Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month

Tomorrow is March 1st, and the beginning of  National Women's History Month. I've come up with 31 blogging ideas for celebrating and honoring the "fearless females" in our family trees.  You can choose to do some of them, or all of them--there's no pressure--it's meant to be a fun exercise to focus on the women and make sure their stories are told!

Below are the 31 prompts.

When you've completed a prompt post a notice to your Facebook page or Twitter account so we can read it!


Fearless Females:  31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month

 [Group of young women reading in library of normal school, Washington, D.C.]Library of Congress, (Johnston, Frances Benjamin, 1864-1952, photographer.); REPRODUCTION NUMBER:  LC-USZ62-100288 (b&w film copy neg.) DIGITAL ID: (b&w film copy neg.) cph 3c00288

Blogging Prompts

March 1 — Do you have a favorite female ancestor?  One you are drawn to or want to learn more about?  Write down some key facts you have already learned or what you would like to learn and outline your goals and potential sources you plan to check.

March 2 — Post a photo of one of your female ancestors.  Who is in the photo?  When was it taken?  Why did you select this photo?

March 3 — Do you share a first name with one of your female ancestors?  Perhaps you were named for your great-grandmother, or your name follows a particular naming pattern. If not, then list the most unique or unusual female first name you’ve come across in your family tree.

March 4 — Do you have marriage records for your grandparents or great-grandparents?  Write a post about where they were married and when.  Any family stories about the wedding day?  Post a photo too if you have one.

March 5 — How did they meet?  You’ve documented marriages, now, go back a bit.  Do you know the story of how your parents met?  Your grandparents?   

March 6 — Describe an heirloom you may have inherited from a female ancestor (wedding ring or other jewelry, china, clothing, etc.)  If you don’t have any, then write about a specific object you remember from your mother or grandmother, or aunt (a scarf, a hat, cooking utensil, furniture, etc.)

March 7 — Share a favorite recipe from your mother or grandmother’s kitchen.  Why is this dish your favorite?  If you don’t have one that’s been passed down, describe a favorite holiday or other meal you shared with your family.

March 8 — Did one of your female ancestors leave a diary, journal, or collection of letters?  Share an entry or excerpt.

March 9 — Take a family document (baptismal certificate, passenger list, naturalization petition, etc.) and write a brief narrative using the information.

March 10 — What role did religion play in your family?  How did your female ancestors practice their faith?  If they did not, why didn’t they?  Did you have any female ancestors who served their churches in some capacity?

March 11 — Did you have any female ancestors who died young or from tragic or unexpected circumstances?  Describe and how did this affect the family?

March 12 — Working girl:  Did your mother or grandmother work outside the home?  What did she do?  Describe her occupation. 

March 13 — Moment of Strength:  share a story where a female ancestor showed courage or strength in a difficult situation.

March 14 — Newsmakers?  Did you have a female ancestor who made the news?  Why?  Was she famous or notorious?  Did she appear in the social column?

March 15 — Write a six-word memoir tribute to one of your female ancestors.

March 16 — If you could have lunch with any female family member (living or dead) or any famous female who would it be and why?  Where would you go?  What would you eat?

March 17 — Social Butterfly?  What social organizations or groups did your mother or grandmother belong to?  Sewing circle, church group, fraternal benefit society or lodge?  Describe her role in the group.

March 18  — Shining star:  Did you have a female ancestor who had a special talent?  Artist, singer, actress, athlete, seamstress, or other?  Describe.

March 19 — Have you discovered a surprising fact about one of your female ancestors?  What was it and how did you learn it?  How did you feel when you found out? 

March 20 — Is there a female ancestor who is your brick wall?  Why?  List possible sources for finding more information.

March 21 — Describe a tender moment one of your female ancestors shared with you or another family member.

March 22 — If a famous director wanted to make a movie about one of your female ancestors who would it be?  What actress would you cast in the role and why?

March 23 — Create a timeline for a female ancestor using your favorite software program or an online timeline generator such as OurTimelines.Post an image of it or link.

March 24 — Do you share any physical resemblance or personality trait with one of your female ancestors?  Who? What is it?

March 25 — Tell how a female ancestor interacted with her children.  Was she loving or supportive?  A disciplinarian?  A bit of both?

March 26 — What education did your mother receive?  Your grandmothers?  Great-grandmothers?  Note any advanced degrees or special achievements.

March 27 — Do you know the immigration story of one or more female ancestors?  Do you have any passenger lists, passports, or other documentation?  Interesting family stories?

March 28 — Do you remember your mother’s best friend?  Your grandmother’s?  How and where did they meet? How long were they friends?  What activities did they share?

March 29 — Create a free Footnote Page or a Genealogy Trading Card at Big Huge Labs  for a female ancestor.  Some of you may have created your own card back in September 2009 following Sheri Fenley’s post over at The Educated Genealogist.  This time, the card is for your female ancestor. Tell us about who you've selected and why and then post a link to what you've created.

March 30  — Did you receive any advice or words of wisdom from your mother or another female ancestor?

March 31 — Pick one female ancestor and write a mini-profile (500 words or less).

BONUS:  Take all of your postings and turn them into a memory or tribute booklet for future generations. 

Post an entry on your Blog when you have created your tribute.  Tell us how you did it (what format, how you printed it or digitized it, etc.).

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ottawa Branch Ontario Genealogical Society: GENE-O-RAMA

The Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society will be holding its 27th GENE-O-RAMA 26-27 March 2010 at the Library and Archives Canada 395 Wellington, Ottawa ON.  The theme is "Researching Your Female Ancestors"--a subject near and dear to my heart, so I am honored to be delivering the Keynote.  Hope to meet many fellow genealogists there!  Click here for more information.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday 02/24/10: Alzo Family Photo

Copyright Lisa A. Alzo, 2010
Original photo & Digital image. Privately held by Lisa Alzo [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] New York, 2010

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A New Look

Recent visitors to this Blog may have noticed it now has a new look.  Yes, it was time for a makeover.  My web site has also received a "face lift."  The Blog and web site are similarly designed with matching color schemes and designs.  A huge thanks to my awesome web site designer, Ben, for his excellent work. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: 02/17/10: Ellis Island Wall of Honor: Figlar

Ellis Island Wall of Honor John and Veronica Straka Figlar
Copyright Lisa A. Alzo, 2010

 Digital image taken October 2004. Privately held by Lisa Alzo [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] New York, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

GenClass and the National Institute for Genealogical Studies Partner for New Courses

Here's the latest on the new partnership between GenClass and the National Institute for Genealogical Studies for Intensive Short Term Courses. In the interest of full disclosure, I am an instructor for NIGS--teaching in their regular program, and I also was an instructor for GenClass.


NEWS RELEASE: GenClass instructors merge 24 courses with the 150 existing courses at National Institute for Genealogical Studies!

GREAT NEWS! Lots of new topics & new courses available through the National Institute... As of February, you will see a new 'type' of course offered at the Institute --- INTENSIVE SHORT TERM courses.

* Intensive --- packed with lots of very helpful information, research techniques & tips;
* Short Term --- most will be four (4) weeks in length;
* Instructors --- experts in their field of genealogical research;
* Live Meetings (optional) --- four (4) optional 'real-time' online meetings with your Instructor and fellow coursemates;
* Direct Communication --- consult directly with your instructor via e-mail;
* Feedback --- discuss specific topics through various online or offline threads;
* Assignments (optional) --- although there may be some personal assignments to enhance a technique, submitting them is completely optional;
* Exam (none) --- no final exam to be completed;
* Inexpensive --- under $50;
* One-on-One Advice --- Book an appointment with your instructor to discuss in-depth individual research problems (additional fee).
(The above may vary by course; check the course description for details.)

Below is a list of the new courses, the instructor and their first anticipated start month. Check online for a full description of the course, actual dates courses are offered throughout the year and to complete your registration. (Go to, click on menu item COURSES, click on COURSES again, click on INTENSIVE SHORT TERM view, click on name of course).

START DATE: February 15
Research: African-American Ancestors; Michael Hait

Investigation: Adoption Records; Linda Rakita
Investigation: Lost Friends and Family; Linda Rakita
Research: English Ancestors-The Basics; Sheena Tait

Brick Wall Research; Lisa Alzo
Research: Australian and New Zealand Ancestors; Kerry Farmer
Research: Female Ancestors; Lisa Alzo
Research: Native American Ancestors; Barbara Benge

Research: Jewish Genealogy on the Internet; Micha Reisel
Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Your Family Story

Research: Canadian Genealogy on the Internet-Part 1; Pat Ryan

Research: Canadian Genealogy on the Internet-Part 2; Pat Ryan
Research: Salt Lake City, The Largest Genealogical Library-Part 1; Pat Ryan

START DATE: August 2
Research: Canadian Genealogy on the Internet-Part 3; Pat Ryan
Research: Jewish Ancestors-Basic Introduction; Schelly Talalay Dardashti
Research: Salt Lake City, The Largest Genealogical Library-Part 2; Pat Ryan

Electronic Resources-Family Tree Maker 2009-The Basics; Cindy Rowzee
Electronic Resources-Family Tree Maker 2009-Advanced; Cindy Rowzee
Jump Start your Genealogy; Lisa Alzo
Organizing Your Family History; Cindy Rowzee
Research: European Ancestors-Part 1; Lisa Alzo
Research: European Ancestors-Part 2; Lisa Alzo
Research: United States-Great Lakes States; Lisa Alzo
Research: United States-Northeastern US; Cindy Rowzee

GenClass was formed in 2007 by a group of instructors who formerly taught courses for They quickly earned the reputation of offering affordable intensive courses with lots of valuable information covering a variety of general and specialized topics. Students enjoyed the Instructor involvement throughout the process. Ten instructors, with a total of 24 courses, have recently moved their courses to the Institute's training platform.

The National Institute for Genealogical Studies, in affiliation with the Continuing Education unit of the University of St. Michael's College in the University of Toronto, offer Certificate Programs in Genealogical Studies in the records of Canada, England, Ireland, Germany, United States and a Librarianship Program. The Institute celebrated its 10th anniversary of Genealogical Education during 2009.

Louise St Denis, Managing Director
The National Institute for Genealogical Studies

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: February 10, 2010

Copyright Lisa A. Alzo, 2010

Original photo & Digital image. Privately held by Lisa Alzo [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] New York, 2010

It's Finally Here: The Faces of America Premiere

Genealogists everywhere are looking forward to the premiere of Faces of America with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. tonight on PBS (check your local listings). Follow along as 12 celebrities including Meryl Streep, Stephen Colbert, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Eva Longoria, and others learn about their family histories.

If you're watching, also check out the Fan Page on Facebook.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: 02/03/10: John Alzo CIO Basketball Game

Copyright Lisa A. Alzo 2010

John Alzo driving to the hoop during a CIO Basketball game in Pittsburgh, PA 1950s.

Original photo & Digital image. Privately held by Lisa Alzo [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] New York, 2010