23 July 2008

Pittsburgh: Eastern European roots, Aug. 1-3

For the first time, the annual Federation of Eastern European Family History Societies will meet August 1-3 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The 14th annual event is themed "Pittsburgh: The East European Magnet."

The event has scheduled 24 speakers and 58 presentations, including beginner sessions and private consultations with expert speakers. Diverse topics include Jewish, Catholic and other records, databases and more.

FEEFHS is an umbrella organization for 26 organizations and 132 individuals, according to the conference chair, well-known genealogy writer and Slovak researcher Lisa Alzo. She's also gen-blogging colleague and GenClass.com instructor.

Last year, the conference was in Salt Lake City and I was happy to attend many of the informative sessions which help genealogists uncover Central and Eastern European family branches. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette just carried a story on the upcoming event.

If you are a descendant of the millions of immigrants who came to America from Central or Eastern Europe, tracing your family tree can be a challenge because borders changed often in those regions during the 20th century; even today, each country handles records differently.

Among the speakers is Jewish genealogy's own guru Steve Morse, whose One-Step Search Tool innovations are applicable to and considered essential aids by all genealogists.

An estimated 7.5 million immigrants from Eastern Europe came to America between 1880 and 1914.

The local mills and factories drew many of those people here. As of 1900, the U.S. Census counted 86,158 people in Allegheny County from Central or Eastern Europe, including Hungarians, Germans, Poles, Romanians and Austrians. The total number of foreign-born people living in Allegheny County that year was 191,479.

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is a conference sponsor.

Local resources include Indiana University of Pennsylvania's special collection on coal mines, miners, disasters and the regional coal culture, while the McKeesport Heritage Center has back issues of the McKeesport Daily News as well as city directories.

Topics at the event cover Bulgaria, Macedonia, regional resources, ports of Bremen and Hamburg, photo preservation, Western Ukrainian (Galicia) records, Gdansk and Poznan archives, maps and atlases, Balkan research, the Jewish calendar, Czech research, geographical dictionaries, Lithuanian resources, Hungarian census, Cyrillic alphabet, German Emigration, Baltics, DNA, Romanian, Slavic, Galician real estate records, and much more.

For more information on the program and registration, click here.

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