30 December 2010

Genealogist Terrence Punch receives Canadian recognition

The Governor General of Canada, announced 54 new appointments to the Order of Canada and one of them is a family historian! According to the press release, "The Order of Canada, one of our country's highest civilian honours, was established in 1967, during Canada's centennial year, to recognize a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to community and service to the nation."

Terrence Punch of Halifax, Nova Scotia was appointed "for his contributions to the development and popularization of genealogy in the Atlantic provinces." Terrence has written extensively in relation to genealogical research in Atlantic Canada.

I met Terrence back in 1989 right here in St. Paul, Minnesota when the Minnesota Genealogical Society hosted the National Genealogical Society Conference in May of that year and have enjoyed his writing. Congratulations on this honor.

Read the full press release here. Thanks to colleague Dave Obee for the news posting on Facebook.

28 December 2010

FGS appoints new FORUM editor

A press release from the Federation of Genealogical Societies with some exciting news.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Selects Family History and Publishing Expert to Head its Electronic Quarterly Magazine

December 27, 2010 – Austin, TX. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) today announces the appointment of Matt Wright as Editor of its electronic quarterly magazine, the FGS FORUM.

For the past 15 years, Wright has worked professionally in the publishing industry producing magazines, journals, books, and electronic newsletters. Matt graduated cum laude from Brigham Young University (BYU) in 1996 with a degree in Communications and currently works at BYU, where he builds online courses in the University’s distance education department.

During his career, Matt has also worked for FamilyLink.com, Ancestry.com, Utah Business magazine, and

22 December 2010

New York Genealogical and Biographical Society names new editors!

I receive many important press releases and love to share the genealogical and historical news. I take special pleasure in posting this press release. It involves two friends. I have known Laura for just a few years and have been impressed with her work ethic and great spirit. I have known Karen for about twenty years and we have spent time at each other's home, have worked together in business and volunteer work, and I admire her dedication. They are already hard at work on the upcoming issues. Congratulations my friends!

NEW YORK -  The New York Genealogical and Biographical Society has selected Laura Murphy DeGrazia, CG, and Karen Mauer Green as the new co-editors of The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, replacing Patricia Law Hatcher who retired after completing the October 2010 issue. The NYG&B Record, issued continuously since 1870, is the second oldest genealogical publication in America and one of the field’s most

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Fun with relatives

In the early 1980s as more grandchildren came along and my parents went through a tough time after my Dad's serious illness, we cut back on gifts. We began choosing names. Also, we started playing the "dice game."

Each person was to bring several gifts valued at about $1.00 each and wrapped in newspaper. They were all dumped into a pile and if you shook doubles, seven, or eleven with the dice, you got to take a wrapped prize. When they were all gone, you unwrapped them, picked out 2-3 to save and put the rest in front of you. Then the dice went around again for about 15 minutes. Doubles, seven, or eleven meant you got to "steal" an unprotected gift from someone else. Certain gifts kept getting "taken" by others. Grandma Gert (Cook) Hanley always looked forward to this game. There were always a few "special gifts." No one really wanted

20 December 2010

Madness Monday: Football in the cold

I am not talking about ancestors here. Well, maybe someday my descendants will think I was mad. My inspiration for this is the recent collapse of the Metrodome here in Minnesota and the subsequent need for the Minnesota Vikings to play tonight's football game in the cold at the new stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota. Last weekend's 15-18 inch snows, coupled with an inflated dome roof (now deflated) already beyond its supposed life span, is the reason that the Minnesota Vikings will play the Chicago Bears outdoors. People have

18 December 2010

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Christmas Stockings

Christmas stockings have always been a favorite of mine. I loved getting the huge oranges in mine as a child. We didn't have a fireplace or a staircase so they were always pinned to the back of one couch.

Once I was married I made stockings for me, my husband, and as they were born, for our three children. We didn't have a fireplace in either of our homes but in the second home we had a beautiful wooden staircase with the old fashioned spindles where the stockings "were hung with care." I really miss that special place in our 1907 house for the stockings.

Now I just do stockings for the four grandchildren. If they are not with me on Christmas morning I call them

Who Do You Think You Are? U.S. 2011 edition begins February 4th

 December 16, 2010
Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, Rosie O’Donnell, Steve Buscemi, Kim Cattrall, Lionel Richie, Vanessa Williams and Ashley Judd Take a Look Inside Their Family Histories on NBC’s Genealogy Alternative Series Produced by Lisa Kudrow

UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. – December 16, 2010 – Viewers can take an up-close and personal look inside the family history of some of today’s most beloved and iconic celebrities when NBC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?” returns for its second season on Friday, February 4 (8-9 p.m. ET).  The celebrities who star in the series are Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, Rosie O’Donnell, Steve Buscemi, Kim Cattrall, Lionel Richie, Vanessa Williams and Ashley Judd.

17 December 2010

Give your genealogical society a Christmas gift

Do any of you have your genealogical society (or maybe more than one) on your Christmas gift list or for end of the year donations?

Does your society have a wish list of books, CDs, databases, or equipment? Add something from that list to your last minute shopping. Have you noticed that no one has been helping with refreshments at the meeting?. Offer to do that for a year. Maybe you could offer to help staff a "Q & A" table at meetings or teach a class.

Has there been a drop in the number of members? Offer to send emails to those with lapsed memberships. Maybe you could offer your technology skills to update the computer that is causing problems or assist with the upkeep of the website.

Might your society benefit from some sort of fundraiser? How about chairing a silent auction in 2011. This means soliciting items for the auction and overseeing things on the day it is held.

You could combine a gift to your society with a New Year's resolution to get some of your family research into print. Offer to write an article next year for a society publication and use your own research as the topic. It's a bit of a selfish gift but so worthwhile.

Is your time quite limited due to family, work, and church or school obligations? Any society would appreciate a gift of a check. Whether it is for $25.00, $50.00 or more, it will be put to good use.

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Family Celebrations

I was just thinking about how our family Christmas celebrations have changed over the years. As parts of the family added children, older family members died, and spouses were added the who, when, and where varied.

Until I had been married a few years Christmas Eve was always celebrated with my Dad's side of the family. This meant Grandma and Grandpa Stuart, Aunt Dorothy's family, and Aunt Jean's family. Christmas Day was celebrated with Mom's side of the family. When I was very young that included my Grandma and Grandpa Hanley, Aunt Jeanie, Grandaunt Catherine, and even my great grandmother we called Nana. In the late 1950s

15 December 2010

40 Best Genealogy Blogs nominee!

In the July 2011 Family Tree Magazine, they will name the "40 Best Genealogy Blogs—the Family Tree 40." I am honored to be among the nominees. Now I need your vote and please do vote for your other favorites, too!I like this way of letting other genealogists know about the many bloggers who share knowledge, experience, and tips with other researchers.

To vote, use the survey at www.surveymonkey.com/s/ft40-2011voting.

The nominees are divided into eight categories. In each category, please choose five blogs (you'll get an error message if you choose too many). Thomas MacEntee has prepared the full list on another blog and he added the author/editor of each blog. Click here for that list.

Voting is open until 11:59 p.m. Monday, Dec. 20. You may vote multiple times.(That's Family Tree Magazine's phrase -- not mine, but of course I think it is a great idea.)

Research in original records

Yesterday when I was at the Minnesota Historical Society I noticed something that made me smile. I saw more than a dozen people sitting at tables researching in original records. Most of them stayed at it for many hours, going through file folders of records or multiple volumes of records. Others arrived later in the day to stay through the evening hours. I have no way of knowing exactly what they were working on, but it was exciting to see so many boxes of original records being used.

So often today, researchers including genealogists, historians, editors, writers, and others turn to online resources. I do that too. But the gems in those millions of files and record volumes at historical societies, archives, courthouses, and libraries are also waiting for us. I have no official statistics, but I would venture a guess that only a smidgen of those items have been microfilmed and/or digitized.

Even better is that this is a great time of year to do this type of research. Others are busy being in the holiday mood and that opens up lots of space and staff assistance time for dedicated researchers. Keep this in mind for 2011. From Thanksgiving week through New Year's Day is a great time to research. Many of these places have an online presence that includes a catalog, other finding aids, and some other clues to the records they hold.

10 December 2010

Update from FamilySearch

Some neat images and additional indexing is being reported.

FamilySearch Wraps Up Genealogical Gifts for the Holiday Season

Nearly 4 million images added from 7 countries
Nearly four million new digital images are now available on Beta.FamilySearch.org. These collections include the first images from South Africa, as well as records from Brazil, Canada, Germany, Guatemala, the Netherlands, and the United States. About 1.7 million of these records are indexed.See the chart below for

09 December 2010

Advent Calendar: Visit the historical society for Christmas gifts

Your Christmas gift to a relative or friend could be historical in nature. Do you remember the last time you visited the county or state historical society's gift shop? I love to browse in these. It might be the perfect place to purchase some of your Christmas gifts as I have done.

Many of these shops give discounts to members of the historical society. Maps, calendars, notecards, photographs, artwork, sculptures, jewelry, glassware, clocks, music, quilts, samplers, cookbooks, and foods made in the area. 

Much of these will have historical connections, some will be created or written by local artists and authors. Books on the history of baseball, county and state fairs, historic homes, inventions, and famous individuals born in the state are big sellers. A book or pamphlet might tell the story of a specific ethnic group or religion in the state. Key chains, ornaments, and knick-knacks that portray something related to the history of the county or the state make good stocking stuffers

For children, it might be a coloring book, paper dolls, or an activity book that is history related. Many of these gift shops have reproductions of old fashioned toys and dolls.

FamilySearch.org closer to changing

Over at the Ancestry Insider, the AI reports that the time is drawing close. That is, "FamilySearch is readying to replace www.familysearch.org with beta.familysearch.org possibly before the end of the year. “[The] FamilySearch website will change to a new version by [the] end of 2010,” says a December newsletter sent to Salt Lake area family history consultants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints."

To read the AI's full comments click here. You might also want to read through some of the past posts there to learn more about the changes, procedures, and for tips that will help you use the new site.

I have mixed feelings about this change -- but then again, we all get used to the status quo and may be just a bit reluctant to have things change. As with all other things, it will take time to get used to the new version. I do love all the records images and indexes on the beta site.

06 December 2010

One week till the NEW U.S. National Archives website debut

Just received this press release from the National Archives. Note that you can click on the link to get a preview. I think that the overall look is less cluttered. I can't wait to work on the full website next week!                                     
December 6, 2010
National Archives Web Site Gets New Look
Archives.gov Site Transformation to go live on December 13, 2010
Washington, DC… The National Archives and Records Administration will launch a redesigned Archives.gov web site on December 13, 2010, as part of its flagship Open Government Initiative.   
An interactive preview of the redesigned Archives.gov is online at:   archives.gov/open/redesign/preview/

02 December 2010

Registration is open for the 2011 NGS Conference

Registration for the 2011 National Genealogical Society Family History Conference opened yesterday. It will be held in the Charleston Area Convention Center, 5001 Coliseum Drive, North Charleston, South Carolina, 11–14 May. The convention center is conveniently located near the Charleston International Airport (CHS) and is surrounded by a number of hotels with restaurants and outlet stores nearby. Historic Charleston is twenty minutes away via taxi or shuttle service.

Click here for more details and to see the full program.

Advent Calendar: Christmas Food Memories

Baking from scratch has always been one of my passions. Cut-out sugar Christmas cookies were always high on the list. I had a large collection of cookie cutters, the good ones that were metal and cut through the dough very nicely. I loved to make cookies when I still lived with my parents and continued that once I was married and had children.

It was Christmas tradition to make and decorate the sugar cookies with my children. Over the years we lived in two different houses but neither had a kitchen with much space. Thus, we had tv trays set up for cookies to cool and for decorating. When they were small, the cookies were, shall we say, interesting. But it was fun to see their grandparents ooh and ah over whatever the children presented to them. The mess was something else. Who knew sprinkles and icing could end up everywhere! My daughter has taken over the family baking in recent years. She always made what we called 6 layer bars for my mother.

01 December 2010

Advent Calendar: Christmas Tree Memories

My plan for this December is to be a better participant in the Geneabloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories. This will be a way for me to tell my children and grandchildren about Christmas in my youth and to remind them about some wonderful Christmases in their past.

I grew up in a rambler on Bowdoin Street in St. Paul that had three huge side-by-side living room windows. This was the perfect place for a tree. And for my parents, especially my Mom, that had to be the perfect tree. I think Dad was pretty particular, too but she was more so. It was always the coldest day of December when we would venture to the tree lot. I remember going to one at the corner of Snelling and St. Clair at the edge of the Macalester College campus for many years. We looked and looked till we found the best tree (short needles of course) and if there were a few spots that needed a branch or two, we purchased extra branches. My Dad would then drill holes for these "additions."

The tree would be positioned in front of the windows, Dad would do the lights, and then we three girls would get to hang the ornament. That was always so much fun to see these wonders we hadn't seen in a year. Mom and Dad would make some adjustments if we didn't have them spaced too well! Then came the tinsel. Tons of tinsel. BUT each piece had to be run through our fingers to make sure it was perfectly straight, not twisted or tangled. The result was a tree that was wondrous. We would turn off the room lights and sit on the couch and beam at our work. The background was all the snow in our large front yard.

28 November 2010

Genealogists, who are you!

It's the time of year when genealogists salivate about all the relatives they see on the various holidays. I thought about something this morning and realized I am guilty of neglecting someone very important. That would be me. Will my descendants know about my first bike, the places I lived, my elementary and high schools that no longer exist, the various jobs I have held, my first boyfriend, my fear of water, Christmas in my youth, my wedding, the time I loved spending with my grandparents and great grandparents, the teachers I had, and so many other things?

Oh how I wish those grandparents and I had talked about family history. Would I have listened? Why don't I talk more about the past with my own grandchildren?

I now have a file (on my computer that is labeled "Paula Stuart Warren Her Story." The format is an expanded timeline. I list things by year (approximate year) in some cases and then have a few brief words about an event or other item. Eventually I will pull out the old photos and use them to expand on it. A few entries will be expanded to tell more of the story. I have worked on this timeline on and off today. It it addictive.

My challenge to you is to begin such a timeline as a Christmas gift to yourself and to future generations. Once you start, it will be difficult to stop adding to it.

26 November 2010

Imagine this family group sheet in the future!

100 years from now a family genealogist is looking at a family group sheet posted on whatever the technology of the day is. The first thing the budding genealogist notices is that somehow in the one ancestral family branch the father, mother, and child have all been given the same day of birth, November 24th. This genealogist has already taken some classes from the experts of the day and knows to question such a thing. Did the person doing the earlier research make some mistakes when doing the data entry? Was there an error made by the hospital clerk who did the data entry into the state's master birth files? The genealogist realizes that the person who compiled the family group sheet did not cite the sources and wonders why those folks back in 2010 didn't do that?

Then the future era genealogist notices that the mother's surname is the same as the father's surname. Didn't those earlier genealogists realize that these are supposed to list the maiden name of the mother? 

So research begins to ascertain the correct days of birth for this family and the maiden name of the mother. The index to the Minnesota birth records and, of course, digitized information from all the 20th and 21st century births for the state are easily accessible on her home digimatic machine.

Whoa, Mom's birth surname is the same as the Dad's. And all three have the same date of birth. Could this be true? Well, next the digimatic is checked for the back files of everything that was on those old televisions. There is a story on November 26th, 2010 that tells the story of the baby being born on November 24th, the same birthday as both his parents. Maybe everything that is found on this newfangled technology isn't too bad. It even says the Mom and Dad have the same surname.

True? Yes, the story appeared today on one of my local TV stations today, KARE 11. You may read the full story about Jamal White, Jr. and his parents here: www.kare11.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=884952.

States where I have lectured

I have presented all-day seminars or lectured at genealogy conferences or institutes in 32 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia. South Carolina is included in that number but that won't be factual until May for the NGS Conference in Charleston.

So far, I have not had the opportunity to do such presentations in 18 states and those are Alabama, Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota (yes, my next door state!), West Virginia, and Wyoming.

No matter where I have spoken, it has been a great experience. People involved in genealogy and history are always so much fun, interesting, and we never run out of things to talk about!

22 November 2010

States I have visited

In the summer of 2009 I was fortunate to be in two more states, Maine and New Hampshire. I have now visited all of the mainland 48 states. I have not been to Hawaii or Alaska and I hope to do so! I thought about this recently as one of my nephews asked me about one of the states where I recently lectured. He has only been in a few states.

That made me realize how lucky I am to have been in most of the states. I love this country and have never had a bad visit. Some of these states were visited when I was a senior in high school, on family vacations with our children, others researching family history for me or clients, and yet others where I presented all-day seminars or lectured at a genealogy conference. I have visited some states several times and lectured in others more than once.

Late this week I will list the states where I have and have not presented lectures. Then in another post I will talk about states where I have researched on site.

18 November 2010

15 million new records indexed at FamilySearch Beta

A nice press release just received from FamilySearch!

A Lot to Be Thankful For: 15 Million New Indexed Genealogical Records

November 17, 2010

Digital images and indexes include 34 collections from 13 countries
The collection of indexes and images available on FamilySearch’s beta website continues to grow by leaps and bounds, with the addition of 34 collections of genealogical records. These records include 15 million indexed records and 2.5 million images. The bounty of information covers 13 different countries around the world: Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala, Brazil, France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Jamaica, Canada, and the United States. Search these records now at Beta.FamilySearch.org.

You may read the full list at https://news.beta.familysearch.org/node/1001 but here are several from the full list to whet your research appetite!

Germany, Bremen Passenger Departure Lists, 1904-1914 44,465 44,315 New images and records
Guatemala, Guatemala City, Sagrario Parish Baptisms, 1898-1920 7,748 0 New images added to existing collection

U.S., New York State Census, 1905 0 3,601,920 New records for the following counties:  Albany, Bronx, Broome, Columbia, Essex, Franklin, Greene, Hamilton, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, New York, Onondaga, Oswego, Seneca, Warren and Yates. This release completes this collection.
U.S., New York, Eastern District Naturalization Petitions, 1865-1957 0 675,035 Index only. Data courtesy of Footnote.com
U.S., New York, Western District, Naturalization Index, 1907-1966 0 89,554 Index only. Data courtesy of Footnote.com
U.S., Oklahoma, Applications for Enrollment of the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914 0 882,272 Index only. Data courtesy of Footnote.com

17 November 2010

Thanksgiving interviews

Are you getting ready for Thanksgiving and all the holidays that follow in the next several weeks? Don't forget to prepare some oral history questions to ask the relatives. I have some questions to ask the women in your family. Pick two or three to ask during dinner.

To add more to the flavor of the women in your family history, ask some emotion producing questions. Grandmothers, mothers, aunts, and cousins can add much to the family memories. Do it before these strong women are gone from this life. I wish I had asked my Grandma Gert what it was like to be 21 when women earned the right to vote in 1922. I would have had asked her mother, Nana, for details on growing up without a mother and why did they leave Canada. (She undoubtedly would have detailed all the relatives they used to visit in Montreal and Rawdon.) Some suggested areas of questions:
  • What was it like to raise a family of 9 without electricity? (Or without inside plumbing, or something else)
  • What was it like to vote for the first time (those alive when women got the right to vote)
  • What was it like to make the decision to leave your home country and come to the U.S., Canada, England, or _____
  • What was it like to walk the picket line during the ___ strike?
  • What were the family dinners like as you were growing up?

14 November 2010

Free advertising for society events

What could be better than free advertising?! On top of being free, this free advertising reaches thousands of readers. Don't you want more members and more folks registered for your seminars?

The Federation of Genealogical Societies offers just such an opportunity. Your event listing has the potential of appearing in the FGS Voice blog, FGS Voice monthly newsletter, and in the quarterly FGS Forum. Read more about this by clicking here.

Someone might read the event listing and decide to attend your event. This person might not know about your society. It might be that Suzy Q in California reads about your Indiana event and tells the cousin back in Indiana about the seminar.

So, why is your society ignoring this opportunity for mass exposure? And don't forget to have a very clearly marked "Membership" table at your events. Catch those folks who haven't yet joined your society and those who need to renew!

12 November 2010

First impressions should be captured

Today was spent at a client's home. We were doing some organizing and research planning. This made me think of a column I wrote for Ancestry's old electronic newsletter a few years ago. I reread and updated it and present it here as some food for thought.

The following words are based on the premise that most of my work steps have not varied over the years.

The first impression when reviewing something new is often a fantastic impression. I have learned to not just think about the project or task and the research process, but to actually make immediate notes. In the excitement upon finding or receiving a family clue or record my mind goes off in a dozen different directions. Years ago after simply letting my mind go in these directions, I realized that many of those thoughts were actually great research routes to take. There were times when the first impression ideas did not magically reappear.

When something new arrives

When I open the regular mail, check my e-mail, or find something online – I do so with pen and paper at hand and make notes. This way I do not miss any of those important first impressions that may not rush into my mind when I actually begin the follow-up research.

10 November 2010

National Archives (US) "Inside the Vaults" for Veterans Day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    
November 10, 2010

National Archives Launches "Inside the Vaults" Video Short Commemorating Veterans Day
Video highlights National Personnel Records Center and military records requests

Washington, DC. . . How does a veteran apply for a copy of his military service records?  Can this be done online?  How does the National Military Personnel Records Center (NPRC), operated by the National Archives, in St. Louis process these requests?  How many requests are received each week?  And how long does it take?  Find out at http://tiny.cc/NPRC.

In commemoration of Veterans Day, the National Archives today launched its ninth “Inside the Vaults” video short featuring the National Archives National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO.  Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero said “As a Navy veteran myself, I know the importance of having access to military records.  The NPRC preserves and makes these records available to those who have served our

Veterans Day free (Nov. 11-14) access to Ancestry.com military collection


Site Commemorates Veterans Day with Free Access to Entire U.S. Military Records Collection

PROVO, UTAH, November 10, 2010 - Ancestry.com, which has the largest online collection of historical military records, today added more than 115,000 U.S. Military Academy Cadet Application Papers from West Point to its online collection of military records to commemorate Veterans Day.

“Handwritten cadet application papers are true gems in family history research, as they provide such depth and personal insight into the military veterans that came before us,” said Quinton Atkinson, director of content acquisition for Ancestry.com. “It is a treasure when we can see personal letters and records intersect with our shared history as a country. This Veterans Day, we hope this new collection will allow millions of Americans to explore their military ancestry, while inspiring them to discover the rich history of our nation’s past military leaders.”

03 November 2010

National Archives (US) offers digital reproductions of records

This press release just arrived from the National Archives. 

November 3, 2010

New Options Now Available for Reproductions of National Archives Holdings

Washington, D.C….The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has expanded the formats available to members of the public who wish to purchase copies of records from its holdings.

Copy options for immigration and naturalization records, land files, military service and pension records, court records, World War I draft registration cards, Native American records, census pages, and many other archival documents now include the possibility of purchasing a digitized version.   The per-image fee for digital copies is the same as the per-page fee for paper copies. In addition, NARA now offers digitized duplication of its microfilm holdings, at an increased per roll rate.  The digital copies that result from this new service are delivered via CD or DVD, depending upon file size.  In most cases, the files are provided in a Portable Document Format (.pdf).

02 November 2010

Genealogy Resource: The Buddy System

Did your mother ever tell you to never swim alone – to always have a buddy along? I advocate the same thing in genealogy. Your buddy may be a friend, family member, or fellow genealogist who becomes a friend. So much of our genealogy is done alone at a library, courthouse, or facing our computer screen.

Buddy assisted tasks may include proofreading and editing, organizing, research advice, research assistance, installing and understanding software, or running the copier. There are ways to pay them back and yield something more for yourself. Read on for several buddy opportunities.

When I present a lecture on organizing I begin by telling the audience that they have to invite the person next to them or behind them to their house or apartment. I tell them that surely they would not be embarrassed to have this person see the area or room where the genealogy materials are stored (piled?)! I usually hear some groans. Then I tell them that this is really a good idea. Ask a buddy to look at your genealogy area. This other set of eyes may have some good tips on how to get your area into shape and make better use of the work and storage space you have. Even a non-genealogist’s eyes are good for this organization session. Return the favor at your buddy’s home.

Solving tough research problems
My genealogy buddy Ann and I used to exchange genealogical problems. I met Ann through my state genealogical society. We were volunteering on the same project. Whenever either of us was stuck on a tough

Association of Professional Genealogists lectures online

This press release was sent out by the Association of Professional Genealogists today. FGS is the Federation of Genealogical Societies which has an annual conference about genealogical research. APG is a long-time participant in FGS conferences.

"APG has once again partnered with FamilySearch to produce videos of this year’s Professional Management Conference. The videos present five of the seven lectures from the 2010 PMC, which took place on August 17 at the FGS Conference in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Topics and speakers include:
  • “A Key to Success: Your Online Presence” with D. Joshua Taylor
  • “Expand Your Revenue: Produce and Sell Your Lectures in Video Format” with Donna M. Moughty
  • “Niche Planning and Marketing” with Paula Stuart Warren
  • "Choosing the Best Continuing Education Opportunities” with Elissa Scalise Powell, CG
  • “Get Published in Magazines!” with Leslie Albrecht Huber.
The videos are available on the APG website at http://www.apgen.org/publications/pmc_webcast.html and on FamilySearch at https://library.beta.familysearch.org/researchcourses.

Laura G. Prescott
APG President"

31 October 2010

Next Genealogical Events: Anoka County and Little Rock, Arkansas

I hope to see some of my blog readers at these events where I am presenting this week.

Monday, November 1st, 7:00 p.m. for the Anoka County Genealogical Society at Coon Rapids United Methodist Church, 10506 Hanson Boulevard NW. The topic is "The WPA Era: What it Created for Genealogists."

Saturday, November 6th, all day seminar in Little Rock, Arkansas for the Arkansas Genealogical Society. The event takes place at the Holiday Inn-Airport. Click on the link to see about the cost, location and about the Friday evening lectures. My Saturday topics are:
  • Tho’ They Were Poor
  • Old Settlers
  • The WPA Era: What it Created for Genealogists
  • Railroad Records and Railway History: Methods for Tracking

25 October 2010

Genealogy Institute registration savings

Still thinking about attending the 2011 edition of the annual Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy? Think quickly and you save $25.00! If you register today through October 31st you save that $25.00 off the full registration pricee. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, there are many 5 day courses from which to choose.

Click here for the description of the intermediate American Records and Research course that I coordinate. Click here for a list of all the courses.

Voting? Genealogy too!

I really don't think there should be a question mark in that title. Whether it be our national, state, county, or city elections it should not be a question. I feel it is a right, a privilege and a duty. I'd like to take that a step further and talk about organizations. Churches, schools, civic groups, businesses, and other entities also have elections. But today I want to talk about our genealogical organizations.

Let's say you receive a ballot for your genealogical society's elections in the mail. It might require finding a pen and then a stamp to return it. You read it quickly, form some opinions, but set it aside to take care of later. Three months later you find it under a stack of paper on your kitchen counter or desk. The deadline has passed. The society's newsletter announces the election results. Doggone it, that candidate you were planning on NOT voting for is a winner. You worked on a committee with that person and know they did not follow through, missed too many meetings, etc. What if that person beat their opponent by just one vote? Your vote

24 October 2010

Great Weekend in Portland, Oregon

I just returned from a great weekend in Portland where I presented an all day seminar for the Genealogical Forum of Oregon. The audience was attentive and the folks who got me from one place to another treated me so wonderfully. I thank Connie, Leslie, April, Gerry, Tom, Jeanette, and all the others who did all the work to make the seminar and my weekend run well.

As usually happens I had some fun conversations with fellow genealogists who had roots in Minnesota or who had lived here themselves. I only wish some of them were distant cousins who could fill in some of my missing ancestral details!

I had a surprise after my first lecture as I was talking to some of the registrants and answering their questions. A woman walked up and I realized it was Luci Baker Johnson from the Seattle area. She took the train down (with Peri Muhich) to surprise me. Luci is a former resident of St. Paul, Minnesota. She wasn't the only longtime friend I saw at the event. Ruth, Janice, Sue, Jim, Eileen, Pat, and a few others were there. A fun day!

After the seminar I was fortunate to spend some time at the GFO library. This is a huge collection covering all parts of the U.S. and many foreign locations. I was impressed with the many shelves of WPA Historical Records Surveys of courthouses! And these included counties far beyond Multnomah. I also liked that current issues of various genealogical, historical, and family periodicals are right out on easily accessible shelves. The library has an extensive microfilm collection, some original records from the county, and indexes to many Oregon and Portland area records. If you live in the area, be sure to visit this library. Check the GFO website for the address and hours.

20 October 2010

Fire destroys house in Utah, but genealogy materials preserved

I regularly read the Salt Lake Tribune online and today was catching up on some of that reading and saw this amazing story. A home in Wellsville, Utah was almost completely destroyed by a fire. Such a scary thought for anyone and for a genealogist with decades of family history materials the word fire strikes terror. This is a story that is different.

The article state, "Matt Leishman said he was surprised to go through the rubble of his parents’ home Monday afternoon and find one room that was virtually untouched — the one containing many years’ worth of his mother’s family genealogical records. The family was able to fully recover all the documents related to the family history, although some were soaked with water."

Read the full story by clicking here.

18 October 2010

Family History Month and Halloween: celebrate together

It's easy to do this by taking advantage of a cemetery tour in your area. October brings historical cemetery tours in many localities. Beware of the ghosts!

I found these examples:

The easy way to find them is to do a keyword search in your favorite search engine. Try keyword combinations like these:
  • cemetery tour history
  • cemetery tour histor*
  • Halloween cemetery tour
  • cemetery tour Atlanta
  • cemetery tour St. Paul
  • cemetery tour Tennessee

16 October 2010

LaCrosse, Wisconsin Library to receive special award

On October 24th, the La Crosse Public Library’s Archives "will receive the 2010 Governor’s Award for Archival Achievement. It recognizes not only the library’s extensive archives but the ways they’ve been made accessible, [Wisconsin] state archivist Peter Gottlieb said.
“A lot of archives are content to wait for people to find them,” Gottlieb said. “What makes Anita’s [Anita Doering] program a natural winner is the initiative to connect what you have with how you can help people. They’re not passive. They really get out there in front of people.”

You may read the full story in the LaCrosseTribune.

Visit the library's Genealogy section of its website for details on the great holdings. It's been a while since I researched there, but I remember it was a good place for research. This is also a helpful library if you have Winona, Minnesota family connections.

15 October 2010

Need a speaker for your group's 2011 genealogical or historical event?

I am currently booking my speaking services for 2011 genealogical, ethnic, and historical society events. I also enjoy speaking for family, reunion, civic, church, and other groups. I don't book for every week, but do have plenty of available dates for 2011. A few inquiries about 2012 events have already been received.

My presentations are lively, educational, entertaining, and the day includes time for questions and answers. When I am with your group I am all yours! I love to interact with your attendees and share my genealogical expertise and knowledge with them. Not only do I talk about the wonderful records, I tell your registrants how to find these records, the ways in which they are useful, and the various ways to advance their own expertise. Reviews by audiences tell me that I keep them awake, informed, and that they want me to return. I bring my own computer and projector for a PowerPoint presentation and each lecture is accompanied by an extensive handout.

Once we are under contract, I promote your event on this blog in two ways. First is as a couple of posts that get seen by thousands of genealogists who either view the blog or see the posting via a reader. Second, I also add it to my list (see right hand column) of places where I will be making appearances. There is a live link to your organization's website so that readers may obtain registration and other details.

If your group provides me with a quantity of flyers or brochures about the event at which I speak, I will distribute these at other events and at libraries and historical societies I visit (where permitted).

When your society books me for a full day event (up to and including 4 lectures), I am happy to add in one of my lighter luncheon or dinner talks at no extra charge. Please contact me via email: PaulaStuartWarren@gmail.com with information on your group and the approximate date of your event. I will respond with my availability for your date and include as an attachment my full Speaker's Information Packet. This includes biographical and resume information, list of topics, capsule descriptions, cost, and arrangements detail. If you would also like references, just let me know.

Blog Action Day 2010 Water

Today thousands of bloggers from over 125 different countries are writing about about water issues in their communities and around the world. I thought about this in my life and the lives of my ancestors.

Today water access and shortages affect us all and that includes all the countries where my ancestors were born. I remember thinking about how neat outdoor water pumps were when I visited farms as a child. Most of my ancestors didn't even have that luxury. They likely had to carry water to their homes from some distant source. Today that has not change for many residents of our world, even in this 21st Century.

I have lived at the edge of a small town where we did not have city water. The well water wasn't even responding kindly to treatment and the water was not drinkable, clothing was ruined in the laundry, and showers weren't exactly refreshing. Imagine having that problem day in and day out in many countries.

Reading about water issues over the past year has given me the impetus to buy less individual bottles of water, to not let the shower run more than needed, and to be so grateful for rain. Every time you think it is time to green up that lawn, stand in that shower for 30 minutes, or to do only small loads in the washer or dishwasher, remember that many others have access to very little water and that the water supply in many places is not increasing.

Read more about water conditions worldwide at http://blog.blogactionday.org/

14 October 2010

Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy Deadline

The 2011 edition of the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy will be held January 10-14 at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City. This is less than two blocks from the Family History Library. It's always been a great place for an institute because you can learn so much from a variety of fantastic instructors over 5 days and then put it to use each day at the FHL. I just checked and there is still room in some of the courses. The registration deadline to save $25.00 is October 31st. The fee for courses is $320 by 31 Oct 2010, thereafter $345. Includes course materials, an orientation breakfast, and the Friday night banquet. less than Evening classes and additional breakfast or dinner tickets are extra. You may register online and just charge it to your credit card. It's a simple process.

This includes the intermediate course on American Records and Research that I coordinate. 2011 is my 13th year at SLIG. A couple of features of this course that are different from others are the extensive hands-on work in both class and at the FHL. Each registrant in this course has the opportunity for a guided tour of the FHL with some inside tips. Also you may sign up for one-on-one consultations. All this is included in the course fee. You actually get more than the 20 hours that most other courses offer. The list of classes is at the Utah Genealogical Association's website.

You might also be interested in the guide to Salt Lake City that appeared in today's Salt Lake Tribune.

13 October 2010

Pennsylvania State Archives closing for 4 months

According to a press release, the Pennsylvania State Archives will close from Oct. 18 through Feb. 3, 2011, for needed renovations. October 16th is the last day researchers can visit the facility in person, but the staff will continue to respond to telephone, e-mail, and postal inquiries during the renovations.

"Barbara Franco, PHMC executive director, said the $250,000 project will expand and modernize the existing lobby and public research areas. A larger vestibule is required to facilitate access for people with disabilities and will include automatic doors. The work will provide more space for the increasing number of researchers, as well as new wiring and additional computers to improve access to the collections. Security systems will also be upgraded."

A good reason to double check with a research repository before any research trip. Visit the PA State Archives website to learn more.

Salt Lake Christmas Tour adds Thomas MacEntee

I just received this press release from Leland Meitzler. This sounds like a great experience.

Featured Speaker To Offer Technology Education for Genealogists

October 13, 2010 – Bountiful, Utah: The 2010 Salt Lake Christmas Tour – an annual genealogy event in its 26th year and celebrating its 25th anniversary – is pleased to announce that noted genealogist and technology educator Thomas MacEntee will be joining in the holiday fun as its featured speaker. The Tour takes place beginning Sunday, December 5, 2010 and runs through Saturday, December 11, 2010 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Over a five-day period, MacEntee will offer eight different presentations covering various aspects of genealogy and how technology and social media can be used to expand the genealogy experience. Topics include “Building a Research Toolbox,” “Facebook for Genealogists,” “Build a Genealogy Blog,” and “Twitter: It Isn’t Just ‘What I Had For Breakfast’ Anymore.”

The Salt Lake Christmas Tour ( www.SaltLakeChristmasTour.com ) is an annual event attracting genealogists

NY State Archives INCREASES hours

Yes, you read that correctly. The New York State Archives in Albany is adding Saturday hours as of this Saturday, 16 October 2010. This is wonderful in contrast to the many archives, historical societies, libraries, and other research facilities that have seriously reduced hours. This archives is open full days so that researchers have time to order, study, and copy records.

The archives is located in the Cultural Education Center building. The NY State Archives website is at http://www.archives.nysed.gov/aindex.shtml.  "The New York State Archives is located in the Cultural Education Center (CEC) in Albany, New York. The CEC is at the south end of the Empire State Plaza, across Madison Avenue (Route 20) from the Plaza (at the opposite end from the Capitol). Public access to the Archives is gained via the Reference Room" which is located on the eleventh floor of the CEC and is open Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

On Saturdays, free public parking will be available in the Madison Avenue parking lots adjacent to the CEC.  Directions and parking information is available on the New York State Museum website at http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/information/general/muswhere.html.

The archives as a great Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/#!/nysarchives.

I have a list of things to do at that facility if I ever have the chance to get there.

12 October 2010

FamilySearch Beta update

Just catching up on some recent press releases that have been patiently waiting in my inbox!

 We made some additional enhancements this week at beta.familysearch.org. The following post describing the updates along with visual illustrations can be found at FamilySearch Blogs. Enjoy!

October 8, 2010
We released another substantial update to the FamilySearch Beta website. In addition to the four major updates outlined below, we’ve made a large number of improvements under the hood that aren’t really visible to users of the site but make a big difference in the overall performance and function of the site. Here’s the quick list of updates.

·         Redesigned Home Page
·         Brand New – Getting Started Section
·         Redesigned Learning Resources including online Research Courses
·         Just Released - FamilySearch Center Section

06 October 2010

October is . . .

National Cancer Awareness Month, National Anti-Bullying Month, Family History Month, and American Archives Month. All are very special to me.

My mom had breast cancer, my paternal grandmother, maternal grandaunt, and others suffered from this horrible disease. I have some very dear gay friends who have suffered at the hands of bullies. I have only an inkling of all that horrific feeling. All my life I have been picked on for being so short, wearing glasses, and for being overweight. Several of those gay friends helped me through a time several years ago when I was being bullied. The bullying must stop. I hope I never learn that my fellow genealogists have been the bullies -- we should respect all human lives, loves, and embrace each other in a special way.

Family history month is important because it is a great equalizer. It doesn't matter if we are tall, short, thin, wear glasses, go to church or not, are straight, gay, or can't type! Family history helps us understand what tough times our ancestral families went through. Family history helps us understand who we are. And part of discovering that history comes from research at archives.

Celebrate October and invest in the importance of these four vital designations and all that they mean to our lives. End the month being silly on Halloween. Silly, but not overly teasing, bullying, or forgetting that we are all brothers and sisters. Treat everyone equally in all facets of live.

Historical projects in Minnesota

One way to find out about what historical projects are cropping up around Minnesota is by checking out the Minnesota Historical and Cultural Grants program that operates under the auspices of the Minnesota Historical Society. Grants are awarded for projects that will preserve and enhance Minnesota’s cultural and historical resources. Libraries, archives, churches, historical societies, ethnic organizations, universities, cities, and other groups have been the award recipients. Many of the projects have a direct impact on family history. Just a sampling of the grants in the last couple years:
  • Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans (Saint Paul) - To record, preserve and make available oral/visual histories of deaf, deaf/blind and
    hard of hearing Minnesotans, $64,100. 
  • Macalester College, DeWitt Wallace Library (Saint Paul) - To digitize and make accessible issues of the college's student and community newspapers and catalogs, $10,888. 
  • Blue Earth County Historical Society (Mankato) - To add 140 rolls of microfilmed newspapers to broaden public accessibility to primary records, $3,837.
  • Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County (Moorhead) - To add 126 rolls of microfilmed

05 October 2010

Ancestry in Kingman, Arizona (Mojave County)?

Genealogical research on families in this area is about to become easier. The county is digitizing 600 volumes of old records. The article quotes Microfilm Records Technician Stephanie Ciofalo, "As the article says "I love these old books," Ciofalo said. "The handwriting was amazing in those days. This is Mohave County's history. These records will be available to the public and much more accessible in digital format. That's why we are doing this; to preserve the books and to allow ease of access for the public."

People will be able to request information and the County Recorder's Office will be able to access the material and print it out but there will be a charge for the copy. I wonder if they will allow the public to view the digitized material? Oftentimes we find valuable details by reading through a book of deeds or other court records.

Click here to read the article in the 3 October online Daily Miner.

Ancestral Journeys blog: David Suddarth

I am going to begin publicizing (as my schedule permits) some of the blogs and websites of my professional genealogist colleagues. This first one is from David Suddarth, a fellow member of the Northland Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists, whose blog is titled "Ancestral Journeys."

David shared these words about his blog:

"My blog is mainly a family blog mainly concerning the names SUDDARTH, MONROE, MURRAY, LEDDY and RICE.  Although family specific, I try to use my own research to illustrate research methodolgy, different types of records and the ways in which they can be used."

Visit his blog at: http://dwsuddarth.wordpress.com/

03 October 2010

Researching Delaware family history?

According to DoverPost.com (October 1st) The Delaware Public Archives has produced a series of twelve videos that provide info about the holdings and research at the Archives. Each video is two minutes long. Click here to view the videos.The topics include Visiting the Archives, Manuscript Genealogies, Vital Statistics, Tombstone Records, Photographs, and Orphans Court Records.

Thomas M. Summers, Manage of Outreach Services for the Archives, is the man you see in the videos. Also check out their Facebook page and blog. All of these along with the Delaware Public Archives website provide extensive details about their holdings and research.

Makes me wish I had some Delaware ancestry.

30 September 2010

FGS Voice: A free montly newsletter

The Federation of Genealogical Societies has a monthly newsletter, FGS Voice, that is free to anyone. It's a great way to keep up with general FGS news and with news from the FGS member societies. Please let your fellow genealogists, librarians, and others know about this great offer.

If your society is a member organization of FGS, be sure to send society news, activities, and events to the editor, Drew Smith, MLS at fgsvoice@fgs.org.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE VOICE: Send name and e-mail address to the FGS Voice editor at fgsvoice@fgs.org.

Update on databases at NARA locations

This press release was just received from the U.S. National Archives and gives us yet another reason to visit a NARA location. I use many of these in background, historical, and genealogical research. If you have any handouts from my various lectures you will note that I often recommend several of these.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                      
September 30, 2010
National Archives and Records Administration Makes Available U.S. Serial Set Digital Collection
Washington, DC… The National Archives and Records Administration will make available  the LexisNexis® U.S. Serial Set Digital Collection of US Government publications to the public free of charge in all NARA research rooms nationwide. 
The U.S. Serial Set is a collection of U.S. Government publications compiled under directive of the Congress. It contains comprehensive and often detailed information on an extremely wide range of subjects. Its earliest

Federation of Genealogical Societies seeks editor

Can you imagine editing a popular genealogical publication for 25 years? And not just editing, but doing it well, convincing others to write for you, gathering a strong set of columnists, and so much more. Sandra Hargreaves Luebking has done just that for the Federation of Genealogical Societies. Sandra has announced her retirement. The upcoming winter issue of the FGS FORUM will be her last issue. I am not sure when I first subscribed but guess it has been close to 20 years ago. I have had the pleasure of reading the publication and also writing for Sandra. Both have been great experiences. If you would like to subscribe to the FGS Forum please visit www.fgs.org.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) today announces that it is accepting applications for the position of editor of its electronic quarterly magazine, the FGS FORUM.

27 September 2010

Genealogy Seminar: Portland, Oregon

If you live in the Portland, Oregon, area please come visit me on October 23rd, 2010. I will be presenting four lectures for the Genealogical Forum of Oregon at the Elks Lodge in Milwaukie, Oregon. I look forward to being in that beautiful area again and with the friendly members and friends of the GFO.

The lectures cover resources, finding aids, and methodology in many states.
  1. Research Rewards in County Courthouses and Town Hall Records
  2. Tho' They Were Poor, They May Have Been Rich in Records
  3. Lord Preserve Us! Church Records for Family History Research
  4. Midwestern & Plains State Level Census Records 
Click here for the seminar details, directions, cost, and more on the day. 

15 September 2010

FGS 2011 Conference Hotel: reservations now open

Starting today, you can book your room at the Springfield Hilton as you make plans to attend "Pathways to the Heartland" – the Federation of Genealogical Societies 2011 Annual Conference in Springfield, Illinois from September 7 – 10, 2011.
A block of rooms has been reserved at the Springfield Hilton for September 5, 2011 - September 12, 2011. Reservations at the special room rate will be available until August 15, 2011 or until the group block is sold-out, whichever comes first.

It takes time to finalize all program details, meal menus, special events and other aspects of these conferences. Gradually, details will be announced on the FGS Conference News Blog. The full details and day by day program will be on the FGS website in December. The 2011 local host is the Illinois State Genealogical Society.

Syllabus from Association of Professional Genealogists PMC is available

UPDATE: it is sold out!

This press release was sent by APG:

The 13th Annual APG Professional Management Conference took place 17 August 2010, in Knoxville, Tennessee. The syllabus is now for sale (while supplies last) for $20 plus shipping. Go to http://www.apgen.org/catalog/products.html to order with your credit card.

Topics included:
  • From the Trenches: How We Manage Clients, Time, and Projects by Laura G. Prescott

07 September 2010

Scotland: Three public record keeping entities might merge

Three entities that are charged with keeping public records in Scotland are being asked to merge. This includes "the General Register Office for Scotland, National Archives of Scotland and Registers of Scotland."

This is being suggested as a cost savings measure. "The General Registry Office is responsible for births, deaths and marriages as well as historic census data , making its ScotlandsPeople website an asset during the genealogy boom. The National Archives gather historical documents, while the Registers of Scotland compile property and other legal documents."

Read the full story in today's Herald Scotland online. It will be interesting to see if and how this comes to fruition. When I win the lottery (if I ever remember to purchase a ticket) you will find me researching on-site in Scotland and visiting all the places my frequent moving ancestors resided. Among the places my Stuart, Grant, Edwards, Allardyce, and other forebears lived are Strathdon, Arbroath, Farnell, Kinnell, Lunan, and Brechin.

Association of Professional Genealogists has two new chapters

This press release was received earlier today from APG. I am proud to say I am a charter member of the Northland Chapter.

"The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG®) announced today that its board has approved two new chapters for the organization. The Northland Chapter will serve members from Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The board also approved the organization’s first virtual chapter, to be held in Second Life. Both chapters have commenced operations as of today.

04 September 2010

Next stop: Tulsa, Oklahoma

On September 18th, 2010 I will be appearing in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I am doing a day-long Genealogy Workshop (9:30 - 4:00) for the Tulsa City-County Library's Genealogy Center. The day is sponsored by the Tulsa Library Trust. It will be held at the Hardesty Regional Library, 8316 E. 93rd St., Tulsa, OK 74133, (918) 250-7307.

The four lectures I will be presenting are these that include examples for many states. Each lecture is accompanied by a four page handout filled with book, website, and database resources.

Family in Gates, New York?

If you ancestral roots are in the town of Gates in New York, which is near Rochester, you are in for a treat. The Gates Historical Society has just published abstracts of early records. The town was originally called Northampton.

"The Settlement of Western New York State With a Review of Early Records of the Town of Gates 1809–1837 is a transcription of a handwritten record of the minutes, finance reports and school district and town board meetings dating to April 4, 1809, when the town was still known as Northhampton. It also includes images from the original document, such as maps and diagrams of the early town of Gates

Read more about it in the Democrat and Chronicle online edition by clicking here.

02 September 2010

Ancestry.com: Free immigation databases Labor Day weekend

Ancestry.com provided this press release today. Check out the advertising in Times Square two postings below this one!


More than 1,700 first-hand audio recordings now available for free online.

PROVO, Utah, September 1, 2010—Ancestry.com announced today it has launched a collection of more than 1,700 recorded oral histories from immigrants who arrived in the United States through Ellis Island. This is the first time this collection of poignant recordings has been available online. To celebrate the new addition, Ancestry.com is making its entire U.S. Immigration Collection free through Labor Day.

UW River Falls -- free classes and new archivist

Kathryn Otto is the new Archivist at the Area Research Center (ARC) and University Archives housed in the Chalmer Davee Library at the University of Wisconsin - River Falls. A news story in the New Richmond [WI] News tells about the free classes she is inviting people to attend. These are for those interested in "learning about the archives, doing historical research, or seeking ancestors." 

I got to know Kathie when she was Head of Reference at the Library and Archives of the Minnesota Historical Society. The folks across the border are lucky to have her. If you have family in the Wisconsin counties of Burnett, Polk, St. Croix, or Pierce be sure to schedule a research visit to the ARC. You may also find some connections to folks across the St. Croix River in Minnesota. It's been a while since I have researched there, but it is a great place to do so. Click here for more details.

Genealogy in Times Square!

A neat way to find out that Ancestry.com is offering free access to Immigration Records this Labor Day weekend!

Times Square in NYC is certainly showing how mainstream genealogy has become!

01 September 2010

300,000 Alien Files Find New Home at National Archives

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

September 1, 2010

Alien Files Find New Home at National Archives

Kansas City, (MO)… For the first time, more than 300,000 case files on alien residents of the United States who were born 1909 and prior are now open to the public at the National Archives at Kansas City.  These files, known as “Alien Files” (commonly referred to as “A-Files”) were transferred to the National Archives from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and are only a small part of the millions of case files that will eventually be transferred and opened to the public.

Family Tree Maker 2011 is now available

This press release just arrived from Ancestry.com.


No. 1 Selling Family Tree Software Offers Simplicity and Depth for Recording Family Histories

PROVO, Utah, August 31, 2010
– Ancestry.com today announced the release of Ancestry.com Family Tree Maker® 2011, an improved version of the world’s No. 1 selling family history software.

For the last 20 years, Family Tree Maker has provided tools that make it easy to build family trees, record memories and organize family photos. Family Tree Maker also enables users to capture stories, and attach videos and audio clips in a way that will help them easily capture and share the story of their ancestors both

27 August 2010

Back from FGS Knoxville

My week in Knoxville for the FGS Conference went by way too quickly. I wrote about its success a few days ago. When I return from a major genealogy conference or institute, I do a number of things in the first few days.
  • Get extra sleep
  • Laundry
  • Send thank-yous to the planners, volunteers, etc.
  • Pay bills
  • Review my lecture PowerPoint and syllabus materials to change things that didn't work as well as I had hoped and to add new details I learned at the conference or from someone at the event.
  • File all the business cards, brochures, and fliers I collected. I do have a couple of business cards that

WDYTYA? Emmitt Smith episode replay tonight.

The rerun of Who Do You Think You Are? tonight features football great Emmitt Smith and his search for his slave ancestors. It's on NBC. For me here in the St. Paul/Minneapolis area that means 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. on channel 11.

25 August 2010

Ancestry.com and NBC Team Up for a Second Season of WDYTYA?

A press release from Ancestry.com:

World's Largest Family History Web Site Continues Sponsorship of Critically Acclaimed TV Series That Takes a Personal Look at Celebrity Family Histories

PROVO, Utah, August 25, 2010 – Ancestry.com is pleased to announce it has extended its relationship with NBC for the second season of the “Who Do You Think You Are?” television series.

Ancestry.com worked with NBC on the first season of “Who Do You Think You Are?” that debuted in March 2010. The company provided important family history research for the show, including tracing the roots of the seven celebrities featured, and collaborated with NBC to promote the series. Each episode took

January 2011: Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy

I will be at SLIG. I hope to see you there, too! SLIG provides five days of learning in a chosen course. Then you can walk over to the Family History Library and put your knew knowledge or methodology to work!

The 2011 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy will be held 10-14 Jan 2011 in Salt Lake City, Utah at the downtown Radisson Hotel located at 215 West South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah.

2011 SLIG Course Descriptions: Click here.
2011 SLIG Evening Course Descriptions: Click here.
2011 SLIG Course Instructors: Click here.

22 August 2010

The FGS Conference was a fantastic success!

FGS 2010 welcomed more than 1800 participants throughout the week's activities. Participants included more than 1000 conference registrants, 169 librarians, and nearly 100 volunteers. We were also joined by 500 eager beginning genealogists during Saturday's Ancestry.com events. Others included 102 registrants at the Association of Professional Genealogists Professional Management Conference and countless area residents who visited the Exhibit Hall. Special events for attendees included "Come & Sit a Spell" with Sheila Kaye Adams on Wednesday evening which drew 300 individuals and Thursday night at the Museum of Appalachia with more than 400 in attendance.

Exciting door prizes offered by conference vendors such as a cruise for two to Bermuda, an IPad, Deluxe Ancestry subscriptions, week-long stays in Salt Lake City hotels, and others brought a boisterorus crowd to

12 August 2010

Churches Have Anniversaries, Too!

We seek out church records of our ancestors, either in the original format, online, or on microfilm. The records of a family member’s christening, marriage, burial, or the names of parents and witnesses help fill in blank spots on our family tree. For some religious denominations we may only find minutes of a church committee or ruling body. We wish for something more and there is one more resource in existence for many churches and synagogues.

Churches often celebrate 50, 75, 100, 150 or more years in existence. A get-together might mark the occasion and a local newspaper might cover the event, complete with a short history of the congregation. Many churches also publish a separate anniversary booklet filled with important details.

The beginnings
Generally a history of the church congregation and buildings is included in such a booklet. The variety of details often include where the early services were held (maybe in your ancestor’s home?), when the first

A bit of neglect

This blog has been suffering from a bit of neglect. The last couple of months have been filled with family, the FGS Conference News Blog, and some client projects. Next week is the FGS Conference in Knoxville and once I am back and caught up on other things you will see more postings here.

If you are a reader of this blog and are going to be in Knoxville for the FGS Conference, please introduce yourself to me.

11 August 2010

Who Do You Think You Are? Repeats!

This message just received from Suzanne Russo at Ancestry.com. I am glad to see that at least some are being repeated. 

"As you may have already heard, NBC is planning to re-air four episodes of the Who Do You Think You Are? series starting on Friday, August 13 at 8/7c.

As a sponsor of NBC during the show, we wanted to make sure that you didn’t miss this Friday night affair, where you can expect to see the repeated episodes that feature Lisa Kudrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Emmitt Smith and Brooke Shields.

For those of you who may have missed a few episodes of this family history-focused series, now’s your chance to experience it. You’ll see the celebrities take an amazing voyage to discover more about the ancestors who came before them. Or maybe you’ve already seen all the episodes. If that’s the case, it will still be worth the time to pop some popcorn and sit back to relive the heart-warming journeys that each of the celebrities experienced.

So don’t forget to tune-in to the reruns of Who Do You Think You Are? starting on Friday, August 13 at 8/7c and enjoy the show!"

FamilySearch indexing is exploding

Over at the Ancestry Insider you'll find a whole list of FamilySearch indexing statistics. Two of the numbers:

  • 354,328 -- number of registered indexers as of 30 July 2010
  • 118,140,160 -- records indexed this year as of 2 August 2010
A vital part of this massive indexing project is that each record must be keyed twice and revisited a third time when the first two are not the same. Greater accuracy is the aim.

To view the indexing results click here and here. Those millions of rolls of microfilm at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City are getting closer and closer to being all indexed for us by our fellow genealogists. Anyone may volunteer to help and you don't have to leave home to do it! The website have instructions.

08 August 2010

Last day to register online for FGS Knoxville!

You read that correctly! Today, Sunday, 8 August 2010 at midnight is when online registration for the 2010 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference closes down. The same is true for registrations by regular mail. This also includes registration for special events, luncheons, and the land workshops. Click here to register today. You may also view the entire program at that website.

If Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday (you get the picture) comes and you decide you do want to attend the conference but missed this deadline, we still welcome your registration at the conference in Knoxville. You may write a check or charge it to your Visa, MasterCard or Discover card at onsite registration. Don't worry, you will still receive the syllabus on CD, tote bag, and door prize tickets. Click here for registration hours.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies along with the East Tennessee Historical Society and the Kentucky Historical Society look forward to seeing you in Knoxville!

06 August 2010

Tulare genealogy collection is in the NEW library

Last October I reported on the situation in Tulare [California] Public Library. When the city was building a new library there was no space in the plans for the collection of the Sequoia Genealogical Society that had been housed in the old library. That post is here.

Public reaction to this had a good result -- room was made. Today people are using that collection in that new library. Read the update here.

Tech companies volunteer to digitize Arlington National Cemetery records

 The newspapers this summer had been full of stories about the horrible situation at Arlington National Cemetery. The records and some burials at Arlington in Northern Virginia are a mess. I can't imagine the pain that the families of the military dead are suffering since finding out that stones are missing, some may not be buried where they thought they were, and that the records are not clear nor in great order.

Today's Washington Post reports that a consortium of high tech companies in that area have offered to help digitize the records.

As the article states "Warner (D-Va.) reached out to the tech council after the Army's inspector general released a report in June that found that poor record-keeping and mismanagement led to the mislabeling of dozens of graves. As a result, the cemetery's top two managers were forced to resign."

"Kilberg said the companies would look at adapting the system used by the Department of Veterans Affairs at its cemeteries. Senate investigators, probing about $8 million spent on automating Arlington Cemetery's system, said that officials from Veterans Affairs thought their technology could be used at Arlington, but cemetery officials declined to use it, saying they needed to build their own system from scratch."

Click here to read the entire article.

Click here to read one of the earlier articles.

ProGenealogists acquired by Ancestry.com

Wow -- interesting news release that just arrived from Ancestry.com:

Ancestry.com to Acquire Professional Genealogy Firm ProGenealogists, Inc.

PROVO, UTAH (August 6, 2010) – Ancestry.com Inc. (Nasdaq:ACOM) announced today that it has acquired leading professional genealogy research firm, ProGenealogists, Inc.

Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, ProGenealogists specializes in genealogical, forensic and family history research. During its 10-year history, the firm has become a trusted name in professional genealogy, finding great success with client research and expanding both its domestic and international capabilities.  As a part of Ancestry.com, ProGenealogists will continue to provide premier family history research to its existing clients while extending the Ancestry.com reach across the genealogy value chain.

“We are delighted to welcome ProGenealogists into the Ancestry.com network,” said David Rinn, senior vice president of strategy and corporate development for Ancestry.com. “With this acquisition Ancestry.com can better serve subscribers who are seeking dedicated, personal support in their family history research. As a natural service extension for Ancestry.com, we expect the addition of ProGenealogists will also enhance and expand the professional research offerings currently available through Ancestry.com Expert Connect.”

“Ancestry.com is definitely in a class by itself in the genealogy industry,” said Natalie Cottrill, CEO of ProGenealogists, Inc. “We are excited to become part of the Ancestry.com family and look forward to finding new ways to help more people interested in learning about their roots.”

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Ancestry.com does not expect the acquisition to have a material impact on its financial guidance as issued in connection with its second quarter earnings release on July 29, 2010.

ProGenealogists and Ancestry.com have worked together on several initiatives over the past few years including driving the research for the NBC television program, “Who Do You Think You Are?” which traced the family histories of celebrities including Sarah Jessica Parker, Lisa Kudrow, Brooke Shields, Susan Sarandon, Emmitt Smith, Matthew Broderick and Spike Lee. Ancestry.com will continue leveraging the expertise at ProGenealogists for similar initiatives in the future.