Friday we plan to return with the camera and live stream what we can.  We stopped into the blogger center and connected with Heather Wilkinson Rojo from ‘Nutfield Genealogy‘ blog, and she promptly introduced us to Thomas MacEntee of ‘High Definition Genealogy‘ who felt that video blogs / TV Shows were a great idea.

The ‘Conference Welcome’ was well attended and included chairs and co-chairs of the event as well as the Mayor of Springfield, MA who absolutely nailed his speech.  It was immediately followed up by the talk, ‘What Can Our Ancestors Teach Us About Genealogy?’ presented by the amazing, Mary Tedesco ( This was pretty much a history of Genealogy Societies, Libraries, Computers, and other innovations over the years.

We returned to the exhibit hall for a few and then our separate ways for the afternoon of workshops and lectures.

I’ll split off a moment and introduce the other part of the ‘we’ I’m referring to over the past couple of days.  Dick Gagnon is a fellow genealogy buff with many American Canadian ties.  He’s been heavily involved with the ACGS over the years and, he’s the station manager for Access Nashua, home of Discovering Your Past.  He’s also my camera man for the weekend as well.

I attended a workshop on Paleography led by Edward W. Strickland. This was a very informative workshop filled with tricks and tips. The second half included the class translating old records and doing our best at it. I teamed up with the woman sitting in front of me and we struggled together, made some breakthroughs, and learned quite a bit. I’d love to have Edward on the show someday to chat with us about this sometimes difficult task.

The second lecture for me today was ‘Treats and Treasures: New Jersey Repositories.’ Michelle Chubenko had a lot of information to cover and she only scratched the surface.  While we may have heard about 10 or so sites, the syllabus contains over 100 links!  I learned quite a bit about New Jersey History through the short hour (and a bit.) While today it is divided into North, Central, and South Jersey, back in the day before reliable land transportation, New Jersey was divided into East and West.  The Coastal routes of the Atlantic Ocean to the East was that days Garden State Parkway, while the Jersey Turnpike to the west was the Delaware River. I’d like to spend the remainder of the night searching sites off of the list but alas, it is indeed way to late as it is.

The society fair was next and it was a great time.  We pulled out the camera, connected to the internet, and viola! Live to YouTube. (The geek in me finds this technology just amazing!)  We spoke with as many of the societies as we had time for (I will try to actually list them out soon,) and one of the co-chairs of the NERGC Conference as well. While I’ll go through at a later time and edit the footage down, you can see our raw – very much so at times – footage directly on our NERGC YouTube playlist.  Thank you to all that participated – Including Investigative Designer, David Seah.

Last up of the evening were the Special Interest Group round tables.  I chose to attend the one for Bloggers led by the aforementioned Heather Wilkinson Rojo. We shared a ton of ideas and stories.  It was a great end to the day.

Today’s Score from the NERGC 2017

So much for keeping this short…  Tomorrow brings another packed day.  We should be live streaming around 9:00am to noon or so from the exhibit hall. With the delay in chat, and the difficult time keeping it open on the cell phone, I’ll probably have to skip that portion though I encourage all of the viewers to chat together on the YouTube page. If I get a break I will try to check it. Oh, and if someone knows how to see the chat from a mobile device please please let us know (I’ve hacked my web browser on it right now to display the desktop version of YouTube, but it’s not great.)

In the immortal words of many a post card – Having a Great Time, Wish You Were Here!

Dateline: Camden, New Jersey – June 1895


1201 Liberty St, Camden, NJ Today – Home and Business of Bernhard and Mary (Lenhard) Oberst in the late 1800’s – [1]Google Maps Streetview – Jan 15, 2017

Following my quest to clean, expand, and document the tree, late last year I worked a strategy to just pick one branch and work solely along those leaves. I am first to admit that I get sidetracked easily (Squirrel!)  This month I am working back from my Mother’s Maternal Grandparents and I wanted to share a quick story on why I enjoy Discovering the Past.

My Mother’s, Mother’s, Mother’s Parents – Bernhard and Mary Oberst owned a small liquor store in Camden, NJ. In looking for obituaries in Philadelphia Newspapers last night on I stumbled upon these three short notices in the following order.

Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)[2]Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), Vol 132, Issue 156, 159 and 155, 1895;
Wednesday, June 5, 1895
‘Over in Camden’
Bernard Oberst, of Louis and Liberty streets, was held in bail yesterday by Mayor Westcott for trial next Friday on the charge of selling liquor on Sunday.
Saturday, June 8, 1895
‘Over in Camden’
Saloonkeeper Bernard Oberst was acquitted yesterday before Mayor Westcott of a charge of selling liquor on Sunday.
Tuesday, June 4, 1895
George Jordan was fined $8.67 yesterday by Mayor Westcott for kicking in the door of Saloonkeeper Oberst, of Liberty Park, when the latter refused to sell him beer on Sunday.
It can be hard sometimes to find ‘free’ newspaper archives, they are out there.  Local libraries usually also have subscriptions to sites as do the LDS Family History Centers (I believe.)  Google keeps a newspaper archive [Link] as do some of the actual newspapers themselves.  I am trying to keep a list as I come across them on the Toolkit Page of this site.
The search functions on these papers can be somewhat sketchy though depending on the quality of the scan.  I believe most of these are indexed using Optical Character Recognition and I have spent time flipping day to day looking for a particular obituary.
It is these types of stories that make our ancestor’s real people and not just another date or place. If you are not looking in newspapers for these types of stories, I can not begin to tell you how rewarding it can be.

Notes   [ + ]

1. Google Maps Streetview – Jan 15, 2017
2. Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), Vol 132, Issue 156, 159 and 155, 1895;

Two new books for the Library

This afternoon, my boss at the TV station placed two books on my table to add to my library.  New Jersey Marriage Records 1665-1800 and New Jersey Patents and Deeds 1664-1703 are both edited by William Nelson and published by Genealogical Publishing Company Inc, Baltimore MD, 1982.

‘Patents And Deeds And Other Early Records Of New Jersey, 1664-1703’ was originally published in 1899 under the title ‘Documents relating to the colonial history of the State of New Jersey, Volume XXI. Calendar of records in the office of the Secretary of State.  1664-1703’.  I find it interesting that the table of contents lists not only what the chapter covers, but the description of the work itself.

Salem Deeds, Liber B:  [pg] 565
A small thin folio of 175 pages, containing patents from Fenwick, and deeds for the same, 1672-1702[1]Nelson, William. Patents And Deeds And Other Early Records Of New Jersey, 1664-1703. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1982. Print.

The book on marriage records was originally published in 1900 in the same series as the Deeds book as Volume XXII – Marriage Records, 1665-1800.  An interesting addition to this volume begins in the first part entitled, ‘The Early Marriage Laws of New Jersey, and the Influences Bearing upon their Formation’ – or a history of the marriage laws of New Jersey and how they were built upon the Romans, Dutch, Swedes, etc. It can be very important at times to understand the culture of the time period you are researching especially if you are running into a problem, and this offers a unique history lesson indeed.

It also happens that just last night I was trying to research some records from 1887 – so a bit outside this time frame for these two books.  My first go to place when I am looking for something new – the Family Search Wiki.  It can be your source to learn everything about an area, where to look, what to look for, etc.

In looking at the Wiki last night [Link], New Jersey Vital records seem to be mostly index only online through Family Search and Ancestry.  Hard copies however can be ordered relatively easy through the state for genealogical purposes.

Genealogical Records (family history research) are: [2]From the New Jersey Department of Health Website [LINK]

  • Birth, death and marriage records for people who are deceasedAND where
  • the birth occurred more than 80 years ago
  • the marriage occurred more than 50 years ago
  • the death occurred more than 40 years ago

Your request cannot be processed as a genealogical request if the person named on the record is still living or the event was more recent than listed above.

I have not ordered any records from the State of NJ yet but I will and be sure to let everyone know how it goes.



Notes   [ + ]

1. Nelson, William. Patents And Deeds And Other Early Records Of New Jersey, 1664-1703. Baltimore: Genealogical Pub. Co., 1982. Print.
2. From the New Jersey Department of Health Website [LINK]