14 February 2011

Minnesota Genealogical Society's NEW website

The new Minnesota Genealogical Society website has debuted. I just noticed that tonight while I was searching for some information. Be sure to check it out, learn abut the library, upcoming events, publications, MGS Branches and affiliate organizations, and to see the online library catalog.

Click here to see the new website.

12 February 2011

Your Anytime Library: Success in the Virtual Stacks

This is one of the lectures I will be presenting on Saturday, April 2, at the Ohio Genealogical Society Conference. I have been working on the PowerPoint presentation off and on over the last few months and finally realized that I am spending more time browsing through the websites and finding things for myself and clients than putting together the presentation. The lectures mainly focuses on websites with digitized books but I am also covering (just a bit) digitized documents, newspapers, indexes, and other items.

11 February 2011

RootsTech Live

Don't forget that you can listen to and watch selected sessions from RootsTech taking place in right now in Salt Lake City. Rootstech.org

9:45–10:45am Cloud Computing: What It Is and How It Has Been used – Brian Pugh ON NOW
3:00–4:00pm The Power of PDF: Tools for Every Genealogist – Josh Taylor         

8:30–9:30am Personal Archiving and Primary Documents – Brewster Kahle
1:45–2:45 pm Virtual Presentations Roundtable – Thomas MacEntee

10 February 2011

FamilySearch announces more digitized records

Today FamilySearch announced that it has added more records for Brazil, Canada, England, Italy, Switzerland, and the U.S. to its ever-growing online collection:

"Family history enthusiasts researching in England will certainly relish the nine English record collections updated this week online at FamilySearch.org. The new English records come from Norfolk, Cheshire, and Warwick. Other new collections or updates include Brazil Catholic church records, Canada deaths, Italy civil registration, county marriages from New York, the New Jersey 1885 state census, and Switzerland church records."

If you haven't done a recent check of the records available online at FamilySearch you may be surprised.  I have found some nice additions to my own family history that I had not seen before.

As always, the list is impressive and may be viewed here. 

Who Do You Think You Are? Tim McGraw Friday

Don't forget to tune in at 7:00 p.m. (CST) on NBC TV to watch the next episode of Who Do You Think You Are? The Friday (11 February) show features the ancestry of country singer Tim McGraw who found some mysteries and interesting facts about himself and his ancestors.

I really think my family members who are country music fans should watch this episode! 

Click here to see a short preview from NBC.

08 February 2011

Restoration of family heirlooms

This press release from the U.S. National Archives arrived yesterday. It is worth watching the video!


February 7, 2011

National Archives Launches New “Inside the Vaults" Video Short Just in time for Valentine’s Day, video features restoration of personal family heirlooms

Washington, DC. . . To celebrate Mary Tomlin’s 220th birthday, and just in time for Valentine’s Day, the National Archives shares how family treasures – that are also permanent records – are lovingly and painstakingly preserved in the state of the art National Archives Conservation Lab in the latest “Inside the Vaults” video short, online at http://tiny.cc/ConsLab.

The National Archives' produced “A Peek inside the National Archives Conservation Lab” video short goes inside this lab to see how family treasures from the Archives collection are preserved.  The video features

07 February 2011

Do you have a library card?

All family historians should have a library card. Your city, town, or county library holds a variety of help for your research. One important factor is that almost all library cards are free for residents of the area where the library is located. Few libraries allow us to borrow genealogy related research materials, so we need to purchase those from the book vendors we find at seminars and conference and online.
  • Reference section: no matter the size of your library, browse the shelves of reference books to see the various compilations, directories, and other books that may help you.
  • Local History Room: the indexes, histories, vertical files are great for community history, too.
  • Reference librarians: the knowledge and experience may give you knowledge of references sources

06 February 2011

While I watch the Super Bowl

I will do it today. I will reach into a drawer filled with file folders I haven't looked at in a while. These are files related to my Stuart ancestry. It's time to get back to some research on them. They arrived in the U.S. from Scotland in 1852 and as you may have read before, they settled in the area of Fond du Lac and Winnebago counties of Wisconsin.

I will sort, relabel, and even toss some pieces of paper and likely find much to scan and to enter into the Master Genealogist. What is my impetus for all this?

05 February 2011

Selected RootsTech sessions online!

 For Immediate Release
4 February 2011

RootsTech Conference Will Broadcast Select Sessions Free Online

SALT LAKE CITY—RootsTech, a new family history and technology conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 10-12, 2011, announced today that six of its popular sessions will be broadcasted live and complimentary over the Internet. The live broadcasts will give those unable to attend worldwide a sample of this year’s conference content. Interested viewers can watch the live presentations at RootsTech.org. The first-year conference has attracted over 2,000 registered attendees.

The free online sessions include some of the keynote speakers and a sampling of technology and family history presentations.  Following are the six broadcasts, speakers, and times of the presentations. All times are in

Northland Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists

The Northland Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists just finished a virtual meeting with 16 members. Our members include residents of Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Many of us do research and consultations for clients, others are editors, writers, personal historians, and all are interested in the standards of our field.

New members are always welcome. Let me know if you wish to join us. You do need to be a member of APG to join us. www.apgen.org.

In addition to virtual meetings we will be touring research repositories, staffing "help" tables at genealogy events, discussing research, and sharing tips, issues, and assisting each other as needed.

Watch for us to be on the APG website soon with our own page where our members will be listed with their contact information.

04 February 2011

Cyndi's List -- what would I do without it?

I am sitting here putting together some syllabus/handout materials for upcoming presentations. It struck me how many times I cite Cyndislist.com in this material. Every genealogist should know about it. It links me and my audiences to thousands and thousands of websites related to genealogy and history.

On 4 March 2011 Cyndi's List will turn 15. I know she has a teenage son and this means two teenagers in her house. (Oh I don't envy her! However, I know her and she does quite well with both teens!) I went to her site and found these statistics. 
  • Cyndi's List has been online since March 4, 1996.
  • In the beginning there were 1,025 links. Today there are more than 291,000.
  • This site continues to be one of the top research spots online for genealogy.
  • Cyndi's List has always been free for everyone to use.
  • To date, Cyndi's List has been supported solely by advertisements.
  • This site is in the process of a major upgrade, the first since 1998. 
  • Goals for upgrading would include easier use for both the administrator and site visitors, making adding and updating links a quicker process for everyone. Improved navigation and other features are also on the to-do list. 
For all these years she has been doing this for all of us. Out of her own pocket with just a bit of assistance from advertisements. It's time we thanked her and did our little bit to support her upgrade efforts. She doesn't know I am campaigning for this. But our donations will help her achieve the upgrade more quickly. Cyndi's List is a one-woman business and she spends most of each day maintaining the site. It's a full time job she does for us and for which she receives no paycheck other than a bit from the advertising. I can't even begin to imagine all the time it takes to post new links, correct old ones, and double check everything.

I did ask her a few questions and found out it costs $300 a month to host the web site on a commercial server. The upgrades will be done by a professional web development company to make the site an easier thing to maintain and to use. 

If you go to the site, you can send her a bit of money to help out with something that will benefit us all. I am going to do just that. www.cyndislist.com

Thank you, Cyndi!

    Who Do You Think You Are? TONIGHT

    Season 2 of Who Do You Think You Are? begins tonight on NBC. For me it is on channel 11 at 7:00 p.m. (CST) Of course I will be watching it.

    I love seeing the reactions of the stars as they learn more about their personal family history. No matter who you are, the thrill of the results is amazing. Their families are like everyone else's -- that is we have a mixture of good and bad in our backgrounds. I like that the stars are not just sitting there reading the results but are learning about the process and visiting the "old home" places.

    This show has prompted more people to embark on the journey into their family history. The WDYTYA team and the support of Ancestry.com has brought genealogy into the forefront of minds in the U.S. as it did in England.

    If you would like to see some preview moments from tonight check NBC's Who Do You Think You Are? - Season 2.

    02 February 2011

    Registration now open for 2011 FGS Conference in Illinois

    TODAY, February 2nd, is the Official Grand Opening of the FGS/ISGS 2011 Conference Registration. Hurray!

    The program is online, the luncheons, workshops, and special events are listed. The Conference Hotel (Hilton) is listed, the Exhibit Hall is filling, and most of all you can register online or print out a registration form and mail it via regular mail. Please let others know that registration is now live. It's only 7 months till the conference.

    Click here to register! Don't forget to sign up for the FGS 35th Anniversary Celebration. The big door prize is VERY neat. You will have to watch the blog for details.

    Ancestry.com marks Black History Month

    This press release was just sent by Ancestry.com. 

    Ancestry.com Marks Black History Month with 250,000 New African American Records

    Nearly 35 Million Americans Can Find an Ancestor in the World’s Largest Online Collection of African American Family History Records

    PROVO, UTAH (February 1, 2011) – In honor of Black History Month, Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource, today launched more than 250,000 new historical records documenting early African American family history. The five new collections span more than a century and contain important details about the lives of African Americans who bravely fought in the U.S. Civil War, document the transportation of slaves to and from the prominent slave ports of New Orleans and Savannah, GA, and include poignant first-person accounts from former slaves. 

    01 February 2011

    Black History Month: New Orleans

    The Archdiocese of New Orleans has unveiled a new online database containing records of baptisms, marriages and deaths in colonial New Orleans — including those of African slaves, "who until now have been nearly invisible to genealogical research." The website also has a lengthy explanation of the records of "Slave and Free People of Color Baptismal Records in the Archives."

    One of the things that impressed me about this website was how easy it was to see the links to Genealogy, Historical Research, Collections, and Sacramental Records. My Catholic ancestors resided in Archdiocese where even the fact that there might be an archives is well hidden on their website. Kudos to the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

    Click here to read the full article at NOLA.com. Click here to read a story from the New Orleans Fox TV affiliate.

    Arlington National Cemetery update

    Interesting comments in Monday's Washington Post regarding the ongoing fiasco at the Arlington National Cemetery. "and lack of oversight led to the mishandling of dozens of remains at the nation's most important military burial ground, according to a three-month review of Arlington National Cemetery's operations by a consortium of technology companies." The last sentence in the article is "The report, prepared for the cemetery at no cost, also said that each set of remains should be given a file with a unique case number to link all relevant paperwork." duh.

    Interesting that tech companies came to the conclusion that the records should have been computerized. I agree, but also feel that a paper and card system would have worked if it has been given proper attention. Computerization also only works if given the proper attention and all data entry is accomplished without