“Straight to the Source” conference coming to the Library of Virginia

Photographs found in Montgomery County chancery cause 1925-002, Florence S. Casper vs. John J. Casper alias J.J. Cosmato, processed as part of the Montgomery County Chancery Project. Learn more during Sarah Nerney's presentation at the Straight to the Source conference, 27 March 2015. We are excited to announce that the Friends of the Virginia State Archives 23rd Annual Spring Conference will be held at the Library of Virginia on Friday, 27 March 2015. This year’s theme, “Straight to the Source,” will be explored in presentations by four knowledgeable LVA staffers.

The conference will kick off with an expert guide to perhaps the Library of Virginia’s most powerful resource—its website. With layer after layer of unique and fascinating material, it can be easy to miss some of the site’s offerings. Digital Initiatives & Web Services Manager Kathy Jordan will give attendees a tour that will hit all of the highlights and equip them for “web wise” independent navigation.

For those researching Revolutionary War-era ancestors, the Library has no shortage of information waiting to be accessed. Archives Reference Coordinator Minor Weisiger will guide listeners to an array of useful tools, from compiled service records, pensions, and bounty warrants, to lesser-known resources including naval records, Auditor’s Office records, legislative petitions, Continental Congress papers, the Draper Manuscripts, the online George Rogers Clark papers database, and miscellaneous personal papers collections.

Regular readers of Out of the Box may already have heard of two big projects that the Library is proud to support, both of which will be discussed at the conference. The Montgomery County Chancery Project, funded in large part by an NHPRC grant, is nearing the June 2015 conclusion of its successful two-year run. Senior Local Records Archivist Sarah Nerney, who headed up the effort, will share the story of the project’s inception and execution, describe the resulting changes to the Montgomery courthouse’s historical research room, and tell just a few of the many intriguing stories to emerge from the processed chancery suits.

The second project, “Making History: Transcribe,” will be the topic of Digital Collections Specialist Sonya Coleman’s talk. Learn all about this popular new initiative, which crowdsources transcription of digitized materials in LVA collections in order to increase searchability for future researchers. The campaign to draw in participants for this engaging and highly productive effort has heavily utilized social media, and has taken off with recent “transcribe-a-thons” throughout the state.

If you are interested in signing up, note that pre-registration is required by Friday, March 20.  The cost for Friends members is $35, and $50 for non-members; attendance is capped at 75 attendees.  Box lunches are included for all.  To register or to request further information, email straight.to.the.source@gmail.com or contact Anne Brown at 804-741-0136 or annetaylorb@aol.com.

-Jessica Tyree, Senior Accessioning Archivist

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