30 November 2008

Index to Hudson, Wisconsin Newspapers

Earlier, I did a blog post about the death of Willis H. Miller of Hudson, Wisconsin. Kathy Deiss of the St. Croix Valley Genealogical Society sent details on the CD of his wonderful newspaper index. The cost is $29.95 plus $3.00 postage. Send your check to SCVGS, P.O. Box 396, River Falls, WI 54022. She said "it's a great resource. Three of our members spent untold hours, one drawer at a time, entering every detail. It truly is a treasure."

25 November 2008

Special Programs Highlight National Archives Records in January 2009

If you are going to be in (or live in!) the Washington, DC area in January, you might be interested in today's Press Release from the National Archives:

In January, the National Archives will feature a series of programs highlighting records from its holdings. All programs are free and open to the public and will be held in the National Archives Building and at the National Archives at College Park, Maryland.

Visitors to all programs in the National Archives Building Research Center (Room G-24) should use the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance, between 7th and 9th Streets, NW. The National Archives at College Park, MD is located at 8601 Adelphi Road. For directions to both locations, see: http://www.archives.gov/dc-metro.

Civil War Pension Files at Footnote.com
Tuesday, January 6, at 11 a.m.
Room G-24, Research Center (Enter on Pennsylvania Avenue)
Beau Sharbrough from Footnote.com will discuss the Civil War pension files recently scanned and published online through the partnership between the National Archives, Family Search, and Footnote.com. (This lecture will be repeated at the National Archives at College Park, MD, in the auditorium on Thursday, January 8, at 11 a.m.)

Introduction to Genealogy
Wednesday, January 7, at 11 a.m.
Room G-24, Research Center (Enter on Pennsylvania Avenue)
Archives staff will present a lecture on basic genealogical research in Federal records. This lecture occurs on the first Wednesday of the month and selected Saturdays. The next weekday lecture will take place on Wednesday, February 4.

The National Archives Experience "Digital Vaults" online interactive exhibition
Tuesday, January 13, at 11 a.m.
Room G-24, Research Center (Enter on Pennsylvania Avenue)
Suzanne Isaacs, digital projects coordinator for the National Archives Experience, will present features in the National Archives "Digital Vaults" exhibit. With a database of some 1,200 documents, photographs, drawings, maps, and other materials and a keywording system that visually links records, the Digital Vaults enables visitors to customize their exhibit experience and to create posters, movies, and games that can be shared by e-mail. (This lecture will be repeated at the National Archives at College Park, MD, in the auditorium on Thursday, January 15, at 11 a.m.)

Introduction to Genealogy
Saturday, January 24, at 10 a.m.
Room G-24, Research Center (Enter on Pennsylvania Avenue)
Archives staff will present a lecture on basic genealogical research in Federal records. This lecture occurs on select Saturdays and the first Wednesday of the month. The next weekend lecture will take place on Saturday, February 21.

"Help! I'm Stuck"
Saturday, January 24, noon-4 p.m.
Room G-24, Research Center (Enter on Pennsylvania Avenue)
An archivist with extensive experience in genealogy and the records of the National Archives will be available to assist with research questions. Please sign up for a 20-minute appointment at the Research Center. The next opportunity will be on Saturday, February 21.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
Tuesday, January 27, at 11 a.m.
Room G-24, Research Center (Enter on Pennsylvania Avenue)
Ramona Branch Oliver, FOIA/Privacy Act Officer for the National Archives, will discuss provisions of the Freedom of Information Act and how the statutes affect public access to both archival and operational records at the National Archives. (This lecture will be repeated at the National Archives at College Park, MD, in the auditorium on Thursday, January 29, at 11 a.m.).

23 November 2008

Willis H. Miller -- we have lost a champion of history and genealogy

The worlds of genealogy, history and newspapers have lost a great friend. Willis H. Miller of Hudson, Wisconsin, passed away last Sunday. His obituary reads like an autobiography and I am sure Willis worked on his own obituary over the years.

I met this amazing man many years ago and the minute someone mentions his name I immediately think "newspaper index." The newspaper that is synonymous with his name, the Hudson Star-Observer, carried this about the index, "He was instrumental in establishing, at the office of the Star-Observer, the Hudson Area Biographical Index, a comprehensive listing of names and information on some 200,000 Hudsonites, both living and dead. The index has caught the attention of historians, researchers and genealogists from throughout the nation over the years." The index is virtually a history of the area and does include some Minnesotans.

A celebration of his life takes place this coming week on what would have been his 90th birthday.

His obituary is in the Sunday, November 23rd issue of the St. Paul Pioneer Press and in many other newspapers in Wisconsin and Minnesota. This is the obituary that all of us should have -- but alas, the cost of publishing these is prohibitive.

21 November 2008

Vermont library adds a touch of modern convenience

What would a library add in today's world that would bring it into the 21st century? I am willing to bet you would say computers with internet access, an electronic catalog, or gasp, wireless internet. This library in Roxbury, Vermont is already ahead of many. Fooled you -- it already has wireless.

So, what has it added? Read this article to have a smile for this Friday.

20 November 2008

2009 is the Lincoln Bicentennial

Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky on February 12, 1809. Next year marks the 200th anniversary of that date. A year-long national celebration "Live the Legacy" is planned. Lectures, articles, displays, books, speeches, photos, and so much more are planned.

The Lincoln Bicentennial website is here. Most states have a liaison appointed and those are listed on the website as are activities, representatives working on the memorial year, a timeline of his life, projects and contests for kids, links and publications for learning more about Lincoln, and other items about his life, legacy, and how it is being commemorated.

18 November 2008

November Discount for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy 2009!

Still thinking about registering for the January 12-16, 2009 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy? Some courses are already full, and others are filling quickly! But, SLIG is offering a special deal for you.

From now until November 28, 2008, you can register with a $25 discount. This is a great opportunity to save on your registration fee.

Whether your interests are in a locality strategy, like the Gulf South States, England or Germany, or on improving your skills, like using the Internet or researching Beyond Libraries, the 2009 Institute has a course for you. Maybe you'll want to take advantage of a rarely offered course on Hispanic Research for Spain and Latin America. Or for more individual help, you might try American Research and Records or Problem Solving.

See the U.G.A. website at www.infouga.org for the latest registration information and details about each course.

Whatever your choice, the 2009 Institute will be a great experience!

Hope to see you at the 2009 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy!

Geoffrey Morris
Director 2009

12 November 2008

Canadian censuses being digitized and indexed!

FamilySearch [Family History Library] and Ancestry.com this week announced a joint project to bring more Canadian censuses online. In an agreement similar to the US census agreement announced by the two organizations in July 2008, FamilySearch will digitize and index Canadian census records that Ancestry has acquired, and Ancestry will provide FamilySearch with indexes and images for the 1851, 1891, 1901 and 1906 censuses.

These digitized and indexed records will then be made available to Ancestry members on the company’s website, and in time the indexes will also be available to the public at FamilySearch.org. By the end of next year [2009], it is anticipated that all publicly available Canadian Census 1851-1916 will be online. The full press release for this announcement is available here.

I am already making my lists of people to check in Montreal, Rawdon, and other places. Some are already available and for the first time I found a maternal great great grandfather listed with his parents.

03 November 2008

The story of Helen

Last week I had dinner with some long-time friends I met because of genealogy. Gene & Winnie Fernstrom have been friends for 26 years! And none of us has a gray hair, LOL. I asked Winnie how her Mother, Helen, was doing. Her 98 year old Mother was still going strong and playing cards. Helen never let adversity stop her from living and she passed this philosophy on to others.
Two nights after that dinner I received an e-mail. Helen had passed away just a couple of hours before. She suddenly took ill. Yep, I cried (as my sister would say, big surprise!). Over the past few years I got to know Helen better. I didn't see her frequently, but did spend time with her whenever I was doing lectures in Arizona where she had lived for most of the last 30 years. About a year and a half ago, her daughters wanted her to come back to Minnesota where they could take care of her.

When I would visit Gene & Winnie in Casa Grande, Arizona where they wintered with Helen, I was amazed at the activities in which Helen participated. Everyone else needed to rest, but Helen usually had evening plans such as dancing, bingo, cards or something else. She graciously stayed with neighbors and gave me her bedroom so I could stay and visit for a few days.

When my own Mother died this past January, it was different. Her long-term Alzheimer's had already taken her from us. Not so with Helen. Oh, at 98 she did get mixed up some, but overall, she was active til the end. She did have her moments - maybe it was her superior age that made her feel in charge of everything sometimes. However, I feel privileged to have known this more than spry woman. Her "never stop living" attitude is an example to us all.

01 November 2008

Autumn Ancestor Harvest Weekend, Minnesota Genealogical Society

Quarterly Genealogy Programs
MGS sponsors four events each year with guest speakers presenting programs on various aspects of genealogical research, tailored to meet the diverse needs of both beginning and experienced genealogists. These events are open to the public. MGS members receive discounts for most events as well as for most MGS class offerings.

Autumn Ancestor Harvest Weekend

November 20-21-22, 2008

Haven’t made time to use the excellent resources at the Minnesota Genealogical Society Library? Been there, but need some extra assistance? How about three days with special hours for your visit. Join MGS in November for a special three-day Autumn Ancestor Harvest at the Minnesota Genealogical Society Library in South Saint Paul, Minnesota. The focus of the event will be using the MGS Library to do your genealogical research. That means special hours for the library, special assistance from the ethnic branches, special interest groups, and a special speaker and consultant! You don’t even need a Minnesota ancestor, as MGS has many reference materials for other states and for many foreign countries. The majority of the collection is on open shelves, meaning you can do some great browsing.

Special Library Hours
  • Thursday November 20: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm and 6:30 - 9:30 pm
  • Friday November 21 (The library is normally not open on Friday): 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
  • Saturday November 22:
    • 8:00 am - 4:00 pm. (extended library hours)
    • 8:00 am Registration starts
    • 9:00 am MGS business meeting
    • 9:45 am George Findlen presentation

Saturday Special Ancestor Harvest

Special Assistance from Ethnic Branches

Need more reasons to come? The all-day Saturday ancestor harvest will include many short programs from most of the ethnic branch groups. Also, branch members will be on-hand in the library to help you understand the various specialized research materials each branch has. This is the day to get through some brick walls by getting help from the people who understand our ethnic offerings.

Special Interest Groups
Several existing Special Interest Groups will be presenting programs and new groups will be signing up members. The Writing Group will offer an entertaining session. An inaugural Research Study Group workshop will be led by MGS President Jay Fonkert. Jay and Tom Rice are interested in forming an ongoing Research Study Group and Jay will be glad to sign you up!

Also, members of the MGS Research Committee will be on hand to do brief sessions on using Ancestry.com for census and for immigration searches. This committee answers your email and regular mail inquiries. And talk to MGS members spearheading the formation of an African-American Interest Group and a Scottish Interest Group.

Saturday Special Speaker and Consultant
Do you live in the Metro area and use the MGS Library all the time? There is still something for you! George Findlen, a Certified Genealogist from neighboring Wisconsin, will present his first program in Minnesota.

George Findlen is a retired academic administrator who has served at nine colleges and universities in seven states over thirty years. In retirement, he has re-invented himself as a genealogist, becoming certified in 2005. In addition to researching his family and those of clients, he writes articles for publication and gives talks to genealogy groups. George specializes in the blended Acadian/French Canadian families of eastern Quebec. He also tries to stay out of trouble by volunteering at the Wisconsin Historical Society Library in the Microforms Room!

George’s talk is entitled: Finding What Can't Be Found: A Case Study in Whole Family Research. This talk describes all the reference works used by Acadian and French-Canadian researchers in an effort to identify the parents of a woman who is well-documented as a mother. The point of this segment of the talk is that a reliance upon secondary sources and on baptismal and marriage entries in parish registers often leads to dead-ends. George then describes an effort to examine the baptismal and marriage records of every one of the woman’s children and every one of her nephews and nieces, as well as the marriage records of all of the woman’s possible brothers and sisters. He finishes by illustrating how genealogists can use indirect evidence to establish a firm link between two generations. The talk is pure how-to and is aimed at an audience of researchers willing to go from intermediate skill to advanced. The talk is based on an article published in October 2008 issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly. While the talk is a case study about a French-Canadian family, many aspects can translate to other nationalities.

After his talk, George will be available for private consultations. He is especially knowledgeable on French-Canadian, New England, upper Midwest back-track to Canada, and the Midwest in general.

Check the MGS Website to learn more about the day including a chance to get your family recipe in a new ethnic cookbook and the used book sale.

Saturday Registration
Full-day registration (including lunch) is $20 in advance, $25 at the door.

Registration by mail ends Thursday, November 13. Registration by Credit Card or PayPal ends Saturday, November 15.

You may register at the door on the day of the meeting. Only checks and cash will be accepted.

Lunch on Saturday
Lunch is included in the registration fee and will be available on-site for most of the middle part of the day.

Live too far to drive to MGS each day?
Gather your friends and relatives at the Best Western Drovers Inn, 701 Concord St. So., South Saint Paul, MN 55075, one mile south of the MGS Library. Phone: 651-455-3600. Ask for the special MGS rate of $75.65. This room rate covers up to 4 people per room.

Minnesota Genealogical Society
1185 Concord St. N. Suite 218
South St. Paul, MN 55075-1187
(651) 455-9057