29 September 2007

Learnin' & cruisin'

It's time to think about taking a Genealogy Cruise in 2008. I highly recommend one that takes place October 25-November 1, 2008 (I am one of the speakers). Hosted by Fly Away Travel, this cruise is on the brand new Liberty of the Seas ship, owned by Royal Caribbean International. I was pleased to see an article about the Liberty of the Seas in the September/October issue of AAA Living Magazine.
You can read this article online at the AAA website.

This seven night cruise with well-known genealogy speakers is the perfect blend of relaxation and learning. I was a part of another genealogy cruise a couple of years ago and the experience was better than terrific. Cruises often offer lectures, workshops, and other great activities. cThis Genealogy "Seminar at Sea" is a special segment of a regular cruise. To attend the genealogy sessions, you must book your cruise through Fly Away Travel. As a passenger, you will be able to partake of all activities on the cruise. (And, of course, the wonderful food.) Do you have a spouse, friend, sibling, child, or significant other who cannot understand how you can spend an entire day at a genealogy seminar or in a library? This is the perfect way to attend a seminar and still spend time with them. They will be so busy and pampered that they won't even care when you attend a session.

The cruise departs from Miami on October 28th, 2008, and returns to Miami on November 2nd. This cruise has an itinerary that includes stops in San Juan, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, and Labadee, Haiti (Royal Caribbean's private island). The genealogy sessions are offered on the three days at sea so that you may enjoy the shore days with no conflicting events. We get to spend the week on a new, up-to-date, and clean ship. Amenities aboard the Liberty of the Seas include a water park, fitness center, live music, rock climbing wall, dancing, shops, casino, spectacular views, many restaurants, 24 hour room service, and a mini-golf course. Or, you may just find yourself a deck chair and relax. You might consider bringing along a costume for Halloween - but it is not a requirement. I saw some pictures of the costumed genealogists and speakers from the 2006 cruise.

The lineup of speakers is just one of the treats for this cruise. John Colletta, Stephen Danko, Michael J. Leclerc, Paul Milner, George Morgan, Donna Moughty, Laura Prescott, and Paula Stuart-Warren. The list of their topics is online and the areas of expertise of this impressive group and their lectures cover just about all areas of genealogy. Handouts for the sessions are included in the price. When not teaching, my plans include sunshine, massage, spending some money in the shops and on land, taking some tours, playing mini-golf, and karaoke (some of my colleagues have already told me I WILL participate -- oh, are they in for a surprise and a headache when they hear my voice.)

Need a roommate? If you are seeking someone to share your cabin, let FLY AWAY TRAVEL know -- they may have the name of someone else looking for a roommate. Talk to fellow members of your genealogical society and convince them they need to register for this week -- and don't forget to mention that you are looking for a roommate to share the expenses! I look forward to seeing some "old" friends and meeting new friends on the genealogy part of the cruise. There are still cabins left so reserve your spot now before they are gone. For more info: Genealogy Cruise http://www.genealogycruises.com/
Travel Agency http://www.flyawaytravel.com/
Royal Carribean http://www.royalcaribbean.com/

28 September 2007

Minnesota Genealogical Society Seminar St. Paul

Do you have a clear calendar for tomorrow, Saturday, September 29th? The annual MGSSeminar features well-known national lecturer, John Philip Colletta, PhD. The MGS website lists the topics and schedule. Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. along with refreshments.

More novels with a genealogy connection

A friend from Saskatchewan, Eileen Condon, shared more titles of genealogy novels. She mentioned "Killing Cousins by Gene Stratton (the author of Applied Genealogy). It's been around since 1989, but I'm not sure if anyone else has suggested it. I also read Bloodline by Fiona Mountain--had Barnes and Noble order it for me after reading a review in "People" magazine. Of all places to find a genealogical reference!!" The latter is subtitled A Natasha Blake Ancestor Detective Mystery.

Please share your suggestions for novels with a genealogy connection. Send them to me via e-mail or as a comment to this blog post. I am seeing some duplication, but that's OK -- it may be mean a higher recommendation for the novel.

For previous titles check here, here, and here

19 September 2007

Orphan Train Riders

Today's St. Paul Pioneer Press has an interesting article about the Orphan Trains. This Saturday the 47th annual Minnesota reunion of New York Orphan Train riders is being held in Little Falls, Minnesota. The plights of these children are often sombering.

For more info on the Orphan Trains, research tips, and other reunions, check these websites:
The Orphan Train Heritage Society of America which began back in 1986 in Springdale, Arkansas

National Orphan Train Complex which will have a museum and research center and will house the Orphan Train Heritage Society.

Many books and articles have been written on the orphan trains and the riders. A 1995 PBS special was produced under the American Experience series and titled The Orphan Trains. A transcipt is on the website.

18 September 2007

The Anniversary of Emoticons :-)

The Minneapolis Star Tribune had an article this morning about the 25th anniversary of the emoticon. I am sure it will bring further discussion of whether the man in the article was the first one to use the :-) to denote a smiley face in an electronic message. I figure that others will claim that title as this anniversary article makes it way around the country and the world. Carnegie Mellon professor Scott E. Fahlman first used that smiley face on September 19th, 1982.

I found the article interesting and thought you might, too. :-)

17 September 2007

United Kingdom Non-Conformist B, M, D

The National Archives of the United Kingdom has a new partnership with S&N Genealogy Supplies that gives researchers access to online images from non-parochial and non-conformist birth, marriages, and deaths from a variety of religious denominations covering 1567- into the 19th century. A basic search can be done at no cost, but to obtain extended information and to view the actual images, credits must be purchased. I typed in one of my English surnames, Copping, and found entries I will definitely be checking.

Read the full article here

16 September 2007


I have many things I love to do when researching both family history and history in general. One is going to an archive, library, or courthouse and working with the original records. Being there in person means I can get that special emotion from touching that original record. Being there onsite also means I can move on to other records when the first ones lead me in a new research direction. I also love to sit in my robe, looking out the windows at the deer, chipmunks, and squirrels while doing online research. To do a great job today, we really need to do both of these.

The Salt Lake Tribune recently carried an article on one of the newer entries into the world of online document images and indexing. Footnote.com and its history and aims was discussed. At the recent Federation of Genealogical Societies conference I won a year's subscription and am having fun with the site. On the Footnote main page scroll down a bit and on the left side you will see a link to "see all titles." Material is constantly being added.

11 September 2007

9/11 Remembered

Six years ago on 9/11, I was in Davenport, Iowa for the 2001FGS/Quad Cities Genealogical Conference. The conference was to begin the next day. A cadre of volunteers had been planning this conference for five years. I was sitting in my hotel room working on the first of the daily newsletters for that conference. I had the TV on but it was on mute. I looked up at one point and saw some pictures on the news that I figured were some archival footage. The telephone rang and it was Sue Kaufman, one of the conference publicity chairs. She asked if I had the TV turned on and broke the horrible news to me that the images I was seeing were current and not plane crashes from some old movie.

The rest of that day and the days that followed are still sort of blurry in my mind. The FGS Board decided to have the conference proceed. There were already hundreds of registrants onsite and they could not fly back home. Each day the same cadre of volunteers and additional folks rebuilt the next day’s sessions depending on which speakers had arrived in town. Several speakers who had airline flights cancelled, got into cars, some picked up others, and drove across several states to be with the rest of us. Some arrived without their suitcases. Registrants and exhibitors made similar efforts to reach the conference. The registrants were great – they accepted the ever-changing program. That daily newsletter turned out to be a vital daily update.

As a conference chair, I met with representatives of the police department and facility staff. A plan of action was determined and the main aim was to make sure people were OK and that the police would be guarding us – unobtrusively. The two federal buildings in the vicinity made this an important decision. I will never be able to listen to God Bless America again without crying. There were several renditions of it that week – including hundreds of us at once. A huge U.S. flag was hung in the lobby and a large TV was placed there by the convention center for us all to view what was going on. So many people were affected directly by the terror of that day and suffered losses of special family members and friends. The people who worked in the aftermath day in and day out in New York, Pennsylvania, and in Virginia at the Pentagon served their fellow men and women and many of those workers bear lasting scars. The men and women who still serve as our protectors deserve our thanks, no matter our political leaning.

The camaraderie and support evident that week in the Quad Cities is indelibly marked on my mind and that of the other 1,400 people who were at the conference. You know who you are – we have a special bond.

10 September 2007

Basic Genealogy Class in St. Paul

On Saturday, September 22nd, from 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m., I will be teaching Tracing Your Family History Online and Off. This class is held at the Minnesota Historical Society. The full class description is:

Do you need a refresher on research basics or are you just catching the genealogy bug? This session assists you in beginning to research your family history or updates what you already have learned. The extensive handout includes an abundance of useful Internet addresses and locations of places to do additional research. The class covers steps to take no matter what your ethnic origins happen to be. (I have at least seven in my background.) The importance of researching the greater family including the siblings of your great grandparents is demonstrated. You never know what surprises their records might hold.

Extensive PowerPoint visuals will show you the wealth of ancestral information found in censuses (1790–1930), records related to births, deaths, marriages, churches, probate, cemeteries, citizenship, and more. You will learn where to find these records both online and off. Some information is wonderfully close to home and – no matter where your family lived. Hear about the ever-changing face of genealogy research and have the opportunity to ask questions. It is never too late to too early to learn more about your family.

Visit the Minnesota Historical Society's website for cost and registration details. Click on Library and then on Library Classes.

07 September 2007

Genealogy TV Show -- Top Ratings

How popular is tracing family history? An article in today's Guardian Unlimited http://www.guardian.co.uk/ tells that the BBC show Who Do You Think You Are? drew a 30% audience share that translated to 6.5 million viewers last night.

I never thought I would see such a headline! Not that I didn't believe it could happen -- but to see it prominently placed in a newspaper is what I never thought could happen. To view the entire article, type "genealogy" in the newspaper's online search box.