31 May 2011

Salt Lake Insitute of Genealogy: Registration begins June 4th!

The next Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) takes place from January 23-27, 2012 at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City. It's a short walk to the Family History Library. SLIG is operated by the Utah Genealogical Association which has members from around the world.
SLIG Registration opens June 4, 2011 at 9:00 am Mountain Time. Classes will fill quickly!
Click here and then on View Our Brochure. Have fun choosing which course to take!

As the UGA website states, "The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy prides itself on providing the top tier in genealogical education. Each year we bring in the best educators in the field to provide the best genealogy educational experience available. The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy has been providing top-notch genealogical education for fifteen years. The courses are primarily focused at the advanced level, with Course 1: American Research and Records Parts 1 and 2 with Paula Stuart-Warren, providing a good intermediate foundation. SLIG is structured in "tracks". Each track equates to either a locality or a methodological subject. Each track provides at least twenty hours of in-depth instruction. Students choose one track for the week and leave with a deeper understanding of their chosen topic than a traditional conference can impart. SLIG is dedicated to providing a forum for the best genealogical educators in the field to present their knowledge to avid family historians."
2012 marks the 14th year I have been involved with SLIG. No matter which course you choose, you will learn, network, laugh, and make new friends. And with the course I coordinate and instruct in, Course I, American Research and Records, you get extra hours with one-on-one consultations right in the Family History Library. Many of the classes in this course are interactive, meaning you don't just sit and be lectured to. It involves some hands-on work, discussion, and tasks designed to help you incorporate the knowledge gained into your own family history research.

30 May 2011

Memorial Day 2011: War of 1812 Ancestry

Several times this past week I drove by Fort Snelling National Cemetery. My father and mother, father-in-law and mother-in-law, and some other relatives are buried there. Seeing all those rows of stark white stones against the vibrant green grass is both sobering and exquisite.

I have U.S. ancestors and family that participated in the Civil War, Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, Korea, and Vietnam. I have no known Revolutionary War or War of 1812 ancestry.

But, no matter the war, I am happy when the stories of those who served are preserved. Diaries, journals, letters to and from, photos, pension and service records, enlistment and discharge papers, and other documents tell us more about each person.

During our Federation of Genealogical Societies board meeting this past week we talked about the War of 1812 pension and bounty land papers because FGS is in the midst of the "Preserve the Pensions Project." This project is a joint venture of FGS, the National Archives,the genealogical community, and now Footnote.com. The goal is to get all 7.2 million pages digitized and online for anyone to view. Right now 5,000 images are free to view on Footnote.com. This will remain FREE viewing if we all pull together and raise the funds to do so. It takes money for the digitization equipment and operators among other costs. 

Click here to read a press release about the initial posting on Footnote.com and the commitment of iArchives to this project. 

These more than 5,000 documents are online and free to view, download, or print at http://go.footnote.com/1812pensions/. This is less than 1% of the total records to be digitized. We need to keep this number growing. For every $100 donated, 200 more images can be done. For $500 that means 1,000 more pages. In 2012 we will celebrate the bicentennial of the beginning of this war. Wouldn't it be neat to have this fund-raising effort nearing completion before the end of 2012!

Click here to donate to this worthwhile effort.

To learn more about records at the federal level that are related to those who served in the War of 1812, visit the website of the U.S. National Archives at www.archives.gov. Enter the phrase "War of 1812" in the search box you see in the upper right hand corner.

28 May 2011

Minnesota Vital Records

This is an overview of what exists for Minnesota birth, death, and marriage records and ways to access them. This is not a 100% comprehensive finding aid, but it should lead you to more records.

Birth & Death Records

Birth and death records were generally created at the county level beginning in 1870 or later if the county was not in existence in 1870. Most early recordings were a one line entry across two pages in a registration volume and the information is not extensive. In some localities these were also recorded at the township level until the mid 1950s. Many of the township records books can be found at the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS). For many years, the cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis also registered births and deaths. Today these are found with their respective counties. Beginning in 1900 for birth records, and in 1908 for death records, the event was also reported to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). You may find differences in all versions in the years there were multiple reportings.

For death records before 1908, contact the county in which the person died. Some are also at the Family History Library and the Minnesota Historical Society. MHS has microfilms of the MDH death record cards for 1900-1907. The microfilmed records may be viewed on-site at MHS,

Even though there are early registrations of births and deaths in Minnesota, not all events were registered. It was well into the 20th century before the registrations were “complete.” In the 1940s the state health department was still urging complete compliance with the registration laws. You may be among the fortunate researchers who find that a delayed birth certificate was created and there might be supporting documentation. The person

21 May 2011

FGS Radio Show

At 1:00 CDT today (Sat. May 21) , the Federation of Genealogical Societies "My Society" radio show will begin! Go to http://fgs.org/fgsradio/ to show you how to listen. You can even chat online with others!

18 May 2011

FGS Conference early registration deadline

I just returned from several days in Charleston, South Carolina where I was attending the National Genealogical Society Conference. I lectured, shopped, learned, volunteered, networked, laughed, ate, slept a bit, and just basically enjoyed the time.

I am now staying home all summer getting ready for the Federation of Genealogical Societies' 2011 conference that is this September 7-10 in nearby Springfield, Illinois. As full disclosure, I am a member of the board of directors of FGS and the co-chair of the 2011 FGS conference. If you live in the Midwest, this is such a perfect spot. It's the Land of Lincoln and a great place for research and historical siteseeing. Added to that it's an easy place to drive to!

The FGS Office reports that there are already people registered from four countries and the full conference registrations and special event interest is

17 May 2011

Update on Railroad Retirement Board records

I emailed the National Archives Southeast Region in regard to access to the Railroad Retirement Board records mentioned in my earlier post and received this almost immediate reply:

"This is in reply to your inquiry regarding researching the records of the Railroad Retirement Board in person at the National Archives at Atlanta.  The simple answer is Yes.  However, we will need to screen the records first to make sure we do not release any personal information about living retirees or their dependents named in the files.  This screening can usually done in about 20 minutes.  It is best to notify us ahead of time so we can first, locate the file, and second, have it screened before arrival.  If we receive 'drop-ins' we do a quick

16 May 2011

My Hanley and Welch families and the Minnesota Genealogical Society in Winona

I am looking forward to being a part of the MGS all day meeting in Winona, Minnesota on June 25th. It's the birthplace of my Grandpa Mike.

My maternal grandfather Maurice Michael Hanley was born there 12 September 1893. His parents were Michael Hanley and Johanna Welch/Walsh. Johanna was the sister of other Welch's who came to Winona from the parish of Ballyferriter which is situated on the beautiful Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry, Ireland.

Among the families that some of these Welch siblings and others married into were Feiten, Hinds, McGrath, and Kellner.

Michael Hanley, the father of Maurice Michael (Grandpa Mike), was first married to Margaret Carney and they had six children. Michael and Johanna also had six children. Grandpa Mike's sister Mabel Hanley Hewson was the one who gave me the family connections.

It will be my first time to present a lecture in Winona. The day has many other speakers. To see the full program, register for the day, and order your lunch, click here. The day is co-hosted by the Winona County Historical Society.

Railroad Retirement Board records moved to NARA Southeast

In his 3 May 2011, column Ken Thomas reports that the great records from the Railroad Retirement Board have been moved from Chicago to the National Archives Southeast Region in Morrow, Georgia. Morrow is just outside Atlanta.

This is FANTASTIC news. I will do some further checking to see if this means we are now able to personally view a file or have a professional researcher do that at NARA Southeast.

The Railroad Retirement Board was created in 1936 and has no records for workers who retired or died before 1937. If an ancestor still worked for or began service for a railroad after that date, there may be a file. To see if a file exists, it is best to have that person's social security number. Other helpful details would be the complete name, the railroad(s) worked for, time period of employment, birth and death dates. Common surnames may need additional details. Recent files are not included.

The social security number generally begins with a 7 and may be found in some old records left by the worker. It is also likely you will find it on the official death record. I have files I obtained for two of my great granduncles and they were helpful with many genealogical details.

Read the NARA Southeast page on the RRB records by clicking here.

Read Ken's full column in the Atlanta Journal Constitution by clicking here. 

07 May 2011

New genealogical institute in 2012

Announcing The Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh


May 6, 2011 - Pittsburgh, PA – GRIP – The Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh – a new genealogical institute of learning announces a genealogy educational opportunity planned for July 2012. Consisting of four courses, it will be held Monday, July 23 through Friday, July 27, 2012, at LaRoche College, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. According to Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, and Deborah Lichtner Deal, directors of GRIP, “the demand for in-depth genealogical education is so high that week-long courses sell out shortly after registration opens, disappointing many potential students. At the same time genealogists who have

05 May 2011

200th anniversary of the Coppings leaving London

Two Hundred years ago today, May 5th,1811, my ancestors left London and sailed for Canada on the SS "Lively." George and Elizabeth (Saggers) Copping and the four children they had at that point arrived in Canada on July 2, 1811. The first lived in Quebec City, then Montreal, and lived out their lives in Rawdon, Montcalm County, Quebec, Canada. George kept a journal and portions survived. Today the remnants of his journal are on the McGill University (Monteal) website.

They added seven more children and among those was my Great Great Great Grandmother Clarinda Copping. Elizabeth was said to be Irish, George was a staunch Anglican. Several of their children and grandchildren married French-Canadian Catholics. George did not always speak favorably of the Irish or of the Catholics. 

04 May 2011

FGS Conference Update

Just a quick reminder that the deadline for saving $50 off the conference price ends July 1st. It's been ten years since FGS was in my part of the Midwest. I was co-chair then and am co-chair now. We have some wonderful lectures, workshops, special events. special discussion opportunities, and neat door prizes that we will begin telling you about very soon.

Check the FGS Conference News Blog to see the many recent posts including a way to get a refund of some of the registration fee by giving some volunteer time during the conference week.