Mind Maps for Genealogy

A mind map is a graphical outlining tool used for brainstorming and creative thinking. Professional genealogists can create mind maps to help use time more and see research more clearly. Mind maps can be used to plan genealogical research based on a “focused question.” They can also be used as research logs. They especially excel in their ability to help correlate and explain discrepancies in evidence. This presentation discusses mind maps’ basic concepts, how they can be built, and their application to various stages of genealogical research.

What’s in a Name?  Trouble!

Ron will use the Genealogical Proof Standard to show how identities can be merged and separated.  In this example, five individuals, all with the same name, all born in the same general timeframe, and all living in the same place where one of the individuals lived or claimed to live, all found trouble, either in business or with women.  Is this possible?  If so, how?  It defies probability and statistics.  A fun set of stories about multiple unrelated men who just happened to share the same name and fate (trouble).  A great demonstration of the Genealogical Proof Standard in action.

Putting the Flesh on the Bones

This is my bread and butter talk that I have given for fifteen years.  Through two related examples I show how one can piece together an ancestor’s life by collecting as much documentation about him/her as possible as well as looking at the environments where they lived.  I will introduce a few tools to help this procedure/process, including the Life Chronology (TM), the Life Hub & Spoke, and mind maps.  The process allows a genealogist the possibility to go far beyond names, dates, and places (the answers to the questions: Who?, When? and Where?  It allows us to explore the far more interesting questions: Why? and How?  Why did our ancestors act the way that they did?  How did their behavior have a direct impact our lives? (How can we explain events and other things in our lives by their behavior?)  I will demonstrate that the unintended benefit of this methodology: it surprisingly let me break through some brick walls, allowing me to push my heritage back four more generations and find a plethora of living relatives I never knew beforehand.

Nifty Technologies for Genealogical Research Analysis and Reporting

A real-time discussion & demonstration of VERY cool tools for genealogical analysis and documentation: timelines, genograms, mind maps, technologies which can be used together to translate books, and more.

Understanding Our Families, Understanding Ourselves

For more than 40 years, people in the mental health and social services have used “family systems theory” to analyze family dynamics through multiple generations. Unfortunately, most genealogists don’t know much about family therapy.  Conversely, those in the mental health and social services fields know very little about genealogical research.  Yet genealogy and family therapy go hand in hand.   In this talk I will introduce basic concepts of family systems theory.  I will also show how families can be represented a different way, using ‘genograms’ (social workers, family therapists, and psychologists use these ‘family diagrams’ every day to understand family dynamics in the family).

Finding Living People on the Internet

This talk will cover, by example, the multitude of categories of websites that can be used to track down or simply discover living relatives.  Beyond Google, websites discussed will fall into the following categories: professions, people directories, court and other government records, ‘aggregation’ websites, and, of course, social networking websites.  Furthermore, I will show that, by using these websites together, their synergies can provide even more fantastic search results.

Mapping Madness

The first part of this presentation discusses how to find historical maps for locations around the world.  The next part Ron briefly discusses Google Maps and Microsoft (Bing) Maps.  Finally, several online an offline tools will be presented, including Microsoft’s MapCruncher facility and

Researching Criminal Ancestors

In this presentation, Ron demonstrates how to research black sheep ancestors, those relatives who might be difficult to research for any one of a number of different reasons. Ron talks about using ‘standard’ genealogical records (census, vital records, city directories, etc., but also talks about other specific records available only for those who broke the law or came close to doing so. Specific recommendations will be given regarding the methodology of researching such characters.

Evaluating Evidence: Asking a mini-Minnie Question

Researching the lives of our ancestors is a big task but to evaluate evidence, one needs to examines the bits and pieces of our research. Once Ron Arons found the bigamy case of his great grandfather Isaac Spier, he wanted to know what happened to the second wife, Minnie Ott. Ron will present the basic constructs of analyzing documents and evidence, i.e. the Genealogical Proof Standard, pointing to the research question: How many times did Minnie Ott marry? Ron Arons will apply the evaluation theory to the documents he located towards the resolution of this question.

The Jews of Sing Sing

In this talk Ron discusses the topic of New York Jewish criminality based on the research he conducted for his book of the same name. The presentation consists of four parts: 1) how and why Ron chose this topic, 2) a history and overview of the famous prison “up the river” from Manhattan, including a virtual tour of the still functioning maximum security facility, 3) stories about famous Jewish gangsters and lesser-known criminals, and 4) the New York Jewish community’s response to the problem.

Bugsy Siegel & Meyer Lansky

They were two of a kind – lifelong friends and two of the most notorious criminals in American history. In this talk, Ron pieces the lives of these to mobsters using standard and non-standard genealogical documents found across the country. Then Ron compares the story told in the Hollywood film Bugsy and educates the audience as to what the true stories were.

The Kosher Nostra

This talk combines elements from three other talks: – Putting the Flesh on the Bones – The Jews of Sing Sing – Bugsy Siegel & Meyer Lansky: the Men Behind the Flamingo Hotel Call it a “greatest hits” presentation, because that’s what it is.

The Musical Chicago and All That Genealogical Jazz

In this talk Ron pieces together the life of the real-life Chicago murderess Belva Gaertner, who was the role model for the character in the Broadway musical and Hollywood film ‘Chicago’. And, oh, what a life she led! Learn what happened in her life before and after 1924, the year she was jailed for murdering her lover outside her marriage.

Research Your English Ancestors from Afar via the Internet

Ron discusses the various types of records to research your ancestors from England without having to take a trip there! There are many online resources for finding your relatives who lived on the other side of the Atlantic.