Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Free Family History Library Classes and Webinars for September 2017

The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, has announced its free family history classes and webinars for September 2017. A Nordic countries series (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden) will feature 21 classes for researchers from Monday, September 11 to Friday, September 15. Participants can attend in person or online. See the full schedule below. Find and easily share this announcement online in the FamilySearch Newsroom

Mark your calendars for events you want to join so you don't forget. Online classes are noted on the schedule as webinars.  Webinar attendees need to click the link next to the class title at the scheduled date and time to attend the class online. Those attending in person simply go to the room noted. Invite your family and friends. All class times are in Mountain Standard Time (MST).

If you are unable to attend a class in person or online, most sessions are recorded and can be viewed later online at your convenience. To access these, go to the archive for Family History Library classes and webinars.

Monday, September 04, 2017

MoSGA Announces New First Families

The Missouri State Genealogical Association takes pride in offering the Missouri First Families program to honor early Missouri families.  Your work in proving your ancestor’s early years in Missouri will be preserved for future generations by the Missouri State Genealogical Association [MoSGA].

The three categories are: 
Territorial Certificates – Ancestors proven to have resided in Missouri on or before statehood, 10 August 1821.
Pioneer Certificates – Ancestors proven to have resided in Missouri at any time between and including 11 August 1821 and 31 December 1860.
Civil War Service Certificates – Ancestors proven to have served in a Missouri military unit during the Civil War; those ancestors in other military units who saw service in Missouri during the Civil War; and those ancestors who were Civil War veterans and died and/or were buried in Missouri.

Please welcome our newest first families!

Category: Civil War
Ancestor: Johann Nicholas Friedrich
Name of Person Requesting: Carol J. Norman

Category: Civil War
Ancestor:  Martin Ballew
Name of Person Requesting: Marilyn L Taylor

Category: Pioneer
Ancestor: Charles Skinner
Name of Person Requesting: Anna Lou Martin

Category: Territorial
Ancestor: William Jones Kelly
Name of Person Requesting: Judith Lee Frisch

Would you like to see your ancestor's name on a certificate? Your application and accompanying documentation will make a significant contribution to the record of our state’s heritage and your family’s participation in that heritage.

In order to comply with genealogical standards of evidence, we ask that all applications include a complete set of the supporting documentation for all generations from yourself to the ancestor you are honoring. Please send only photocopies of the documents. The application may be shared with other genealogists; however, information on living persons and those born within the past 100 years will be withheld.

For more information check the MoSGA website.

"Who Do You Think You Are?" Is Coming Back in 2018

Ancestry.com has announced that "Who Do You Think You Are will be seen on TLC in spring 2018. Celebrity names have not been released, but the 2017 season included: Courteney Cox, Julie Bowen, Jennifer Gray, Noah Wyle, Jessica Biel, John Stamos and Liv Tyler, and musician Smokey Robinson.

Disaster Planning for Genealogists

With the national heartache over the Hurricane Harvey and the resulting flooding in Houston and other Gulf coast towns, genealogists are often reminded about disaster planning for our records and keepsakes.  Here are a few suggested sites and tips worth your time.

1.  Thomas McEntee blogged about a great reference for disaster planning that is currently FREE at Legacy Family Tree.
Melissa Barker, aka The Archive Lady, knows all too well what can happen to important papers and artifacts as well as data when a disaster hits. Whether it is fire, flood or simply a computer failure, Melissa has created a guide at Legacy Family Tree entitled Disaster Planning for the Genealogist.
2.  Melissa Barker also recommends a free document from the New York State Archives that is available for free here.  It is a bit dated but the 58-page document is worth a read.

3.  Lisa Louise Cooke provides a three-step process on her website.  She also has a podcast about disaster planning here.

4. Family Tree Magazine provides additional advice here. Maureen Taylor has tips for protecting photos here, while Diane Hadad gives four pointers for protecting keepsakes here.

5. Finally, I got a Flip Pal Mobile Scanner at the recent MoSGA annual conference.  It is my new best friend.  I immediately went to my Aunt Mary's and proceeded to run through a set of batteries scanning photos.  Flip Pal has a great blog here.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

New Digital Archive Sheds Light on WWII Civilian Internment Camps in Singapore

The Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) Collection has launched a new digital archive, Voices of civilian internment: WWII Singapore. These unique records, now freely available through Cambridge Digital Library, were conserved and digitized over a two year period with the support of the Wellcome Trust. They powerfully bring to life the experience of civilians who were interned at the Changi and Sime Road camps between 1942 and 1945 following the fall of Malaya to the Japanese. The archive will be of immense interest to the families of internees and a wide range of researchers since few survivors ever spoke of their traumatic ordeal. 

 The Cambridge University Library site provides a little background: 
The Royal Commonwealth Society Collection at Cambridge University Library has digitized the archives of two Second World War civilian internment camps established by the Japanese at Singapore, generously funded by a Research Resources Award from the Wellcome Trust.  The records are of immense interest to the families of internees and a wide range of researchers, since few survivors ever spoke of their traumatic ordeal.  The survival of this unique archive is largely due to the vision of Hugh Bryson, a career member of the Malayan Civil Service, who himself was interned.  While Secretary of the British Association of Malaysia and Singapore from 1952 to 1967, he collected original documents, diaries and correspondence of historical interest from members, and encouraged them to write their memoirs.  When the association disbanded in 1977, its archive was deposited with the Royal Commonwealth Society, and it came to Cambridge in 1993 when the University acquired its library.
With the outbreak of the Second World War, British colonial civil servants remained at their posts and civilians running businesses overseas stayed to support the war effort.  In this respect Malaya’s rubber and tin industries were particularly important.  There were plans to evacuate women and children from Malaya, but the speed of the Japanese invasion in December 1941 caught many by surprise. There was an exodus of refugees to Singapore as the Japanese advance continued.  Memoirs in the collection record the final battle for Singapore: aerial bombardment, shelling, blazing petrol stores in the harbour and the acrid smoke of burning fuel.

Missouri Gravestone Project

The Missouri Gravestone Project was created as a non-profit organization to help preserve Missouri history by acquiring digital images of every tombstone in the state.  You can search the site's database by county, surname or cemetery name.

The mission of the Missouri Gravestone Project is "to capture digital images of every gravestone in Missouri, and preserve these images and the information they provide for researchers and future generations.  This invaluable historical information, especially the older gravestones from before the middle of the last century are in danger of being lost forever, and many are already gone.  We are volunteers and this project is a "Not For Profit" organization."  

photo credit: Michelle Spencer

If you are interested in volunteering, please contact the organization here.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Highlights from the 2017 MoSGA Conference

Last weekend MoSGA wrapped up another great annual conference held at the Stoney Creek Conference Center in Columbia, MO.  Participants were wowed by keynote speaker Kathleen Brandt's presentations.  She gave us all a lot to think about including a few tips on breaking down the brick walls, how to engage family members of all ages in genealogy and how to use migration paths to trace your ancestors.

Kathleen Bradt with her family history quilt
We also had great vendors who showed us new products, research options, membership possibilities and genealogy bling.  Thanks to ALL the vendors who offered door prizes.

Stay tuned to hear about the 2018 conference!

Missouri State Genealogical Association Announces 2017 Award Recipients

The Missouri State Genealogical Association (MoSGA) recognizes individuals, groups and organizations that have put forth extra effort to support genealogical research, activities, and publications in the Show-Me State. The 2017 awards were presented August 5th during the Awards Luncheon of the MoSGA Annual Conference held in Columbia, Missouri at Stoney Creek Hotel &Conference Center. The awards were presented by MoSGA Board Member Jenna Mills.

Director’s Award - ​For distinguished service over an extended period of time in support of genealogy and exceptional contributions to the field with extra effort to promote goodwill and improve service.  Awarded at the discretion of the Awards Committee. The 2017 recipient is Lana Smith of Stanberry, Missouri.

Certificate of Appreciation – Presented to an individual, group, organization or institution, expressing thanks officially for compensated duties related to Missouri genealogy and/or family history performed in an exemplary and outstanding manner. The 2017 recipient is Dan Lilienkamp of St. Louis, Missouri. 

Award of Merit – Presented to an individual, group, organization or institution in recognition of meritorious service or distinguished work in Missouri genealogy and/or family history for which no compensation was received. The 2017 recipient is Paul Barker of Springfield, Missouri. (Mr. Barker was not present at the luncheon)

Sunday, July 30, 2017


One of the most exciting features of the MoSGA annual conference is the book sale.  We collect all year and offer up many vital reference, history and genealogy books any family historian would want.  While we offer countless Missouri-related tomes, you will also find numerous options from surrounding states such as Kansas and Illinois, but also options from states and regions across the United States.

Courtesy of anoblesavage.com

With prices beginning at $2.00 and none higher than $10.00, everyone can walk away with some treasured finds. The doors will open at 9 a.m. on Friday, and at 8 a.m. on Saturday. On Friday, books up to 200 pages will sell for $2 each; those with 201-500 pages will sell for $5 each; and those over 500 pages will sell for $10. Starting Saturday, prices drop to all you can fit into a plastic shopping bag (we provide the bags) for $5.00.

See you in the Lewis & Clark Room, just outside the Vendor Area at this year’s conference!

Don't Miss These Great Sessions at the MoSGA Conference, August 4-5, 2017

In addition to our Keynote Speaker Kathleen Brandt, we will have several can't-miss lectures from our other speakers including: 

  • Where Did You Come From, Missouri Settlers: Beth Foulk
  • Applied DNA – A Case Study Using DNA to Break Down Brick Walls: Eric Wells
  • Grandpa “Stole Chickens in the Nighttime”: What Penitentiary Records Can Tell You About Your Family: Mary Stansfield, CA
  • Grand Army of the Republic, Loyal Legion, and other Civil War Union Veterans’ Associations: Dennis Northcott 
We are offering a choice of 2 pre-conference workshops:
  • Introduction to Public [Federal] Land Records
  • Accessing European Church Records  
See you on Friday in Columbia!  If you still haven't registered, you can do so on the MoSGA website.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) Launches New Society Management Webinar Series

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announced the launch of their Society Management webinar series. This series of free events will bring a much-needed aspect to the array of learning opportunities currently provided in the genealogical community; focusing solely on the leadership and management of non-profit societies.

The August session will feature David Rencher, CG, presenting on the best practices – and challenges – surrounding The Nominating Committee.

Each month thereafter will feature a new and interesting topic, ranging from recruitment and volunteer management to technology, publications, and working with your local tourism board. Registration will be necessary, and regular updates will be shared via the FGS Voice blog, FGS Voice Newsletter, and social media. Webinars will occur every 3rd Thursday of the month.

Speakers interested in presenting topics should contact Jen Baldwin, Education Chair, at education@fgs.org.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Vita Brevis

Once in a while I like to recommend  a blog or website. I have been reading Vita Brevis, the blog associated with AmericanAncestors.org, the website for the New England Genealogical Society for the last few months.  The blog is informative and tells some great stories. Part of the reason for the success is that several people contribute to the blog, which keeps it fresh and entertaining. Even if you don't have ancestors from New England you will enjoy this blog as the stories are rich in American history and the examples given often have a wide application. Try it out today!

MoSGS Conference Only Two Weeks Away!

We are very excited about the 2017 annual MoSGA conference to be held in Columbia,  MO at the Stoney Creek Conference Center on August 4-5. 

The lineup this year is stellar with our Keynote Speaker Kathleen Brandt offering several not to be missed lectures. Kathleen will be joined by some of the best speakers Missouri has to offer.

If you haven't had a chance to register you can do it here.  We will see you two weeks from today in Columbia!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Pictures of Ellis Island Immigrants

While many of us have accessed an ancestor's records from his or her entry into the United States, few have ever had more than imagination to consider what our relatives were wearing when they arrived.

These photos from Ellis Island are truly amazing, adding rich detail to our imagination.  Check it out today!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

MoSGA Announces 2017 21st Century Grant

The Missouri State Genealogical Society (MoSGA) is pleased to announce a $1,000 grant to the Sullivan County Genealogy Library in Milan MO. The library will purchase microfilm of the Milan Standard newspaper for the years 1890-1899.

The check will be presented at MoSGA’s annual meeting during the MoSGA Conference, August 4-5, 2017 at Stoney Creek Conference Center, Columbia MO.

Since 2009, MoSGA has awarded a yearly 21st Century Fund Grant to Missouri genealogy societies, libraries and archives. The grants are awarded to help identify, compile and preserve Missouri’s non-public (non-governmental) records.  For more information on the grant program visit the MoSGA website.