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.

    08 June 2011

    Cyndi's List Launches a New Web Site

    In case you haven't heard the great news! Cyndi Ingle Howells has done a major upgrade of Cyndislist.com to celebrate 15 years of service to the genealogical community. As I blogged earlier, she does this by herself and I bless her everytime I make use of a link from her site.

    EDGEWOOD, WASHINGTON (June 6, 2011) – Cyndi's List is proud to announce a newly upgraded web site. With improved navigation, a custom database, and a custom administrative interface, the upgrade means that everything will be quicker and easier for both visitors and for the site's owner and administrator, Cyndi Ingle Howells. The upgrade has been done by fusionSpan of Maryland. Their staff worked closely with Cyndi to make improvements and to implement new technology and new ideas designed specifically for Cyndi’s List and for the genealogical community.

    Part of the upgrade was made possible by donations from generous users of Cyndi’s List. To date, 20% of what was accomplished in the project was thanks to them. Donors have been listed on the web site.

    What's New with the Upgrade:

    * The front page of the Cyndi's List site has a rolling genealogy news feed and a link to The Cyndi’s List Daily, a daily dose of family history news as tagged in Twitter and Facebook. Start each day with the
    front page of Cyndi's List and read the current genealogy news stories.

    * The links are now contained within a database and pages will be dynamically loaded on each visit.

    * The custom database and administration interface means that maintaining the link list will be much easier for Cyndi, which ultimately benefits the user with faster and more frequent updates.

    * The new interface means that the backlog of uncategorized links can be processed much faster. The goal is to get the entire backlog done by the end of this year.

    * New links will be reviewed, approved, and categorized within 24-72 hours after submission by visitors.

    * Updates made to Cyndi's List will be immediately available to the public.

    * Previous to the upgrade, the "What's New" page and mailing list post contained only new links submitted by visitors. The new "What's New" page and e-mail will contain those, as well as links added to the site during the day by Cyndi, *and* existing links that have been updated throughout the site (new addresses, updated descriptions, etc.).

    * Across the site links have been labeled with graphics as "new" or "updated" when appropriate. With the upgrade these will now be text-based notations (easily spotted in green), which means that you can
    search on a page for "new" or "updated" with the Edit>Find function in your web browser.

    * Now sub-categories within a category heading each have their own page. And each page displays 20 links, with pagination in place to go to the next page and so on. This means there will be a lot less scrolling through long pages as in the past. Shorter pages mean faster load time in the browser as well.

    * Intuitive navigation at the top of the category makes it easy to find your way to previous category headings.

    * The number of links within each category/sub-category is displayed at the top right on each page.

    * Each of the U.S. counties (more than 3,100) now has a designated page of its own.

    * URLs (addresses) for the pages have changed so bookmarks, favorites, and links to Cyndi's List will need to be updated.

    * Opportunities to shop, support, or donate are highlighted on each page.

    What Has Stayed the Same?

    * The category and sub-category names are all the same.

    * Related Categories are highlighted at the top right on each category.

    * The layout and format of the links are the same.

    * The policies, procedures, and disclaimers for maintaining the link list are the same.

    * The Cyndi's List Mailing List will still distribute a daily What's New e-mail and a daily Link Activity e-mail. However, the What’s New e-mail will contain information about all new and updated links.

    * You can still follow Cyndi's List on Facebook and Twitter.

    * The purpose and intent of Cyndi's List is to be a free jumping-off point for your daily genealogical research.

    * Cyndi’s List remains free for everyone to use just as it has for the past 15 years.

    * This is still just a one-woman show!

    "I started doing genealogy research in earnest back in 1998 and Cyndi's List has always been one of my very favorite websites. It is on my 'Go To' list because I always find so much good information there.” --Kay F.

    "I've relied on your website as THE best resource on the 'net to help with my research..." --Jan J.

    "Where can you get at all things genealogical in one fell swoop? Everyone knows it's CyndisList.com. Every genealogist who uses the web MUST use Cyndi's List." --Polly K.

    About CyndisList.com
    CyndisList.com is the world's largest one-woman family history resource, with more than 300,000 categorized links for genealogical research. For more than 15 years Cyndi's List has helped hundreds of thousands of people with their online journey to trace their family history. The site averages 275,000 unique visitors and 5,000,000 page hits every month. Cyndi's List has won numerous awards and consistently remains one of the top genealogical portals for beginners, intermediate, and veteran researchers.

    Wordless Wednesday: My Paternal Grandmother Olga (Carlsen) Stuart

    Thanks to my cousin, Dave Gustafson, for sharing this picture of our grandmother. She was also known as Grandma Toots!

    06 June 2011

    Found: Brooklyn, New York guardianship records (1830s-1852)

    Today I have pride in an extremely good deed done by a fellow genealogist. Sandra M. Hewlett (Sandi) returned some missing early Surrogate's Court records to Brooklyn according to today's Brooklyn Daily Eagle. The article states, "The record books, Brooklyn’s “Bonds of Guardianship, Vol. 1 through 4,” date back to 1830 and record the details of guardianships through 1852. The historic volumes were found last year at a used bookstore in Philadelphia by professional genealogist Sandra Hewlett." Sandi is a Board-certified genealogist. 

    I am particularly pleased because there might be some clues in there related to my brother-in-law's family. 

    Read the full article in the Brooklyn Eagle here.

    05 June 2011

    This Is The Face of Genealogy

    This is a photo of my great grandmother Betsy Peterson Carlsen and three of her grandchildren, including my father. She arrived in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1882 as a single young woman. Born in Sweden, she married Niels Christian Carlsen and they raised a whole houseful of daughters! I work on my family history to learn more about where I came from to find out where my ancestral families lived, whether they served in the military during wartime, to learn about their struggles and appreciate where I am today.I have origins in nine different countries if you include the U.S. My ancestors, their siblings, and descendants are accountants, storekeepers, Post Office inspectors, housewives, a founder of the postal service in Porto Rico, railroad superintendent, fleet truck salesman, tombstone carvers, fire chief, farmers, secretaries, mayor, nuclear physicists, archivist, painter, jailer, professional genealogist, poet, writer, inventor, plasterer, butcher, and so many other hardworking individuals. Yes, there are a few scalawags, but pretty much every family has some of those. I look at that as a chance to find other records that may give a better look into the dynamics of my family.

    Among my fellow genealogists/family historians are a former mayor, owners of companies, department store founds and family members, authors, ministers, rabbis, nurses, historians, archivists, librarians, scholars, engineers, active and retired military personnel, storeowners, clerks, judges, county sheriff, police personnel, bus driver, machinist, teachers, professors, students, publishers, housewives, actors, software developers, journalists, photographer, and like with my family, many other occupations. Their religions, ethnic  backgrounds, and education are varied. We share a love of history and family history. We educate ourselves constantly at classes, seminar, conferences and institutes. The Los Angeles Times publication ,LAWeekly,  posted a short item about one event, the Southern California Genealogical Jamboree, and some insensitive person at the newspaper included a denigrating photo. It has since been taken down. Many of my fellow Geneabloggers are posting family photos that show the real faces of genealogy. I hope folks at the Los Angeles Times/LAWeekly view our photos and publish a prominently placed apology to all of us who are family history researchers. What were they thinking!?
    Added note: I have been asked where people might view the photo that LAWeekly published. This is a link to it:  http://www.geneabloggers.com/face-genealogy/

    04 June 2011

    What does serving on a board or committee mean?

    Did you get that call, too? You have been asked to run for a position on the board of the genealogical or historical society, the friends of the library, or maybe at your church or school. If you feel flattered, that's wonderful. If you feel that it's nice, that's great, too. If you don't understand or really feel that it is a responsibility, that's not so great.

    While I was listening to the FGS My Society radio show today and heard Janet Havorka, President of the Utah Genealogical Association, talk about UGA planning and activities, she mentioned their great and active board. They have ideas and people are doing things! That's the way it should be.

    I have or am serving on boards or committees for a state genealogical society, an ethnic genealogical society, a genealogy library, several national level genealogical and professional organizations, a county historical society, my school reunions, a school my children attended, and some other places. Sure this does add to my visibility as a professional genealogical researcher, lecturer, and consultant. But this service also gave me a confidence boost, added to my business knowledge, my research knowledge, my circle of friends, and has allowed me to give back to the various communities in which I am involved.

    You are a face of that organization whether you want to be or not! What you do, don't do, say, or don't say affects you, the organization, and how your fellow volunteers think about you. How many people are involved in running whatever organizations you belong to? Have you ever offered your time? Maybe you aren't ready to step up to be the President or Chairman, but what knowledge, time, and friendliness can you offer? Do it now and you will reap great rewards. A few caveats, though:
    • It does take time, so accept whatever jobs you can truly give the time to
    • Agree to run for that position only if you are ready to really participate
    • Participating is more than just being present, you need to be involved
    • Ask for details before you run for a position or agree to serve on a committee
    • It's like a regular paid job, you can get fired from a volunteer job for ignoring duties!
    • If you agree to do a specific task, actually do it and on time (or reasonably close)
    • Do this because it will add to your comfort level of being around people
    • Be honest. If a deadline is approaching or something you promised to do just isn't going to happen, let the others know about it. Maybe someone else can step in or at least assist.
    • Show up for committee and board meetings
    • Be visible as a participant at events the organization produces (after all, if you aren't participating why should anyone else?)
    • Let others know about that organization, it aims, and events. That's part of being a good volunteer, too.
    • Don't disappoint others on that committee or board. They have things that goof up their schedules too! It's called life.
    Within any organization, there is some discussion "behind the scenes" and you don't want to be the person with whom they feel some disappointment. In that vein, don't bite off more than you can chew!

    Now I better go check my task list to make sure I am not disappointing any of the organizations that I have promised time and knowledge to. I don't want to disappoint my friends.

    03 June 2011

    SLIG and FGS Radio, Saturday,. 4 June 2011

    Let's talk about these in three parts!

    1. At 9:00 a.m. MDT (10:00 CDT, 11:00 EDT, etc) the registration opens for the 2012 edition of the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. It will be the 17th SLIG! Click here to get to the SLIG page at the Utah Genealogical Association's new website. A hint to smart readers -- go in and register for the course you wish and then check out. That will allow you to register more quickly since many of the courses fill up! You can go back later and register for evening and lunchtime presentations.

    2. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) radio show "My Society" is on ever Saturday at 1:00 p.m. CDT (2:00 EDT, Noon MDT, and 11:00 a.m. PDT). Where is it found? Right on your own computer! Click here to go to the FGS website page with more info and a link to get you started. The 4 June 2011 show will have Thomas MacEntee, a member of the FGS Board of Directors, as host.

    3. The "My Society" show on 4 June will have two guests. They are UGA President Janet Havorka and SLIG Director Christy Fillerup. UGA is one of FGS' member societies. You will learn some special things about SLIG, UGA's virtual chapter and video training library.

    02 June 2011

    Hometown Newspapers

    Do you subscribe to the current newspaper in the city or towns where your ancestral families lived? This is especially helpful in smaller cities and towns. Many are online but not all of those are the complete newspaper for the day or week. The current newspaper may have a column reprinting news tidbits from 50, 75, or 100 years ago. In smaller cities and towns you may find articles on the local historical society, genealogical society, and stories on older homes and buildings. From these you may learn who are the knowledgeable persons in that area as far as history. You might learn who is the head of the Comfort Rest Cemetery committee.

    Don’t forget to borrow older newspapers on microfilm via Interlibary Loan and and spend some time reading these to get a feeling of the time when your family was in that locality. Check at your area public library about borrowing newspaper films from other places. Many older newspapers on now online in growing numbers but I still think it is easier to read through an entire newspaper on microfilm. Make copies (or save to your computer) the pertinent articles and other news items.

    01 June 2011

    My Blogoversary

    On June 1st, 2007, I posted the first entry on my own blog. Four years later and I am still here. I enjoy blogging both here and on the FGS Conference News Blog. I haven't run out of things to say, share, or sometimes rant about. I have not shared all that much about my own family history, but am doing that a bit more. It's time that I sometimes run out of. Gaps in blog posts mean that I am taking care of the work that pays the bills, spending time with my family, or catching up on volunteer work.

    My grandkids are no longer babies. The eldest granddaughter is about to go off on an exchange student adventure in Germany. The other three and I are taking a mini Minnesota history vacation this summer. I have wonderful friends from grade school that I still see. My genealogy friends are vital to my life. 

    Thank you for reading my words and for the responses I get both as blog comments and as private emails.