More of Paul Woodbury’s Exciting Adventures

Here is Paul Woodbury’s story of his 5gg’s ancestral home.


View from ancestral home

Enjoy the story and don’t forget to attend Paul’s classes at the 2016 FEEFHS Conference!

Ancestor Story by Paul Woodbury




Paul Woodbury’s Exciting Adventures

WoodburyWe are pleased to have Paul Woodbury back for the second year at our FEEFHS Conference. Paul is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University where he studied Genetics and Family History. He currently works as an outreach manager and DNA specialist for Legacy Tree Genealogists. He also works as an online course developer for Salt Lake Community College. In addition to genetic genealogy, Paul specializes in French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Scandinavian research and regularly presents on research topics related to these fields. Paul wrote an article in the 2014 Theatean (A Student Journal for Scholarly Historical Writing) about an internship experience in the western French Pyrenees. Since Paul had some enviable experiences with this internship, we decided that the details were too good to keep to ourselves.

In the days and weeks leading up to Paul’s visit to his 5gg home, he performed as much research in the parish records as he could here in the states. That research set him up for a trip to the local archives. Paul says that he “discovered this story by chance when he was having a conversation with the records custodian about his research. By chance, another researcher heard me talking and pointed me to an article in the local journal.” Paul found 30 pages written about his 5gg and also information about his house. What a find! From that article, Paul was able to get in contact with a local priest. The priest invited Paul to go and stay at the monastery in the valley with him. The priest also took Paul to visit the house of his 5gg that he had just learned about. The article that Paul wrote in the 2014 Theatean explains in much more detail the adventure with the priest in visiting Paul’s ancestral home. The full article will be in Monday’s post. We have to create a little suspense, after all!


Paul at the Vatican Archives

While researching and studying on his internship, Paul was able to visit the Secret Vatican Archive? Did you even know that the Vatican had a secret archive? Paul explains, “Secret Vatican Archive is limited access mostly because it costs 400 euros per group to take the tour. Nevertheless, it was very personalized, and in preparation and as part of our tour they had pulled a diplomatic letter to the Pope from Jefferson Davis from the Confederate States of America.” What a great tour!

Paul was able to be involved in client projects and ongoing access projects. In one location that the group was visiting, they were able to film notarial records for the community study of Garganta la Olla, which is a small town in Caceres, Spain. Another project involved indexing Catholic dispension records for marriages in the diocese of Plasencia.

As you can see, Paul is immersed in family history and we are excited about the DNA classes that Paul will be teaching at the 2016 FEEFHS Conference.


Finding the “Village of Origin”

FindMyPast just posted this:  “Discover your Ancestral Hometown” .  Their timing couldn’t be more perfect since FEEFHS just announced the opening of registration for the upcoming conference and pre-conference workshops.

Klenov15pohladnicaIf you are trying to figure out how to reach across the Atlantic to your East European ancestors but haven’t yet figured out how to do so, the FMP post gives you the basics.  While written with British and Irish ancestors in mind, the process (and the problem) is the same:  you must have sufficient information to identify your ancestor in their home country, and that includes knowing the village they were born in.

Their quick tips:

  1. Start your search in the U.S.
  2. Don’t neglect things like genealogy periodicals and compiled histories.
  3. Only search (overseas) once you have the essential information; and even then, you must rigorously verify you have the right family.

Armed with sufficient information like name, birth date, birth place (village of origin), and names of other family members, your search in East European records can begin.  And that is where the class sessions at the upcoming FEEFHS conference begin – helping you with the records, methodology, and resources you need to conduct that research.

Sher_editedSo, if you don’t yet know the “village of origin”?  Joanne Sher will be instructing a two-day pre-conference workshop to help you do just that.  Each morning will be spent reviewing records and methods used to find this answer, while the afternoons will be spent in the Family History Library researching and consulting with the experts.  There is no guarantee that you will find what you need to in those two days; but we will certainly try to get you to that point.  And, you will have a foundation to build upon as your attend the conference sessions on records in your ancestor’s country.


2016 Conference Registration Open

2016 FlyerRegistration is now open for the 2016 Eastern European Family History Conference to be held August 8-12, 2016.  The program will be at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel, convenient to the nearby Family History Library for research.

This year’s program is country-research-focused, with a full track on German research carrying over all three days, and extended Polish, Russian, and Austro-Hungarian research tracks.  Two of our favorite pre-conference workshops, Finding the Village of Origin and Learning Cyrillic, will be taught on Monday and Tuesday, August 8-9.  The conference will open with a welcome reception on Tuesday, August 9th and end with a closing banquet on Friday, August 12th.  Optional consultations are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Please visit the conference website for full details and registration information.


2016 Dates Announced

The  dates for the 23rd annual Eastern European Family History Conference will be August 8-12, 2016.  Once again, the program will be held at the Plaza Hotel in Salt Lake City, where participants are able to access records and research their ancestral families at the nearby Family History Library.

The tentative program outline includes:

  • Monday-Tuesday, August 8-9:  Pre-conference workshops
  • Wednesday-Friday, August 10-12:  Conference sessions; Friday evening banquet
  • Saturday, August 13:  open for research on your own; consultations by appointment

The FEEFHS committee is presently considering tracks and topics for the conference.  Full information should be posted in April. In the meantime, the Plaza is already accepting lodging reservations. We hope to see you there.