Wednesday, July 23, 2014

New England Historic Genealogical Society Confirms Family Tie Between Founders of Industry-Leading Carrier and Otis Brands

FARMINGTON, Conn., July 23, 2014 — Two men whose innovations changed the way the world built cities shared more than just a creative streak — they also share a bloodline. Experts at the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston have confirmed that Willis Carrier’s great-grandmother, Lydia Otis, was cousins with Elisha Otis, making Carrier and Otis fourth cousins. Now, the Carrier and Otis brands are parts of UTC Building & Industrial Systems, the world’s largest provider of building technologies and a part of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).

“The blood relationship that our New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) researchers discovered between Elisha Otis and Willis Carrier demonstrates the impact that genealogical study has upon history,” said D. Brenton Simons, President and CEO, NEHGS. “By connecting two innovative individuals on a family tree – our understanding of ‘family’ is once again advanced. While it has been observed for centuries that cousins work closely together for the benefit of their clan, in this instance two cousins worked diligently for the benefit of society with innovations that dramatically changed our way of living.”

Elisha Otis was born in Halifax, Vermont in 1811 and later moved to Yonkers, New York. Two years after inventing the “safety elevator,” Otis famously promoted it at the 1854 World’s Fair in New York City. With the help of circus legend P.T. Barnum, Otis stood atop an elevator platform as the rope was cut to demonstrate the springs that snapped into place and kept the elevator from falling. Today, Otis Elevator Company is the world’s largest manufacturer and maintainer of people-moving products, including elevators, escalators and moving walkways.

Willis Carrier was born in Angola, New York, near Buffalo in 1876. Less than a decade after inventing modern air conditioning in 1902 to solve a production problem at a Brooklyn print shop, he solidified his role in history as the “father of air conditioning” with the Rationale Psychometric Formulae. It is the most famous and enduring document ever prepared on the topic and Carrier’s equations still form the basis of air conditioning design calculations. Today, 112 years later, Carrier is the world’s leader in high-technology heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration solutions.

“The creative thought running through the Otis and Carrier families enabled buildings to rise higher and become more comfortable, increasing productivity, making urban life possible and creating the skylines of today,” said Geraud Darnis, president, UTC Building & Industrial Systems. “People often joke that ‘it must be in the water,’ but in this case, that inventive spirit was in their blood.”

“I think both Elisha and Willis would be pleased to see their pioneering spirit alive and well today,” said John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer, UTC Building & Industrial Systems. “Their legacies of innovation have inspired our engineers to create advancements in energy efficiency to support the world’s move to greener buildings. It’s not surprising that they were family long before their brands became part of the same company.”

A video about the discovery is available on UTC Building & Industrial Systems’ YouTube channel. To learn more about Carrier and Otis, visit, or follow both on Twitter: @CarrierGreen and @OtisElevatorCo.

About UTC Building & Industrial Systems

UTC Building & Industrial Systems is the world’s largest provider of building technologies. Its elevator, escalator, fire-safety, security, building automation, heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration systems and services promote integrated, high-performance buildings that are safer, smarter and sustainable. UTC Building & Industrial Systems is a unit of United Technologies Corp., a leading provider to the aerospace and building systems industries worldwide. For more information, visit or follow @UTCBIS on Twitter.

About New England Historic Genealogical Society

The founding genealogical society in America, New England Historic Genealogical Society was established in 1845. Today it has a national collecting scope and serves 65,000 constituents through our award-winning web site

Since 1845, NEHGS has been the country's leading research center for genealogists and family historians of every skill level. Today we provide more than 25,000 members worldwide with access to some of the most important and valuable research tools anywhere. Our resources, expertise, and service are unmatched in the field and our leading staff of on-site and online genealogists includes experts in early American, Irish, English, Scottish, Jewish, African American, Native American, and Canadian research. Expert assistance is available to members and nonmembers in a variety of ways. The NEHGS library and archive, located at 99-101 Newbury Street in downtown Boston, is home to more than 28 million items, including artifacts, documents, records, journals, letters, books, manuscripts, and other items dating back hundreds of years.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Jennifer Holik Releases Two New WWII books

July 22, 2014 – Chicago, Illinois. Jennifer Holik announces the release of two of her latest books. The Tiger’s Widow the second book in the Stories of the Lost series. And, Stories from the Battlefield: A Beginning Guide to World War II Research.

The Tiger's Widow

Love knows no boundaries of time and space or life and death. It exists forever in our hearts as we remember and honor those who have gone before us. Through those memories we pass life lessons on to the next generation. We teach others there is light after darkness, hope after despair, and love is the glue that puts shattered hearts back together. This is a story of five hearts separated by time and space; hearts which would meet in the perfect moment. It is a story about never ending love that lived on even after death.

Join me on a journey that spans 72 years and several continents. This is the story of the life of Virginia Scharer Brouk, the wife of Flying Tiger, Robert Brouk. Virginia picked up the pieces of her life and joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, later known as the Women’s Army Corps (WAC,) to take up the fight after Robert was killed in a plane crash. Virginia’s story is of life, loss, war, and the connection of hearts filled with love.

Stories from the Battlefield: A Beginning Guide to World War II Research

All the records burned! We hear this over and over when we think about World War II research. Yet there are many records and resources available to get you started. In this short guide, you will learn the basics of World War II military research and what to look for in your home sources. Then we will explore components of personnel files, death records, and other associated records in this short book.

This guide is meant to be a starting point for World War II research, not an exhaustive examination of all the military branches and records available. In 2015 I will release the first in a series of in-depth books on World War II records, the first being Stories from the Battlefield Volume I: Navigating World War II Home Front, Civilian, Army, and Air Corps Records. Please visit my website for more details on the release dates.

Coming in 2015!

Volume I: Navigating World War II Home Front, Civilian, Army, and Air Corps Records

Volume II: Navigating World War II Accident Reports, Internment and Prisoner Records, and Death Records

Volume III: Navigating World War II Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Merchant Marine Records

Volume IV: Navigating World War II National Guard Records

The Tiger’s Widow and Stories from the Battlefield are available through the author’s website: where you can also find the World War II Toolbox!

About Jennifer Holik

Jennifer is a genealogical, historical, and military researcher. Jennifer lectures throughout the Chicagoland area on World War II records and stories, women during World War II, kids genealogy, and Italian genealogy.

As a researcher and writer she can help you research and piece together the stories of your ancestors, particularly if they served during World War II. Jennifer is also on staff at the World War II History Network where she assists with the genealogy group.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

NC Genealogical Society Webinar to feature J. Mark Lowe

The North Carolina Genealogical Society presents:
J. Mark Lowe
NC Taxes: People, Places, Time, and Delinquency
LIVE Webinar 19 September 3:00 pm EDT, Free Viewing Period: 3-5 October 2014

Discover the variety of North Carolina tax records, and how they can tell you more than the amount due.  Learn where they are located, and when to look at alternate sources for information.
Taxation in the Americas began within the colonies for the crown. By the time, the constitution was written in 1787, all colonies were taxing citizens on property, capitation (head), livestock, and other properties. The constitution gave specific authority to the state to levy and collect taxes. For purposes of our discussion, we will focus on the levy on people (poll tax), property and other personalty.

The North Carolina General Assembly in 1715 defined taxable persons as free Males over sixteen years of age. Basically a tax list is a register of free males, land owners, and slave owners who, by nature of their age or ownership, are required to pay taxes to the governmental authority. But there is so much more to learn. 

J. Mark Lowe, CG, FUGA was named the FGS Delegate of the Year in 2000. He is a full-time professional researcher and educator, who formerly served as President of APG, and as an officer for FGS . You can generally find him researching for clients including Who Do You Think You Are?, African American Lives or Biography Channels uneXplained. Otherwise with his love for teaching, you will see him at SLIG, IGHR, numerous webinars or at your local society.

Lowe is a professional researcher and educator, teaching at SLIG, IGHR & RIGS Alliance, researching for clients, and working on projects like "Who Do You Think You Are?"

VGS 17-18 October 2014 Conference to Be in Historic Augusta County, Virginia

The Virginia Genealogical Society (VGS) and the Augusta County Genealogical Society (AGCS) announce their combined fall conference on 17 and 18 October 2014. The conference includes guided research at the Waynesboro Public Library in Waynesboro and lectures at the Holiday Inn Staunton Conference Center in Staunton, Va. (16 minutes apart). Attendees will draw for great genealogical prizes at this event. VGS partners with a local society for a fall conference and in the spring holds another conference in Richmond.

Friday is a free day. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., guided research will be offered at the Waynesboro Public Library at 600 S. Wayne Avenue in Waynesboro, Va. Library staff and experienced researchers from VGS and ACGS will be available to help. At 2 p.m., Dorothy A. Boyd-Bragg, Ph.D., professor of history,  emerita, James Madison University, will speak on the topic “In the Beginning, Augusta County, Virginia,  Was [Almost] Everything” in the library conference room. She is currently senior research historian associated with the James Madison Center. She is author or editor of numerous genealogy books and articles and has served as president of VGS.

On Saturday, registration begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Holiday Inn Staunton Conference Center at 152 Fairway Lane, Staunton, Va., where a full day of lectures begins at 9 a.m. Speaker Barbara Vines Little, C.G. will address these topics: “Before It Was Augusta,” “West of the Blue Ridge: Augusta’s Chancery Court Records,” “Frontier Settlement: The Virginia Land Office and Its Records,” and “Migration Trails and Settlement Clusters.” Ms. Little is a certified, professional genealogist whose primary interest is in Virginia research, brick wall problems, and complete genealogies. She is an Orange County Historical Society board member and former president of both the National Genealogical Society (NGS) and VGS. She has served as coordinator and instructor for the Virginia Institute of Genealogical Research Track II (VIGR), and for the Virginia track at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research at Samford University. Currently, Ms. Little is editor of the quarterly Magazine of Virginia Genealogy and NGS’s Research in the States series. The VGS website under the Research Aids tab (go to Libraries…) provides articles about the research facilities in Augusta County, Staunton, and Waynesboro.

On Saturday afternoon, Nancy Sorrells will speak on “Weaving the Fabric of a New Nation.” Ms. Sorrells holds a master’s degree in local, regional, and state history with James Madison University. An independent scholar and freelance writer, she is a partner in a local history publishing company. The Lot’s Wife Publishing website lauds the accomplishments of Nancy Sorrells saying she “was the research historian for ten years at the Museum of American Frontier Culture.”

Space is limited for these sell-out speakers. Be sure to register early to get a seat and save money. The cost of the conference is $44 for VGS & ACGS members and $55 for nonmembers if submitted by 28 September. After 28 September the cost increases $10 for everyone. The price includes Saturday lunch. 

Register at 804-285-8954 or by mail ACGS members register by mailing the brochure to the address below. Registration on the website may not work. Call or e-mail with questions. Cancellations after 1 October will not be refunded. One year VGS membership is $35 for individuals/$40 for families; one year ACGS membership is $15 for individuals/$5 for each additional family member. 

Vendors of books and other items of researchers’ interest will be available Saturday. 

Door prizes coveted by genealogists will be awarded; among them is’s prizes FamilyTreeMaker, FamilyTreeMaker Mac 3; a one-year World Explorer Membership; one-year annual membership to Fold3; and a one-year subscription to For more information, contact the Virginia Genealogical Society at

Speakers for this conference were provided by funds from the
Richard Slatten Endowment for Virginia History of the Community Foundation Serving
Richmond and Central Virginia.

1900 Byrd Ave., Suite #104, Richmond, VA 23230-3033  |  804-285-8954

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ontario Genealogical Society Monthly Webinar Series: 2015 Call for Papers

The Ontario Genealogical Society is now accepting proposals for the OGS Monthly Webinar Series 2015. We are looking for interesting one-hour webinar presentations.

Topics of interest

We invite proposals on a wide range of topics, in particular:

  • Ontario-specific topics (laws, records, land, history, etc.)
  • Ethnic research (Scottish, Irish, English, African-Canadian, German, etc.)
  • Canadian military research
  • Loyalist research
  • Ontario land research
  • DNA/genetic genealogy
  • Methodology and skill-building
  • Technology and trends in genealogy
  • Interesting case studies (Ontario specific)
  • Organization and project/time management

Submission guidelines

Each submission should include:

  • Speaker’s name, address, phone number, and email address
  • Lecture title and a brief but comprehensive outline (single page maximum)
  • Lecture summary for conference brochure (25 words or less)
  • Suggested audience level: B, B/I, I, I/A, A, or All
  • Brief speaker biography (50 words or less)
  • Resume of prior speaking experience

Please submit proposals in PDF or Microsoft Word format.

Use your last name and shortened title as a file name. Speakers may submit up to four proposals for consideration. Submit each proposal via email to no later than August 15, 2014.
Selected speakers will be notified in September. Further information will be provided at that time.


Selected speakers receive an honorarium for each webinar presentation.

About the Ontario Genealogical Society

The Ontario Genealogical Society, founded in 1961, is the leading society in all aspects of Ontario related family history research, preservation and communication. Our mission is to encourage, bring together and assist those interested in the pursuit of family history and to preserve our Ontario genealogical heritage. The Ontario Genealogical Society is the largest genealogical society in Canada. Visit us at

Ontario Genealogical Society Conference 2015 - Call for Speakers

The Ontario Genealogical Society
Conference 2015
“Tracks through Time”
Barrie, Ontario, Canada
29-31 May 2015

Deadline: 12 September 2014
(Multiple proposals encouraged)

The Ontario Genealogical Society will host the Society's annual conference on 29-31 May 2015 at Georgian College Campus, Barrie, ON, Canada. The conference theme -- “Tracks through Time” – originates from the 130th Anniversary of the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway across Canada. Many family historians have their roots in the immigrant laborers who built this railway across our vast country. Other ancestors were tempted by the transportation routes and migration opportunities allowed by its completion. Still others worked for the railway company itself over the years to follow. As researchers, we track our family history through time in many ways, always attempting to ensure we are tracking the right people from the right line. The variations on “Tracks through Time” are endless.

The subject of presentations should preferably fall within one of the following categories:

  1. Impact of the development of the railway in Canada
  2. Tracking various cultural and ethnic ancestor groups to and within Canada (e.g., Aboriginal, African American, Chinese, Scandinavian, Quaker, Polish, Jewish, etc.)
  3. Tracking ancestors through various record groups (land, company, religious, civil, etc.)
  4. Tracking the right people (sorting out same-name research, One-Name Studies, etc.)
  5. Technological advancements in tracking our ancestors

Saturday and Sunday lectures will be one hour long, including time for questions. Friday workshops offering a more in-depth exploration should be 2.5 to 3 hours in length, including time for questions. Consideration will also be given to distance presentations – “streamed in” from a presenter’s location and/or “streamed out” to a distance audience.

Each one-page proposal should include:

  • Presentation Title
  • Abstract – no more than 200 words
  • Presentation Description – one or two sentences for program brochure
  • Full Contact Information - name, postal address, telephone number, e-mail address, and website (if applicable)
  • Brief Biography
  • Target Audience - beginner, intermediate or advanced level family historians; general or specialist audience. 

If your proposal is accepted, you will be requested to provide a 2- to 4-page summary of your lecture or workshop for our Conference Syllabus. This may include a brief overview, references and web addresses mentioned, sample screen shots, etc. It will be submitted electronically no later than 1 March 2015 as a word processing file or in rich text for ease of formatting our Program Syllabus. Speakers should also bear in mind that PowerPoint presentations must be clearly readable from a minimum distance of 20 metres/65 feet and should employ fonts no smaller than 32 points.

Please include your approximate travel costs, economy class, to Barrie, Ontario, Canada. Remuneration will normally include reimbursement of transportation expenses, free conference registration, free accommodation, meals on the day(s) of your talk(s), free social activities, plus honorarium. Workshop fees may be negotiated.

10 July 2015

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Call for Papers - ICAPGen 2014 Fall Conference with BYU’s Center for Family History and Genealogy “Becoming an Excellent Genealogist” Saturday November 1, 2014

Proposals are now being accepted for the ICAPGen 2014 Fall Conference in conjunction with BYU’s Center for Family History and Genealogy held Saturday November 1, 2014 at Brigham Young University Provo, Utah (Joseph F. Smith Bldg).

Each presentation will be 50 minutes in length, which includes time for questions and answers. Each presentation should reflect the latest status of research and publication on the topic. The deadline for proposals is 22 July, 2014. We welcome proposals that allow participants to gain new skills and helpful information in the following areas:

  • Hands-on classes taught in a computer lab setting (both PC and MAC computers available) including family history websites, conducting online research, using the Internet for family history, etc.
  • Research Methodology: Beginning, intermediate, and advanced research methodology in an area specific region in the world
  • Research process, pedigree analysis, evidence evaluation, tracing immigrants, record sources, etc.
  • Courses preparing for an Accreditation
  • Family history and genealogy websites for conducting research online
  • Family organizations, collaboration, writing, editing and publishing family history

Proposals must include:

  • Your name, address, telephone number and email address
  • Title of the presentation
  • Class description (one to two line sentences)
  • A brief biographical sketch (50 words maximum)
  • Lecture experience

Any audiovisual equipment needed: Computers, projectors, and Internet access will be provided for speakers to use for their presentations.


Speakers participating in the conference will receive a:

  • $75 per lecture with additional $25 if syllabus is submitted on time
  • Complimentary registration
  • Conference syllabus on a flash drive (there will be no printed syllabus)


  • Please e-mail lecture proposals in Microsoft Word or .PDF format to Raymon Naisbitt at no later than 22 July 2014.
  • Completed syllabus material (limit 4 pages) must be submitted no later than Monday September 22nd.

Thank you for your consideration. We hope to see you at this year's conference!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

BillionGraves and The Federation of Genealogical Societies partner to image all cemetery markers for War of 1812 Participants

The Federation of Genealogical Societies also launches a major fundraising campaign for the Preserve the Pensions Project to honor the memory of these veterans in the month of July

  • Effort will include national War of 1812 cemeteries
  • Includes persons with individual markers in local and private cemeteries
  • July is a great month to remember the participants of the
  • “Second Revolution” as well as the American Revolution
  • The Federation seeks to raise an average of $1,812 each day of July!

AUSTIN, TX – 1 JULY 2014 The Federation of Genealogical Societies and cemetery website BillionGraves announced today a joint project to image all of the gravestone markers for participants of the War of 1812. “The images from these markers, coupled with the Federation’s current project to raise the funds to digitize the 7.2 million images of the pensions for those who participated in the War of 1812 are a natural fit,” said D. Joshua Taylor, President of FGS.

Hudson Gunn, President of BillionGraves said, “This July our focus is to see that the nation’s military headstones are documented and preserved for future generations. Headstones from early American history are quickly deteriorating, making it only a matter of time before they are lost forever. We are very pleased to have the Federation lend its help to spread this message for the War of 1812 veterans.” It is estimated that as many as 350,000 men may have served in the war. Although it is impossible to know how many may have cemetery markers, there could be as many as 50,000-80,000 markers for these veterans.

BillionGraves and The Federation of Genealogical Societies are asking anyone with knowledge of a cemetery marker for a War of 1812 veteran to upload the image of the marker to the BillionGraves website ( using their free mobile application during the month of July to honor and remember the service of those who served in the “Second Revolution.”

If you upload an image for a War of 1812 veteran during the month of July or anytime thereafter, please let us know on Facebook or Twitter by using the hashtag #1812today and/or #warof1812 and/or #billiongraves. The Federation will also be posting the progress toward the fundraising goal of $1,812 per day on Facebook and Twitter, so check often and pass the word!

The efforts from these two organizations will provide a very valuable asset for researchers and historians researching 1812 veterans. With the Federation raising awareness of the project to digitize the War of 1812 pension records during the month of July and BillionGraves making the cemetery markers of War of 1812 veterans immediately searchable, it should be an exciting month for all genealogists and historians – everyone wins!

Those interested in preserving this valuable piece of America’s documented history can make a single contribution or become a monthly contributor of the Preserve the Pensions project. For more information, go to .