30 April 2012

Minnesota 1940 census is 19% indexed

That is amazing news. In less than a month since the 1940 census was made public, volunteers have indexed 19% of the 1940 U.S. census for Minnesota. I love indexing my home state. I recognize many names or can easily figure out what the enumerator wrote in most cases. I love seeing the multi-generation families all living in the same house. Yesterday I indexed four batches.

I do have to use other databases and indexes to help figure out the given or surname for some of the entries. Those names have to be indexed as the census enumerator wrote them. For Minnesota  and other place names, the spelling is to be corrected to the proper spelling. One helpful Minnesota place name guide is Minnesota Place Names: A Geographical Encyclopedia (3d ed) which is also online in expanded and searchable format at http://mnplaces.mnhs.org/upham/index.cfm

A bit of bad news, there is still 81% of the 1940 census for Minnesota to be indexed. It takes many people to accomplish 100%. On average, how many batches (pages) are you indexing in a week? My work and other volunteering schedules have kept me from doing as many as I want to do. But, I am averaging a dozen batches a week. Promise me you will try indexing at least a couple batches in the five days. Then tell me you were able to stop with just two!

A friend in Arizona sent me an email to tell me that since her home state of Indiana is all indexed and Arizona, her state of residence, is also indexed, she is now indexing in states that mean something to her genealogy friends. I love that she is helping to index Minnesota!

To sign up visit www.familysearch.org and click on the 1940 census image. That will take you to a page where you can quickly sign up. You may also indicate that you are doing this under the auspices of the Minnesota Genealogical Society or any other group.

26 April 2012

"Ask a Genealogist" this Saturday

The Association of Professional Genealogists Northland Chapter is sponsoring a “Ask a Genealogist” panel session this Saturday, April 28th at Inver Hills Community College in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota. IGH is a suburb of St. Paul.

This session will be held from 12:00 - 12:30 p.m. and is open to all conference registrants. Each registrant will receive Ask a Genealogist forms in their registration packet. APG Northland Chapter members David Suddarth, Joanne Sher, and Sandy Thalmann will be there to answer your family history questions.

The session is part of the Central & Eastern European Genealogy Conference being held Friday evening and all day Saturday. For more information on the event check the Minnesota Genealogical Society website at www.mngs.org.

The conference features three sessions by John Philip Colletta, Ph.D. plus 15 breakout sessions in 5 ethnic tracks.

For more information on the Northland Chapter please visit our page on the Association of Professional Genealogists website: http://www.apgen.org/chapters/northland/index.html

24 April 2012

Jimmy B. Parker SLIG Scholarship

The Utah Genealogical Association has announced a new scholarship program. for its annual Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. It is named in honor of the late Jimmy B. Parker who was an avid genealogist, former Director of the Family History Library, and a great friend to all who knew him.

The Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy is pleased to announce we are now accepting essays for the Jimmy B. Parker Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy scholarship. Full tuition to SLIG 2013 will be awarded to the student whose essay and application exemplify the culture of giving back lived by Jimmy B. Parker. The scholarship will be awarded by a committee comprised of SLIG committee members and the family of the late Jimmy B. Parker.

Applicants are asked to submit the following via email to sligdirector@ugagenealogy.org:
  1. A one-page essay detailing how attending SLIG will help you prepare to give back to the genealogical community, following Jimmy B. Parker’s example.
  2. A short biography including previous volunteer and research experience.
  3. The name of the course you would like to attend.
  4. A letter of recommendation from a someone who has benefited from your volunteer service.
The winning essay will be posted on the UGA blog at http://ugagenealogy.blogspot.com/.

The Salt Lake Institute runs from January 14-18, 2013 and the winning student will have their choice of the following tracks:
  1. American Research and Records: Focus on Localities (with Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FUGA, FMGS)
  2. Bridging the 1780-1830 Gap: From New England to the Midwest (and Points in Between) (with D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS)
  3. Researching Your English Ancestors: Beyond the Parish Register (with Apryl Cox, AG)
  4. Advanced German Research (with F. Warren Bittner, CG)
  5. Researching in Washington D.C. without Leaving Home (with Richard G. Sayre, CG, and Pamela, Boyer Sayre, CG, CGL)
  6. A Genealogist’s Guide to the Internet Galaxy (with Thomas MacEntee)
  7. Principles of Forensic Genealogy (with Melinde Lutz Byrne, CG, FASG and in partnership with Boston University)
  8. Producing a Quality Family Narrative (with John Philip Colletta, Ph.D..
  9. Advanced Genealogical Methods (with Thomas W. Jones, Ph.D., CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA, FNGS)
  10. Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum (with Angela McGhie and Kimberly Powell)
  11. Problem Solving (with Judith Hansen, MLS, AG)
Applications and essays are due by May 15th and the winner will be announced May 31st. SLIG registration opens soon -- June 2, 2012 at 9:00 AM Mountain Time.

19 April 2012

Minnesota genealogy webinar

I just did a run-through of my Minnesota Genealogy Crash Course for Family Tree University. I will be presenting it live next Wednesday, April 25th at 7:00 pm here in the Midwest. That will be at 8:00 Eastern, 6:00 Mountain, and 5:00 Pacific.

Diane Haddad at the Genealogy Insider just posted some teasers about the presentation. Click here to read that and for the link to sign up for the class.

16 April 2012

Minnesota genealogy webinar April 25th

On Wednesday, April 25th, I will be presenting a webinar on Minnesota genealogy. It's part of Family Tree University. I have been researching, writing, and teaching about Minnesota genealogical research for more years than I am willing to admit. When I began my Minnesota research, the late Minnesota Historical Society librarian, Wiley Pope, gave me stacks of his personal genealogy periodicals to read. Then I used to sit at the state archives and read through the voluminous finding aids to learn more about the government, business, personal, military, organizational, and other collections. Then I would request box after box of these records to actually see what was in them. Fast forward to today and we have many finding aids, records, and indexes online. Having Minnesota ancestry is wonderful. I think it's the best! I love telling others about it whether through classes, private consultations, articles, or webinars. 

Join me on your computer for the webinar next Wednesday. Visit the Family Tree University website to see a bit more about this Minnesota Genealogy Crash Course and to sign up. The early bird price is only $39.00. Listening live also comes with the opportunity to ask questions.

The webinar is at 8:00 pm. EDT, 7:00 CDT, 6:00 MDT, and 5:00 PDT.

11 April 2012

FGS seeks website administrator

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) seeks an experienced Website Administrator to maintain its current web presence and assist with the transition to a new web platform during the coming months. This is a paid position.

The duties and responsibilities of the Web Administrator are to:
  • Create, maintain and support all components of the current FGS website hosted at Tiger Technologies and using the FGS domain http://www.fgs.org. This includes the 2012 FGS Conference website component at http://www.fgs.org/2012conference.
  • Maintain backup copies of data for the purpose of data recovery and re-creating the FGS web presence if necessary due to data loss or disaster.
  • Write and maintain HTML, PHP and MySQL code necessary to maintain a stable web presence for FGS.
  • Track all website changes using accepted change control and tracking methodologies.
  • Update and create website documentation as needed and to ensure successful transition to future web administrators.
  • Create and generate reports as needed and as requested by various FGS committee chairs.
  • Maintain the Records Preservation and Access Blog (http://www.fgs.org/rpac) and assist RPAC members with blog posts and technical issues.
  • Assist with transition from current PHP/MySQL platform to the Easy Net Sites platform (http://www.easynetsites.com) during 2012.
  • Previous experience creating and managing websites. Experience with non-profit organizations preferred.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of HTML, PHP and MySQL. Ability to generate reports via MySQL as

07 April 2012

Mount Sterling, Iowa on the 1940 but disbanding in 2012

I just viewed all 4 pages of the Mount Sterling, Van Buren County, Iowa 1940 census. Not a huge town then and today it only has 44 residents. It's in Southeastern Iowa on the Missouri border.

I read an article in today's St. Paul Pioneer Press about the town disbanding. The Associated Press article even says that it has never been a big town. Still, it has been home to generations of people. The article said "Looking back on their town's history, people say the biggest event was in 2003, when then-Mayor Jo Hamlett suggested at a city budget meeting that they could raise plenty of money by adopting a local ordinance to fine people for lying. Although he was joking, Hamlett put the idea in a monthly column he wrote for an area newspaper, and from there it was picked up by other news outlets and soon became an international story."

So sad when towns go away. Many ended up as ghost towns in past years as mines ran dry, after disasters, and especially when railroads, state highways, and later interstate highways bypassed them.  

Take a look at the Mt. Sterling Town 1940 census in Vernon Township, Van Buren County, Iowa, Enumeration District 89-23. It's only four pages long. I'm willing to bet that the 1940 enumerator, 20 year old Vinton Rankin [James Vinton Rankin], did not foresee the loss of this town. Nor did his parents Paul and Gail (Helen Gale/Gail Gordon) Rankin.

04 April 2012

Figuring out what's in a record and what to do next

It's really not that tough a task. I recently wrote an article about this for findmypast.com titled Analyzing Records for Family History. 
It's full of practical tips. The website also has other helpful articles.
Click here to read what I wrote on the findmypast.com website.

Watch the website for some great resources that will be on there soon!

03 April 2012

Central and Eastern European Genealogy Conference April 27 and 28 in Minnesota

I received this information from the Minnesota Genealogical Society today:

Minnesota Genealogical Society 2012 Central and Eastern European Genealogy Conference

South St. Paul, MN. The Minnesota Genealogical Society (MGS), with co-sponsorship from the Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International, the Germanic Genealogy Society, the Polish Genealogical Society of Minnesota, the Pommern Regional Group of Minnesota, and the Romanian Genealogy Society, will present its Central and Eastern European Genealogy Conference April 27 and 28 at Inver Hills Community College, Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota.

The conference will feature keynote presentations by nationally known genealogical speaker John Philip Colletta, Ph.D., as well as 15 breakout sessions from Upper Midwest genealogical speakers and educators.

Conference events begin Friday April 27 with an evening dessert social and lecture by Colletta, “Finding the REAL Stories of Your Immigrant Ancestors.” Saturday April 28 will be a full-day conference with two more lectures by Colletta and five tracks of breakout presentations focusing on German, Czech and Slovak, Polish, Romanian, and general genealogy topics, including maps and DNA research. 

The Northland Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists will facilitate an "Ask the Genealogists" Q&A session during lunch on Saturday.

More details can be found at www.mngs.org. Conference registration is open at http://www.mngs.org/blog/?page_id=97&action=register&event_id=16.

About the Minnesota Genealogical Society (MGS)
The Minnesota Genealogical Society (MGS) was organized in 1969 to help Minnesotans and people with Minnesota connections research and discover their family history. MGS collects and publishes genealogical, biographical, and historical material, offers educational classes and conferences to support interest in family history, and promotes family history and genealogy as a rewarding hobby and area of lifelong learning.

02 April 2012

Media, hype, and the 1940 census

During the last couple of weeks network television, cable TV, AM, FM, and public radio stations, newspapers, websites, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other forms of media have talked about today's opening of the 1940 census population schedule. The news has been covered at the local, state, and national level. I have seen some international reports too. They have interviewed the "man on the street," family history researchers in libraries and historical societies, librarians, archivists, historians, and professional genealogists.

The media coverage worked. The U.S. National Archives reported a while ago that "Since 9 a.m., we've had 37 million hits to the 1940 Census site." 

Might we have a slim hope that the media will see the audience is there and continue to help us by:
  • sharing the news about genealogy educational events BEFORE they take place so people can actually be informed and make plans to attend
  • promote the importance of databases (like the Social Security Death Master File aka SSDI) and help encourage legislators to keep the access open
  • promote the need for funding for our historical and archival instutions so that hours and staffing levels may be restored.
  • promote the need for funding to preserve records all across the U.S.
  • tell readers and listeners about the efforts to index, preserve, and share records that are undertaken by genealogical societies and their fantastic volunteers
  • tell readers and listeners where to find more help in using the 1940 census and other records
What have I missed?

1940 Census: non-resident form

One form that is part of the 1940 U.S. census the whole world seems to be trying to access today is the Non-Resident Schedule. This is for enumerating people where they were on the day the census taker visited, but who said that wasn't their usual place of residence. An example of this form is found for Alturas, Modoc County, California on Ancestry.com: http://bit.ly/H50Ssm. The people are enumerated in in Alturas, Enumeration District 25-4, but state that they live in Delmorma School District in Modoc County, E.D. 25-7. This was found at the end of E.D. 25-7.

The enumerator instructions on the National Archives website shows this for this non-resident schedule:

Thank you to Cyndi Ingle Howells of Cyndislist.com for pointing this form out to me.