14 June 2008

'Invisible Ancestors' web conference, June 18

The Library of Congress, with its many family history resources, will host a web conference on "Invisible Ancestors: Ideas and Strategies for Recreating Their Stories." The free online event is available to those who live anywhere around the globe.

It takes place from 2-3pm (EDT, East Coast time) Wednesday, June 18. For Tracing the Tribe readers in Israel, that's only 9-10pm, a reasonable time slot.

Many ancestors - early immigrants and pioneers, slaves, women, native peoples, and others - do not have compiled biographies. They are invisible except in the historical record, through the census or other data collection entities. Where there are gaps in their history, the stories can be told through early travelogues, letters, diaries, other texts and printed ephemera, photographs and other visual media, and maps.

Join Library of Congress Digital Projects Coordinator, Judy Graves, and Local History & Genealogy Specialist, Anne Toohey, for ideas and strategies for combining physical and online materials that go beyond the data and recreate the stories of these individuals. We invite you to take this opportunity to sample the Library's online materials and locate items that will enrich the stories of those whom you would like to know better.

To participate, you'll need to download a small software plugin. Do this ahead of time and allow enough time for this in case you need some assistance, although installation should be quick, depending on the computer and connectivity. According to the LOC, all that's needed is a computer with Internet connection, sound card and speakers. A microphone will enable you to speak to the group. (Note: A Skype-type headphone should be fine.)

To attend, click OPAL:

1. Click the "Download Here" button in the light blue rectangle in the center of the screen.
2. Follow the directions to download and install the plugin.
3. Click the link in the orange rectangle to enter the room.
4. A gray box will appear with text asking permission to launch an external application, web conference plugin. When the grayed out text "Launch application" becomes black, click the Launch application button.
5. Type your name (no password required) and click "Log on" to enter the online conference.

Learn more about Digital Reference Section programs and the LOC's Local History and Genealogy Reading Room here.

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