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.

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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."