29 June 2009

Two days left to save on FGS Conference

Two Days Left to Save on an Exciting Genealogy Conference

Wednesday, July 1st is an important date. That is the last day to register with a savings of $50.00 for the exciting Federation of Genealogical Societies 2009 “Conference for the Nation’s Genealogists.” The September 2-5 event is being held in Little Rock, hosted by the Arkansas Genealogical Society. The hospitality features of this conference will make us all feel right at home!

• Who is invited? Anyone interested in genealogy and history. Family historians, genealogy dabblers, professional genealogists, geneabloggers, librarians, archivists, Civil War buffs, and writers are already registered.

• What will be there? Almost 200 lectures, workshops, special events, meals, and other things to do over 4 days. Learn from top genealogists, librarians, and archivists from all over the U. S. Mingle with folks that will listen to your genealogy stories.

• Need more reasons? Find out how to interpret old documents, figure out where that land deed is today, understand the workings of the U.S. National Archives, hear about digitizing records, determine if ancestors served in the Revolutionary or Civil wars, get a sneak preview of new software and databases, and become energized to dig more thoroughly to find and document your family and community history.

• Gain knowledge about family history records and resources that are online and the billions of pieces of paper that are not online yet but hold ancestral details.

To register please visit www.fgsconference.org. The conference also has a news blog that carries vital details, updates, news, and FAQs along with a way to make your own comments and post questions that will be answered. For the blog visit www.fgsconferenceblog.org.

Paula Stuart-Warren
National Publicity Chair
FGS/AGS 2009 Conference

25 June 2009

Sam Weller of Sam Weller's Bookstore fame passes away

Just this past March I blogged about the closing of Sam Weller's bookstore in Salt Lake City. A visit to Sam Weller's was a tradition for many genealogically minded visitors to Salt Lake City and locals checked there every so often for a genealogy gem or two. It was a general bookstore with many other types of books, a section for those of the LDS faith, but my areas were the travel, genealogy, and history books. The used genealogy books often included some that were quickly picked up by shoppers.

Now comes word in yesterday and today's Salt Lake Tribune that Sam Weller has passed away. If you ever visited the bookstore in any of its former locations, please read the neat article and the stories shared in the comments sections. One more independent bookstore owner and store gone.

New Orleans Public Library's Louisiana Biography and Obituary Index now fully online

This press release appeared online this morning. Don’t forget that many immigrants to this country arrived at the port of New Orleans. Many then ventured up the Mississippi River to their new homes. U.S. residents may have spent some time in New Orleans as they journeyed on the water from the East Coast to the West Coast and vice versa. This is one index I have dreamed of using because much of it was a WPA (Work Projects Administration) indexing project in the late 1930 as part of FDR’s New Deal program. Since that time, librarians have made extensive additions to the index. The library’s website includes information on ordering copies of articles the index references.

“The New Orleans Public Library's Louisiana Division is pleased to announce that its "Louisiana Biography and Obituary Index" is now available online.

The original Index, which references obituaries appearing in New Orleans newspapers, 1805-1972, and selected biographical references in a variety of published sources, is a massive card file of some 650,000 cards, most of which include multiple references. The online version, a searchable database of the card index, is the result of a nearly 10-year-long collaboration between NOPL and The Historic New Orleans Collection, which funded the project and produced the database and the web interface. While names from about the first third of the alphabet have been searchable online for a number of years, the database is now complete. Names can be searched from Aachler, Fred E. to Zyzik, Pauline Wyplor. We are finally done.

To search the index (and find out more about the project), please link to http://neworleanspubliclibrary.org/obits/obits.htm. (If you have the original version of the index linked or bookmarked, please note that the link has changed, since the completed index has moved to a new server.)

Irene Wainwright
Archivist, Louisiana Division/City Archives
New Orleans Public Library
219 Loyola Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70112

24 June 2009

The clock is ticking -- 8 days left for discount on FGS Conference

It once seemed to be in the distant future. The countdown clock has been ticking. July 1st is the very last day to register with a discount for the Federation of Genealogical Societies 2009 Conference and save big on a full conference registration. It is only $175.00 if you register by then. Divide that amount by four full days of conference activities with all those lectures to choose from and it is a educational bargain. This is a "Conference for the Nations' Genealogists."

Go to www.fgsconference.org and register online. If you print the registration form and mail it in, be sure it is postmarked on or before July 1, 2009.

If you are registering online you may do that using your Visa, Master Card, or Discover charge cards. The system does not accept debit cards.

Of course, registrations will be accepted after July 1 but the discount will be gone. Register now and join all the other genealogists from Arkansas and from states all over the country at this genealogical, educational, and networking bonanza from September 2-5 in Little Rock, Arkansas.

15 June 2009

Smithsonian workers identify Buffalo Soldier's remains

Today's Washington Post carries the story of remains found in New Mexico that were identified and the steps that were involved. The young man was a Buffalo Soldier, one of many African American men who served in the U.S. army in the "west." The bones and skull had to be matched after those from this young man and others had been disturbed. It's unfortunate that people still distub the resting places of those who have gone before us. But the end result of this case is just one more example of how modern scientific methods can help piece history together, not just for Thomas Smith, but for others, too.

The Post article reported "But his grave outside an abandoned New Mexico fort had been violated. His bones were scrambled. And investigators believe his skull, still with most of its hair, became a relic hunter's trophy before it was returned to authorities in a paper bag.

Last month, experts working at the Smithsonian Institution matched the young man's skull with a skeleton exhumed from the fort's cemetery, solving a gruesome mystery of looted graves, purloined artifacts, and life and death on the old frontier.

It was part of a project of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History and federal land, water and law enforcement agencies looking into the decades-long ransacking of the cemetery outside Fort Craig, in New Mexico."

The story is fascinating -- click here to read it in full.

14 June 2009

The Genealogy Guys Podcast LIVE at FGS in Little Rock!

The Genealogy Guys Podcast, the longest regularly running genealogy podcast in the world, will be recording a LIVE session on Thursday, September 3rd at 3:30 PM during this year's Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference. You can be in the audience and submit questions for possible inclusion in the episode! The Genealogy Guys are George G. Morgan and Drew Smith. Both George and Drew are heavily involved in genealogy and have long been volunteers in the field. Each is an accomplished author, lecturer, and downright nice guy.

For more details check the FGS Conference Blog.

12 June 2009

Civilian Personnel Records from Federal Agencies Open for Research

This press release from the U.S. National Archives was just received:

National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis Opens Agency Civilian Personnel Records to the Public

The National Archives' National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) opened more than 6 million individual personnel files of former federal civilian employees from the mid-1800s through 1951. These records will be of special interest to genealogists, family members, researchers, sociologists, and historians.

Among the records are the files of prominent individuals who worked for the federal government, such as Walt Disney, Ansel Adams, Eliot Ness, Calvin Coolidge, J. Edgar Hoover, Gifford Pinchot, Walker Evans, and Albert Einstein.

Ronald L. Hindman, Director of NPRC characterized these records "as a veritable treasure-trove of information for researchers and genealogists." He continued, "There are records from more than one hundred government agencies now available for discovery. They showcase the careers of government employees who investigated bootleggers; taught at Indian schools; worked in Japanese-American interment camps, in prisons, and on anti-prostitution boards, and created and implemented initiatives in Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal agencies, among others."

These documents open a window into America's past. Examples include:

* From the Bureau of Indian Affairs-- "The food the children had to eat was not clean. The school was dismissed at irregular hours; sometimes the children would not get home till half past five in the evening."

* From the War Relocation Authority-- a job description: "The qualifications of the registrant: the ability to assume responsibility in the management and operation of a large community and composed entirely of one isolated racial group under war conditions and in the face of adverse public sentiment is a highly essential qualification."

* From the Department of Justice-- a Prohibition Agent in the 1930's was found guilty of consuming liquor and shooting a bootlegger in the leg as the bootlegger tried to escape in his Model "A" Ford Coupe.

This opening of 6 million files adds to the existing collection of more than 9 million military personnel files that are already available for research and is another step in the creation of the largest archival repository in the United States outside the National Archives in the Washington, DC area. In late 2010, the records will be moved to a state-of-the-art repository on Dunn Road, in suburban St Louis County, Missouri.

To purchase a copy of a particular record, send a written request to NPRC, Civilian Personnel Records, 111 Winnebago Street, St. Louis, Missouri 63118-4199. The request should include the requester's contact information, the former federal employee's full name, date of birth, name of employing agency, and period of employment. Copies of the records can be purchased for either $20 or $60, depending upon the size of the record. Most records will fall into the $60 range. Once a request has been submitted, contact us at mpr.status@nara.gov with any questions.

Visitors to NPRC in St. Louis can make an appointment to view these records for free in the Archival Research Room. Visitors interested in doing so should call 314-801-0850 to schedule an appointment.

10 June 2009

2009 Historic Additions to the National Recording Registry

The places to find snippets or full reproductions of music albums, plays, movies and other entertainment industry history are voluminous. The U.S. Library of Congress is just one of those places. The LOC has announced the recent additions to the National Recording Registry. Click here for the full story and links. I have the original cast recording from West Side Story -- the actual album. And now that I have read this story, Etta James singing "At Last" will be in my mind all day.

June 9, 2009

The Sounds of American Life and Legend Are Tapped for the Seventh Annual National Recording Registry

The unforgettable lyrics of a Broadway and movie classic, the historic recital of one of the nation’s greatest contraltos, and the speech that warned of "an iron curtain" descending across the continent have made the list of recordings that have been identified as cultural, artistic and historical treasures to be preserved for future generations. Today, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington named the 25 new additions to the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress as part of its efforts to ensure that the nation’s aural history is not lost or forgotten.

Under the terms of the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000, the Librarian, with advice from the Library’s National Recording Preservation Board (NRPB), is tasked with selecting 25 recordings that are "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant," and are at least 10 years old. The selections for 2008 bring the total number of recordings in the registry to 275.

"This year’s selections lovingly reflect the diversity and humanity of our sound heritage where astonishing discoveries and a vibrant creative spirit seem to appear around every corner," said Billington. "Our daily lives and memories are suffused with the joyous notes of recorded sound, making these choices extremely difficult. The Library, in collaboration with others, will now work to ensure that these cultural touchstones are preserved for future generations to hear and experience."

The list of recordings named to the registry features a diverse selection of spoken and musical recordings that span the years 1908-1966. They cover a broad scope of the American soundscape, encompassing the nation’s rich tapestry of imaginative and disparate voices.

Among the selections are Marian Anderson’s recital at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939; Mary Margaret McBride’s interview with Zora Neale Hurston; the sounds of the ivory-billed woodpecker in the Louisiana swamp forest, the last confirmed aural evidence of what was once the largest woodpecker species in the United States; studio recordings of violinist Jascha Heifetz from 1917-24; the recording credited with launching the American audiobook industry, "A Child’s Christmas in Wales"; Etta James’ "At Last" crossover masterpiece; Winston Churchill’s "Sinews of Peace" speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri; and the original cast recording of "West Side Story."

Additions to the registry also feature notable performances by The Who, Oran "Hot Lips" Page, the Andrew Sisters, Ray Bolger, Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks.

08 June 2009

Archives of the Rocky Mountain News

In February, the almost 150 year old Rocky Mountain News closed its doors. It is just one of the many recent newspaper casualties. What happens to the records, clippings, reference files, photos, and other material that such newspapers had? In the case of the RMN, several online sources report that agreements are in the works for transfer of the materials.

The Associated Press reports that the Denver Public Library will house the newspaper's "digital and paper clipping files, microfilm reels, digital and photographic files, and marketing materials and correspondence." I am presuming that the collection might be part of the excellent Western History and Genealogy department.

The Colorado Historical Society, based in Denver, would take "other artifacts like signs, photographs, special editions, and other historical documents."

Many large newspapers have/had in-house libraries and/or archives where reporters did a lot of the research for articles. Not all get saved, so it is great to see one newspaper archives being saved.

03 June 2009

Wordless Wednesday (Well, close to it.)

First cousins David Gustafson and Paula Stuart. Both of us were born in 1948, but Dave is 6 weeks older as I keep reminding him. We are on the swing in our Grandma and Grandpa Stuart's basement at 2019 Princeton Ave. in St. Paul, Minnesota. Grandpa kept his basement so clean you could eat off the floor.

Annual British Institute

The 9th Annual British Institute ----- Offering Irish and English Research The courses are taught by experts in their field of genealogy research.

The International Society for British Genealogy & Family History (ISBGFH) is sponsoring the ninth annual British Institute in Salt Lake City, October 5-9, 2009. The Institute will be held at the Crystal Inn, 230 West 500 South. Two courses will be taught by leading authorities: David Rencher,CG,AG,FUGA and Barbara Baker,AG .

The week-long courses titles are: Rencher Governmental Records of Ireland and Baker Finding Your English Ancestors.

Early registration fee before June 30 for either course is $415 for ISBGFH members, $435 for non-members. See the Web site for more information http://www.isbgfh.org/. The tuition includes individual consultations with instructors and on-site assistance in the Family History Library. All tuitions include the banquet to be held on Monday evening, October 5.

For registration and course description details, visit the website at www.isbgfh.org; or write to ISBGFH, P.O. Box 350459, Westminster, CO 80035-0459.

01 June 2009

USCIS Releases Alien Files to NARA

I just received this press release from the National Archives. Now I know what a friend at the USCIS has been working one. Thanks to everyone involved in this!

June 1, 2009

Signing Ceremony Permits Millions of Alien Files to Become Permanent Records at the National Archives

WHO: Adrienne Thomas, Acting Archivist of the United States; Gregory Smith, Associate Director, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; Jennie Lew, Director of Communications, Save Our National Archives

WHAT: A joint signing ceremony between the National Archives and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services at the National Archives will designate as permanent the immigration files created on the millions of aliens residing in the United States in 1944, as well as those arriving since then. These Alien Case Files (commonly referred to as A-Files) document the famous, the infamous, the anonymous and the well-known, and are an historical and genealogical goldmine. The new agreement authorizes the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services/Department of Homeland Security to send A-files to the National Archives when 100 years have passed since the birthdate of the subject of a file.

The National Archives expects to receive the first transfer of A-files later this year, and will store the files at National Archives facilities in San Francisco and Kansas City. Researchers will be able to access the files at these two sites, or request copies of files. An index will be available to support research use.

The A-files are a key to unlocking the fascinating stories of millions of people who traveled to the United States in search of opportunity. They include information such as photographs, personal correspondence, birth certificates, health records, interview transcripts, visas, applications and other information on all non-naturalized alien residents, both legal and illegal. The files are of particular interest to the Asian American community because many A-files supplement information in Chinese Exclusion Act era case files (1882-1943) that are already housed at the National Archives.

The signing ceremony is an important first step in the preservation of the approximately 32 million records that were originally scheduled for disposal. At the ceremony, the National Archives will have samples of the alien registration form that was used to create the A-files. The form requests detailed information revealing valuable material for researchers and family historians, such as the alien's current name, the name that he or she used when entering the ountry, marital status, occupation, name and address of employer, height, weight, and date and place of birth.

WHERE: Room 105, National Archives Building
700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20408
Please use the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance.

WHEN: 11:30 AM
Wednesday, June 3, 2009