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

MoSGA Book SALE!

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.

Independence Day Genealogy Deals

Here are two great deals if you want to spend part of your weekend conducting research.

1.  Ancestry.com is offering free access until midnight July 4.

2.  The New England Historic Genealogical Society is offering free access to their records from Thursday to Thursday,  June 29-July 6, 2017.

Authors: Send Us Your New Family History or Genealogy Book!

The Missouri State Genealogical Association (MoSGA) is dedicated to enhancing the study of family history and the principles of sound genealogical research for its members and the general public. We have an active library program seeking books of value for review and placement in the circulating library collection of the Midwest Genealogy Center located in Independence, Missouri.

We invite your members to donate copies of recently published family histories or historical works for review in the MoSGA Journal. Once books are reviewed, they are donated to the Midwest Genealogy Center of the Mid-Continent Public Library for placement in the circulating collection. This collection is available for public use in the library and nationwide through the interlibrary loan program. Look here for a link to the card catalog.   

Books may be mailed fourth-class book rate to: 

MoSGA Library Director
P.O. Box 833 
Columbia, MO 65205-0833

For each book please include the following information: price, postage and handling charges, any applicable sales tax, and contact information for the author or publisher.

Association of Professional Genealogists Hit By Scam - Lessons Learned

Last week the Association of Professional Genealogists announced it had been targeted by scam artists. The villains were able to impersonate the secretary's email and offered to pay APG members an hourly fee to lobby state legislatures regarding forensic genealogy.  In a further attempt, members received requests to "Support Diane's Brain Cancer Battle."  APG quickly quashed the scam by alerting members and asking them to report any such attempt at fundraising and asking that those affected to notify the organization.  

I have some professional knowledge of cyber security and I have been the target of email cloning and twice had my credit card accounts hacked.  I, therefore, would like to offer a few cautions of my own.  

1. Source. Be cautious of any solicitation via email or social media, especially Facebook. We have all heard about fake news on social media, yet it is hard not to click on that story about the baby with cancer.  Look carefully - is it a story supposedly about someone in a small Missouri town but the link takes you to a website that is not linked to any local, regional or state news source?  Don't be taken in just because it is a sad story or even a happy one!

2. Context.  Does the email read like a normal / regular communication you receive from an organization? Often databases are hacked by groups in foreign countries then they are sold to individual criminals or organizations.  If you closely read the fake email there will be grammatical mistakes or colloquialisms that don't fit.  For example, did a New England genealogical society end their request with "see y'all in the spring!" when you know their annual conference is in the fall and no self-respecting Bostonian would say y'all like we do in the south?  Sometimes it isn't that simple, but if you look you will often see things that just do not fit the norm.  

3. Legitimacy. If any legitimate organization is soliciting funding, take a minute to think about the source and what they are asking.  Would an organization such as APG solicit funding through their work emails for an individual?  The answer is never.  Most companies and non-profit organizations have rules about using their official communication sources for private funding. 

4. Check it out. At the national level any non-profit must register and are held accountable by federal law.  You can check out charity ratings at Charity Watch. For an organization such as a genealogical society, go to their website for information about events and solicitations.  If an organization is undertaking a fundraising campaign, you bet it will be front and center on their website.  Also, you can contact them via phone or mail, but use only phone numbers that you find officially linked to the organization not one provided in the suspect email.

5. Be familiar with the typical scam.  You can check  this US government website that lists common fraud types: https://www.usa.gov/stop-scams-frauds#item-35157.

According to an IBM report, the global cost of cybercrime will reach $2 trillion by 2019, a threefold increase from the 2015 estimate of $500 billion. Small, regional and even local organizations are not immune. The IBM report explains, "a staggering 50 percent of small and mid-sized organizations reported suffering at least one cyberattack in the last 12 months."

Your best bet is to be aware, be vigilant of your own finances and social media presence and most importantly when and if you are ready to give to a worthy cause, take the time to do the research and get your hard-earned dollars in needy hands, not those of criminal organizations.











Kathleen W. Hinckley, CG

Executive Director

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!