Is it just too expensive for family historians to attend national genealogical conferences, or do responsibilities and schedules on the domestic front hold them close to home?
The National Genealogical Society has a partial solution to those with travel challenges. For the first time, the society will stream two tracks of the group’s national conference for those who want to “attend” lectures in their own home offices.
The conference will be held from May 7 to 10 in Richmond, but the two streaming tracks will be limited to selected lectures on May 8 and 9. After attendees register, they can watch the lectures live or as many times as they want through Aug. 10.
Researchers can register for either of the two tracks ($65 for members; $80 for nonmembers) or purchase both ($115 for members and $145 for nonmembers).
Conference planners say they selected some of the most popular topics and nationally known speakers for the two featured tracks.
Track One consists of Records and Research Techniques, and Track Two consists of Virginia and Research Techniques.
Lecturers selected for the live streams are Vic Dun, Michael Hait, Thomas W. Jones, Barbara Vines Little, J. Mark Lowe, Elizabeth Shown Mills, David E. Rencher, Pamela Boyer Sayre and Craig Roberts Scott. And me.
Subject matter will include genealogical evidence, researching online, using National Archives finding aids and websites, land records, probate records, ancestors from Ulster to Virginia and Carolina, researching Civil War soldiers, and the migration triangle of Virginia, the Carolinas and Tennessee.
For details and to register, visit http://conference.ngsgene alogy.org/attend/live-stream ing-at-ngs2014gen.
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As I reported in mid-January when President Obama signed the budget bill, his action limited access to the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) and records of original Society Security numbers applications (SS-5).
Both sets of records are important to genealogical research. The new law, however, restricts access only to both sets of records for individuals who have died within the past three years.
A provision in the bill directs the Secretary of Commerce to set up a fee-based certification program for researchers who want to access the SSDI records of individuals who have died during that restricted time frame.
Persons seeking the certification must verify that they have legitimate fraud prevention interests or a legitimate business purpose. According to information published at www.ntis .gov (a part of the Department of Commerce), “Applicants will have to prove they have systems, facilities and procedures in place to safeguard the information from the SSDI and ... experience in maintaining the confidentiality, security and appropriate use of such data.”
The Commerce Department also will perform periodic and unscheduled audits of these certified persons. Fines of $1,000 per person for each improper disclosure (with a maximum of $250,000 per person per calendar year) will be applied.
Whew! I suspect that most family historians will decide to wait out those three years rather than subject themselves to this certification process. Once the program rules are in place, they will be published in the Federal Register (www.federalregister .gov) for public comment.
Those who want to follow the progress of the program can send their emails to firstname.lastname@example.org and request to be put on a subscription list for announcements.
Sharon Tate Moody is a board-certified genealogist. Send your genealogical methodology questions and event announcements to her at email@example.com. She regrets she is unable to assist with personal research and cannot respond to requests for locating or researching individuals. Past Heritage Hunting columns are available online at tbo.com, search words “Sharon Tate Moody.