29 February 2012

Last post for Black History Month

By chance this morning I came across a wonderful Minnesota Black Newspaper Index. It was compiled in 2002 by Brendan Henehan. He wrote: "This is an informal index of newspapers that I have compiled over the past several years. It is not meant to be an exhaustive listing of topics. I have looked at each of the newspapers listed in the Newspaper Key of this index, quickly scanning them for topics of interest to me. You’ll notice particular passions of mine: baseball, media and the law. Yet I have tried to be general in my interests as well. Each of the papers listed in the key are available at the Minnesota Historical Society except for the New York Age, which is available at the University of Minnesota’s Wilson Library."

He indexed 15 newspaper titles and the index is on the Minnesota Historical Society's website. The index includes a key to the newspaper titles that are abbreviated in the index.

I found several items I want to check based on my own research and lecture interests:

Adams, J. Q.: Founder of St. Paul Afro-American League, AP 11-9-1889 p1 c2
Advertisement:  Wanted: 10 good colored families for N. Dakota TCG 1-17-1920 p1 c3
WPA: Transient camp in Mendota has 108 Black men MSP 3-6-1936 p1 c6
WP:A Twin Cities survey of Blacks TCH 4-4-1936 p1 c5
Bundrant, J. W:. Forms Black World War I unit TCS 4-14-1917 p2 c2
Carey, Talmadge: To wed Theresa Ray 8-8 at St. Peter Claver MSP 8-10-1945 p7 c3
Carey, Talmadge: Photo of wedding to Theresa Ray MSP 8-24-1945 p3 c3
Carter, Charles: Former slave dies, came to Mpls in 1883 TCL 8-24-1940 p2 c5
Goins, Homer Former St. Paul officer dies at 42 TCH 8-27-1932 p4 c1
Goins, Homer Obituary of former St. Paul police officer TCH 9-3-1932 p1 c2

And that's just the beginning of the articles that interest me!

28 February 2012

University of Iowa yearbooks now online

Do you have an ancestor who attended the University of Iowa? The Iowa City institution has recently completed a project to digitize the Hawkeye yearbooks from 1892-1992. One hundred year's worth of great information for genealogists. Access this great resource here: http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/yearbooks. The website warns that the year book was a project of the junior class and reflects the year of graduation, not the year of publication. Confusing? Yes.

This is part of the greater Iowa Digital Library project.

26 February 2012

New Romanian Genealogical Society

This was written by my friend, Vicki Albu.

I am a product of the American “melting pot.” Through genealogy I have discovered Irish, German, Norwegian, hillbilly, and Mormon Pioneer ancestors. Few ethnic traditions survived the four-plus generations that most of my family have been in this country. For years my genealogy “brick wall” has been my Romanian great-grandfather, Ilie Moisescu, who was born in 1875 in what was then Austria-Hungary, and emigrated to the U.S. in 1911. The Twin Cities and especially South St. Paul were popular destinations for Romanian immigrants in the early 20th century, and there are many people of Romanian descent who still live in this area. But I rarely encounter anyone involved in Romanian genealogy, and I know of only one or two Romanian family history organizations in the U.S., if not in the world. Befriended by Romanians who came to this country in the 1990s, my interest grew stronger. I became almost obsessed with my Romanian heritage, and developed a fondness for eggplant, visinata, and sarmale (popular Romanian foods). In 2009, we formed the Heritage Organization of Romanian Americans in Minnesota (www.hora-mn.org) to educate others about Romanian culture and traditions.

At my friends’ urgings, and upon reflection of my tough grandmother’s advice that if you want something done you will need to do it yourself, I decided to form a Romanian Genealogy Society in Minnesota. On November 18, 2011 we held the first meeting of the Romanian Genealogy Society, attended by sixteen people who braved our first seasonal Minnesota snowstorm. I was thrilled at the turnout, because I had known so few people to be researching Romanian ancestors. Officers are Vicki Young Albu, president; Dorrene Dragos Hern, secretary; and Peggy Corniea, treasurer. Our next membership meeting was at the Minnesota Genealogical Society (MGS) on February 18, and we’ve issued our first newsletter.

We are in the process of becoming an official branch group of MGS, and will participate in the Central & East European Family History Conference at Inver Hills Community College on April 27-28, 2012, with three planned presentations on Romanian research. I am getting almost daily e-mails from people all over the U.S., Canada and Romania, asking about the Romanian Genealogy Society! Things are moving so fast; I am learning so much, and I don’t know why I waited this long to “just do it.” If you have any questions or to sign up for a mailing list, please contact Vicki Young Albu by e-mail at young754@umn.edu. Membership dues for the RGS are $20.00 per calendar year per household, beginning in 2012. We welcome photos and stories about all Romanian-American families, especially those with connections to Minnesota and the Midwest.

Follow the RGS news on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RomanianGenealogySociety

25 February 2012

Research in the 1940 census is 36 days away!

April 2, 2012 is the date the 1940 U.S. census images will be released online. The census forms are released 72 years after they were taken. I am looking forward to looking at the households of several relatives and am trying to be patient. Patience is not one of my good qualities!

To see a short video that will help you prepare for the research click here. Connie Potter, an archivist from the National Archives makes a short presentation to help you get ready for April 2d. The census won't yet be indexed, but you can narrow down the area to search by using known addresses, addresses obtained from old city directories or telephone books, or old family letters from the time period that might be around your home.I have a list of addresses from city directories and have begin to narrow down the area to search by using the census enumeration maps.

Wish it were fully indexed? I do too, that's why I signed up to help index this important research resource. Archives.com, brightsolid, and FamilySearch are partnering to promote this volunteer indexing project. Please join me and other family historians in this endeavor by signing up here. Our indexing results will be FREE and online.

I just know that two neat parts of the 1940 census will help my research tremendously. First, it identifies who supplied the information for the household. Second, it lists where someone was living in 1935. Oh, I hope the latter part solves some location issues.

For more on the 1940 census, visit these websites:

12 February 2012

Social Security Death Index access is threatened. We need to react!

I was planning to wax (maybe eloquently) about the recent political mess regarding access to the Social Security Death Index (SSDI). That's what we genealogists call it but the Social Security Administration (SSA) calls it the Death Master File. I use the SSDI frequently in my research. It helps me in research cases for county, state, and federal court cases, in cases of locating missing heirs, to help Indian tribes with enrollment issues, to clear land titles, and many other issues including researching my own family history. It has become more important to me in recent years as I am trying to locate more relatives or their descendants in relation to hereditary medical issues. I don't want to lose this resource.

I wish all banks, the IRS, state tax departments, credit card companies, insurance providers, and other businesses would check this long-time easily available resource to see if someone is illegitimately using a deceased person's Social Security number. The SSA is part of the federal government and so is the IRS. But the IRS hasn't used the FREE SSDI to check if all Social Security numbers used on tax returns are legitimate! Yes, you read that correctly. SSDI access is being threatened due to fraudulent tax returns. Duh, the IRS should have been checking the numbers. We all need to sign a petition to keep the SSDI accessible and to have the IRS use it.

My words stop here other than to give you three vital tasks:
  • I suggest you read the words of a colleague and friend, Polly Kimmitt, CG, President of the Massachusetts Genealogical Council:  http://pk-pollyblog.blogspot.com/. Her eloquent entry about the SSDI and the genealogical community is dated February 6th and says it better than I could.
  • Then check out the Records Preservation and Access section of the Federation of Genealogical Societies website for more details. RPAC is a committee of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, National Genealogical Society, and the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies. It is supported by other major genealogical organizations. http://fgs.org/
  • Lastly vote on the issue  http://wh.gov/khE  and then contact all your congressional reps to let them know your feelings on the subject. Together we can get this addressed.
Heck, there's one more thing for you to do! Share this info and links with fellow family historians and everyone else. We need lots of signatures by March.

p.s. I signed the petition as #1429

11 February 2012

California African American Genealogical Society 35th Anniversary Conference

Next Saturday, 18 February 2012, I will be the speaker for the California African American Genealogical Society's seminar in Los Angeles. I have several friends who are members of the CAAGS and I look forward to making new friends. I will be presenting these four lectures with both a general outlook and with some specific African American research angles.

  • Tho' They Were Poor, They May Have Been Rich in Records
  • Genealogy & the Internet: Make it Work for You"
  • Railroad Records & Railroad History: Methods for Tracking"
  • Southern Records
Please join us for a fun and educational day. For registration information: www.caags.org/caagsflyer.pdf.
To learn more about CAAGS:  http://www.caags.org/

09 February 2012

Update on GRIP

The Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh opened registration on February 7th. Of the four courses, Tom Jones' Advanced Research Methods sold out already. The other courses still have some openings.

Intermediate Research: Tools for Digging Deeper in which Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, is encouraging students to bring their own family research for discussion and brainstorming. The classwork will include much hands-on work and discussion during the week. There will be a class research project that begins on Monday.

Beneath the Home Page: Problem Solving with Online Repositories in which Josh Taylor will have you work on your own computer (required). You will be delving into websites, databases, and finding aids that many genealogists miss.

German Genealogical Research
in which you will be able to learn from John Humphrey, CG, one of the experts in the subject.

The limited private dorm rooms have sold out but shared dorm room packages are still available. It is not mandatory to stay on campus but it is an economical alternative to local hotels. The dorm package includes five nights and fifteen meals from Sunday evening, July 22 through Friday lunch, July 27.

To see the full lineup of classes for these courses, register, or to sign up for email update notifications visit www.GRIPitt.org.

05 February 2012

Calling all Genealogists: GRIPitt on February 7th

Registration for the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh begins in two days. TWO days means February 7th. The inaugural year of this institute debuts from July 23-27, 2012. The location is LaRoche College in Pittsburgh which is a newer campus with updated dorms, neat cafeteria, and gathering spaces. The dorm and classrooms are just a few steps away from each other. The gathering spaces and dining area are conducive to networking, deep discussions (aren't all of our discussions, deep?), and for some fun, too.

Helpful registration information has been placed on the GRIP Registration tab. It describes what information you will need to provide during the registration process.

To learn more about the exciting courses, click here.

I am coordinating the Intermediate Genealogy: Tools for Digging Deeper course which is about United States records, resources, and methodology. It will not be exactly the same as the one I do at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. Of course there will be some similar elements but the GRIP course has more hands-on work and discussion because we don't have the Family History Library nearby. It is strongly suggested that you bring along a laptop computer, netbook, or iPad to use in the classroom and after-hours. Students may also send me a United States family history problem of their own for use in discussion during the week. Write a one page essay about the problem and then include a page detailing what you have already checked. You will leave the class with many ideas for furthering your research.

I will also be teaching in D. Joshua Taylor's course Beneath the Home Page: Problem Solving with Online Repositories. Josh will be teaching some of the classes in my course. Full class descriptions are on the GRIP website.

The other two excellent courses are Thomas W. Jones' Advanced Research Methods and John Humphrey's  German Genealogical Research.