10 December 2013

Joy Reisinger, RIP my friend

It was 1982 or 1983. I was in the audience here in Minnesota listening to a genealogy lecture by a woman dressed in pink. All pink. That aside, she knew her stuff! Thirty years later, that lady, a special friend is gone.

Joy Reisinger was her name. One of her specialties in the field was French-Canadian and Canadian research. Her serial publication Lost in Canada takes up a bunch of space on my bookshelves and I am so grateful for her dedication to that publication. Of course we were cousins a lot of generations back on our French-Canadian lines, but that’s common.

We bonded over research, talking about our kids, and having fun together. She encouraged me to take many big steps in the genealogy world. Way back in 1988 when I was working toward my certification by the Board for Certification of Genealogists, she encouraged me and kept repeating this mantra: document, document, document. Always three times. The meaning was to be dang sure I had the proper documentation aka citations in what I submitted. I got the hint! She was a great mentor. I was tickled when BCG granted her the title of Certified Genealogist Emeritus, a well-deserved honor.

About that time in 1988 she gave me my first opportunity to lecture at a national conference when the National Genealogical Society held the event here in my hometown of St. Paul. I turned down the opportunity because I knew I wasn’t ready.

When my husband received a life-threatening diagnosis of a heart condition, she was there for us. She put us in contact with a relative with the same heart condition. When we felt too shocked by all this to make a planned visit to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, she practically commanded that we still go. She was right. That trip got us motivated to keep on living and enjoying the friendship of others.

I served on the Association of Professional Genealogists Executive Committee with her and her follow Wisconsinites, Jim Hansen and Beth Stahr. We had great meetings and the friendship grew.

I watched her topically index the syllabi from the Federation of Genealogical Societies and NGS conference. We would chat about how to index some of the lectures that just didn’t fit the parameters she had set up. I wonder if I still have some of her early editions of that indexing?

When my personal life fell apart in 2003 she was there to bolster me. She was the conduit between me and a minister who helped me immensely. I am grateful to her for bringing the Reverend Doctor David McDonald into my life. In the last several months, he has kept me informed of Joy’s condition and about the recent death of her daughter, Jane.

If you never saw Joy’s home library and the wonderful working space her husband, Jim, made for her, you missed some real gems. I coveted that space.

As time went one, we had some other common interests as professionals in our chosen field. Then when we became grandmothers it was fun to talk about the new generations in our families. Then she became a great-grandmother and I teased her about that.

The last few times we were in Salt Lake City together I watched her struggle with breathing in the high altitude and due to her own physical issues. We even had one hospital visit there when she was suffering too much. She wanted to go alone but I told her it was my turn to help her. I was so scared we were losing her then.

There’s so much more I could tell you about Joy and what she has done for the field of family history but I should get back to working on my own renewal portfolio for BCG. I am sure she is waving her finger at me and telling me to do so!

Goodbye my friend. Thank you for letting me join you in so many parts of your journey in this life.

08 December 2013

Minnesota Genealogy: Finding Divorce Records

Learning that a family member may have been divorced 50, 75, or 150 years ago might yield a temporary shock to your system. It might also yield a plethora of family history details.

Divorce in the past is different from divorce today in some ways. Societal and family pressures may have caused a family or individual to hide the fact that a divorce took place. An abandoned woman may have listed herself as still married or as a widow and never filed for a legal divorce. Some couples just lived apart without benefit of a legal divorce. In Native American communities, tribal culture often considered divorce as simple as the couple separating and being involved in a new relationship. This practice veered toward official court proceedings in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 

The impetus for consulting divorce or marriage dissolution files varies. For most family historians, the reason is not salacious, but to gain additional family details and to help understand family relationships. I once had a

01 December 2013

Cafes in cemeteries: will the idea come to the U.S.?

I love this idea. A story on the ABC News website "Dead Good Coffee: Cemetery Cafes Gain Popularity" tells about a new trend in Europe. Coffee cafes in cemeteries are attracting a wide variety of customers. A visit before or after visiting the graves of our ancestors might soothe the nerves. A group of genealogists transcribing the words on tombstones could have a mid-morning coffee break together. When the other customers ask what the group is doing, we could spread the word about our society.

I haven't heard of any such cafes in the U.S. but I can think of some perfect places for them. Many cemeteries are extremely picturesque and would provide a perfect backdrop while sipping a hot drink. It might even bring in some extra funds for struggling cemeteries. Okay, Roselawn, Calvary, Resurrection,

27 November 2013

$2.3 Million in National Archives Grants for Historical Records Projects

I received this press release from the National Archives yesterday. The projects include some wonderful one that will aid family historians!

Washington, DC... Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero has awarded 44 grants totaling $2,283,079 in Federal funds for archives and publishing projects in 32 states, territories, and the District of Columbia.  The National Archives grants program is carried out through the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).  A complete list of the new grants is online at www.archives.gov/nhprc/awards/awards-11-13.html

Publishing grants totaling $1.1 million went to nine publishing projects from the U.S. Colonial and Early National Period, including the papers of Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas

25 November 2013

A family genealogical connection to Chicago's Soldier Field

One of my favorite lectures to present during seminars is "Your Anytime Library: Success in the Virtual Stacks." It's about finding digitized records, books, pamphlets, and periodicals while lounging in your own home. So much has been placed online that we get excited about it. The number of websites with such material is growing by the day as are the individual collections already online. Each time I present it, the handout needs to be extensively updated to keep up with all the changes. As I say in my preface to the lecture: "Peruse books at any hour without starting the car or breaking into the library? Add newspapers, documents, family trees, pension records, periodicals, and more to the accessible items and you might be housebound for days (months?)."

I periodically check these sites for my family surnames and localities to see if anything new has been added. Tonight I spent extra time on one specific person, my Great Granduncle James Edward Stuart (1842-1931). I have posted about him before. At times he seems to be everywhere online. He was a Brigadier General, served on active duty in three wars, and was Chief Inspector for the Postal Service in Chicago. I have stories about him that don't appear online and I may not share them for a long time!

Tonight I found a connection that would have thrilled my late father. Ol' Jim Stuart was part of the ceremony when Soldier Field in Chicago received its current name. Soldier Field is the home of the Chicago Bears. It seems particularly fitting to find this bit of history in a week when the Chicago Bears will be playing the Minnesota Vikings. Alas, they are playing here at the Metrodome and not at Soldier Field. On a future trip to Chicago, I just might take a tour of Soldier Field now that I have a connection and know more about its name.

I found this on Hathitrust.org and the digitized and searchable book is Chicago's Great Century, 1833-1933, by Henry Justin Smith. (page 176, Chicago: Consolidated Publishers, 1933).

09 November 2013

Appalachian research collection accepted at University of Kentucky

National Public Radio station WUKY at the University of Kentucky is reporting that the papers of  "distinguished Appalachian history professor, Ron Eller who’s retiring from UK at the end of the academic year" have been accepted in the Special Collections Library.

Click here to read the story. I imagine it will be some time before the collection is open to researchers. In the meantime, I will just dream of the Kentucky gems I might find in his papers.

04 November 2013

Local historical society blogs are gems

Have you checked for blogs written by staff at the city and county historical societies in ancestral localities? You might find one for a place where you lived as a child. These cover a variety of topics including photos of people and places, overviews of research collections, local historical events, biographical notes on local families, historical sites, history of area buildings, cemeteries, churches, and  local disasters.

01 November 2013

Recent FamilySearch Digital Updates

Every time I look at the digitized images on FamilySearch.org I find something new. A recent press release reported "FamilySearch has added more than 135 million indexed records and images from Brazil, Canada, England, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 1,227,603 indexed records from the new Canada Census, 1911, collection, the 949,214 indexed records and images from the Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965, collection, and the 132,330,416 indexed records from the United States Public Records Index ."

The updates also include material from England, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, and from Indiana and other states. Search these collections and more than 3.5 billion other records for free at FamilySearch.org. I find a lot of current day connections via the Public Records Index.

31 October 2013

SLIG & Halloween mean 10% savings. Plus the Family History Library!

It might be Halloween, but more importantly for genealogists, it's the last day to save at least 10% on registration for the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. Mark 13-17 January 2014 on your calendar and then visit www.slig.ugagenealogy.org. to register. Several courses still have open spots.

Still thinking about registering? Do it today and save money. Join the sponsor society, the Utah Genealogical Association, and save even more. Don't forget that the Family History Library is there, too! I hope to see you in Course 1, American Research and Records. I coordinate this course. The consultations and private computer lab will all take place at the Family History Library. All regular classes take place at the Radisson Hotel.

Debra Mieszala CG
Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FUGA, FMGS
D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS,

This intermediate level course provides in-depth learning on 19th-21st century U.S. resources and the methodology for using them. The 2014 course focuses on topics more related to researching families and individuals. Informative and interactive classroom hours delve into significant records and strategies that take you beyond basic research tools both online and off. On-site FHL library support and a computer lab from course instructors provide one-on-one assistance and guidance with your own research. This course alternates years with a course focused on localities. Prerequisites: experience researching in a variety of repositories, familiarity with FamilySearch.org and other websites, and previous class room learning related to family history. 

The full lineup appears on the SLIG website. www.slig.ugagenealogy.org

18 October 2013

The Minnesota Genealogical Society Co-Sponsors Hennepin County Library Family History Fair

Join us Saturday, October 26 at Minneapolis Central Library from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for the 4th annual Hennepin County Library Family History Fair.

Nationally known Minnesota genealogist, Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA, starts off the day with a keynote address, Check it Out! Public Library "Musts" for Genealogists.

Paula's talk is followed by three rounds of short breakout sessions presented by local genealogists.  Breakout round 1 features Finding Family in the Federal Census from Lois Abromitis Mackin and Faith

15 October 2013

Minnesota Historical Society website and preservation

The Minnesota Historical Society's website has many great features. I have blogged about some of these. Scroll down the right side of this blog to see the index to past posts.

One of the important sections is "Preserve Your Family Treasures" which I have found to be quite helpful. The topics discussed are oral histories, letters and papers, organizing family papers, photographs, metals, and textiles.

Click here to learn more about taking care of your family artifacts and history.

11 October 2013

Your story could be on Genealogy Roadshow!

I hope you have watched the first three episodes of Genealogy Roadshow that have been on PBS. The fourth show is this Monday evening, October 14. It's been an interesting series. Of course, it's not directed at any of us who are truly experienced researchers but it does feature interesting stories and people. Hundreds of research hours happened behind the scenes to prove or disprove the stories handed down in families. I hope that viewers not previously bitten by the genealogy bug are thinking about their own family details and about possible research. It's like Antiques Roadshow in that it has short sequences that give an overview of the story and research result. Our family stories may not end up being worth thousands of dollars like some of the antiques, but are probably more valuable in our hearts.

Maybe your own family story would be of interest to the producers as they work on a second season? Now's the time to submit it. 

Click here to access the submission form. The website states "the Expert genealogists will uncover rich and surprising history about the people and places that make up our incredibly diverse and fascinating country."

I have to admit I have enjoyed seeing my friends Josh and Kenyatta as the hosts and have recognized several colleagues in the audiences.

10 October 2013

FGS Announces 3 free webinars for organizations

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) has announced three upcoming free webinars for those involved in genealogical and historical societies.

George G. Morgan, President of Aha! Seminars, Inc. and VP of Membership for FGS, will present a three-part webinar series on genealogy society membership and communication.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 8:00-9:00 pm EDT
The Shape of the 21st Century Genealogical Society

We've come a long way as genealogical and historical societies. New technologies such as blogs, print-on-demand publishing, Facebook, Twitter, mobile phone apps, podcasts, webinars, and others have drastically changed what we can do for our societies. This session discusses how the modern society can

09 October 2013

Genealogy writing awards announcement from ISFHWE

Do you write articles for your genealogical society publication? Maybe you are a blogger or write a genealogy column for the local historical society or newspaper. The International Society of Family History Writers and Editors (ISFHWE) reminds writers IN ALL MEDIA including magazines, newspapers, journals, websites, and blogs that the 2014 Excellence-in-Writing Competition is now open for entries through 15 June 2014.

The competition is open to both MEMBERS and NON-MEMBERS of ISFHWE; both published and non-published authors may enter (see category list on the website). A new category of poetry has been added. Members of ISFHWE receive a discount on the entry fee.

The awards presentations for the various categories will take place during the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in San Antonio, 27-30 August 2014. Some of the awards include a cash prize.

Click here for full details.

29 September 2013

Minnesota Historical Society Tuesday a.m. research hours restored

A big change arrives at the Minnesota History Center in a couple days. Starting on Tuesday, October 1, 2014, Tuesday morning research library hours are restored.

The new hours:
  • Tuesday: 9 am - 8 pm
  • Wed-Sat: 9 am - 4 pm
  • Sunday & Monday: Closed
Click here to learn more about this great research facility.

25 September 2013

SLIG intermediate genealogy course desctipion

I spent some time today working on syllabus material for the 2014 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. Lots of new information to add. The very last thing for this course syllabus will be verifying all the URLs just before I send it to the syllabus coordinator at the end of November. The 2014 SLIG runs from January 13-17, 2014. Plan to be there a bit early to meet me and the other instructors for this course, Josh Taylor, and Debbie Mieszala, at the welcoming reception on Sunday evening, January 12. The syllabus will be distributed that evening and you also get the opportunity to meet others in this and other courses.

2014 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy
Course I, Intermediate Level, 
American Research and Records: Focus on Families

This intermediate level course provides in-depth learning on 19th-21st century U.S. resources and the methodology for using them. The 2014 course focuses on topics more related to researching families and individuals. Informative and interactive classroom hours delve into significant records and strategies that take you beyond basic research tools both online and off. On-site FHL library support and a computer lab from course instructors provide one-on-one assistance and guidance with your own research. This course alternates years with a course focused on localities. Prerequisites: experience researching in a variety of repositories, familiarity with FamilySearch.org and other websites, and previous class room learning related to family history.

To learn more and to register http://www.infouga.org/aem.php?lv=p&epg=51

24 September 2013

Family Roots Publishing offer through September 26!

''Purchase $50 in product and get FREE USA shipping!. This offer ends at midnight MDT, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013. All items on the website are included, including Flip-Pal mobile scanners, software, books, maps, and supplies."

Click here to take advantage of this offer from Leland Meitzler! 

11 September 2013

Genealogy Roadshow on Twin Cities Public Television

If your PBS station is Twin Cities Public Television you get the first chance to watch the premiere of Genealogy Roadshow on Monday, September 23, at 8:00 p.m. CDT. We will have three opportunities to watch the show each week.

I was in the audience at the August Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference in Fort Wayne when we were privileged to view a 5 minute preview of the show. I think it will be a pretty dramatic and fun show. Two friends of mine, Josh Taylor and Kenyatta Berry, are the on-air experts. 

Click here for the full lineup and days to view the four programs on TPT.  Not familiar with this new show? Click here to learn more.

10 September 2013

5 bits of recent genealogy news for 2013 and beyond

The world is full of genealogy news in the last several days.

  1. Who Do You Think You Are?" has been renewed for a second season on TLC! See the news release on Variety!
  2. FamilySearch and Ancestry.com recently announced a joint agreement to begin a 5-year effort to digitize and index more than 1 billion records from around the world. Read more here.
  3. There is still time to register for the The Minnesota Genealogical Society’s October 4-5, 2013 “6th Annual North Star 2013 Family History Conference.” It features Steve Luxenberg
    Steve, a Washington Post associate editor, who wrote Annie's Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret plus many breakout sessions with other great speakers. Click here for details.
  4.  Spots are still available in several courses at the week-long Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy, January 12-17, 2013. The early bird savings ends October 31st.  Click here for more details. The American Records intermediate course which I coordinate has some very special components including one-on-one consultations, hands-on computer session, and some surprises that you won't find out about until the classes begin!
  5. CNN.com reposted a story from Real Simple magazine that talks about the growing interest in family history searching. You may recognize the name of the experts the author consulted, including my friend, Cyndi Ingle Howells of Cyndislist.com.

06 September 2013

Ancestry.com and FamilySearch partnership

Just in case you didn't see this news yesterday, here is a press release from Lou Szucs at Ancestry.com:



Groundbreaking Agreement to Deliver Valuable Historical Content Over the Next Five Years

PROVO, Utah, September 5, 2013 – Ancestry.com and FamilySearch International (online at FamilySearch.org), the two largest providers of family history resources, announced today an agreement that is expected to make approximately 1 billion global historical records available online and more easily accessible to the public for the first time. With this long-term strategic agreement, the two services will work together with the archive community over the next five years to digitize, index and publish these records from the FamilySearch vault.

The access to the global collection of records marks a major investment in international content as Ancestry.com continues to invest in expanding family history interest in its current markets and worldwide. Ancestry.com expects to invest more than $60 million over the next five years in the project alongside thousands of hours of volunteer efforts facilitated by FamilySearch.

“This agreement sets a path for the future for Ancestry.com and FamilySearch to increasingly share international sets of records more collaboratively,” said Tim Sullivan, CEO of Ancestry.com. “A significant part of our vision for family history is helping provide a rich, engaging experience on a global scale. We are excited about the opportunities it will bring to help benefit the family history community and look forward to collaborating with FamilySearch to identify other opportunities to help people discover and share their family history.”

The organizations will also be looking at other ways to share content across the two organizations. Both organizations expect to add to the already digitized records shared across the two websites in addition to new record projects to be completed over the next five years.

"We are excited to work with Ancestry.com on a vision we both share," said Dennis Brimhall, President of FamilySearch. "Expanding online access to historical records through this type of collaboration can help millions more people discover and share their family's history."

This marks a groundbreaking agreement between the two services. But the two organizations aren’t strangers to working with each other; hundreds of millions of records have already been shared and are available on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org. The companies also announced in early 2013 an additional project where they plan to publish 140 million U.S. Wills & Probate images and indexes over the next three years—creating a national database of wills and other probate documents spanning 1800-1930 online for the very first time.

29 August 2013

Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy 2014 Intermediate Course

This intermediate level course provides in-depth learning on 19th-21st century U.S. resources and the methodology for using them. The 2014 course focuses on topics more related to researching families and individuals. Informative and interactive classroom hours delve into significant records and strategies that take you beyond basic research tools both online and off. On-site FHL library support and a computer lab from course instructors provide one-on-one assistance and guidance with your own research. This course alternates years with a course focused on localities. It's not just lectures, we have fun sharing research and stories, too. Prerequisites: experience researching in a variety of repositories, familiarity with FamilySearch.org and other websites, and previous class room learning related to family history. Schedule is subject to change.

9:00-10:15       General Class Information
                        From Clues to Records: Step-by-Step Planning:  Paula Stuart-Warren, CG
10:30-11:45     Vital Records – Strategies and Substitutes: Paula Stuart-Warren, CG
1:00-2:15         US Census Records – Beyond the Basics: Non-Population and Special Schedules:  D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS
2:30-3:45         U.S. Passport Applications:  Debra Mieszela, CG         

9:00-10:15       Church Records: Locating and Excavating:  Paula Stuart-Warren, CG
10:30-11:45     Institutional Records: Extensive Family Details:  Paula Stuart-Warren, CG
1:15-2:45         Computer Lab at FHL (Paula Stuart-Warren)
2:45-6:00         One-on-one consultations at FHL (Mieszala, Stuart-Warren, Taylor)
9:00-10:15       Clustering and More: Maximizing Your Online Searches:  D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS
10:30-11:45     More than Just People: Lessons and Hints from Public Directories: D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS
1:00-2:15         Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Research: Resources, Methods, and Skills: Debra Mieszala, CG
2:30-3:45         The Grey and the Blue: Beyond Pensions: Paula Stuart-Warren, CG
3:45-4:30         Optional time in classroom for groups to discuss their project

9:00-10:15       The Write Stuff: Family Histories with Substance and Appeal: Debra Mieszala, CG
10:30-11:45     Researching the Occupations of Our Ancestors:  Paula Stuart-Warren, CG
1:00-2:15         The Three Rs: Reading, 'Riting, and Research In School Records:  Paula Stuart-Warren, CG
3:00-5:30         One-on-one consultations at FHL (Mieszala, Stuart-Warren)

9:00-10:15       Finding Family Gems in Manuscript Repositories and Special Collections:  Paula Stuart-Warren, CG
10:30-11:45     Discussion and Review of Group Research Projects:  Paula Stuart-Warren, CG
11:45-12:15     Wrap-up; Completion Certificates; Q&A  (Paula Stuart-Warren)
Evening             SLIG Banquet

Register now for 2014 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy

Are you thinking about attending the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy next January? Don't forget to save your spot! There are courses for all levels of experience.

I am coordinating and teaching in the Intermediate Course, "American Research and Records." This course offers classes, interaction, time in the Family History Library, one-on-one consultations, and I also promise some fun! I am joined by two other great instructors, Debbie Mieszala, CG and D. Joshua Taylor, MA, MLS. Please see my next blog post for more details.

SLIG’s Early-Bird Registration is only weeks away, ending on October 31, 2013! The following courses still have some seats left:
  • American Research and Records: Focus on Families
  • Advanced Research Tools: Land Records
  • Credentialing: Accreditation, Certification, or Both?
  • Advanced Evidence Analysis Practicum
  • Problem Solving
  • Utilizing Social History
  • Researching in Eastern Europe
Immerse yourself in a specific genealogical topic for a week-long educational opportunity that is unparalleled.
The library is a short walk from the Institute’s location and, if available, the Radisson often provides shuttle service to the library.

Sign-up before October 31st and you will save over 10% off your registration. Become a member of UGA and increase your savings even more. The registration page can be accessed at http://www.infouga.org/aem.php?lv=p&epg=51

14 August 2013

I will be back to blogging, lecturing, and consulting.

I have been having a great time co-chairing  next week's big FGS genealogy conference in Fort Wayne. Unfortunately, that meant that my blog has usually slipped to the bottom of my task list.

In September I will be back to more blogging here along with being available for presentations. Just contact me for my bio, lectures, and fees as well as date availability.

I will also have time to get back to one of my other loves and that is consulting with folks just starting on their family history journey or others that need some advice on where to turn next. It's like having a private genealogy class!

Last day to pre-register for FGS Genealogy Conference

Today (that's Wednesday, August 14) is the last day to pre-register for the FGS 2013 Conference that takes place next week in Fort Wayne, Indiana. If you want to add luncheons or other activities to your registration, it's also the last day to do that.

Register now before time runs out. The APG luncheon, Farewell Brunch, German Workshop, and the Scanning Workshop have already filled to capacity and several other luncheons and workshops are close to that.

Once you are preregistered, you can log-in to your account and download the full syllabus.

I hope to see you next week in Fort Wayne!

09 August 2013

FGS Conference Online Registration Deadline

My poor blog has been a victim of my current schedule. Between client deadlines and co-chairing the FGS Conference that begins in less than two weeks in Fort Wayne, I have no extra time to write. It's going to be a great conference. The registration numbers are fantastic and don't forget that conference registrants can avail themselves of extended research hours at the Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library.

I do want to let my readers know that online registration for the FGS Conference ends on Wednesday, August 14. Click here to register and learn more about the conference.

Today, August 9, is the last day to register by regular mail.

You may still register at the door beginning Tuesday, August 20, at the Grand Wayne Convention Center in Fort Wayne. It will be a great educational and fun time.

31 July 2013

FGS Genealogy Conference registration deadlines near

I am back home from a wonderful week of teaching at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. The 29 students in my course were amazing. The group discussions were fantastic and I thank them all for their participation.

Now my mind is turned toward the August 21-24 Federation of Genealogical Societies annual conference. My conference co-chair, Dawne Slater-Putt, and I are looking forward to seeing family historians of all experience levels in Fort Wayne. Tuesday, August 20 has several pre-conference activities. Then there is the Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library. The wonderful aspects of that week in Fort Wayne are detailed at https://www.fgsconference.org/

As the FGS Conference New Blog states, "if you haven’t registered for the FGS 2013 Conference yet, you still have time to register online, by mail or at the door. Mailed registrations must be postmarked by Friday, August 9. Online registration ends on Wednesday, August 14th. Pre-registering for the conference gives you access to some great benefits." One of the benefits is access to the online syllabus in the coming days!

Of course, you may still register at the door!

Read that blog for more info on all days at www.fgsconferenceblog.org

19 July 2013

Press Release on PERSI and periodicals digitization

Five days ago I blogged about a newspaper article discussing a project that would revolutionize our access to the Periodical Source Index (PERSI) and the articles that the index covered. Today I received the official press release about the project. I am excited about this. For many years I have promoted PERSI and all those wonderful periodicals from the past that hold valuable family history information, queries, indexes, bible abstracts, cemetery abstracts, and more. I will definitely be renewing my findmypast subscription! The Allen County Public Library is one of the local hosts for next month's Federation of Genealogical Societies genealogy conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Findmypast.com is a Platinum sponsor of that conference of which I am one of the co-chairs.

cid:image002.jpg@01CE8482.1999D550         cid:image006.png@01CE8482.1999D550

LOS ANGELES (July 19, 2013) – Findmypast.com, an international leader in online family history, today announced a partnership with the Allen County Public Library (ACPL) Genealogy Center to revolutionize the PERiodical Source Index (PERSI), the world’s largest and most widely used subject index for genealogy and local history literature. As part of the partnership, findmypast.com is enhancing PERSI, most notably by linking thousands of individual genealogical periodicals and resources to the index, allowing the original content to be accessed and connected digitally for the first time in the history of PERSI.

During the past 30 years, the ACPL Genealogy Center has created more than 2.5 million searchable records in PERSI, indexing every article from more than 8,000 different periodicals, including magazines, newsletters and journals, according to location, topic, surname, ethnicity and methodology. In the coming months, findmypast.com will launch the most complete version of PERSI online. Once launched, findmypast.com will work in tandem with the Genealogy Center to provide frequent updates to the collection as new entries are added.

PERSI has become an essential tool in helping genealogists and family historians locate valuable information, and this new partnership with findmypast.com will transform PERSI into an even more powerful resource.  Findmypast.com subscribers will be able to search and view digitized images of the articles, allowing unprecedented access to the information contained in these periodicals.

“We are proud to partner with The Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library to continue indexing and offering PERSI – an essential tool for genealogical research,” said D. Joshua Taylor, lead genealogist for findmypast.com. “This is an ideal partnership given findmypast.com’s expertise in digitizing records and Allen County Public Library’s continual dedication to adding new records to the index. We look forward to working together to once again revolutionize the way genealogy and local history literature is accessed.”

“Partnering with findmypast.com represents an exciting opportunity to grow PERSI into an extremely relevant twenty-first century discovery tool for genealogists worldwide,” said Curt Witcher, ACPL Genealogy Center manager. “Having the ability to provide much more frequent updates and link index entries to serial issues is a real game-changer, not only for genealogists and local historians but also for the librarians and archivists who serve them.”

The future of online search through this partnership aligns with findmypast.com’s Society Data Initiative, a joint project between the Federation of Genealogical Societies and findmypast.com to preserve, digitize and provide access to the rich resources created by family history, genealogical and historical societies over many decades.

PERSI, and each periodical to be linked over time, will be available across all international findmypast sites, to personal subscribers and library users.

Findmypast.com’s expertise at digitizing historical records and uniting communities provides the tools to help people connect with their past.

To learn more about findmypast.com or to get started on your own family history:

Findmypast.com’s expertise at digitizing historical records and uniting communities provides the tools to help people connect with their past.

To learn more about findmypast.com or to get started on your own family history:
·         Like findmypast on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/findmypastus
·         Follow findmypast on Twitter at https://twitter.com/findmypastus
·         Follow findmypast on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/findmypastus/

University of Minnesota Archives and Special Collections

The opening two sentences of a 17 July article in the Minnesota Daily, the newspaper of the University of Minnesota's main campus, tells the story of why we still need to visit such places in our family history research.

"In the last five years, the University of Minnesota Archives has digitized about 1 million pages of records."

"But that’s only 1 percent of its total content."

I have seen the underground storage of many of these materials and just that part alone was impressive. The article further stated, "The University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections Department houses 16

18 July 2013

Isanti County Historical Society rises from the ashes

Back in 2011, I wrote about the arson destruction of the historical society building and contents in Isanti County, Minnesota. An article in yesterday's Isanti County News tells the story of the rebuilding, the future, and the hopes for this building and society that is physically located in Cambridge, Minnesota

"Our main focus is now going to be a resource center for genealogy and family history. We want our focus to be on pictures and stories and information on Isanti County"

"Isanti County Historical Society Heritage Center is a place to not only conduct research and learn about our past and the people who made us what we are today, but also a place to create new memories.”

Read the balance of the informative and uplifting article here.

Visit the society's website here.

16 July 2013

Minnsota Historical Society adds Tuesday morning research hours

It's official. The research hours at the Minnesota Historical Society in St. Paul are being expanded to include Tuesday morning. Now the Tuesday hours will be 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. beginning this fall. Wednesday - Saturday hours remain 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Hours are also being expanded at several historic sites.

Other research changes are afoot at MHS, too. Reader and printer repair and cleaning, perhaps? More accessible outlets for plugging in computers in both rooms? Fingers crossed! I hate crawling around on the floor to plug in my computer when the row of accessible plugs is filled in the Hubbs Room.

Thank you, Minnesota Legislature and all who championed this change.

Read the full press release here.

15 July 2013

State archives newsletters hold value for genealogists

Have you checked the newsletters produced by the state archives in your ancestral states? The content varies, but may include:
  • list of recent acquisitions
  • bios of staff members (may tell you which person is familiar with specific collections)
  • descriptions of collections
  • notes on state history
  • indexing projects
  • digitization projects
Both the current and past issue are valuable. Many are in paper format but some have older issues online. Some archives deliver their newsletters electronically today. 

These are some you might want to check:

14 July 2013

Genealogy articles indexed in PERSI to be digitized?

I love visiting the Genealogy Center at the main Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. My first visit there was in the early 1980s and I have been back there many times. One of the joys of researching there is accessing all those current, older and out-of-print genealogy and historical periodicals that are indexed in the Periodical Source Index (PERSI). This is not an every name index to all articles but a subject index.

For about a year I have known something was afoot about the future of this wonderful resource and now we know something about that. Today's Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne) has a story about the history of PERSI and that all those periodicals may be coming to a computer screen near us! Even better, the plan is to link the index to the actual article.

As the online article states, the index covers about 12,000 periodicals, some of which are no longer published. All hold genealogy gold. "The library’s collection is so big, the index now contains about 2.5 million citations, and ACPL adds about 100,000 more a year."

U.K. based brightsolid is behind this great project.

Read the full story here.

In the meantime, why not do some personal searching in all those periodicals while you attend this year's fantastic genealogy conference in Fort Wayne. I am co-chair of this Federation of Genealogical Societies August 21-24 event. Learn more and register at https://www.fgsconference.org/

FamilySearch U.S. Immigration Project

Have you checked out the latest indexing projects at FamilySearch? One of the neat ones is the U.S. Immigration project. Volunteer indexers are indexing U.S. passenger arrival lists and naturalization records.

"In June, the project reached a significant milestone of 50 million passenger ship and naturalization records indexed! Add that to the 25 million Ellis Island records indexed years ago—before FamilySearch indexing started—and you’ve got 75 MILLION free immigration and naturalization records ready (or nearly ready) to search to your heart’s content."

Read the full FamilySearch blog post about it here.

Have you helped with FamilySearch indexing projects?

08 July 2013

NARA Regional Fellowship research project winners

he National Archives announced the recipients and research topics for the 2013 Regional Fellowship Program. The winners will research at specific National Archives locations. The topics include several that intrigue me due to the connection to American Indian research which is one of my specialties.
  • The Northern Cheyenne Homesteaders of Southeast Montana's Tongue River and Otter Creek Valleys
  • Dislocated Removals, Institutions, and Community Lives in America History. This is about the Hiawatha Indian Asylum in Canton, South Dakota. I have worked in the records of this and of St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, DC where Canton residents were sent when that institution closed.
  • Moving Towards the Mainstream: Native America, 1890-1940
The researchers will complete a research project for publication. They will also write a report about the research experience that the archives will publish.

Read the full press release on the NARA website.

06 July 2013

Hennepin County, Minnesota new consolidated Records Center

I love progress! The Hennepin County (Minnesota) government is finally announcing the consolidation of court cases. A plus is that records once stored offsite will be more readily available once the project is finished.

"The new Records Center allows citizens to look up records from various cases in one place, ranging from civil and conciliation to criminal, housing and probate/mental health. The center is located in the B Vault in the lower level of the Hennepin County Government Center, 300 S. 6th St., in Minneapolis."

"Hennepin County is still in the process of digitizing the equivalent of 180 semitrailer truck loads of record accumulated over 130 years."

Read the full StarTribune article here

Learn more about hours, access and pricing (gulp!) here. 

Don't forget to check FamilySearch.org (FamilySearch catalog) and the Minnesota Historical Society catalog for some Hennepin County records.

03 July 2013

FamilySearch adds 50.1+ million record images

From a press release just received from FamilySearch:

View the full announcement online at FamilySearch News and Press.

"July 3, 2013

FamilySearch Adds More Than 50.1 Million Images from Belgium, BillionGraves, Brazil, England, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, and the United States

FamilySearch has recently added more than 50.1 million images from Belgium, BillionGraves, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, England, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Portugal, Spain, and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 10,242,324 images from the Belgium Civil Registration collections between 1582-1912, the 6,993,483 index records and images from the Spain Municipal Records collections between 1251-1966, and the 29,532,624 index records from the new United States, Public Records Index collection . See the table below for the full list of updates. Search these diverse collections and more than 3.5 billion other records for free at FamilySearch.org."

24 June 2013

Free Access to Irish Records on findmypast.com June 27-30

Have you investigated the offerings of findmypast.com? Here's a chance to research part of that website for FREE. This is from a press release provided courtesy of findmypast.com.

"On June 30, 1922, the Public Records Office of Ireland, located at the historic Four Courts in Dublin,

The fire has had lasting effects – still felt today – as Irish family history requires a unique approach to research than other heritages. To commemorate this anniversary and encourage exploration of Irish genealogy, findmypast.com will offer its full collection of Irish Birth, Marriage and Death indexes free of charge from June 27 to June 30. Anyone searching for their Irish ancestors can access the full Irish record collection by registering for free at findmypast.com.

Despite a great loss of records in the historic fire, there are still many opportunities to discover Irish heritage, with countless fascinating stories to be found from the records that survived."
caught fire during the Irish Civil War. Tragically a considerable amount of Irish records were destroyed.

20 June 2013

The Harvey Girls and the railroads

In my lecture about finding railroad records that might relate to an ancestor, I discuss some of the railroad-connected jobs in which the workers were not directly employed by the railroads. I love to do this lecture and open the eyes of researchers eagerly looking for records, sharing tactics to take in "tracking" them down, and tell about the myriad of finding aids that are available. My handout for this lecture includes many websites.

One of the occupations I discuss is the Harvey Girls. You may have seen the 1940s movie with Judy Garland or read the book from that era. These women worked in the hotels and restaurants of Fred Harvey that served various stops along the tracks of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad. Did you know about Lesley Poling-Kemps 1994 book, The Harvey Girls: Women Who Opened the West?

My news feed today showed a link to an article about a new exhibit and a documentary film at the U.S. National Archives at Kansas City, Missouri.  "A documentary capturing first-person accounts of the famous Harvey Girls will premiere Friday at the National Archives in Kansas City in conjunction with an ongoing exhibit there. The free film, “The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound,” will be followed by a panel discussion by the film’s producers and other scholars." Oh, do I wish I could be there in-person. The exhibit runs till next January 4th. I see a road trip in my future.
ad more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/06/19/4301648/harvey-house-documentary-premieres.html#storylink=cpy

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/06/19/4301648/harvey-house-documentary-premieres.html#storylink=cpy

To read the full articles in the online edition of the Kansas City Star, click here.

17 June 2013

Slovenian Consulate opens in my neighborhood of Roseville

It's not every day that a foreign country's consulate opens near me! It's practically in my backyard. The Consulate of the Republic of Slovenia is in the home of Miro Medved who was named Honorary Consul of the Republic of Slovenia.

"Slovenia, a country about the size of New Jersey, gained its independence in 1991 from communist controlled Yugoslavia. . . Medved said it was time to establish a consulate in Minnesota, where he said around 30,000 people of Slovenian descent reside."

I was aware that many Slovenians first settled in northern Minnesota on what is fondly called the Iron Range and were miners or in other occupations. The article related that many have moved to the Twin Cities metro area. It also told me that Minnesota's own U.S. Senator, Amy Klobuchar, is of Slovenian descent.

Yul Yost, a Slovenian-American, who lives in Roseville, . . . said he wanted to forge a network of Slovenians together living in Minnesota, so he and others organized the group Twin Cities Slovenians ten years ago. The group’s goal is “to honor Slovenian heritage interest through the sharing of fellowship, culture, history, music, language, literature and genealogy activities.”

Ah, that magic word, genealogy!

Read the full article in the May 28th Roseville Review.

13 June 2013

St. Paul's Pilgrim Baptist Church celebrates 150 years

Sasha Aslanian, a reporter from Minnesota Public Radio, has a wonderful story today about Pilgrim Baptist Church. The church is celebrating 150 year of existence. It was founded by former slaves.

Sasha relates ". . . Robert Hickman, an escaped slave from Missouri who 150 years ago led slaves traveling north on the Underground Railroad, a physical and spiritual migration that Pilgrim Baptist celebrates this month."

The name Hickman is definitely a recognizable one in St. Paul's black community. Unfortunately, when they arrived in St. Paul, members of the group were forced to separate with some going to different places in Minnesota. This sad occurrence may have solved a research mystery for me.

 " In 1866, Pilgrim Baptist Church moved to a permanent home in downtown St. Paul, making it the first predominantly black church in Minnesota. Church members celebrated with a baptism on the shore of the Mississippi."  Today the church is located on Central Avenue in St. Paul.

Robert Hickman, a 39 year old preacher is listed on the 1870 census of St. Paul, Ramsey County, Minnesota (page 15/1097, line 6). The census entry states he was born in Missouri. Here is a view of his household on that census from Ancestry.com.

 Please click here to read the great story on MPR's website.

For more on Robert, read this website www.blackpast.org/?q=aah/hickman-robert-t-1831-1900

12 June 2013

Bus it to the FGS Conference from Minnesota

If you live in Minnesota or Wisconsin, why not consider riding to the Federation of Genealogical Societies August 21-24 Conference in Fort Wayne with a bus filled with eager genealogists? The conference theme is "Journey through Generations" and you have the opportunity to travel with others who understand that phrase!

Check the website of the Minnesota Genealogical Society for the full details. MGS has arranged for hotel rooms and the bus will deliver you to the convention center each day.

11 June 2013

2013 FGS Conference Early-Bird discount ends July 1

This press release is from the Federation of Genealogical Societies. I am on the FGS Board of Directors and am also National Conference Co-Chair for this event.

“Journey through Generations” – A Conference for the Nation’s Genealogists

June 10, 2013 – Austin, TX.  Discounted early-bird registration for the 2013 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference will continue only until July 1. Early registrants receive a $50 discount for the full four days, or a $20 discount for any single day. Details at http://www.fgsconference.org

The conference will be held 21-24 August 2013 in Fort Wayne, Indiana at the Grand Wayne Convention Center. This year’s conference theme is “Journey through Generations,” and the local hosts are the Allen County Public Library (ACPL) and the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana (ACGSI). Platinum sponsors are FamilySearch.org, FindMyPast.com and Ancestry.com.

The conference offers opportunities for all who are interested in researching their family history, with over 160 educational sessions on records, strategies, and tools for genealogists at all levels. The exhibit hall features over 70 vendors offering a wide range of genealogical products and is open and free to the public. 

Luncheons, workshops and special events provide additional opportunities for networking and learning. Make sure the get your tickets to these conference “extras” early to guarantee your spot.

See you in Fort Wayne in August!

Learn More and Stay Connected:

10 June 2013

Wisconsin Historical Society digitizes 3,000 maps

I love this! 3,000 of the 25,000+ maps held by the Wisconsin Historical Society are now digitized and online. I spent too much time already tonight looking at various maps for cities and towns where my ancestors resided.

Click here to read the full article.

Click here to access the maps and atlases and learn more about the collection.

08 June 2013

Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree

I really enjoyed the special genetics learning day at the Jamboree. The speakers, lectures, and comaraderie were great. I volunteered as a room monitor all day and tonight my feet really know I did that! I learned a lot about DNA testing from knowledgeable presenters in the rooms where I worked. I am convinced more than ever that I need to do this NOW.

I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. during a late afternoon break with Cyndi Ingle Howells and Elyse Doerflinger. Thank you to Cyndi for arranging the meeting.
Elyse Doerflinger, Dr,. Gate, and me

I met new friends and spent some time with long-time friends. That's an important part of these conferences. Also, that we ate too much! Looking forward to three more days in Burbank learning, presenting and having meetings. Hey fellow Minnesotans, the sun really does still exist.

30 May 2013

St. Cloud, Minnesota Genealogy Conference, June 22

The Minnesota Genealogical Society and the St. Cloud Area Genealogists are hosting the St. Cloud Genealogy Conference on Saturday, June 22, 2013. It’s an all-day event and the cost is only $35 which includes lunch and snacks.

The program features two plenary sessions and two rounds of breakout sessions, with topics including researching at the National Archives, scanning images, finding European origins, and the newest changes at FamilySearch.org, plus two German research topics: reading German church records and German research on the web.

The location is the Apollo High School at 1000 N 44th Avenue in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

For more details and to register, visit the MGS website:  www.mngs.org

26 May 2013

Ancestral information NOW before it's too late

We all hear about interviewing the older generations of our family before they are gone. I have an additional task for your list of family history activities. Take pictures of the ancestral homes and businesses now. That's now as in NOW.

We don't know when the buildings might be destroyed by fire, floods, tornados, or by a wrecking ball. This afternoon I decided to drive past a couple places where my family had lived in the past. 1011 Portland Avenue in St. Paul looked just fine. This is where my maternal Grandmother Gertrude M. (Cook) Hanley lived for many years as a child.

But earlier I had driven up Marshall Avenue from the St. Paul Cathedral to take a look at 358 Marshall where the sisters of my maternal Great Grandfather John T. Cook had lived. Minnie, Ellen, and Catherine Cook had a nice home where members of the greater family were welcomed. I have written about this home several times. I have a faint memory of being in the home as a very young girl. My mother and grandmother told me about the many happy hours spent there.

As I drove west on Marshall I saw two fire engines with lights flashing. My heart sank and I hoped that the house wasn't on fire. It had been in less than ideal condition the last time I drove by there. Then I saw the fire engines were in front of homes in the lower address numbers. Whew!

A couple seconds later I was in the correct block and there was still shock. The house is gone and replaced by a big building. I had never stopped to take a picture of the home. I am kicking myself and feel sad about it. In its place is 370 Marshall. It was built in 2005. Had it really been that long since I drove past there?

I came home and did some online searching. 370 Marshall is a 68 unit upscale condominium building. I found one item on an older city council agenda:

Agenda of the St. Paul City Council
Wednesday, October 8, 2003

5. Letter from the Office of License, Inspections and Environmental Protection announcing a public hearing before the City Council on October 22, 2003, to consider the appeal of Real Estate Development Group to a decision of the Heritage Preservation Commission denying a demolition permit application to raze the house and garage at 358 Marshall Avenue in order to construct a six story 68-unit condominium building.


Take those pictures now or get someone to do it for you if the homes and businesses are not nearby. I will be taking many pictures of other homes and businesses in the coming months.

24 May 2013

FamilySearch Updates for genealogists

Another press released was received from FamilySearch this week. How often do you check the FamilySearch website's section of digitized records and indexes? When you visit the website click on Search and then scroll down the next page to "Browse All Published Collections" and then click on the country of interest. I plan to keep checking the Illinois county marriage records.
"FamilySearch has added more than 2.16 million index records and images this week from Argentina, Austria, Italy, Paraguay, Portugal, Spain, and the United States. Notable collection updates include the 1,152,830 index records and images from the U.S., Illinois, County Marriages, 1810–1934, collection, and the 244,523 images from the Spain, Province of Valencia, Municipal Records, 1611–1935, collection. See the table below for the full list of updates. Search these diverse collections and more than 3.5 billion other records for free at FamilySearch.org."

Check the full table of this week's updates at https://www.familysearch.org/node/2181