Saturday, June 17, 2017

Genealogy Resources in Kansas City

I had the great fortune to spend last week researching in Kansas City, Missouri.  I had such a great experience I thought I would share some of the sources I found so helpful. My week was filled with trips to 2 libraries, 2 city halls and 3 county courthouses!  I was researching the history of two buildings on Troost Avenue in Kansas City, Missouri.  I spent two full days in the Missouri Valley Special Collections Room at the Kansas City Public Library.  Melissa was a great help and a cheerful voice when I got bogged down.  If you have never been to the KC Library, GO NOW.  It is beautiful and a wondrous resource. Keep in mind the Special Collections have different hours from the rest of the library so check the links above before you visit. Also, there are many online resources found on the websites so check them out.



I also made a trip to the Midwest Genealogy Center.  No longer living in Missouri, this is a real treat for me.  As usual I found what I needed with the expert assistance of the staff - even on a Sunday.

I also was amazed at the courteous and helpful staff at the Jackson County Courthouses (Independence and Kansas City) where I conducted deed and property research.  Before I left for the airport I squeezed in a final and most personal search - I was able to locate my maternal grandparents marriage certificate at the Wyndotte County, KS courthouse. It couldn't have been a more perfect end to a great research trip!

I hope everyone gets to spend some quality family time this weekend!




Happy Father's Day! Here are a Few Genealogy Sales

Here are a few of the specials running through this weekend for genealogy.  If you are ready to test your DNA: 

  • Ancestry DNA is $79 through Sunday, June 18, 2017.
  • 23andMe is $79 for Ancestry service and $179 for Health + Ancestry Service through Sunday, June 18th. 
  • Family Tree DNA is $69 for the Family Finder Test and $139 for the YDNA Test.
  • MyHeritage is $69 for the DNA test through June 19, 2017.
  • To make sure you are getting the best deal for you, check out Genealogy Bargains. They maintain a running list of coupon codes and discounts.
DNA Image from the University of Michigan Medical School 



If you need a little help navigating all the genealogy options out there:
  • FamilyTree is offering 50% off their on demand Webinars through June 20, 2017.
As always, happy hunting!


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Friends of the Missouri State Archives To Hold Annual Meeting: June 10, 2017

The 2017 Friends of the Missouri State Archives annual meeting will be held Saturday, June 10, at the James C. Kirkpatrick State Information Center (600 W. Main St.) in Jefferson City. The business portion will begin at 11:30 a.m., followed by a noon luncheon and program entitled, Route 66: The Highway and Its People, by nationally recognized author Susan Croce Kelly.

This event is open to the public, but there is a cost of $25 per person. Contact Brian Rogers by Friday, June 2, at (573) 526-1981 or brian.rogers@sos.mo.gov to reserve your place. Payment should be mailed to the Friends of the Missouri State Archives at P.O. Box 242, Jefferson City, MO 65102.

MyHeritage Launches New Comprehensive DNA Ethnicity Analysis

My Heritage  today announced the launch of its new and improved Ethnicity Estimate. The new analysis, developed by the company’s science team, provides MyHeritage DNA customers with a percentage-based estimate of their ethnic origins covering 42 ethnic regions, many available only on MyHeritage, representing the most comprehensive report of its type available on the market.

The best part is that you can either order a DNA kit from MyHeritage or upload your own data from other site.



MyHeritage Announces New Collection Catalog

Earlier this month MyHeritage announced a new section on their website called the Collection Catalog, a listing the historical record collections indexed and available on MyHeritage SuperSearch™. The catalog is useful for beginners as well as professional users. It lists next to the name of each collection the number of records in it and the date in which it was added or last updated, and indicates with a special icon which collections are new or recently updated. Some people call this a “card catalog” in reference to the way libraries used to index their inventory on cards in the old days, but our Collection Catalog is digital; It is available online and includes many useful functions.



Try it out soon!

Sanborn Maps Now Available at the Library of Congress

This is one of the most exciting announcements from the Library of Congress (LOC) maps collection in several years! The LOC has digitized more than 25,000 pages of Sanborn maps.  I use these maps regularly for my preservation and historical research.  According to the LOC
The Sanborn map collection consists of a uniform series of large-scale maps, dating from 1867 to the present and depicting the commercial, industrial, and residential sections of some twelve thousand cities and towns in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. The maps were designed to assist fire insurance agents in determining the degree of hazard associated with a particular property and therefore show the size, shape, and construction of dwellings, commercial buildings, and factories as well as fire walls, locations of windows and doors, sprinkler systems, and types of roofs. The maps also indicate widths and names of streets, property boundaries, building use, and house and block numbers.
The maps are easy to use, once you understand the key.  It is explained here.  

If you know where your ancestor lived you might just find his house on a Sanborn map.  There are limitations - not every city was mapped and like census takers some maps provide more detail than others.  Currently over 3,000 cities across the US are online with more being added monthly through 2020. Missouri is in the first release so go check! 


Springfield, MO map, April 1884, p 1,
Library of Congress, Sanborn Map Collection


Other areas in the first release include: AK, AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, GA, ID, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NV, OH, OK, PA, SD, TX, VA, VT, WY and Canada, Mexico, Cuba sugar warehouses, and U.S. whiskey warehouses.

But as Missourians we are doubly blessed because the University of Missouri Library has an extensive Sanborn Map collection.  The University of Missouri--Columbia MU Libraries have documented 390 Missouri towns totaling 6,798 of the maps from 1880 to 1922. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Northwest Missouri Genealogical Society Records Offering

Today i would like to highlight one of Missouri's regional societies and some of the historical records available there. The Northwest Missouri Genealogical Society has many records available online. Volunteers are indexing and adding digital copies of cemetery records, obituaries, death notices from local newspapers- just to name a few. For example, deaths are recorded from 1890-1909, when death certificates became legally required by the state.  More years are being added so check now and check again later if you have ancestors in Andrew, Atchison, Buchanan,  Clinton,  DeKalb, Gentry,  Holt, Nowaday and Worth counties.

NGS Releases Two Newly Revised Guide Books for Tennessee and North Carolina

NGS Releases Two Newly Revised Guide Books for Tennessee and North Carolina

The National Genealogical Society (NGS) announced this week the publication of two newly revised books in its Research in the States series. These guides are two of 26 books that provide information about genealogical repositories and resources in specific states to aid individuals who are researching their family histories. The latest editions are Research in Tennessee, 3rd Edition and Research in North Carolina, 2nd Edition.  The books are available in pdf and hard copy from the NGS online store.


Spring Sales for DNA and Genealogical Research

With the spring holidays (Mother's Day, Father's Day and graduations) several companies are offering discounts for genealogists.  


MyHeritage is offering their best deal ever.  The Mother’s Day promo on their DNA tests – is just $69 thru May 15. 


  • Ancestry.com is offering 25% off memberships for Mother's Day.  


  •  Lisa Louise Cooke's Genealogy Gems is offering 25% of annual membership using the code SAVE25NGS

  • Genealogy Bank is offering 2 months free with an annual subscription.




Excitement Builds as Ground is Broken on the New Center for Missouri Studies

As the Spring semester ends at Mizzou, construction is slated to begin on the new Center for Missouri Studies at Sixth and Elm on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia. The State Historical Society of Missouri (SHSMO) celebrated the culmination of its 10-year effort to create its Center for Missouri Studies in a ceremony on April 19, 2017.  
Ground Breaking Ceremony April 19, 2017
As well as acting as headquarters for SHSMO the new state-of-the-art facility will offer a lecture hall, art gallery, historical research center, conservation lab and meeting rooms.  SHSMO President Bob Priddy said, "This building reminds us that our history is not a bunch of papers and books to be stored in an attic. This building reminds us that our history is alive and it can guide us."  The new Center for Missouri Studies new Center for Missouri Studies will open in April 2019.  We can't wait!
Artist Rendering of the New Center for Missouri Studies


Thursday, May 04, 2017

New York Public Library Has Digitized 5,000 NYC Historical Maps

"An article in Hyperallergic caught my eye when I read, "The New York Public Library Has a 'Digital Time-Travel Service' for Its Historical Maps."  I had to check it out.  It seems the New York Public Library has a two year project to plot 5,000 digitized street maps across the five boroughs, organized by decade from 1850 to 1950.  

The article states that the "New York Public Library’s new NYC Space/Time Directory is imagined as a 'digital time-travel service,' a two-year project engaging the library’s collections of maps and geospatial data through interactive tools." The first tool, Maps by Decade, was launched this month.




“The goal of the Space/Time project is to connect the library’s collections through space and time,” Bert Spaan, NYPL’s Space/Time Directory engineer, told Hyperallergic. Now that is pretty cool.  If your ancestor came through Ellis Island they may have lived in NYC for a time.  If you are really lucky, you might just be able to view the exact location "real time." Happy hunting!


NGS 2017 Family History Conference in Raleigh, NC, 10-13 May: Livestream & On Demand

Many genealogists soon will be flocking to North Carolina to attend the 2017 National Genealogical Society annual conference.  For those of us who cannot attend in person, still have an opportunity to see some of the many interesting lectures by premier American genealogists.




You can now live stream select sessions from the Conference—and watch them again and again for three months from the end of the Conference (until 13 August). You can watch one track (5-sessions on DNA and/or BCG Skillbuilding) or both tracks (10-sessions) as they happen live, and then replay them anytime.

Personally, I think I will listen to the DNA sessions.  I have tested my DNA along with several family members but I have yet utilize the information to its fullest.  I look forward to hearing some great lectures on the subject!

Happy Hunting.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

April 25th Is National DNA Day

National DNA Day, organized by the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health, is Tuesday, April 25, 2017.  The event commemorates the completion of the Human Genome Project in April 2003, and the discovery of DNA's double helix in 1953.  The website lists numerous events from Tuesday's Twitter Chat with  NASA Astronaut Kathleen Rubins, the first person to sequence DNA in space, to discussions at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

Several organizations are offering deals on DNA-related products to celebrate the occasion. Here are a few of the bargains: 

1. Lisa Louise Cook is offering 27% off a Genetic Genealogy Bundle.  Additionally, Lisa's website is offering a coupon code DNADAY to save 15% on all single DNA guides, print or digital. 
2. Ancestry.com is offering 20% off AncestryDNA kits.
3. Family Tree DNA has several options on sale.
4. Two DNA workshops will be offered at the 2017 FGS National Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on August 30-September 2. Both DNA workshops are sponsored by Ancestry ProGenealogists and require pre-registration in order to attend.  Check here for more details.
5. The MoSGA conference will offer two DNA-related from Eric Wells, the first will be a DNA introduction for beginners while the second will detail a case study that offers insights into how to use DNA results with your other genealogical research.  Join us on August 4-5 in Columbia!


Google Earth's New Release Offers Genealogists Updated Tools

Google Earth released an update that offers several great tools for genealogists.  The new search function has been updated with "knowledge cards" that provide encyclopedic details of locations. Users can orbit the world in 3D and utilize the new "Voyager" that incorporates BBC Earth and NASA.  There is a "wildcard" function that allows you to view random locations.  While some of these functions such as street view may not be available for small towns and villages, I was able to pinpoint the church where my 3x great-grandfather was baptized in a small town in Germany.  Happy hunting!


Halifax, Nova Scotia Releases Photographs of the Harbor as the Centennial of Halifax Explosion Nears

On December 6, 1917, a French cargo ship, the SS Mont-Blanc, fully loaded with wartime explosives, collided with the Norwegian vessel SS Imo in the Halifax harbor. A resulting fire on board the French ship ignited the cargo and caused an explosion that devastated the Richmond District of Halifax. It was the largest man-made explosion prior to the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Approximately 2,000 people were killed by debris, fires, and collapsed buildings, and an estimated 9,000 others were injured.




As Halifax prepares to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion, the Municipal Archives is highlighting historical sources on how the communities of Halifax and Dartmouth responded to the tragedy, and how the city worked with the Halifax Relief Commission to rebuild. Visit 100years100stories.ca for information on commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion.