11 December 2011

Don't boycott RootsTech 2012

Last night I lay in bed thinking about all the controversy surrounding RootsTech and booksellers. I was itching to write about it. I did comment on FaceBook several times last night but kept feeling like I wanted to say more. When I began to see the comments about boycotting RootsTech I decided to comment further right here.

Am I registered for RootsTech? Yes. Will I still be attending? Yes. Am I unhappy about the book dealers not being there? To a point. RootsTech can set its own parameters but apply them equally. Do I like the way this has all been handled? Nope. I am in favor of RootsTech. RootsTech and its parent, FamilySearch, are important to the family history community. We need them. They need "us" too. In today's social media (tech!) world news both good and bad spreads quickly and takes interesting twists and turns.

I was not at RootsTech last February but have read first-hand accounts and talked with many people about the wonderful experience they had. When the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy changed the dates to be closer to RT I decided that I might stay for RT. At another genealogy conference I was urged by several FamilySearch employees to sign up for RT and I did. I am looking forward to it.

Recent first-hand reports from some of our field's important book dealers dismayed me. Some have told about being strongly encouraged to sign up for booth space at the 2012 RootsTech. They did and recently were informed they were not being provided the space. Huh? They were told (quoting from Leland Meitzler's own blog):
"Leland,
RootsTech exhibit hall is for technically related products and services. We are purposefully not accepting applications from genealogical studies, book publishers, book resellers or arts and crafts dealers.
Please call to discuss if you like.
Gordon Clarke
RootsTech Exhibit Hall Coordinator"
I am not sure what "genealogical studies" means but then checked the RootsTech website and found this description:
"Don’t miss the Expo Hall where you can experience high-tech product demos in the Demo Theater, as well as relevant and exciting genealogy and technology exhibitors. You can also explore the Family History Library mini-lab, RootsTech Playground game area, get some refreshment and take advantage of networking opportunities."

I was more confused. Then I looked at the map of the Hall and found hotels, genealogical societies, and other entities that really don't seem to fit in this hall the way it was described to the rejection note book sellers have received. Were those organizations told they could not bring any of their book inventory to sell or could not take book orders? Hmmmmm. I have stayed in both of the hotel vendors in Salt Lake City and like them both but just can't figure out their tech connection. By the way, many of our genealogy booksellers also sell CDs, flash drives, and tech equipment. Why are organizations or businesses that promote professional genealogists for hire OK for the Hall? They must be relevant genealogy exhibitors but book sellers are not?

I think it's more that they are letting in other organizations and businesses that are not strictly tech. There is a double standard.

I have chaired large genealogy related conferences and know that there are a few things said, written, planned, or done that we wish we could take back or had done differently. I hope RootsTech does as it now says on its FaceBook page and revisits how this was handled. Why encourage and then take away? Why not apply the guidelines the same to all vendors? Why lump our devoted booksellers with arts and craft dealers? How many of the booksellers have been ramping up inventory for RT, made hotel, shipping, airline, and other other arrangements? Ouch. Do the speakers who are authors know they won't be available in the Expo Hall? Speakers are not paid for this event nor is their travel covered. They do it at their own expense and I am guessing some of them hoped to sell some books. 

It's their conference and they can make whatever guidelines they want, but apply them equally. And inform the people you are encouraging to vend or attend that you are changing your mind. Now, let's support RootsTech and encourage the organizers to think this through and let's all get along. I have been so pleased that most comments I have read online have been civil but also pointed. Let's play nice and keep RootsTech alive. See you there in February!

More on the subject: (Many others have blogged about this, too! Just search on RootsTech and limit your search to the past day or so.)
I know many of the speakers and am even a member and volunteer with some of the organizations already listed in the Expo Hall. I will be there to support them. Now I better get back to compiling the syllabus material for my course at the Salt Lake Institute - this material is a mix of websites, online books, and even many printed books.

10 December 2011

Christmas list: genealogy books & supplies

Another idea for the family historian's Christmas wish list is books. Yes, we can go to the major online websites or bookstores, but we also need to support our wonderful genealogy booksellers and publishers. I have listed a few below and I have purchased things from all of them. Let your gift-buying relatives know about where to get those genealogy books on your list. There are many other book dealers that carry family history related books. One place to find links to a variety of publishers, sellers, stores, and related businesses is http://www.cyndislist.com/books. Don't forget about the books that genealogical societies sell, too.

09 December 2011

Cemetery found under ball field in Jeffersonville, Indiana

A Louisville, Kentucky TV station reported on cemetery that was found under a baseball field in Jeffersonville (Clark County), Indiana. Archaeologists have been brought in. I wonder if any area genealogists will be contributing to the documentation of this cemetery? Might some early genealogists or a DAR Chapter have done any research on this? According to the article, one archaeologist thinks that burials began in the early 1800s. It will be interesting to see how this story unfolds.

Click here to read the WKLY TV report.

08 December 2011

Great places to Christmas shop

Are you looking for some unique Christmas gifts? When's the last time you checked at the gift shops in the historical societies and museums in your area? I was at the Minnesota Historical Society's gift shops in St. Paul a couple days ago. I found some great things and will probably stop back there for a few more items.

Many county level historical societies have gift shops. So do history, science, and children's museums. Some public libraries also have gift shops.

I almost laughed at the Janet Lennon paper dolls. No, I didn't buy them.

02 December 2011

Tonight's Geneabloggers Radio correction

The correct link for tonight's show is http://www.blogtalkradio.com/geneabloggers/2011/12/03/capturing-family-memories-all-year-round. Please see the previous post for more details.

Radio shows for genealogists

The weekend is nigh and for family historians that means we have two opportunities to "talk" and listen to genealogy on the radio. Well, on our computer. In addition to listening to the shows be sure to sign in and join in the chat rooms.

Friday, December 2d (that's today already!)
Geneabloggers Radio hosted by Thomas MacEntee
8:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. CST. Click here to be reminded via email: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/geneabloggers/2011/11/19/celebrate-your-family-in-film
This week's show is entitled Capturing Family Memories – All Year Round. Special guests will include: Stefani Twyford, President and Founder of Legacy Multimedia in Houston, Texas who will help us understand why

01 December 2011

NGS Conference registration now open

Registration is now open for the National Genealogical Society's annual Family History Conference which will be held 9–12 May 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The online searchable program is available at http://members.ngsgenealogy.org/Conferences/2012Program.cfm and the PDF brochure is available at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/conference_info. The brochure includes an overview of the sessions, workshops, tours, pre-conference events, registration times, and rates as well as general conference and Duke Energy Convention Center details.

To register online, visit the NGS website at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/attendee_registration and complete the registration form. I'll see you there next May.                                                                         

Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy still has some open spots!

Yes, you read that correctly! A few of the courses have a waiting list and it never hurts to get on those. Some courses, like the one I coordinate, have agreed to add a few more students so that we don't turn you away. Not all course set-ups allow for that, but I was happy to be able to do this. I hope you are able to join us in January 2012.


I coordinate and teach in Course 1: American Research and Records: Focus on Families which is an intermediate level course that provides in-depth learning on 19th-21st century U.S. sources and the methodology for using them. The 2012 course focuses on topics related to researching families and individuals. Informative and interactive classroom hours on five mornings and one afternoon delve into significant records and strategies that take you beyond basic research tools both online and off. On-site scheduled consultations at the FHL from course instructors on three afternoons provide one-on-one

30 November 2011

Do you love Cyndi's List as much as I do?

Now you can be reminded of this remarkable website when you sip hot chocolate, tea, coffee, when you dream your research plans during the night, as you decorate and marvel at your Christmas tree, or share it with others when you wear your Cyndi's List t-shirt or sweatshirt to the library or grocery store. One person who purchased the pajamas said she is looking forward to great research ideas forming as she sleeps!

Cyndi Howells, the Cyndi who does all the work for us on Cyndi's List, announced the opening of the Cyndi's List Boutique this week!

"I'm pleased to announce the launch of the new Cyndi's List Boutique on CafePress.com. You'll find t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, mugs, glasses, and even Cyndi's List pajamas and a stadium blanket to snuggle up with as you do your research from the comfort of your home! We plan to have more genealogy-related graphics available in the boutique in the future. Get your Cyndi's List gear today! Or put it on your wish list and tell Santa he can find it here: http://www.cafepress.com/CyndisList

The Cyndi's List Boutique on CafePress is your one-stop shopping place for Cyndi's List genealogy t-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, computer items, and more!"

Check out Cyndi's List here and "like" the CL page on Facebook!

29 November 2011

Ancestry.com adds mobile apps for iPhone, iPad

A neat press release from Ancestry.com today. Doesn't do much for my Blackberry but others will enjoy this. 

New ‘Ancestry.com Mobile’ iOS App Gives Users the Ability to Access Billions of Historical Records to Build Their Family Tree

PROVO, UTAH (November 29, 2011) – Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource, today announced the availability of a new, upgraded version of its Ancestry.com Mobile app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch with features designed to enable more rewarding discoveries as users build, update and share their family trees. The Ancestry.com mobile app, which to-date has been downloaded more than 1.7 million times, is now available for free from the Apple App Store.

This upgrade adds three new features to Ancestry.com’s existing family history app:

Ø  “In-app purchasing,” which allows non-Ancestry.com subscribers to view, then buy fascinating historical records about their ancestors – such as World War I draft cards, Census records, birth/death certificates, and school yearbook photos, from among billions of historical documents in the Ancestry.com database

Ø  A “Shaky Leaf” hinting feature that employs predictive analytics to suggest possible new connections between a user’s family tree and undiscovered documents in the world’s largest family history database

Ø  A new merge feature, which automatically identifies and extracts information about family members from historical records so users can quickly and easily update their family tree

“Our goal with the new Ancestry.com mobile app is to enable more people to discover their family history through our billions of historic records, and allow them to share their findings easily with others,” said Eric Shoup, Senior Vice President of Product at Ancestry.com. “Our ‘Shaky Leaf’ hinting feature has resulted in tens of millions of successful family history discoveries online and it’s now accessible to our growing mobile user base.”

For users new to Ancestry.com, the latest iOS app provides an easy way to get started by giving access to relevant historical documents on the site without a subscription.  For existing Ancestry.com members, the new app gives them the ability to grow their tree using Ancestry.com records and share them with others while on-the-go.

The Ancestry.com mobile app offers many of the most popular features available in the online version of Ancestry.com’s industry-leading family history website, including the ability to add and edit family information, view and share documents and photos, take and attach photos and create and navigate multi-generational family trees.

To get started, download the free Ancestry.com mobile app to an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, and either register for a new, or log in to an existing Ancestry.com account and choose a family tree. Ancestry.com subscribers can download family history records in the app free of charge. Non-subscribers pay a special introductory price starting at $0.99 for each record purchased through the Mobile app’s “in-app purchase” feature.

23 November 2011

Is my computer going to the laptop cemetery? Mozy and Dropbox first!

 I have been babying this laptop for more than a year. I purchased it in August 2006 and really like this Toshiba Satellite A-105. For the last few years I have had a cooling pad underneath. This pad plugs into the computer via a USB port and the fan really does keep the overheated battery a bit cooler. I am good about backing up, clearing out cookies and other garbage, and doing defrag. Today it is making some new noises and that made me do an extra backup to Mozy and to an external hard drive. Then I double checked to make sure some vital files were backed up in Dropbox. All of this is so easy.

All this ensures that my personal files, research client files, genealogy databases, articles in progress, and other projects won't be lost in case the computer dies. Of course, the restoration of the programs and files to a new computer isn't a quick process, but at least I have the files from which to do just that! Backup your files today!

Dropbox is also great for sharing files with others. A lot of my volunteer work and some client work are shared via Dropbox. Check out Dropbox at http://db.tt/1XkTiSA and see how easy it is. I own no stock in the company but I could get some extra storage space if you sign up for Dropbox through this link.

22 November 2011

Geneabloggers Party like 1621!

One of my fellow Geneabloggers has included me in a special Thanksgiving greeting and I am laughing so hard. Sheri Fenley made a video card for Geneabloggers. I am in it along with Randy Seaver, Bill West, Marian Pierre-Louis and Lisa Alzo. "Party like 1621."  Still laughing. I apparently had talents back then that I don't have today. Thanks, Sheri! http://sendables.jibjab.com/view/TdhY0nb4Aj7DdmB7sXyJ

Click here to view Sheri's blog, The Educated Genealogist.

18 November 2011

Research in animal bounty records

Chippewa County, Minnesota has announced that it will again pay bounties for coyotes due to the damage they are doing to farm animals. According to TwinCities.com "The Board of Commissioners voted Tuesday to pay $10 for every coyote trapped or shot in the county and brought to the sheriff's office from Dec. 1 through April 1 each year. Those that kill a coyote will be able to sell its pelt, which is worth about $15."

Historically many towns and counties have paid bounties for such animals. If you have Minnesota ancestral ties you might find details of a bounty paid to an ancestor or other family members. Within the state archives collection at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul researchers have access to bounty records from a variety of locations. These records put the person in a specific place at a specific time. They might even help to prove that a person was still alive in a given month and year. The information varies but usually contains the name of who the bounty was paid for and the amount along with details on the animal or pelt. A few examples from the Minnesota collection:
  • Wilkin County: wolf, fox, crow, lynx, bobcat, and bear bounties (1928-1965)
  • Rice County: wolf bounties 1897-1900
  • Eagan Township, Dakota County: wolf bounties (1889-1918)
  • Sherburne County: wolf bounty certificate books (1878/1879, 1893-1897; 1897-1899)
  • Bemidji Township, Beltrami County: gopher and wolf bounty records (1901-1960)

16 November 2011

Guide to using Archives

The Society of American Archivists has a helpful online guide Using Archives: A Guide to Effective Research. It has many great tips for potential users. I have read most of it and felt like I was reading my own advice when I teach about the gems found in archives and special collections departments. It's worth reading.

Several entries from the Table of Contents

11 November 2011

Need a speaker for a seminar or other event?

I am updating my 2012 and 2013 speaking calendar and have some dates available that might fit with your organization's needs. If you are looking for a speaker, just email me with the name and location of your organization and the date or dates you are thinking about. PaulaStuartWarren@gmail.com. I have spoken at events of historical, genealogical, church, civic, fraternal, and other types of organizations. Occasionally I am available on short notice.

I will let you know if those dates are open on my speaking calendar and will send you my biographical and experience resume, an extensive list of the lectures I could present, capsule descriptions of the lectures, and the details on costs and arrangements. Once we have agreed on the date, I will send my standard contract so that we both know that the date is reserved for your group once that is signed and the advertising can begin. I am also willing to assist with publicizing your event. Some of my upcoming events are listed in the right-hand column of this blog. A few events do not get listed as they are not open to the general public. I am also willing to work with organizations that may want to hire me for more than one event and share the expenses.

10 November 2011

John Bye retiring

It's been a few years since I visited the The Institute for Regional Studies and University Archives at the North Dakota State University in Fargo. Researching there was always a pleasure. I just read that the Director, John Bye, has retired. John was helpful to me on my research visits, made suggestions, and was rightfully proud of the collection. Over the years I ran into John at history events.

At NDSU I researched distant cousins of my own and also worked on client requests. One outcome of the research there that included advice from John was the short history Helendale Farm and the James. B. Power Family that I co-authored in 1998. Helendale Farm was one of the renowned Bonanza farms in North Dakota.

Read more about John and see links to further info at http://library.ndsu.edu/archives/whats-new. I wish John a relaxing time in retirement. I know that somehow he will remain an active historian.

Association of Professional Genealogists Announces Election Results

WESTMINSTER, Colo., November 9, 2011−The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG®) today announced election results for its 2012–2014 executive committee, as well as for nine regional directors and two new nominating committee members. Kenyatta D. Berry of Santa Monica, Calif. was elected president. Berry, a genealogist, entrepreneur and lawyer with more than 15 years of experience in genealogy research and writing, served as APG vice president during the last term. She will succeed Laura G. Prescott of Brookline, New Hampshire.

“I am honored to be elected and excited at the depth and breadth of experience represented by our incoming officers, board and committee members,” said Berry. “APG made great strides during the last administration,

09 November 2011

November 12 FGS Radio Show

Click here to create a reminder to listen to this Saturday's FGS Radio show. The reminder will arrive in your email inbox.
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/mysociety/2011/11/12/genealogy-and-the-vital-records-access-crisis

Show time for Saturday, November 12, 2011
2-3pm Eastern US
1-2pm Central US
12-1pm Mountain US
11am-12pm Pacific US

08 November 2011

Dispute in the ownership of a 1775 currency plate from New Hampshire

I read an interesting story in yesterday's [St. Paul] Pioneer Press about a Minnesota man, Gary Eldon Lea, who made a purchase at an estate sale in Fillmore County. "It was a 13-by-8-1/2-inch copper plate created in 1775 to print currency for pre-Revolutionary War New Hampshire."

According to the story, he subsequently put the item in an auction but the New Hampshire state attorney general asked that it be removed from sale because "Once it is state property, it's always state property, unless the state disposes of it properly in some way,"

The state found details about when the work was contracted for but not when the plate was disposed of. I know that governments don't always keep every single piece of paper created. And in many cases, especially in early years, paper trails weren't even created. Many newspaper stories over the years have told the stories

07 November 2011

New website for The Newberry

The Newberry library debuted its new website look last week. It has a nice clean look and is filled with collection details, finding aids, catalog, visitor information, and much more. If you have never researched there, add it to your bucket list.

I have researched in manuscripts, photographs, maps, and books at Newberry. Their American Indian and railroad materials are superb. They cover far beyond the city and state where this private but very large library is located. A few years ago I was one of the lecturers during a day devoted to railroads. It was wonderful to

20 October 2011

This Saturday I'm in Kansas

This Saturday, 22 October, I am privileged to be the seminar speaker for the Johnson County Kansas Genealogical Society's annual event. It takes place at the Lenexa Community Center. I am looking forward to this all-day event. It's a great opportunity for family historians in the greater Kansas City area to get together for some networking, too. I love networking with attendees, too.

The four lectures I will be presenting are:
•    Finding Ancestral Places of Origin
•    A Baker's Dozen: Easy Ways to Begin Writing Your Family History
•    Tho They Were Poor, They May Have Been Rich in Records
•    Newspaper Research: Dailies, Weeklies and Beyond


For more details and location: http://www.johnsoncountykansasgenealogy.org/annual.html

14 October 2011

Grabbing the knowledge in documents

I was looking at some old document copies today. I can't decipher all of the words as I carefully transcribe it into a nice typed document. I need to use some of my proven methods for figuring out what it says:
  • Put it way for a while
  • Try to read it away from your home or the library where you copied it
  • Give it to another genealogist to decipher (don't tell them what you think it is)
  • Give it to a non-genealogist to decipher (don't tell them what you think it is)
  • Yes, I have already compared the letter and word formation with others on that page and a few pages before and after
9 times out of 10 one of these methods works. When it doesn't I tend to lecture myself that I should be able to figure this out. My youngest son can figure out what things say in a variety of languages so I should be able to read something in English, no matter the era!

    13 October 2011

    Budget Choices in Life and in Family History

    I was just looking at my budget. My car will be paid for in December. Might I be able to finally get a new TV? No, I think I need to use that "extra" money to catch up on some other bills. After how lousy last winter was here, I really wish I could afford some vacation time in a warmer area in the first couple months of 2012. Budget says it's not going to happen.

    And then there's the food budget -- I have been dreaming of lobster recently but that's not a part of the grocery budget right now.

    It's the same way in our family history research and education. I would like to order a whole bunch of birth and death records for members of the extended ancestral family. A genealogy cruise would be so nice. So would attending an institute that I am not teaching at. And then there are all the neat conferences. My bucket list includes onsite research in Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, and a long list of U.S. states. Choices have to be made.

    Think about that last paragraph as far as your own family history. We aren't the only one who can't attend everything. When we do attend, we might be sharing a room with 1-3 roommates to cut costs. We bring along

    12 October 2011

    Join me in St. Cloud this weekend!

    The St. Cloud Area Genealogists (SCAG) and the Stearns History Museum are hosting a Family History Month event this Saturday, October 15th. The second annual Family History Conference takes place this Saturday, October 15th at the museum from 8:00 a.m. - Noon.

    "Robert Torborg will present “Old Family Photos: Their Care and Safety” and Paula Stuart-Warren will lead a program titled “A Baker’s Dozen: Easy Ways to Begin Writing Your Family History.” 

    Click here to read the full notice in the St. Cloud Times.

    For directions visit the Stearns History Museum website. To reserve your seat, call the Museum at 320.253.8424. The cost is $10.00 for Museum or SCAG members and $15.00 for non-members.

    See you there!

    FGS election results!


    October 12, 2011 – Austin, TX. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announces the results of its recent election for FGS board members and directors. The election was conducted online September 1 - 30, 2011 with all FGS delegates eligible to vote. Office terms for those elected will begin on January 1, 2012. With the recent election results, Pat Oxley, President of FGS states, “I'm thrilled to have this talented group of genealogists bring their experience and skills to the FGS board.”

    Re-Elected FGS Board Members: The following board members and directors were re-elected:
    ·       George G. Morgan (Florida) – Vice-President Membership
    ·       Curt D. Witcher (Indiana) – Vice-President Development
    ·       Loretto “Lou” Szucs (Illinois) – Director

    New FGS Board Members: The following board members and directors were newly elected:

    11 October 2011

    Genealogy Bloggers: A chance to win a free SLIG registration

    Are you a genealogy community blogger? That's step one. Would you like a chance to win free tuition for a course at the 2012 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy that is held each January in Salt Lake City? It's easy -- you just need to write a blog post and place the link in a specific place to be eligible. Sound too simple? That's the thing, it is simple. You just have to write about why you want to attend and which of the open courses you would choose. SLIG is a fun and educational week. I have been a part of SLIG for many years. Don't forget the Family History Library with all those microfilms, fiche, books, computers, databases and more is there, too. The 2012 SLIG dates are January 23-27. Onsite registration, syllabus pick-up, and a reception are held the evening of Sunday, January 22nd.

    The Utah Genealogical Association's blog carries the contest details. Click here to read them all. Here are  a few points from their post.

    "The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy is excited to announce our first ever blogging contest. We believe that SLIG is one of the best educational opportunities available for genealogists—and we want to hear why you think so to. For the next week we would like to encourage all the fantastic bloggers in the genealogy community to let us know why you would like to attend SLIG. The contest will run through Saturday, October 15, 2011 at midnight (Mountain Time). The prize will be a tuition waver to SLIG 2012 (note that only those classes which haven’t filled are eligible).

    How do I enter?
    Step 1: Write 500 words or more on the topic of why you want to attend SLIG. Include which course you would like to take, and whether you have attended before. Please include the link www.slig.ugagenealogy.org when referring to SLIG’s website."

    08 October 2011

    140th Anniversary of the 1871 Chicago Fire

    "Today and tomorrow, Oct. 8 and 9, mark the 140th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871."

    Click here to read the full post on the Newberry Library's Genealogy News.

    Click here to read about the fire on the Chicago History Museum's website.

    05 October 2011

    Tour Landmark Center, St. Paul

    Oh, I wish I could take part in this free tour in downtown St. Paul. Landmark Center is a beautiful old federal courthouse building that today houses various offices and cultural entities including the Ramsey County Historical Society.

    "Nooks and Crannies
    Come to the Landmark Center, St. Paul, for a Nooks and Crannies tour, Sunday October 9, 2011, 1 p.m. See areas usually closed to the public, including the legendary North Tower. Free."

    For more tours, classes, and other events check the October 5th issue of the Local History News from the Minnesota Historical Society. Click here to read it.

    02 October 2011

    Civil War era National Cemeteries

    The National Park Service has a website page that lists "Civil War Era National Cemeteries: Honoring Those Who Served." The listing is by state and includes sites designated as national cemeteries. Click here to learn more about each site. This does not represent all cemeteries where Civil War related burials took place.

    For more listings in National Cemeteries and others see Nationwide Gravesite Locator. As that site says, "Search for burial locations of veterans and their family members in VA National Cemeteries, state veterans cemeteries, various other military and Department of Interior cemeteries, and for veterans buried in private cemeteries when the grave is marked with a government grave marker. . . Information on veterans buried in private cemeteries was collected for the purpose of furnishing government grave markers, and we do not have information available for [those] burials prior to 1997."

    Many states also have listing online or off that include veterans burials. During the WPA (Works Progress Administration) era of the late 1930s and early 1940s some lists of veterans burials were compiled.

    Check these examples for more details. Read the information included with each to learn more about the parameters of the listings. Most clearly state that the details are not comprehensive. These sites do not all have online databases. Other states include Florida, Iowa, and South Dakota. Other places where WPA workers compiled lists of burials did not produce separate veterans and civilian records.
    Also check Findagrave.com, Interment.net, and other compilation websites for other veterans burials. 

    Dublin, Ireland libraries: architectural treasures

    If you love books of any kind and the buildings that house them, then you want to read this Washington Post article from Friday, September 30th. Yes, you may just look at the pictures but the accompanying story is as superb. Now I want/need to go to Dublin for another reason beyond family history research.

    I love the treasures that these buildings themselves are. The architecture, the plaster work, the artwork on walls and ceilings, and the lovely old wooden tables are just some of what draws me in to the "feeling" of being a perfect place for old books.

    01 October 2011

    October is Family History Month

    Isn't every month? Many libraries, historical societies, archives, and genealogical societies celebrate Family History Month each October with special events. What are you doing for Family History Month? I urge you to do something this month to honor the importance of family history. Need a few prompts? Here they are:

    • Now's the time to write a short biography of a favorite ancestor. Don't forget to include the sources of the details you write about. You will probably be starting a task list of more research to do as you compile this biography.
    • Schedule a few days this month or parts of days to work on your collection of photos (both in the overstuffed drawer and on your computer).
    • Talk to a family member about some aspect of family history. It might be one of the photos you rediscovered or the bio you wrote. Maybe it's asking a few questions about their memories of a deceased relative. 
    • Visit at least one courthouse, archive, or genealogy library to do some research or at least learn more about the place.
    • Visit at least one subscription and one no charge online genealogy site that you haven't checked in a while. There may be something new to discover. 
    • Don't know what some of the abbreviations are in this post? It's a good month to learn.
    • Read a guidebook. A book printed on paper. A how-to do genealogy guidebook. Make notes on things you want to research as you are reminded of them during the reading.
    • What can you do to help others continue to learn about family history? Maybe volunteer to do something for your area genealogical society?
    • Take out your calendar or open up the one on your computer
      • Add upcoming genealogical meetings, conferences, and seminars to it. Look at SLIG, RootsTech, NGS, NIGR, IGHR, GRIP, FGS, and others
      • Look for upcoming webinars to add to it.
      • See what your local historical or genealogical society is offering during October. Maybe it's a lunchtime lecture, a tour, or special class.
    Next month I will let you know what I did during Family History Month.

    30 September 2011

    Sacramento Archives Crawl

    What a great idea. Tomorrow, Saturday October 1, 2011, the archival community in Sacramento, California is sponsoring the free Sacramento Archives Crawl. This is a neat opportunity that appeared in my news feed from the Sacramento Bee newspaper. "Four historical organizations are partnering in the crawl and include the California State Archives, California State Library, The Central Library, and the Center for Sacramento History." The public gets to see a lot of behind the scenes activity. Free parking is provided, too.


    For more details check out this blog: http://www.sacarchivescrawl.blogspot.com/

    I have heard of art crawls and similar things for a group of bars and restaurants. Love that it's occurring in the area of history. Wish I was going to be in Sacramento tomorrow. I have researched at three of these places but would love to see more behind the scenes.

    28 September 2011

    Proud to announce a Civil War Prisoners website

    I received a very special email tonight. It was about a friend's years of work being preserved and even better, being shared. I first met fellow Minnesotans Jack and Carol Lundquist in the 1990s when they joined us on the group research trips we used to lead to the Family History Library. I would still see them when we had occasional trip reunions. Sadly, Jack passed away a few years ago. Carol wanted his special research projects preserved and I am happy to announce that she has done just that. Jack loved history and especially that surrounding the Civil War. One of Carol's Civil War ancestors was imprisoned during the Civil War. 
    Carol wrote to me: "You know how important Jack's Civil War research (obsession?) was to him.  Well, I'm thrilled to announce the birth of www.CivilWarPrisoners.com.  It's up and live and I'm already getting some very nice feedback from some of the Civil War groups that Jack worked with.  After two years, I feel like I can breathe again knowing that his work is preserved - it's really been weighing on me.Jack never would have cared about a website, but I wanted to be sure and preserve his work."  
    What is it? Jack worked long and hard to document Civil War prisoners at Andersonville and Cahaba. Because more than 800 prisoners from Cahaba perished when the steamboat Sultana exploded in 1865. As the website says: "Jack combined a lifelong love of history, especially the Civil War, with a mind that loved crunching data. After retirement in 1990 he initially set out to research only the Sultana Disaster with the aim of compiling the most accurate list of names of those who were on the ship. This soon expanded into researching Cahaba Prison, and then Andersonville as well as other Southern prisons such as Salisbury and Florence."
    Check out Jack (and Carol's work):  CivilWarPrisoners.com - Main Page

    22 September 2011

    FGS Radio Show: Facebook Issues Confronting Genealogy Societies

    The Saturday, September 24th, the online episode of the Federation of Genealogical Society's radio show is entitled "Your Society’s Facebook Presence." Using a Q&A format which was popular in workshops at the recent FGS 2011 conference, host Thomas MacEntee will review some of the issues involved with making sure your genealogy society can harness the power of Facebook. Has your society wanted to create a Facebook page to attract new members and to keep current members posted on society news and events? Do you have concerns about privacy or the proper way to create a solid Facebook presence?

    The Elgin (IL) Genealogical Society will be in the weekly FGS Member Society in the "Society Spotlight" feature.


    Click here to create a reminder to listen to FGS Radio this Saturday.
    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/mysociety/2011/09/24/your-societys-facebook-presence

    Saturday, September 24, 2011
    2-3pm Eastern US
    1-2pm Central US
    12-1pm Mountain US
    11am-12pm Pacific US

    Join us for the next episode of FGS Radio - My Society, an Internet radio show on Blog talk Radio presented by the Federation of Genealogical Societies. Facebook is a great and free way to promote your society and its events.

    Need a reminder for the show? Click here, now: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/mysociety/2011/09/24/your-societys-facebook-presence

    A bit of disclosure: I am a member of the Board of Directors of the Federation of Genealogical Societies.

    FamilySearch.org adds 16 million more images

    Have you checked FamilySearch.org lately? Just this week alone more than 16 million digitized images have been added.

    As their press release says, "Among the 16 million records added to FamilySearch.org  this week, over six million are from the United States, including new collections from California, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, New York, Oregon, and Vermont. Additionally, five million new Civil Registration and Catholic Church records from Mexico are now available for free viewing at FamilySearch.org. Begin searching now!"


    Click here to see the full list that is accompanied by the number of images. It will be worth your time!

    Education in Minnesota during Family History Month

    October is Family History Month and the Minnesota Genealogical Society offers some opportunities for us to expand our knowledge including these:

    October 7-8, Edina Minnesota: North Star Conference featuring one of the Genealogy Guys, George G. Morgan, and other great speakers.

    October 22, Minneapolis, Minnesota: Family History Fair in conjunction with the Minneapolis Central Library of the Hennepin County Library system.

    Click here to visit the MGS website for more details.

    21 September 2011

    Alzheimer's Action Day: My Mom

    My Mom passed away in 2008. For far too many years before that she suffered from Alzheimer's. Far too many years. Looking back to the early 1990s we can now recognize behavior that may have been early signs.

    Mom was also having those small strokes that affected her behavior. We had begun to talk every 2-3 days in the 1980s and that is something I miss a lot. My Mom was not easy to live with. She was a stickler for neatness, things being done only her way, and at her time no matter what worked for everyone else. Plus she was a strict mother. All that said, no human being should ever have to go through what she did.

    Mom would have been mortified if she knew her once careful and coordinated dressing, haircut, and classy jewelry were reduced to stained clothing, bedhead, and no jewelry. She would have be embarrassed to realize that she hit the people she loved and those who helped care for her. She would have rather missed going out in public than to have others be embarrassed by her behavior. To know that she had to be fed at the end would have given her nightmares and they probably did happen.

    She did have a few lucid moments. One time she asked me whose little boys those were in her living room. I said they were Katie's (my daughter) boys. She said Katie was too young to have kids. I would watch old movies with her and she would nod when I talked about watching movies in our old living room where I grew up. I never told her my husband had left me as it wouldn't have been understood or so I thought. I was sitting with her one day as Sarah, one of the caregivers, was feeding her. Sarah and I were talking about the change in my life and we suddenly noticed tears running down my mother's face. She understood. From then on I talked to her as if she really did understand things and just told her about things going on in the family. I would sometimes explain in detail about the person to whom I was referring. She lost her ability to speak but at times the frightened look in her eyes said volumes.

    No one should have to live almost as a vegetable, unable to talk any longer, and unable to enjoy life for a dozen years or more. My father became her security blanket and she would panic if one of us took him to do errands. That knowledge would have shocked this once strong woman who was very self-sufficient and yes, controlling. In the study of my family's history I have not come across knowledge that would lead me to think we have a history of Alzheimer's or any form of prolonged dementia. So, why Mom?

    17 September 2011

    2011 FGS Conference is over and I am smiling

    Am I glad? Somewhat. Am I sad? Very much so. It was a great week made even greater because of wonderful volunteers. I have some new friends. They understand me. They love research, learning, networking and working well together. We laughed, teased, and even addressed issues together and I am still smiling. This was the second time I co-chaired a FGS Conference and I will do it again in 2013 for FGS Fort Wayne with Dawne Slater-Putt. I am smiling about that. It really is a neat volunteer experience.

    Post-conference let-down hit me really hard. I was tired but also found it difficult to leave Springfield where I had so much fun. Springfield treated us royally. The main conference team was also amazing. They know who they are and I hope I don't miss any names. They all made me smile. Josh, Pat, David, Susie, Janice, Thomas, Linda, Julie, Kim, Cath, Sue, Amy, Jane, Carol, Karen, Polly, Stephanie, Dan, Sue, Tim, Jean, James, Gordon, George, and Drew. The Illinois State Genealogical Society, the local host, rocks!

    I found this to be a conference where the education seemed to have great importance. The level of chatter around the convention center and the hotels showed that networking was right up there, too. During breaks in sessions the aisles of the convention center filled. The new FGS Booth design was a smash hit. Sue T. did an amazing job on that. FGS board and committee meetings went well with many folks piping up to take on tasks and give sensible advice. I walked away from those meetings with a good feeling. The volunteer training that Josh and I did for many of those who helped out over the week was fun. We joked a bit, were silly, but also talked about our guests for the week and that we needed to see to as many of their needs as possible. That made me smile.

    I watched some of our key volunteers walk up to the folks from Birmingham (FGS 2012, August 29-September 1) and offer help and advice. That made me smile. Yes, I am working on the team for that conference, too. I will be once again be doing the conference blog and also co-chairing National Publicity with Thomas MacEntee.

    I have heard from many who attended that they had a good time during the week. That makes me smile. Though I didn't get to spend as much time with friends as I hoped to, it was still great to see them. I was able to see many of the speakers and greet them. One plan I had was to get around to each vendor in the Exhibit Hall and thank them for being there but too much running around and also some need to rest the tired feet kept me from doing that. Their dedication to the genealogical audience makes me smile.

    We could not have put this conference together without the platinum sponsors, Ancestry.com and FamilySearch. More smiling. And other sponsors Family Chronicle, New England Historic Genealogical Society, RootsMagic, and ProQuest, too. And the many participating organizations that sponsored lectures and luncheons and the many door prize donors. Many other reasons for smiles.

    I want to publicly thank my co-chair, Josh Taylor, a special colleague and friend who asked me to join the committee. Pat Oxley, President of FGS, was there with us every step of the way. FGS 2011 was truly a team effort and I thank each and every one of you who was a part of it.

    Register for SLIG 2012 soon and save $50.00

    Five days of in-depth genealogical education. Five days of networking in small groups. Five days of learning from faculty representing a wealth of knowledge. That's SLIG 2012. Plus, of you register for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) by October 30th you save $50.00. SLIG offers multiple courses taught by some of the top U.S. genealogists. There is still room in some of the courses. Another neat aspect of the SLIG courses is the proximity to the Family History Library so that you can put your new or enhanced knowledge to work immediately.

    I am the coordinator for Course I, an intermediate level offering: American Records and Research: Focusing on Families. In addition to some hands-on work, interaction with the instructors, and one-on-one consultations at the FHL, the course line up is helpful. Check out the details here.


    No matter which course you choose, your week will be amazing. Save January 23-27, 2012 on your calendar and participate in a great week.

    31 August 2011

    War of 1812 Pension Project has a deadline

    This is an ongoing project and fundraising effort to digitize and preserve the 7.2 million images from the War of 1812 pension and bounty land records files. Digitized because genealogists and others wanted them preserved. These files supply individual, family, military, national, state, and community history. And if we get this all funded, then the images will be online for anyone to view and copy for FREE. This is another project of the Federation of Genealogical Societies ongoing Malcolm Stern NARA fund which helps to preserve records at the U.S. National Archives and make them accessible.

    A special effort by the Indiana Genealogical Society (IGS) ends tomorrow, August 31, 2011. I donated. Have you? I want to be able to stand and cheer with pride when the IGS check is presented to the War of 1812 Project fund at the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Springfield, Illinois next week. I want to say I am a part of this.

    From the IGS website: The Indiana Genealogical Society is proud to support the Federation of Genealogical Societies' "Preserve The Pensions" campaign, which aims to raise $3.7 million to digitize the War of 1812 pension files held at the National Archives and make them freely accessible online. The digitized pension files will be available for free on Fold3.com - see http://go.fold3.com/1812pensions/ to view the files that are available so far. Ancestry.com is matching match ALL donations up to $10,000, meaning that donations made to that point for make to the $10,000+ Match Challenge will actually be QUADRUPLED! And IGS is matching donations up to $15,000

    If you donated $50.00 that means IGS' match made it $100.00 and for that first $10,000 total, a match from Ancestry.com, it means your $50.00 meant $200 to fund the project. 

    Donate today so you can stand up and cheer no matter where you will be next week when the check is presented. The Archivist of the United States will be there at the ceremony. Let's remind him how smart, important, and supportive we family historians are.

    17 August 2011

    Loving a library!

    And they aren't even genealogists. Claude Peck and Rick Nelson write for the [Minneapolis] StarTribune on food, clothing trends, culture, and more. They are usually lighthearted and sometimes irreverent in their conversations. I was surprised to see their column today "Downtown library a real town hall" in praise of the Minneapolis Central Library. This library is part of the well-known and heavily used Hennepin County Library system. This location is at 300 Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. It is a beautiful building and many more items are on open shelves than in the old downtown library which often didn't look like a library because so many books were in closed storage and had to be requested. Now browsing is wonderful.

    Click here to read their conversation.

    If you live in the area and haven't visited the downtown library to do some family history research, it's time you put that visit on your calendar. Special collections is a must but it is not open as many hours as the main parts of the library. The library has many databases, old city directories, newspaper clippings, newspaper indexes, genealogy periodicals, yearbooks, censuses, and a wealth of things you might be interested in.

    14 August 2011

    Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference online registration ends August 20th

    Saturday, August 20th is the last day to register online for the upcoming FGS Conference in Springfield, Illinois. You may also mail in a registration as long as it is postmarked by the 20th.

    If you have already registered, what about adding one or more of the luncheons, a workshop, the FGS 35th Anniversary celebration, or purchasing a printed syllabus? The deadline is the same for all these.

    If you register on or before that date (or postmarked no later than the 20th) you will be able to have access to the syllabus BEFORE the conference! It won't be too long till we registrants hear from the syllabus team that it is accessible online. Then we can read the sections of interest and print those for the sessions we plan to attend.

    I am a National Conference Co-Chair for this event and I hope to see many blog readers at the conference that takes place from September 7-10. Education, fun, networking, a full Exhibit Hall, and excellent door prizes await. Check out the many details at:

    Hastings, Nebraska psychiatric hospital burials

    The Adams County [Nebraska] Historical Society has posted the names of 957 people buried in a former psychiatric hospital cemetery in Hastings, Nebraska. The burials cover 1889 to 1957. It was a state funded institution and researchers can expect to find that the individuals were sent to Hastings from all over Nebraska. This site also has some history of the institution.

    In order to obtain this information, the historical society had to battle for in in a court battle. Congratulations to the society for undertaking this important task.

    To check the list click here. This site also has some history of the institution

    04 August 2011

    Awesome Library of Congress Documentary

    I really need to get back to my client work this morning, but something else has captured my interest. It's a 91 minute documentary about the Library of Congress by C-SPAN. I assume it must have been broadcast on C-SPAN but I have missed it.

    "The Library of Congress, is a behind-the-scenes look at the national repository, providing the history of the institution, a tour of its iconic Jefferson Building, and glimpses of some of the library's rare book, photo, and map collections. The film also featured some of the presidential papers housed at the Library of Congress, ranging from George Washington through Calvin Coolidge. Viewers learned how the library uses technology to preserve its holdings and expand public access to them, as well as how technology is helping to uncover new information about some of the items in its collections."

    The images, the history (of the library and the country), the statistics, and all the rest are enlightening. It's been a long time since I researched or visited the LOC and now I am itching to go back.

    Is it worth your 91 minutes? I am not finished yet, but am enthralled by it. Click here to view it.

    03 August 2011

    Minnesota Normal Schools publications

    That's Normal School as in teacher's colleges. Many such schools across the country had newsletters and that includes those in Minnesota. These provide great insight into the school, curriculum, faculty, students, alumni, and education in general. In Minnesota most of these became state universities. Some of these school publications had literary offerings, ads from local businesses, famous quotations, community information and other details. These are great research resources.

    Those from two of the state normal schools have been digitized and are available online for free.
    • The Mankatonian: published monthly by students at the Mankato Normal School; 1891-1913 digitized.
       
    • Normalia: published by the St. Cloud Normal School; 1892 - 1904 digitized.

    Both newspapers are searchable by keyword but don't neglect to do some browsing page by page to get a feel for the time period.

    These are part of Minnesota Reflections which has nearly 62,000 images and documents shared by more than 120 cultural heritage organizations across the state. This site offers a variety of resources on Minnesota's history for researchers, educators, students and the public." The main page lists recent additions and upcoming digital images. The photographs on this site are phenomenal and give great insight into the state's history and include images of the schools, faculty, and students.

    Be ready to spend some time on the websites browsing through the collections. I keep finding things I missed previously or maybe they were just added!

    The image above is from The Mankatonian, Volume 2, Issue 2, October 1892.

    FamilySearch updates

    1.8 Million Records and Images Added to 23 U.S. Collections

    Additions Made to Collections from Seven Other Countries
     

    2 August 2011

    Historic records from eight countries have been digitized and added to FamilySearch.org. In addition to 1.8 million new U.S. records, collections from seven other countries were added: Canada, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Mexico, Philippines, and Poland. There are many gems for curious minds, such as the updates to the South Dakota 1945 State Census, New York court records, Indiana marriage records, or how about the service affidavits of Utahans who served in the militia during the Indian Wars from 1909-1917. Begin searching now at FamilySearch.org.

    02 August 2011

    New adoptees support service in Minnesota

    The Minneapolis StarTribune carried a story today about adult adoptees and a new support service: "Adoptees Have Answers opened last year to offer services for and about adult adoptees, including support groups, public events and webinars."

    Quoting from the article: The group aims to support adoptees but also to promote a better understanding of what it's like to be adopted. The hope is that parents, social workers, adoption professionals, therapists and lawmakers will be listening. "We believe there is a basic underlying situation, when a child and her original mother are separated, that has lifelong consequences," said Kate Maloney, manager of Adoptees Have Answers. "We need to be really, really sensitive to those lifelong issues."

    Services and support aside, it's still a struggle for adult adoptees to find out more about their birth families and it's costly as the article alludes to. Costly to learn about themselves. Still this way in 2011. Sad.

    Click here to read the full story.

    25 July 2011

    Genealogy library electronic news

    These are three examples of helpful electronic publications from libraries that have extensive genealogical research collections. I have researched in all three libraries and highly recommend them and their publications.

    23 July 2011

    Sympathy Saturday: Johanna Walsh Hanley

    My maternal Great Grandmother Johanna Walsh/Welch Hanley was born on the beautiful Dingle peninsula in Ireland. She was born 12 June 1859 and her baptism on that same date is recorded in the parish of Ballyferriter. She arrived in the U.S. by September 1889 as on 3 September 1889 in Winona, Winona County, Minnesota, she married widower Michael Hanley. Michael and his first wife Margaret had six children who were left motherless when Margaret died on 14 March 1888 in Winona.

    Michael and Johanna then had six children and I descend from their son Maurice Michael Hanley. Johanna raised a whole household of kids by herself after her husband died in 1905.

    I never knew Johanna. She died 11 April 1937. The only story I ever heard about her was from my mother, Patricia Margaret Hanley Stuart, and it explained a lot about why my mother avoided funerals. As a child and as a teenager it was rare that I even heard of family funerals. I did go to a couple funerals and as I got older I wondered why we never went to them for other relatives and family friends. It took my getting bitten by the genealogy bug to learn why. My mom didn't share a lot of family info with me, but she did tell a story about when her Grandmother Hanley died. My mom remembered being forced to go to the casket at age 10 and kiss her dead grandmother. It traumatized her and unfortunately she passed that on to her own children.

    16 July 2011

    MN family digs grave for their own gravedigger father

    What a tribute to their deceased father.

    "RICHMOND, Minn. -- On Wednesday afternoon at Sts. Peter and Paul cemetery in Richmond, Harold Hemmesch's family gathered to dig his grave.It wasn't the first time Hemmesch's children dug into the ground of the cemetery. Their father had been a gravedigger for 50 years, and they had all grown up helping him dig graves."  Richmond is in the St. Cloud, Minnesota area in central Minnesota.

    The other heartwarming part of this story is the wonderful care that Harold gave to this cemetery. Click here to read the full story on the website of the Twin Cities' TV station, KARE11.

    If you have St. Cloud area ancestry (Benton, Sherburne, and Stearns counties), you might be interested in the cemetery compilation of the St. Cloud Area Genealogists. It was very helpful in researching my brother-in-law's ancestry.

    15 July 2011

    Take the bus to FGS Springfield!

    If you live in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa or Illinois and are planning to attend the September 2011 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in Springfield, Illinois, you need to know about two bus trips!

    The Minnesota Genealogical Society and the Wisconsin State Genealogical Society are both sponsoring coach bus trips to Springfield. It's more fun to travel as a group, make new friends, maybe take a nap, and save on gas!

    The Minnesota route will go through Iowa and the Wisconsin route will go south from Wisconsin. 

    It's also a great way to talk with others as you plan which lectures to attend and on the way home you can all compare notes!

    MGS trip: http://www.mngs.org/programs.htm#springfield

    WSGS trip: http://wsgs.wetpaint.com/

    13 July 2011

    Is that obituary totally factual?

    How many obituaries have you read in recent years that had some sort of error? Sometimes you see the newspaper print a correction but that is rare and usually separate from obituaries or death/funeral notices. Any time such an announcement is prepared, several chances for errors loom. The same applies to all such notices in newspapers in any time period. I love the names, places, relationships, and other details but remember that these need to be verified.
    • Is the person compiling the notice in shock at the loss of a relative or friend? 
    • Did a family member give the information orally and someone at the newspaper or funeral home wrote up the notice?
    • Was the notice written by someone at the newspaper who did not consult with the family?
    • Maybe Aunt Sally only guessed at the places of residence of her sister's children and grandchildren. 
    • Mispelling of names could be a product of almost anyone.
    • Typos are not purposely done but do happen. It might be the original typist or that newspaper typesetter.
    • Did the person compiling the notice double check the person's birth date or year?
    • In the rush to get the notice published, was one of the children omitted?
    • Perhaps the deceased's brother Samuel was incorrectly listed as an Uncle. 
    • A follow up story that lists who attended the funeral and from where may have errors in the names and places of residence.
    Now if I could only find one of those full page length obituaries I see in older newspapers for a member of my own family. How can we get descendants of those families interested in family history research? They have gold mines of clues waiting for them. 

    12 July 2011

    56 Days till the FGS Genealogy Conference begins!

    You read that correctly. The Federation of Genealogical Societies 2011 Conference begins on September 7th in Springfield, Illinois. The local host, the Illinois State Genealogical Society is helping to pull out all the stops to make this a great educational, fun, prize winning, memorable, and all-around great event.

    If you haven't checked the FGS Conference News Blog in the last couple of weeks, you have missed almost 30 blog posts with conference news, insights, reminders, and tips. I am the editor of that blog and co-chair of the conference and the blog posts contain info from many of the conference staff.

    At this point, registrants are coming from 46 states plus the District of Columbia. That includes Alaska and Hawaii. Then there are Canada, England, Israel, and Sweden represented among the registrants. 

    Helpful websites:
    FGS Conference News Blog: http://www.fgsconferenceblog.org/
    FGS Conference Website: www.fgs.org/2011conference/
    Illinois State Genealogical Society: www.ilgensoc.org

    Vacation on a budget

    Are you getting some "wish you were here" postcards or watching your neighbors hook up the boat and trailer and feeling like you are missing out on some vacation time? Many genealogists interpret vacation as going somewhere to research, attend a conference or institute or order a bunch of birth and death certificates. How about a few ideas for something to do that is different from your everyday life and yet have a history, genealogy, technology, or family connection? I recently received a post card from Germany where my oldest granddaughter was on an exchange program. It's not possible budget or time wise for me to go to Germany so I will be taking the three youngest grandchildren to visit Germany in Minnesota -- New Ulm in Brown County.
    To find more opportunities, check out city, county, and state tourism sites. 

      08 July 2011

      Isanti County, Minnesota history destroyed

      Grab a box of tissues because you will need them after you read this. The Isanti County Minnesota Historical Society's building was totally destroyed by an arson fire early this morning. According to the Princeton Union-Eagle newspaper, it's a total loss. Documents, artifacts, publications, and more are gone forever.

      Check here to see the many items we will never again have access to. Read all the way to the bottom of the page. I don't have any known ancestral connections to Isanti County, but my heart is breaking for those who do.

      Bottom line is that history has been destroyed due to some selfish person or persons. Why? What did they gain from this? It's a loss of individual, family, community, county, and state history.

      04 July 2011

      4th of July: Freedom and Family

      The 4th of July was a big day in our neighborhood when I was growing up. It meant family and neighbor time. Some years it meant patriotic singing, led by my Dad's booming voice. It meant hot dogs and hamburgers cooked by my Dad, Bill, and our neighbor ,Ernie Lindberg. For many years the biggest fireworks production in St. Paul was at Highland Park on Montreal. We didn't travel to see them as our backyard on Bowdoin Street was a perfect venue for lining up the lawn chairs and watching, with sparklers in hand. As the older Lindberg sons hit their teens, somehow we had our own fireworks displays in a city where that wasn't allowed. But we reveled in it.

      When my parents moved out of their house, one place they lived was a condo across from Central Park in Roseville, Minnesota. We would just walk out their patio door and watch the fireworks from Central Park. The grandchildren loved that view. Of course, we had sparklers. I miss those days.

      One year my husband and I were in Washington, DC on the 4th. Talk about a busy place but what a place to be on the 4th! The music, parade, but most of all for me, the feeling of history and freedom was everywhere.

      Yes, it's a day to celebrate and remember. But I also remember the Native Americans who suffered and were forced to gave up their freedom in this beautiful land. Let's not forget their sacrifice.

      02 July 2011

      Family Tree Finders

      I have known Jan and Warren Mitchell for years. Last weekend at the Minnesota Genealogical Society's Winona Genealogical Program they were among the vendors. They gave me a gift, some Family Tree Wine Glass Charms! I think I need to have a party now. These cute charms hook around your wine glass so that you know which is your glass. I wonder who would choose the marriage license, library, birth certificate, tree, or maybe the skeleton in a casket. I think that there might be a fight over who got the skeleton. I have no stake in their company but just thought I would tell you about my gift.

      Jan and Warren and their company Family Tree Finders will be among the vendors at the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference for the Nation's Genealogists in Springfield, Illinois this September 7-10. They also carry a variety of genealogy related cards.

      Century Farms in Minnesota

      The Century Farms program in Minnesota began 35 years ago in 1976 and a list of them is now online. Depending upon which website or news article you look at, it's of 8,000-9,000 farms that have been recognized as a Century Farm since the program began.The application forms through the 2009 designees are at the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul.

      A farm must meet three requirements to be designated a Century Farm and complete the application:
      • be at least 100 years old according to authentic land records [Yep, the ones genealogists love to use such as deeds, land patent, abstract of title.]
      • have been in continuous family ownership for at least 100 years (continuous residence on the farm is not required). [Family means cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, grandchildren.]
      • the size must be at least 50 acres.
      The Sesquicentennial Farms program honors families that have "owned their farms for at least 150 years, are at least 50 acres in size and are currently involved in agricultural production." This program began in 2009.

      Back in December of 2009, I blogged more about Century Farms, website, and publications. Click here to read that post.

      Click here to see the Farm Bureau's lists of Century and Sesquicentennial farms in Minnesota. A search may be done by name or county.

      29 June 2011

      Only 3 more days to save $50.00 on FGS Genealogy Conference

      If you still haven't registered for the FGS genealogy conference, do it now! Why? 11:59 Friday evening, July 1st, is the end of the discount period. That means your online registration must be completed by 11:59 p.m. (your computer time) or a regular mail registration must be postmarked no later than that time.

      Click here to see the full details. 
        The FGS registration team for the 2011 conference welcomes your registration after July 1st, but they want to make sure you know about the discounted registration opportunity.

        23 June 2011

        Even the St. Paul police need genealogists


        On Wednesday evening I saw an article at Twincities.com that told of a tombstone being found in St. Paul and that the police had been unable to determine where it belonged. It read "Marie Olsen 1879-1932." The article stated police had done a search of birth and death indexes but had not found her. I called the phone number that was in the article and left a comment that I had found at least two possibilities for this Marie doing some online searches.

        Additionally, I wonder what birth index they checked? The statewide Minnesota birth indexes at Ancestry.com and the Minnesota Historical Society's website do not include 1879 era births. If she was born in Minnesota, there might be a city, township, or county level birth record. However, most births in that time period were not registered. Marie may not have been born in St. Paul or even in Minnesota and a death record might provide that clue as would censuses. 

        I checked the Minnesota death indexes at Ancestry.com and on the Minnesota Historical Society's (MHS) website. One possibility at Ancestry.com was a woman listed "Marie Andrew Olsen" who died in Ramsey County on November 21, 1932. Then I found a "Mrs. Marie Andrew Olsen" on the MHS website with a death date of November 21, 1932 in Ramsey County.

        My next check was the 1930 census at Ancestry.com using the name Marie Olsen, born 1879 and with a spouse Andrew and living in Minnesota. I didn't hit pay dirt this way so searched for a Mar* Olsen, born 1879, husband Andrew, living in Minnesota. I tried several different search strategies but didn't spend much time on it as I have some work deadlines to tackle.

        The online newspaper article was upated at 11:17 P.M on Wednesday and this was added: (yes, it really did say ancestory instead of ancestry). 

        "A Pioneer Press search of ancestory.com Wednesday found a woman named Marie Andrew Olsen died in Ramsey County on Nov. 21, 1932. It could not be determined where she was buried. In addition, a city directory showed that in 1931, Andrew A. Olsen, a carpenter, lived with his wife on Bradley Street." 

        Next steps? Just several ways to continue the search:
        • Visit the Minnesota Historical Society and check city directories to see if a wife is listed in 1931 and what her name is.
        • Then check the next few years of directories to see if this Andrew no longer has a wife if the wife had been listed as Marie or Mary.
        • While at MHS obtain a copy of the death record for just 35 cents to see if the cemetery is listed.
        • At MHS also check the St. Paul Pioneer Press and St. Paul Dispatch on microfilm for an obituary or death notice for Marie that will hopefully list survivors.
        • Bring those survivors forward in the city directories and other records to maybe find living descendants.
        • If that didn't yield some people to contact, I would also check at the Ramsey County Courthouse to see if a probate was filed for either Marie or Andrew.   

        15 June 2011

        Blogtalk Radio this Saturday features Paula Stuart-Warren and Josh Taylor

        As some of you may know, I came on board in January as co-chair of the Federation of Genealogical Societies 2011 Conference that is being held September 7-10 in Springfield, Illinois. This Saturday you have a chance to listen to me and my co-chair, Josh Taylor, on FGS "My Society" talk radio.

        It's as simple as booting up your computer and listening to the show Saturday, June 18th. It's on at 2:00 p.m. EDT, 1:00 p.m. CDT, Noon MDT, and 11:00 a.m. PDT. The show is one hour long and once you are logged on to the blogtalk radio site you can also participate in the Chat Room, make comments, and ask questions. That's also the place where you'll find links to online information that we talk about. We also welcome your input on the importance of attending these FGS Conferences.

        Josh will be talking from the East coast and I will be at home in the Midwest. The full highlights will be published on the FGS Conference News Blog and on FGS' Facebook page tomorrow. Among the things to be covered will be what to expect if you are coming to an FGS conference for the first time, one speaker will be featured, some not yet publicized door prizes will be announced, and we will talk about special new features of this year's conference. One of the FGS Member Societies will also be featured.

        Mark it on your calendars, visit the FGS website. and click on the blogtalk radio detail. Our fellow FGS board member and show host, Thomas MacEntee, has posted an easy to follow set of directions there so that you may join us on Saturday.

        12 June 2011

        Sentimental Sunday: Thinking about on-site family history searches

        I love to sit at my computer checking Ancestry.com, Facebook, NewspaperArchives, American Ancestors and a bunch of other websites. Today I was thinking about some other research ventures that involved on-site researching. I find it exhilarating to touch original records, get my fingers dirty paging through an old volume of court records, view an original will, or whatever the sought after record might be.

        City directories at the St. Paul Public Library: discovering other people with the same surname (Cook) as my maiden grandaunts living at the same address in St. Paul. I had never heard their father or brother's names before.

        Civil court records at the county courthouse: finding my father's divorce papers from his first wife. Yes, she did run off while he was overseas during WWII. There were no children. 

        Correspondence with a distant cousin: finding out that our mutual ancestral surname was not Dow and was not English or Irish, but was Daoust and French-Canadian.

        Family History Library in Salt Lake City: reading deeds from Arkansas on microfilm and finally connecting some Warren relatives of my father-in-law's. 

        Genealogical society meeting: shared something about a 1st cousin twice removed and a fellow attendee ended up giving me a box full of clippings and stories about MY cousin who had lived in the same town with her aunt.


        Newspapers at the Minnesota Historical Society: finding the 50th wedding anniversary story about Nils Christian Carlsen and Betsy Peterson, a set of my maternal great grandparents.

        Newspaper clipping file at the St. Paul Public Library: finding the clippings about my mother-in-law's cousin Eddie Green that told us he was an associate of John Dillinger's.

        File at the public library in Clarksville, Arkansas: seeing the names of other people also researching my father-in-law's family.

        Civil war pension reading at the National Archives in Washington, DC: viewing the complete pension files of ancestors and siblings. 

        Area Research Center in Wisconsin: seeing the signature of my own great grandfather in the papers of the St. Andrew Society.

        Cemeteries in Wisconsin: seeing the stones for my German ancestors in Fort Atkinson and Watertown.

        09 June 2011

        Illinois adoptions: more access soon

        "Illinois Department of Public Health officials are bracing for a flood of requests in November when a new law will allow thousands of adult adoptees to obtain their birth certificates. The law passed in Illinois last year could give some adoptees the names of their birth parents for the first time. Birth parents can remain anonymous and have their names redacted from any released birth certificate by filling out a form by Nov. 1."

        This is from an article posted by the Chicago Tribune this evening.  A year ago I blogged about an earlier Tribune post that allowed those born before 1946 easier access to their original birth certificates. This new round takes place beginning this coming November and those born after 1946 will now get that same access unless the birth parents notified the state otherwise. The article states, "If biological parents fail to do so, the state will assume that the information is fair to release."

        The article quotes Chicago radio personality Steve Cochran who is an adoptee himself who has made contact with his birth mother. At one time Steve was on radio station KDWB-FM here in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Wouldn't this be a great type of legislation to spread from state to state? There are a few other states that allow some access to the original record.

        FGS genealogy conference blog update

        If you are thinking about registering for the 2011 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference for the Nations' Genealogists you might want to look at all the recent news. The FGS Conference News Blog has been busy lately and many more exciting posts are on the way between now and early September.

        The conference takes place in the Land of Lincoln, Illinois -- Springfield to be exact. The dates are September 7-10, 2011. When you look at the conference website, you will see that it's less than 90 days till the conference begins!

        Wish for an index to the blog?
        Scroll way down and see the "Labels" section in the right hand column

        Want to look over the full conference list of sessions?
        Click here or here to see two different layouts of the sessions.

        FGS Conference News Blog  http://www.fgsconferenceblog.org/
        FGS Conference Website  http://fgs.org/2011conference/


        Disclosure -- I am the editor of the FGS Conference News Blog and Co-Chair of the 2011 Conference.