28 October 2014

U.S. National Archives free online lectures today

Today is the first of three days to join the free U.S. National Archives 2014 Virtual Genealogy Fair. It runs on YouTube on October 28, 29, & 30. The first lecture each day begins at 10:00 a.m. eastern time. There are four presentations each of the days.

It's live and there is an opportunity to ask our questions at the end of each talk. No need to register, just log in online. To learn the schedule and obtain the handouts: http://www.archives.gov/calendar/genealogy-fair/

27 October 2014

FGS free talk show online debuts Nov 6 with 3 "interesting" guests

Want more information about attending a big FGS genealogy conference? Join me, Cyndi Ingle, and Mark Lowe on Connect with FGS that debuts November 6 at 9:00 p.m. EST. We are all speakers at the 2015 Federation of Genealogical Societies conference being held next February in Salt Lake City in conjunction with RootsTech. Caroline Pointer and Linda McCauley host the show.

Connect with FGS will be a 30 minute FREE show broadcast on the first Thursday of the month as a Google+ Hangout and also on the FGS YouTube channel. Between now and February it will focus on the FGS 2015 conference scheduled for February 11–14 in Salt Lake City, but other FGS news and events will also be discussed.

Mark recently posted on Facebook that we will have a crazy time on this hangout. Yes, we will! It will be informative about FGS and the conference but I think we each might have some ideas up our sleeves. Will 30 minutes be enough for us? Will Caroline and Linda be able to rein us in?

To learn more about this new monthly event, check out the free FGS Voice blog

For more about the conference https://www.fgsconference.org/

Brief genealogy news from the past week

I am in the midst of packing to move in a few weeks and am doing three seminars in other states in the next month so my blogging may be limited. I still have some neat things to share and decided to blog about them in brief. 
  1. From time to time I see newspaper articles about generous individuals that are preserving the memory of downtrodden people whose death and burial may have gone largely unnoticed or marked. The Chicago Tribune carried such an article last week about Barry A. Fleig and the Cook County Cemetery at Dunning in the Chicago area. You might need a subscription to view the story. The Newberry Library's genealogy blog posted about the results of his work on the Dunning Cemetery. Learn more about this project and do a search of the database at http://www.cookcountycemetery.com/. According to that website "With over 38,000 burials spanning some seventy years, it served as an institutional cemetery for the Cook County institutions. These consisted of the County Poor house and farm opened 1854, the Insane Asylum opened 1869, the infirmary opened 1882, and the Consumptive hospital (TB), opened 1899 and was the official Cook County potters field serving the poor and indigent of the county."
  2. The Daughters of the American Revolution in Washington, DC no longer charges non-members to use its library. It's a beautiful place full of books, periodicals, films, databases, traditional library tables, and great staff. Most of the books are on open shelves and the browsing is fun. www.dar.org 
  3. This Friday, October 31 (also known as Halloween!) is the last day for the $50 registration discount for the January 2015 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. Three courses still have a few seats. www.infouga.org

24 October 2014

Hmmm. Genealogy and personal cremation urns?

According to a story in today's Bring Me The News, a firm located here in Eden Prairie, Minnesota is urging people to designing an eternal vessel “as unique as the life it represents." As in a specialty urn for your beloved family member's ashes after cremation. Not only is it a specialty item, these are done via a 3-D printer!

"Requests so far have included urns in the shape of a guitar, a car, a piano, and a cowboy hat, as pictures on the firm’s Facebook page show."

Is this a product for a family historian? We like to remember our dear departed relatives for more than just a date and place. We want to know more about the, what they did, and how they lived. We ask our older relatives about their hobbies, favorite things, and what they like to do. Might we want to keep our loved ones' ashes in a container specially designed for them?

Might they design a model microfilm reader or a scanner for a genealogist? How about an urn designed to look like an archival box, laptop computer, or DNA kit? How about a tombstone shape with all the proper information on it?

Read the full story here: http://bringmethenews.com/2014/10/24/firm-uses-3-d-printers-to-create-personal-cremation-urns/

My Nov. 1 free full day of presentations in Pierre, South Dakota

Next Saturday, 1 November 2014, I will be presenting two genealogical workshops at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre, South Dakota. The workshops are free and open to the public. Free parking is available. Registration begins at 9 a.m. CDT. Come for both or stay all day.  Call (605) 773-3804 for more information.

9:15-12:00:  Research Rewards in County Courthouse and Town Hall Records

It’s more than looking for land, probate, birth, death, and marriage records. The records found in courthouses and related repositories fill in many details about the lives of our ancestral families and the communities and time periods in which they lived.   

Courthouses, town halls, and other repositories of local and county records all across the U. S. are treasure troves of records for family history research. Learn about tax, divorce, naturalization, deeds, criminal and civil court records, vital records, and even the scallywags in the family. Today the records might have been transferred to an archive, historical society, may be on microfilm via the Family History Library, or even online. Learn what these records hold, and how to find and access them and indexes. The examples used in the lecture span a wide variety of localities. Part of the presentation covers  readily available finding aids that determine the existence of specific records, help locate some of these records no longer in the courthouse, and that open a whole new world of research materials. This lecture focuses on historical rather than current records and on the county and town level records but not state and federal records.

1:15-4:00  Lord Preserve Us! Church Records for Family History Research
From the beginning of our country, many of our ancestors belonged to an organized or semi-organized religion. For those who did, the records which have survived until today can often be
 a goldmine of details. Names, dates, relationships, places of new and former residences, burial location,

23 October 2014

Kandiyohi County Minnesota township records

The October 22 edition of the Minnesota Historical Society's Local History News carried a story about another important use of the Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage Grants. The Kandiyohi County Historical Society recently microfilmed township records for six of the county's townships and the films are available the county historical society in Willmar.

For more on this project: http://legacy.mnhs.org/projects/2834

In Minnesota we are fortunate to have these records which include birth and death information. Usually this is in the format of a register book rather than separate certificates. These exist from roughly 1870-1953.

Records for some townships around the state are in the state archives collection at MHS. www.mhs.org Others are in historical societies, town halls, and county courthouses. I don't know of any comprehensive list of these. Some of the records no longer exist due to a variety of reasons. My hope is that each is soon stored in a place with the proper conditions to preserve them.

22 October 2014

Donny Osmond and Cyndi's List. A connection.

Now that Donny Osmond has been named as one of the keynote speakers for the joint Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) and RootsTech 2015 conference, I have a story to share. It's not exactly my story but I have permission from Cyndi to share it.

I am pretty sure you all know about Cyndislist.com. Many years ago at a genealogy conference, Donny Osmond was there to promote a genealogy service. He was introduced to Cyndi Ingle of Cyndi's List. Of course, she was very happy to meet him. The surprise was that he was impressed to meet THE Cyndi of Cyndi's List.

Fast forward to this upcoming February and, as mentioned in my previous post, Donny is the keynote speaker for Saturday morning, February 14th during the conference. PLUS Cyndi is one of the FGS speakers for this upcoming February 11-14, 2015 huge family history event.

I wonder if we can orchestrate another meeting of these two nice people who love family history?

Register for this great 4 day event at the FGS conference website https://www.fgsconference.org/. Then for just $39 more you can add the RootsTech side. A win win win win.

FGS & RootsTech Sat. Keyote speaker is Donny Osmond.

Just received a press release from FamilySearch about the Saturday, February 14th keynote speaker. How appropriate that it will be Donny Osmond on Valentine's Day. I will add more details later. Now will you quickly register for the 2015 conference of the Federation of Genealogical Societies and RootsTech?

Just visit https://www.fgsconference.org/ to quickly register for this exciting family history conference. Then check the box to add RootsTech to that registration. Then work on your packing list and your "to do" list for the Family History Library. Soon, FGS will be adding a list of more hotels to the lodging page on the website. There is definitely room for everyone.

I had a feeling that was going to be today's big conference announcement. Hurray!

FGS Conference 2015: Connect. Explore. Refresh.

I am officially registered for the Federation of Genealogical Societies 2015 Conference. It is being held earlier than usual to take advantage of a one-time joint opportunity with RootsTech in Salt Lake City. I hope February 11-14 is already on your calendar. 
I have not missed a FGS conference since 1990. That is 24 years of great education, networking, shopping and even lots of fun. Yes, I am hooked. I even became a volunteer at many of these conferences. Now I am on the FGS Board of Directors. Really hooked on FGS.
The 2015 theme of Connect. Explore. Refresh. really tells why I love these conferences.
During all those years I have connected with many other genealogists, librarians, vendors, and others who are now my friends. They have shared valuable research advice, names of people to contact, and have held my hand through some tough times. I didn't make all these connections right away, but these developed as we recognized each other at subsequent conferences. I hope to add more of my readers to that list of friends after this coming February in Salt Lake City.

Attending a FGS conference allows me to explore in two main ways. I love exploring topics that are presented in lectures I might not have a chance to attend elsewhere. I often choose to attend a session on something totally different from my areas of research or experience. Exploration equals enlightenment. Then there is always the large hall filled with vendors of all kinds. They demo and sell software, books, subscriptions, magazines, office supplies, preservation materials and much more.

I find that the lectures, vendors, fellow genealogists, luncheons, and other parts of a conference allow me to hit the refresh button in my research. When I return from a FGS conference I am able to continue my research with a refreshed energy and new knowledge. It's an energy that's difficult to express, but it's a new level of excitement filled with paths to try.

Where exactly shall we meet in the Salt Palace Convention Center next February? The program, hotel info, and many more details are here: https://www.fgsconference.org/.  Online registration is a breeze on that same website. 
If your chosen hotel is full, check http://www.visitsaltlake.com/ for many more lodging places. Rumor has it that additional choices will soon appear on the FGS conference website. This is already a popular conference.

20 October 2014

NUCMC and its cousins: "missing" manuscript locators

Recently on Facebook, I promised Sue Hawes of Maine that I would tell her more about NUCMC and access to all those wonderful manuscript descriptions. I thought others might also appreciate this information. It's a long post so you will need to follow the "Read More" at the end of ths main page post.

This blog post contains some content from my seminar handouts and presentations that include details about manuscripts, finding aids, and the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC) and its newer cousins. These are frequently requested lectures and I love watching the eyes of the audience as they realize what they might be able to locate for their own families. In case you are wondering how to pronounce NUCMC, that’s easy: nuckmuck.

NUCMC & its Cousins

Did you ever wonder if a family bible might be in a historical society somewhere? Maybe that missing set of Justice of the Peace records is in an archive in a distant state. Where are the records of the fraternal organization that Uncle Sylvester joined? Might the records of the local midwife still be in existence?

These are manuscripts. These are original records. You may be scratching your head trying to find such items. Of course you check the historical society and archives websites of the counties and states where the person or family resided. Yet, any of these records could be in a distant state. We are fortunate to have several finding aids that assist us in locating these records no matter where they might be housed.

What will finding aids tell researchers?

A typical descriptive entry includes: collection title, years it covers, number of items, volumes or boxes, total linear or cubic feet, name of repository, descriptive highlights, and if there are other  finding aids. Many entries tell how the collection was acquired, i.e. by donation (and by whom) or by purchase. The descriptions often include places, names, subjects, and related collections.

The National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections
An important finding aid is the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections (NUCMC), a cooperative

19 October 2014

Salt Lake Genealogy Institute savings deadline October 31

How can it be past the middle of October already? I do see the leaves changing and the weather is definitely cooler. The 2015 edition of the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy is rapidly approaching. It takes place January 12-16.

The early bird deadline for the 2015 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy ends on Friday, October 31. Register now to take advantage of the discount. Most of the tracks have sold out; only a few spaces remain! Find more information about available classes and register on the UGA website.

There is still availability in the following courses:

12 October 2014

Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives serves researchers!

The Great Falls Tribune [Montana] has a wonderful article about the Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives, the holdings, and the mission of the repository. This is the way I wish all localities felt about historical researchers. That's what a genealogist does. We are searching for the history of our ancestors, collateral family, and the place in which they lived.

The article does have a few errors, but overall it is really great! I still have no connections to the area, but wish I did!


p.s. The Butte-Silver Bow archives website is https://buttearchives.org/

10 October 2014

Just might be 300+ reasons to attend SLIG 2015

The annual Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy is getting closer. January 12-16, 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of SLIG. Those 300+ reasons in the title of this blog post? It's networking with more than 300 fellow genealogists all gathered in the same place and willing to talk about family history research. Time before and after each class, during meals, and at the Family History Library is perfect for the usual networking. The Hilton Hotel has many great spaces for just sitting and talking about families and research. I wonder which students will make the most family or research locality connections this year?

SLIG Early-bird deadline October 31st

Don't let the savings deadline pass you by. Easy registration at http://infouga.org/ There is still some availability in the following courses:

07 October 2014

Vermont middle schoolers learn history in a cemetery

In Sharon, Vermont, middle schoolers are doing schoolwork in a cemetery.  "An abandoned cemetery is turning into a classroom for middle-schoolers at the Sharon Academy in the Upper Valley. They’re mapping the grave sites, researching the people buried there, and creating a website for genealogists who might not be able to visit the plots in person."

This makes history real. It gives these students a respect for their community, history, and for the cemetery. I wish all schools had classes like this.

Read the article here:

03 October 2014

Findmypast only $5 for October, Family History Month

This information was received in a press release from Findmypast.com:
Celebrate Family History Month with a special offer from Findmypast

2014 has already been a record breaking year at Findmypast, and we’re ready to celebrate! Family History Month 2014 is an opportunity for us to share our amazing collection of records, significant moments in history, and the characters we’ve discovered along the way.

The ground breaking projects we’ve launched in 2014 have added millions of names to our database. 100in100 gave us 100 record sets in 100 days, and a total of 38,400,460 new worldwide records. Our digitization effort with the Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library to put the PERiodical Source Index, or PERSI, online for the first time is well under way with over 23,000 images already available. Our England and Wales National School Admission Registers and Log-books was a collaborative project working with 25 archives and schools, and included more than 2.5 million historical records. 

Join the celebration! For the month of October, we will be offering 30 days of our World subscription for just $5.00 using promotional code USFHM14. Simply enter the code at checkout to explore all of our

01 October 2014

Northern Pacific Railway employee records on Ancestry.com

During the railroad records webinar I did this evening under the auspices of the Minnesota Genealogical Society, I mentioned some Northern Pacific Railway employee records that were on Ancestry.com. I had several questions about where to find these and I have posted the direct link below.

The originals are at the Minnesota Historical Society as are many other Northern Pacific and Great Northern Railway. The personnel files are not complete for either railroad but do include some subsidiary lines, too. As I shared during the webinar, these files include many people working from Minnesota to the Pacific Northwest and who were born in many other states and countries,.

NP employee records at Ancestry: http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=2157

Yes, I am on YouTube courtesy of Mocavo

I have done a couple regular Fireside Chats with Mocavo.com chief genealogist, Michael Leclerc. These are available at http://www.mocavo.com/fireside.

The dates for these two are November 14, 2013 and April 25, 2014. 

At the FGS Conference this past August, Michael interviewed me and several of my colleagues. The first batch of those can be viewed under the September 30th, 2014 date on the list of chats. It is also on YouTube.

Free railroad records webinar tonight, Oct 1.

It's tonight! A free webinar on railroad records to kick off the great month of October that is both American Archives Month and Family History Month. This free webinar is available to anyone. Join us on your computer, tablet, or other device. It is sponsored by the Minnesota Genealogical Society.  The topic is railroad records and how to find them. It's been about 20 years that I have been researching and lecturing on this favorite topic.A detailed handout is available to registrants.
Wednesday, October 1
Railroad Records and Railroad History: Methods for Tracking  (Webinars)
7:00 pm to 8:30 pm