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.