Friday, October 21, 2016

Midwest Genealogy Center On Short List of Best Library Websites in the US

A few months back Family Tree Magazine released its 2016 list of 101 best websites to discover your family history.  The list is free on the magazines's website.  It comes as no surprise to Missouri researchers that Midwest Genealogy Center is on the list of eleven of the top library websites in the country.

Most of the rest of the list are national sites with a few other Midwest exceptions including the Allen County Public Library and Cincinnati's Public Library.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Presidential Muckraking

The advent of social media certainly makes it feel as if the 2016 presidential elections are the dirtiest this country has experienced.  I collect political ephemera and have postcards and buttons from Woodrow Wilson, Howard Taft, both Roosevelts, Nixon and Reagan, many of which are family heirlooms. Most of those elections were not pretty; nor were their predecessors. The Oct./Nov. issue of   Family Tree Magazine has a great article on election politics. David Fryxell details elections as early as the 1796 battle between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.  When Adams beat Jefferson, the loser was named as the vice president, setting up a nasty battle between the two in 1800.  While they became good friends at the end of their lives, the men and their supporters questioned each others commitment to democracy, religion, and hinted at Jefferson's relationship with his slaves. Dire consequences were predicted for the country down to each man, woman and child.

Later, journalism was blamed by some as a source of the ugliness. According to the term "muckrakers" was coined by Teddy Roosevelt for investigative journalists, although "he borrowed the term from John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, in which a rake was used to dig up filth and muck." Journalists began to wear the title as a badge of honor. Wikipedia quotes Roosevelt's 1906 speech in which he said, "the men with the muck rakes are often indispensable to the well being of society; but only if they know when to stop raking the muck..."  In our current elections it seems journalists need not "muckrake" as the candidates do a fine job themselves.

National Archives Is Hosting a Virtual Genealogy Fair, Oct 26--27, 2016

On October 26 & 27, 2016 (Wednesday & Thursday), the National Archives is hosting a FREE two-day, virtual Genealogy Fair via webcast. Viewers will have the opportunity to participate with the presenters and other family historians during the live event on YouTube. All of the session videos and handouts will be available from here free of charge. You can watch the sessions and download the materials at your convenience. Registration is not required.  For more information check the National Archives website.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Just Starting Your Family Tree? Here's How to Get Started

Whether you are just starting out with researching your family history or are a long-time genealogist, it is often difficult to keep up with new technologies or methodologies in the field. There are many options to help. Both Family Search and Ancestry have blogs and provide free webinars to assist researchers in getting the most out of their efforts. Family Search webinars, numbering at least 75 at last count, can be found on the classes and webinars page here.'s options are listed under the Ancestry Academy, found here. Happy hunting!

Missouri Conference on History: Call for Papers Deadline is Nov 1, 2016

The fifty-ninth annual Missouri Conference on History, hosted by the Missouri State University History Department, will be held March 22–24, 2017, at the University Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in Springfield.


Each year the conference sessions feature a wide variety of historical topics, including public history and historic preservation. The conference is particularly interested in proposals for complete sessions, including panelists, chair, and commentator. Attendees who are interested in serving as a session chair or commentator are also encouraged to respond. For additional information,  the conference website here.  

2017 Roots Tech Early Registration Ends Oct 14!

The 2017 Roots Tech Conference is scheduled for February 8-11, 2017 in Salt Lake City.  Early bird registration saves over $100 on your purchase of a RootsTech 2017 4-day pass. The current price of $159 increases after October 14th.
With over 200 classes to choose from, keynote sessions with inspiring speakers, entertaining evening events, huge expo hall, and more, RootsTech 2017 will provide numerous opportunities to learn, network and enjoy genealogy at its finest. Register today. 
If you are unsure of whether this event is right for you, take a look at a recent Family Search Blog that provides 7 reasons to attend the 2017 RootsTech Conference.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

A Matter of Time

Sorry for the long delay between posts. I had a family emergency and spent the last week enjoying fall in the Ozarks with my parents. I am headed home today.

This morning I saw the Legal Genealogist Judy Russell's post on time and thought I had to share it. Judy explains in her blog that even if you know precise dates for important events in your ancestors lives they may not be as precise as you think!

Judy explains the difference between the Julian calendar, in use from 46 B.C. and the Gregorian calendar implemented in the mid 1700s. The difficulty is that many countries changed to the new system on different dates making it difficult to determine accuracy of a
specific date.

Check out Judy's blog for a detailed explanation of the calendars and how they may affect your family tree. 

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

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