Tuesday, September 20, 2016

October Is Family History Month & WikiTree is Celebrating With Source-A-Thon

WikiTree has announced it will celebrate Family History Month by holding a three-day source-a-thon marathon, October 1-3, 2016.

Individuals and organizations will come together to support the event that will focus on verifying undocumented sources on the site. For more information or to sign up look here

Monday, September 19, 2016

Researching Heraldry

One interesting aspect of European ancestry is that many centuries-old families are represented not only in name, but also by a crest or coat of arms.  There are many avenues of research available. This website can help you to better understand heraldry. If you have German heritage this site may be useful. The Allen County Public Library has a guide here.

Another site run by John Lehman offers multiple arms for more common names such as Allen, Smith, etc. Finally, the Library of Congress has a bibliography here.

German-American Day in St. Louis is October 1st

St. Louis will celebrate German-American Day on Saturday, October 1, 2016 at the St. Louis German Culture Society's Hall. The hall will be transformed into a biergarten with beer, pretzels, Kaffe and Kuchen (coffee & cake) will be available. For more information call Event Chair Dorris Keeven-Franke at 636-221-1524 or check out the website here. Experience German Gemutlichkeit in Missouri!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

September Is International Save Your Photos Month

I have spent much of my career helping train people to avoid and recover from disasters so prevention and preservation of our life stories and especially pictures.  An initiative called SaveYourPhotos.org, a public service campaign developed by the Association of Personal Photo Organizers (APPO) to teach people how to preserve their photos, videos and documents, provides a step-by-step process.  I encourage you to check out the website and if you haven't already, start preserving your memories today!

Falling Into Genealogy at Midwest Genealogy Center

Midwest Genealogy Center will hold a special evening of "Falling into Genealogy" on Friday,  October 14. After closing for the night the library will offer a "lock-in" to numerous family history activities including a DNA presentation by Kathleen Brandt, genealogy bingo, a scavenger hunt and many others. The event is free but requires registration here

MyHeritage Releases Large Collection of Finnish Historical Records

MyHeritage announced today the addition of a new historical records collection: Finland Church Census and Pre-confirmation Rolls, 1657-1950.  The collection includes clerical surveys (rippikirjat) and pre-confirmation books (lastenkirjat) for a period starting in 1657 and spanning nearly 300 years.  The collection, indexed and searchable in its entirety, is currently available only on MyHeritage, along with millions of scanned original documents. It was created with the cooperation of the National Archives Service of Finland.


Searching the Finland Church Census and Pre-confirmation Rolls collection is free. A subscription is required to view records. 

Friday, September 02, 2016

September Missouri Genealogy Events


  • 2-4 September 2016, KansasCity Irish Fest will feature music, heritage workshops and displays, comedy, genealogy, a children’s area and more. 
  • 9-10 September 2016, the Ozarks Genealogical Society (OGS) in Springfield, MO will hold its annual conference at the University Plaza Hotel and Convention Center. Michael J. Leclerc, CG will be the featured speaker, presenting The New England News: Colonial New England and Its Migration. 
  • 16-17 September 2016, Genealogy KC at the Liberty Missouri Stake Center, adjacent to the Kansas City Missouri Mormon Temple.  

Ancestry.com Offering FREE Access to Occupation Records This Labor Day Weekend!

Access to occupation records on Ancestry.com will be free now until September 5, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. ET.




Illinois Record Searches

In light of the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference currently underway in Springfield, IL, I thought I would highlight a few Illinois sources.  First, like Missouri, Illinois has a great state website that has numerous links to the state's archives and digitized records.  You will find the search engine for the databases here. The archives include digitized military records for Illinois residents including the Civil War, Spanish American War, Black Hawk War and War of 1812.  Many of the databases are index only so a fee may be required for access to actual records.

In addition, the Illinois State Genealogy Society Blog shares updates and information that will help your search.  Happy hunting!

Utilizing Google Earth

If you are anything like me you have used Google Earth occasionally to perhaps look up your home address or other location.  You may have even used it to find an ancestor's home or property that was once owned by your family.  However, that has been the extent of my usage...until I saw Eric Stitt's presentation at the 2016 MoSGA conference a month ago.  Eric showed us how to use Google Earth more effectively and highlighted a few tools that make it easy to find and view just about any location on earth.  

I have spent a few hours playing with Earth Point, a tool Eric recommended.  I like it for its ease of use and have explored several of the free options including my favorite: Township and Range.  On this page you can enter the coordinates and see mapping as well as "street views" of most addresses in the United States.

Thanks Eric for sharing your knowledge and giving us another great tool to find our ancestors and understand how and where they lived.

FGS Conference and the BIG Announcement

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) annual conference "Time Travel: Centuries of Memories, got underway in Springfield, IL on August 31.  Yesterday," FGS announced that it had achieved the goal of funding the Preserve the Pensions project that will digitally preserve the War of 1812 pensions held by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).  Over 4,000 individuals, 115 genealogical and lineage societies and one $500,000 anonymous gift fully funded the project with Ancestry.com matching the donations.



According to FGS:

The War of 1812 pensions, among the most frequently requested set of materials within the holdings of NARA, had never been microfilmed or digitized. Now, with fundraising complete for the project, and with ongoing cooperation from the project’s partners and major supporters, NARA, Ancestry, Fold3, and FamilySearch, these important documents will be made available free, forever to the general public. The project, set out to raise more than $3 million in 2010, an unprecedented amount for the genealogical community.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Harry S. Truman Photo Archive Highlighted by National Archives

The US National Archives is a great treasure including a well-maintained and ease-to-use website.  Sometimes I will roam around on the site to find interesting historical data, even if it is not specific to my genealogical research.  However, with such an expansive resource sometimes it can be difficult to find the specific data you seek.  One of the ways I try to deal with this issue is to bookmark a great find, although sometimes the link becomes inactive over time.

Thus, I follow my favorite resources by signing up for their newsletters or following them on Facebook.  This allows me to keep up to date when Archives or other large databases update their materials.  Yesterday, the Archives "Today's Document" posted on Facebook was a link to the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence, MO as well as a link to Truman's presidential photo archive. The National Archives digital catalog is a great resource.  Bookmark it today.


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Great Series on Early Photo Retouching

The magazine Mental Floss is doing a series of articles on early photo retouching, long before the likes of modern options.  The author Jocelyn Sears explains how early photos including tin-types were re-touched to favor the subjects.  Check out the series here.


2016 Ozarks Genealogical Society’s (OGS) Fall Conference, September 9-10 in Springfield, MO

The 2016 Ozarks Genealogical Society’s (OGS) Fall Conference will be held on September 9 &10th.  This year's theme, “Colonial New England and Its Migrations,” will feature Michael J. Leclerc, CG, an internationally renowned genealogist. He has been a contributing editor for American Ancestors magazine and a consulting editor for the New England Historical and Genealogical Register.



Conference topics will include “New England's Records, how they differ from the other areas of the United States;” “Town Records;” “Finding and Utilizing Key Research Repositories and Collections” plus “Migration Patterns.”
            Additional mini-session selections will be: “Fundamentals of Genealogy;” “Finding Your Ancestors in Military Records;” “Migration to Missouri;” and “Do your Wurst! Then Push Aside Your Plate and Discover Your German Family.”
The conference will be held at the University Plaza Hotel, 333 S John Q. Hammons Parkway, Springfield, Missouri. Early registration and OGS member discounts are available through August 26 and a Friday evening only is available for a smaller registration fee.
 There will be vendor exhibits, white elephant table, door prizes and more. Registration fee includes an electronic syllabus.  Register here or e-mail: conference@ozarksgs.org.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Missouri Creates Bicentennial Website

The State of Missouri has created a website to celebrate the pending bicentennial of Missouri in 2021.  You can sign up for updates to keep abreast of the planning and festivities here.  You can make suggestions for celebrations on the website.