Monday, December 31, 2007


Recent St. Louis Post-Dispatch story about the opening by the National Personnel Records Center of records for most veterans who retired, died in service, or were discharged prior to 1946 (6,000,000 records, to be exact).



The city of St. Louis (the place I've called home now for 23 years) has been named sixth most literate city in the U.S., according to an annual survey by Central Connecticut State University. The same survey ranks the city’s library services as second in the nation. Go here for the details:


BTW, the survey does recognize that our public schools DO need work...


Many military chaplains are being helped with the transition to civilian life by their churches and/or denominations:


Sunday, December 30, 2007


I can guarantee you'll have a scary little New Year if you read this hair-raising story about cyber-criminals and how good some of them are getting at their craft:


In a related matter, chances are good to excellent that you are using unimaginative, easy-to-crack passwords. Go here for great advice on picking tough-to-crack passwords, and keeping track of passwords you've picked:


Or, if you are a lazy / disorganized genealogist, let Password Generator do the dirty work of generating hard-to-beat passwords for you:



Does Canadian blood run in your veins? Or do you just love a good mystery (and if you're REALLY a genealogist, you do!)? In either case, you're sure to like Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History:



Is there a midwife somewhere on your family tree? This site tells the story of one midwife, Martha Ballard, who kept a detailed diary that covers 27 years of her career as a late 18th-early 19th century midwife. The site also provides a case-study on how to do historical detective work with available materials:



Did you know that Earlham College has an extensive collection of Quaker materials? More than twelve thousand books, almost as many pamphlets, plus diaries, letters, and meeting records mean that the answers to your questions about Quaker ancestors may be here:



Cape Girardeau's library has gone wall-free (mostly) as an ambitious construction project (that will eventually double the library's size) moves forward:



They call her the "Death Detective," but what this 74 year old woman has actually become a local celebrity for is a 4,000 page index (compiled over a 27 year period) to obits and other genealogical type listings in various south Florida (Miami / Dade County) newspapers:



Millions of pages of U.S. government publications in the collection of Boston Public Library are to be digitized in the next two years as part of an extremely ambitious project undertaken by BPL and two non-profit partners. More info:


Saturday, December 29, 2007


This article takes note of the increasing use of MySpace as a place to host memorials to deceased family members / friends / heroes. The article looks at MySpace tributes to Carlos Sousa, Jr., the teenager killed recently when a tiger got out of its enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo:


The title of this post makes reference to the poem, The Tiger, by English mystic William Blake, which you can read here if interested:



You may be interested in this website that was created to allow Missouri veterans to tell their own stories while it’s still possible for them to do so. You can watch video podcasts of the veterans telling their stories online, and you can also order a DVD copy of individual veteran stories. You can search for stories by name of veteran, by war, veteran’s year of birth, branch of service, city of residence, or county of residence. From the official website:

“ Spearheaded by the Office of Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, the Missouri Veteran Stories project honors Missouri's military veterans by capturing their stories on DVD, to be preserved for future generations.

Each day in Missouri, more than twenty World War II veterans pass away; and their stories go with them. So, in this first phase of Missouri Veteran Stories, we are conducting many of our interviews with Missouri's most senior veterans. However, the Missouri Veteran Stories project is open to all men and women currently residing in Missouri, who have served in any branch of the United States Military.

Five- to seven-minute fully edited digital stories are produced from interviews and conversations with each veteran. These stories are then stored in the permanent Missouri Veteran Stories archive. The entire archive is available through this website, and through touch-screen consoles in the State Capitol and elsewhere.

The Missouri Veteran Stories project captures the stories of Missouri veterans and makes these stories accessible, meaningful, and educational to people in Missouri and throughout the world.”


BTW, I think the Lt. Governor and his staff deserve a big thank you from MoSGA members for this effort to capture the brushes of these Missouri veterans with history while it’s still possible to do so.


If you're not familiar with the University of Missouri's Digital Library, it's high time you were introduced. There's lots of stuff there of interest to genealogists, including county histories, Civil War histories, plat and Sanborn maps, etc. From the official website:

University of Missouri Digital Library:
a repository of texts & images, hosted by the University of Missouri System.

What can I find here?

The materials in our repository are divided into text and image collections. Books and other printed materials which consist mostly of words can be found in the text collections; image collections consist primarily of images, such as post cards, newspaper images, and picture books. You can search them all from here, or search and browse each collection type individually.

What is this place?

Founded in 2001, the University of Missouri Digital Library provides a repository for digitized items on behalf of the UM Libraries. Over 20 text collections, and 23 image collections, have been added, including collections from 15 libraries around the state of Missouri. We provide negotiated free storage for digital objects and metadata, as well as a search interface, at no charge to any Missouri library, museum, or historical society. UM Library Systems keeps all this stuff running smoothly.

Other Collections

We maintain a list of other collections, including other University of Missouri Digital Collections, which we invite you to explore. If you are interesting in historic newspapers, you should check out our Missouri Historic Newspapers repository. We also have a handful of eBind and PDF files, created in the early days of the digital.library. We will incorporate these older collections into our text repository, but you may currently view them as-is.



If you’ve been thinking about getting your feet wet in audio or video podcasting for yourself or your genealogical society (or if you simply would like to start listening to / viewing audio or video podcasts), here’s a book that may be just what you’ve been looking for:

Podcast Solutions: The Complete Guide to Audio and Video Podcast Solutions: 2nd ed. by Michael Geoghagen and Dan Klass

From the publisher's blurb:

"Are you the kind of person who's got a lot to say? Have you ever wanted to share your talents, thoughts, and opinions with others, but have lacked the broadcasting knowledge and contacts to achieve such a goal? Well, today it's well within your grasp, thanks to podcasting. Using only some simple recording equipment, a computer, and the Internet, you can record and distribute your own audio shows, including anything you want-- comedy, debate, news, reviews, interviews, music-- the only limit is your imagination. Of course, you'll need a guide to tell you what you need to know, which is where this indispensable book comes in. Inside, influential podcasters Michael Geoghegan and Dan Klass provide a comprehensive guide to receiving, recording, editing, mixing, distributing, and monetizing audio and video podcasts. Also included is a guide to what hardware and software to get, whatever your budget is, and how to make sense of all that technology. This is the guide to podcasting you're been looking for, and the only one you'll need. What you'll learn:

* How to receive podcasts - everything you need to know to find, subscribe to and receive quality shows on your iPod, computer or any other mp3 player.
How podcasting is being applied in many different industries-- entertainment, education, sales and marketing, religious study, intra-corporate communications, and more.
* How to plan and design your own top quality podcast, including expert advice on designing a show built for success.
* How to set up your "podcast studio," whether you're a casual hobbyist or a committed professional. Includes insights and buying advice on finding the right microphones, mixers, cameras, software, hardware, and more to meet your needs and fit your budget. The secrets to achieving "broadcast quality" audio and video for your show.
* How to include music, phone calls, video snippets, and feedback into your podcast inexpensively and legally.
* The techniques needed to turn your podcasts into Internet-ready audio/video files and get them out there ready to be received by your anxiously-waiting listeners/viewers, using simple hardware and software tools.
* The meaning of RSS, XML, mp3, LAME, and several other acronyms you thought you'd never understand.
* Insider's tips on creating a web presence that will enhance the popularity and professionalism of your show.
* Secrets of attracting subscribers through the creative use of directories, user groups, mailing lists and more.
* How to make money with your podcast by attracting sponsors, advertisers, and other revenue sources."

* Paperback: 275 pages
* Publisher: friends of ED; 2nd revised edition (November 19, 2007)
* Language: English
* ISBN-10: 1590599055
* ISBN-13: 978-1590599051
* Price: $24.99 ($16.49 if bought through



The AP is reporting that AOL has pulled the plug on Netscape, the world's first popular Internet browser. Netscape, an ancient (in Internet terms) thirteen year old browser, has failed to make inroads against Microsoft Internet Explorer or its closest competitor, Mozilla Firefox. More info here:



Do you have so many passwords for so many different applications that it's getting hard to keep track of them all? Here's a possible FREE solution to your problem:

Bytessence PassKeeper 1.0+

"BPK is the next generation password manager, it's portable and FREE to use in any environment. It helps you keep track of your most valuable data, your accounts for e-mails, forums or other places, BPK is here to help you remember every password without problems. It's very easy to use, small and filled with features. Why pay for tools that do the same thing when you can have BPK for free?"

author: Bytessence
required: Windows, Vista
size: 334 k
added: 28-Dec-2007


BTW No. 1-- nearly always has a number of different programs available for filling certain needs. If you don't like Bytessence PassKeeper 1.0, for example, look in the left-hand navigation bar for the software category you need, and check out the other password managers available. And remember-- they're nearly all free!


BTW No. 2-- Always check freeware downloads (actually, ANY downloaded program) before installing on your computer-- better safe than sorry!


As MoSGA's blogmaster, I often encounter URLs created by people who seemingly never choose a URL that's 10 characters long when it's possible to choose one that has 100 characters (much like the nameless guy who created the German language). Sometimes, though, yard-long URLs can be a problem for me. But I don't need to work with gi-normous URLs if I don't want to-- I can convert them simply (and for free) to tiny URLs. How do I do it? Why, with, of course! Interested? Go here:


BTW, you can install a icon on your browser address bar if you like, so that the website is always just a click away!

Friday, December 28, 2007


Thanks to Bob Doerr for alerting me to the existence of Science in the News, an e-newsletter (free, of course) that features summaries of current articles in scientific journals and popular publications about research studies, developments, and breakthroughs in fields like astronomy, biology, chemistry, genetics, medicine, and zoology. From their website:

SIGN UP TODAY for "Science in the News Weekly," an e-newsletter produced by
Sigma Xi in conjunction with "American Scientist Online." The newsletter
provides a digest of the week's top stories from "Science in the News," and
includes breaking news and feature stories from each weekend not normally
covered by "Science in the News."

Find out more about Sigma Xi, see the archives of their enewsletters, or subscribe to Science in the News now by clicking here:



Need one or more copyright-free photos / images for a genie book /website / blog? Laura Milligan has put together an extensive list of online images that can be used for free- often with no strings attached!

“If you’ve ever tried to design a website or blog, you’ve probably felt the need to add images to your creation. It can be easy to see the Internet as a free-for-all, but images belong to the people who created them. Staying legal means you’ll have to either create your own images or buy them from stock sites. Fortunately, there are a number of sources for free images, and we’ve collected them here. So read on for 100 sources where you can find free stock images: and don’t worry — they’re all legal!”



The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois received a grant recently to create a digital finding aid to its Civil War soldiers photo collection. That finding aid is now available on the Web (photos themselves have not yet been digitized).



Programming Schedule, 12-30-2007 to 12-31-2007

Please Note: All air times are Eastern and subject to change. Check your local listings for broadcast dates and times, and note that History Channel often shows some of its programs more than once on a given day. An HD broadcast of History Channel is available from some satellite and cable TV providers (I have Dish Network HD programming-- as of yesterday).


Sunday, December 30, 2007

8-10pm -- Fort Knox: Secrets Revealed -
The U.S. Bullion Depository, better known as Fort Knox, is home of the
United States Army and one of the world's most top secret fortresses.
Hidden deep inside the vault is an estimated $73 billion dollars in
gold. Almost all information about it is classified. Through
interviews with eyewitnesses, rare photos and rarely seen films, we
will construct a picture of what the building might look like. Hear
testimony of those journalists and congressmen who were among the
select few invited inside in 1974. Discover the history and secrets
behind the Army's tank warfare and the classified military
technologies it will use to fight the wars of the future.

Monday, December 31, 2007

8-9pm -- Hooked: Illegal Drugs and How They Got That Way - Cocaine.
Derived from South America's coca leaf, cocaine was touted as a
cure-all in the late 19th century and was the secret ingredient in
many medicines and elixirs such as Coca-Cola. But cocaine's allure
quickly diminished as racism entered the picture--the concept of the
"cocaine-crazed Negro" even led police to strengthen the caliber of
their guns from .32 to .38. We'll see how, though it was outlawed in
1914, its popularity soared in the 1980s and '90s and gave birth to a
deadlier form--crack.

Link to the History Channel

E-mail Marketing | A&E Television Networks |
250 Harbor Drive | Stamford, CT | 06902

Thursday, December 27, 2007


If a person is only “famous” for doing one thing in her life, is it OK to put up a monument to that person’s achievement in a place she lived in long after she did that thing? In 1860, 11 year old Grace Bedell wrote a letter to presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln, urging him to grow a beard. He did-- and the rest is history. Delphos, Kansas put up a monument to Grace Bedell-- but she moved to Delphos as the wife of a homesteader 10 years after writing the letter to Old Abe! Which town has the greater claim to Grace's fame-- Delphos, Kansas, or the upstate New York town she was living in when she wrote her famous letter to Old Abe?


Now, Grace Bedell isn’t Delphos’s only claim to fame. A local teenager witnessed a UFO landing two miles outside town in 1971 (he was next “visited by a wolf girl” some time after that). There's a small museum in town that has a fossil shark vertebrae, a barbed wire collection, and a “big fire extinguisher” from a local industrial plant.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


If Santa left a new computer under your Christmas tree, or if you need to fix all the minor problems of your current digital problem child, these tips for installing software and setting up a computer correctly will be just what the digital doctor ordered:



If you are sometimes called on to rescue your Mom / Dad from a computer problem they can’t solve (or if you are Mom /Dad, and need to save either yourself or one of your technology-challenged offspring), you’ll want to look at this checklist of ways to solve common Mom / Dad computer problems, and get them quickly up to speed with essential freeware add-ons:


SOMETIMES THERE IS A FREE LUNCH… has put together a list of the best free / open source / online web apps and freeware for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X in twenty different categories. The list links you to previous Lifehacker posts on that web app / freeware download. Interested? Go here:



The Lakota Sioux tribe has unilaterally withdrawn from its treaties with the U.S. government, and declared its independence from the U.S. It cites repeated U.S. treaty violations as its reason for renouncing treaties with the U.S. government. The tribe plans to issue its own drivers’ licenses and passports, and citizens of the Lakota Nation will not be required to pay federal taxes (if they are willing to take the fairly momentous step of formally renouncing their U.S. citizenship). Will this experiment in secession work? The Lakota may want to ask the Confederate States of America how the whole secession / independence thing is working out:


Monday, December 24, 2007


The U.S. fertility rate is at its highest since 1971. It has reached a high enough level that, if it continues, it will mean that births have reached replacement levels. What does that mean? If you’re a baby-boomer nearing retirement age, it means mornings at McDonald’s shooting the breeze with boomer buddies, and several months each winter spent in Texas, Florida, or Arizona. Sweet!



NGS NewsMagazine 33:4 (Oct-Dec 2007) includes a number of articles of interest. Ann Carter Fleming contributed an article about the upcoming NGS conference in Kansas City. A second article explains tax lists: real estate and personal property. There’s an article on beginning to research an African-American family, and a second that explains slavery-era insurance registers (slave owners who leased out their slaves could take out insurance policies to protect their investments if a slave was injured due to accidents or abuse by the lessee). Another article concerns substitutes for the missing 1890 census, while another discusses records that deal with Confederate civilians, such as provost marshal’s files, quartermaster reports, conscription records, prison records, and records of the Southern Claims Commission. If you had an ancestor who served in the Austrian army, there’s even an article that deals with that!


RootsWeb Review 9:16 (19 April 2006) included an article (that’s well worth bringing to your attention at this late date) on a lady who managed to upload a large amount of family info to WorldConnect and various other RootsWeb sponsored websites just one week before lightning struck and sizzle-sealed her hard drive. In addition to quickly (and painfully) learning the value of a good-quality surge suppressor, she also quickly learned the value of making complete backups of valuable materials at regular intervals. Prior to her RootsWeb uploads, this lady’s only copy of her genealogical data had existed on her hard drive-- had she waited a week to do the uploading, she would have had to reconstruct all of it, using only her memories of where she had acquired certain information.

Now, the real moral of this story isn’t that you must upload all your genealogical data to various RootsWeb websites (although there’s certainly no good reason why you shouldn’t). No, the real bottom line of this story is this-- back up your genie data, and do back-ups on a frequent basis. If fact, if you’ve never backed-up your files before, or your last back-up occurred more than three months ago, stop what you’re doing RIGHT NOW and begin a back-up. After lightning strikes, it’s too late…


Westward Into Nebraska 32:4 (Nov/Dec 2007) includes a reprint of a discussion by Dick Eastman of the topic, “Why can’t all genealogical info on the Internet be accessed for free?” The article notes that access to genealogical records is really only free if you happen to live within walking distance of a repository that holds the genealogical records you need, and even then you will probably incur photocopy charges. If you’ve got to drive / fly to the needed repository, you will also incur travel / hotel / meal expenses. Perhaps you begin to see the point: access to genealogical info is almost never “free.”

The next question often asked is this: why do the pay services charge so much? This question requires a two-part answer.

Part 1: Digitizing genealogical records can be a fairly expensive proposition, as can making the records available on the web. There are equipment, labor, and energy costs at every step of the digitization process. The records supplier is entitled to recoup his expenses, and to make a profit on his endeavor.

Part 2: What makes you think the fees charged by genealogical information suppliers are expensive / exorbitant? Compared to what? Do you think it would be cheaper to take one trip to Salt Lake City (or the foreign country your ancestors are from), or to subscribe for a year to,, and Seen in this way, the pay services are actually a bargain for the person who makes frequent use of these or any other pay genealogy websites.

Dick Eastman’s Online Genealogy Blog

Greater Omaha Genealogical Society (publisher of Westward Into Nebraska)

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Oregon Genealogical Society Quarterly 45:4 (Fall 2007) includes a reminiscence by the three Atkins sisters of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Their father was stationed aboard the USS Dobbin, a destroyer tender, and the family was staying in a house at Hickam Field. As two of the girls, one six years old and the other seven, prepared to read the Sunday funnies while eating their Cream of Wheat, they heard the thunder of many airplanes flying low and fast. This noise was soon intensified by the addition of explosions and machine-gun fire. The girls’ mother made them hurry and get dressed, so that she could drive them inland to the large home of family friends, the Nishikawas (yes, a Japanese-American family). In the meantime the third Atkins sister, who’d been staying with a friend, had arrived at home. She had witnessed Japanese planes strafe an old couple walking near her. She told her mother that she wasn’t strafed because, “My red hair was blowing in the wind and the pilots thought I was on fire.”

When they were finally allowed to return to their house at Hickam Field, the girls looked for their cat. They finally found it under a bed, and noted that, “Poor Kitty had been so frightened that her black hair was turning white.” Once they arrived back in the States, the girls noticed that, “Mother’s beautiful dark hair was streaked with gray. She was thirty-one years old.”

Oregon Genealogical Society


Midwest Historical and Genealogical Register 42:3 (Oct-Nov-Dec 2007) includes an article on the murder of Charles Anderson by Leon Fouquet. During a disagreement about the division of a wheat crop raised by Anderson on Fouquet’s land, voices were raised and tempers flared. Anderson struck Fouquet on the side of the head with the handle of a pitchfork he was holding. Fouquet grabbed the pitchfork and speared Anderson, “the prongs entering the body almost up to the handle, passing, it was supposed, through or under the heart.” Anderson was taken to his home, and lay there in agony until he died almost seven hours later. Fouquet in the meantime had demanded to be placed in the county jail, fearing that he might be lynched otherwise. The article also provides an account of Fouquet’s trial (he was found guilty of manslaughter).


The Illuminator 23:4 (November 2007) includes a remembrance of Lake County (IL) gas stations in the early days by Harold Osborn. One memory involves the robbery of the Texaco station at 29th & Sheridan Road. The robbers tied up and gagged the attendant, and left him in the restroom. He managed to stand up, and noticed two teenage girls walking by. He tried to attract their attention, but the gag meant he could only make noises that the young ladies interpreted as vulgar propositions from a leering mouth-breather. They kept right on walking, so he had to wait quite some time before the next passerby happened along.

Zion Genealogical Society website


We at MoSGA Messenger would like to take belated note of the passing of Bruce Brown Palmer on 10 September 2007. Bruce was a fixture at Lincoln County (MO) Genealogical Society. He was a fairly young man, just 53 years old, when he died as a result of Multiple System Atrophy, a degenerative neurological condition. Bruce had served as Recording Secretary of LCGS until his medical problem made it hard to write; he was then elected Vice-President in recognition of the esteem in which he was held by fellow LCGS members. Bruce produced note cards of historic buildings of Lincoln County for LCGS, and spearheaded the reprinting of People and Places of Southeast Lincoln County. Our condolences to LCGS and to Bruce’s daughters, Jessica and Emily, and a sister, Patsy (all of Florida).

A detailed biography may be found in LCGS Messenger 25:4 (Fall 2007), which also includes a biographical sketch of Colonel William Monks, a Union militiaman from Howell County who was involved in the suppression of guerrilla activity in southeast Missouri during the Civil War.

Lincoln County Genealogical Society
305 Main Street
Moscow Mills, MO 63362-1253

Annual dues are a bargain at $10.00!

Saturday, December 22, 2007


This list of books of potential use to persons researching African-American ancestors appeared on the GENEALIB mailing list recently. The list was compiled by Suzanne Colligan of Buffalo and Erie County (NY) Public Library. Thanks, Suzanne, and happy holidays!

Ball, Edward / Slaves in the family / 1999.

Blockson, Charles L. and Ron Fry / Black genealogy / 1991.

Burroughs, Tony / Black roots: a beginners guide to tracing the African
American family tree / 2001.

Byers, Paula K. / African American genealogical sourcebook / 1995.

Croom, Emily Ann and Franklin Carter Smith / Discovering your African-American ancestors: how to find and record your unique heritage / 2003.

Haley, Alex / Roots / 1976.

Olson, Kay Melchisedech / Africans in America: 1619-1865 / 2003.

Rose, James M. / Black genesis: a resource book for African-American genealogy / 2003.

Sharp, Priscilla Stone / Langhorn & Mary: a 19th century American love story / 2003.

Streets, David H. / Slave genealogy: a research guide with case studies / 2004.

Thackery, David T. / Finding your African American ancestors: a beginner's guide / 2000.

Witcher, Curt Bryan / African American genealogy: a bibliography and guide to sources / 2000.

Woodtor, Dee Parmer, PhD / Finding a place called home: a guide to
African-American genealogy and historical identity / 1999.

Suzanne Colligan
Reference Librarian
Grosvenor Room
Buffalo & Erie County Public Library
(716) 858-7120


Quest for a Cure: Care and Treatment in Missouri’s First Mental Hospital is a fascinating photo essay about treatment of the mentally ill at Fulton State Hospital, 1840-1980.



Here's a freeware photo editor /resizer /galleries manager / website helper of reasonable download size that may be of interest (just don't ask me to pronounce it-- or tell you what the program name means):

"BuibuiPhoto is a tool for your digital photo collection, it will become essential if you store thousands of digital images on your PC. BuibuiPhoto allows you to batch resize, correct red-eye, crop and rename all your pictures very easily. Apart from all the things you can do to individual photos, you can also create galleries, and/or upload them to the web, you don't need any advanced web knowledge. It allows you to create automatically some beautiful photo galleries and upload them on your webpage without having any knowledge of website creation. Portable freeware, no installation necessary, can be run from a USB flash drive. Right-click menu into the Windows explorer for fast access."

author: Buibui
required: Win2K, WinXP, Vista
size: 1.6 m
added: 13-Dec-2007


BTW, always check freeware downloads (actually, ANY downloads) with your virus checker / security software before installing on your computer-- better safe than sorry!


If your genealogical or historical society has been thinking about sponsoring a trivia night, this freeware quiz game may be the answer to your prayers. Notice the size, though: somebody with a DSL better download this one for your group:

"How good is your general knowledge? If you enjoy playing pub quizzes or just like to test your general knowledge then this is the game for you. It contains over 6000 quiz questions covering a wide range of categories from literature, television, film, geography, history, science, sports, mathematics, biology, astronomy, religion and many more. The questions start off easy enough but gradually get harder and harder making it a game suitable for players of all ages and intelligence. Extra questions will soon be available for download to make sure you never get bored with the same old questions over and over again."

author: Rorschach Software
required: Win2K, WinXP, Vista
size: 8.26 m
added: 13-Dec-2007


BTW, always check freeware downloads (actually, ANY downloads) with your virus checker / security software before installing on your computer-- better safe than sorry!

JUST IN FROM YOUR FRIENDS AT ANCESTRY.COM… wants you to know that their database is constantly increasing in size (as if you didn’t already know):

Updates continue to pour in

• Our historic newspapers collections will grow by over 20 million pages
• We'll update our high school yearbooks collection to include over 200,000 new names and 20,000 images
• Our Missouri vital records collection dating back to 1805 will add over 13 million names and two and a half million images
• North Carolina will also get a big update, adding approximately seven million names in death, marriage and divorce records
• We'll cover the south with Southern Claims & Freedmen's Bureau Records, over 300,000 names and images crucial to research on African American ancestors
• We have new content from the Bureau of Land Management, including land deeds dating back nearly 200 years - over two million names in this update
• And we'll learn more about the Pacific Theatre of WWII with new editions of Stars and Stripes - over 5 million names and 80,000 images, complete with gripping stories from embedded reporters.

Need more info? Go here:



The oldest of three surviving American World War I vets has died at age 109 (two other vets, 108 and 106 years old respectively, are still alive and kicking, as is a 107 year old Canadian Army vet). J. Russell Coffey enlisted in October 1918, one month before the armistice was signed in 1918, and was discharged in December 1918. He was upset at the time that he had not made it over to “The Big Show” as had two older brothers, but in later years changed his mind, telling his daughter, “I think I was good to get out of it.”

Get the whole story here:



Latest news about the UK Family Records Centre from the General Register Office website:

The search room on the ground floor at the Family Records Centre has now closed. This means that the paper indexes, the over-the-counter ordering services and the collection service are no longer available.

Indexes available to view at the Family Records Centre

The following indexes are available to view on the first floor at The Family Records Centre:

· births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales 1837-2004 (on microfiche)
· births, marriages and deaths in England and Wales from 1984 (on standalone database PCs)
· adoptions in England and Wales from 1927 to 1969 (in books)
· adoptions in England and Wales from 1970 (on standalone database PCs)
· civil partnerships in England and Wales from 2005 (on standalone database PCs)
· some births, marriages and deaths of British nationals and British Armed Forces, which took place abroad up to 2005 (on microfiche)
· some births, marriages and deaths of British nationals and British Armed Forces, which took place abroad from 1994 (on standalone database PCs)

The original Birth, Marriage and Death Books (the paper indexes) have been removed for storage.

Ordering certificates

You can still order birth, marriage or death certificates:

• online, at
• by post from GRO, PO Box 2, Southport. Merseyside, PR8 2JD
• by telephoning the GRO at +44 (0)845 603 7788
• from the local register office in the district where the event was registered.

Microfiche copies of births, marriages and deaths indexes from 1837 onwards continue to be available at many local libraries, record offices (including The National Archives at Kew) and other facilities. For a list of places where microfiche copies are held go here.

All but the most recent indexes can also be consulted online at several subscription and/or pay per view websites. Most of the indexes from 1837 until the early 20th century can be searched free of charge at Some local register offices have made their own indexes available online: go here.

The Family Records Centre is scheduled to close during March 2008.


Friday, December 21, 2007


Programming Schedule, 12-23-2007 to 12-29-2007

Please Note: All air times are Eastern and subject to change. Check your local listings for broadcast dates and times, and note that History Channel often shows some of its programs more than once per day.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

7-8pm -- The History of Christmas -
Fascinating story of how the bawdy Roman Saturnalia, a week-long festival of food and drink that culminated on December 25, became the centerpiece of the Christian year, and why the holiday is known as much for shopping as the birth of Christ. Interviews with experts, harried bargain hunters, and excited children round out the program.

8-10pm -- The Hunt for John Wilkes Booth -
It was the largest manhunt in history--ten thousand federal troops, detectives and police hunted those responsible for the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. The conspiracy was vast--an effort to decapitate the United States government at the end of the Civil War. The manhunt was intense--ending 12 days later in a fiery showdown with the man who pulled the trigger--John Wilkes Booth.

10-12am -- The Kennedy Assassination: Beyond Conspiracy -
No other murder in history has produced as much speculation as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Forty years after he was fatally shot, more than 70 percent of polled Americans believe there was a conspiracy and that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone. In this 2-hour special, ABC News Anchor Peter Jennings takes a fresh look at the assassination, the evidence, the various and many theories, and an exact computer simulation of the famous Abraham Zapruder film that offers surprising results.

Monday, December 24, 2007

7-8pm -- Modern Marvels - Bible Tech.
Arguably the most influential book ever written, the Bible provides a glimpse into the origins of ancient technology and its use to withstand the elements, build great structures, wage war, and conserve precious water. We examine the technological plausibility of biblical structures and machines--including the Tower of Babylon, the Temple of Jerusalem, ancient bronze and iron forging, and shipbuilding skills that might have been employed to build Noah's Ark.

8-10pm -- Bible Battles -
In one of the most hostile lands on the planet, an ancient people called the Israelites forged an army and carved out an empire. Their ancient military exploits are described in one of history's most famous religious texts--the Old Testament of the Bible. But by reading between the religious lines, military historians unlock the soldiers' secrets of the Bible by examining the weapons, strategies, and the commanders, some of whom are not always thought of as warriors, like Abraham, Moses, and Deborah. In this 2-hour special, we explore the biblical world from a military perspective from the time of Abraham until David's ascension to the throne. Blood often flows more freely than holy water in the days of the Old Testament, and the military secrets of the Bible have yet to be revealed...until now!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

9-10pm -- Lost Worlds - Sin City of the West
The Wild West was an era of American growth fueled by lawless gambling
towns, frenzied gold rushes, and legendary racketeers. Gunfighters and
misfits thrived in an anarchic society where people were simply
looking for a good time and a way to get filthy rich. Follow a team of
historical detectives who use evidence from recent excavations,
scientific studies and historical documents to piece together clues to
what the Wild West looked like. Computer graphics will allow viewers
to fly over, enter the streets, walk through the halls and peer into
this lost age.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

8-10pm -- Last Stand of The 300 -
After Custer, Thermopylae is the most famous last stand in history. In
a narrow pass in Northern Greece, seven thousand Greek soldiers await
an onslaught of epic proportions. They will soon face the largest
fighting force ever assembled--the war machine of the mighty Persian
Empire, estimated at over a million men. The Greeks are led by three
hundred of the most ferocious warriors of the ancient world--the
Spartans. Their leader is the fearless King Leonidas, who after this
battle would be catapulted into legend. When it is over, every Spartan
in the pass will have sacrificed his life for freedom. Creating a
fresh visual style and using new technologies we will dramatically
recreate the significant events that lead to Thermopylae and the clash
of arms.

10-12am -- The True Story of Hannibal -
One of history's greatest military leaders, at age nine Hannibal
accompanied his father Hamilcar Barca on the Carthaginian expedition
to conquer Spain. Before embarking, the boy vowed eternal hatred for
Rome, his people's bitter rival. Twenty years later, in 218 BC, he
left New Carthage (now Cartagena, Spain) to wage war on "The Eternal
City" with an army of about 40,000, including cavalry and elephants.
After crossing the Pyrénées and Rhône River, he traversed the Alps
while beset by snowstorms, landslides, and hostile mountain tribes.
This 2-hour special brings to life the story of the Carthaginian
general who struck fear in all Roman hearts and wreaked havoc with his
masterful military tactics, bringing the mighty Roman Republic to the
brink of ruin. Archaeologists, historians, and military experts guide
us through ancient Carthage and give insight into his military
strategy up to defeat at Zama in 203 BC.

Link to the History Channel

E-mail Marketing | A&E Television Networks |
250 Harbor Drive | Stamford, CT | 06902


If you have an interest in St. Louis streetcars, WHMC-St. Louis recently received a donation likely to be of interest. They got 46 black & white photographs of St. Louis streetcars by Edward Minden, a streetcar buff who started taking streetcar photos in the late 1930s. Most photos depict cars on the #22 Jefferson Avenue line. These cars were mainly built at the St. Louis Car Company’s plant in Baden (North St. Louis). You can do a search here of the WHMC-St. Louis Photographs Collection:



WHMC-Rolla has a number of school souvenir booklets in its collection. These booklets were a tradition in many of Missouri’s rural schools. The teacher at the end of the school year would present his or her students with a small booklet that contained the names of the instructor, students, and local school board members, a photo of the teacher, plus some inspirational poems or quotations.

WHMC-Rolla’s collection includes various souvenir booklets dating from 1900-1926, and includes examples from Ash Grove School, Pleasant Dale School, Swindle College School, Ivey School, Blue Hall School, Ball School, Thompson Grove School, Colon School, Roscoe School, Motley School, Bernie School, Trammel School, Tiff School, and Damon School. A complete list of this and other educational records at WHMC-Rolla can be found here:



WHMC-Columbia has added the records of the A.B. Hirsch Drug Store of Booneville, Missouri to its collection. The records were donated to WHMC-Columbia by the Friends of Arrow Rock, Inc. The Hirsch family owned and operated the drug store from 1901-1979. The collection includes thousands of prescription records from the first half of the 20th century. Many of these prescriptions were mixed on-site. The collection also includes some letters to Hirsch requesting jars of VICO, an all-purpose salve that Hirsch invented and sold from a roadside stand along Highway 40.

Western Historical Manuscripts Collection-Columbia


The State Historical Society of Missouri is currently hosting an exhibit called Missouri Cities: Images From the Permanent Collection that features photographs, engravings, lithographs, drawings, and watercolors that depict cities and towns in Missouri. The artworks date from the 19th and 20th centuries, and showcase a wide range of talents. The exhibit is on display until 18 April 2008.

State Historical Society of Missouri
1020 Lowry Street
Columbia, Missouri 65201-7298


We know that you are highly intelligent and intellectually curious-- you're a MoSGA member, after all-- so you will be very interested in MIT OpenCourseWare. MIT has posted online course materials for 1,800 college courses. Here's what they say:

· OCW is a free publication of course materials used at MIT.
· Get lecture notes, problem sets, labs and more.
· Watch lecture videos and demonstrations.
· Study a wide variety of subjects.

Now, they stress that you can’t get a free college degree or college credits this way, and that using the OCW website doesn’t grant you access to MIT professors, but if you are interested in a particular subject (or need a refresher or tutorial), this just might be the website you’ve been dreaming of…


Thursday, December 20, 2007


You may have noticed our blog slideshow in the left-hand navigation bar of this blog. It says St. Louis Cemeteries, and four of five photos are in fact of Calvary or Bellefontaine Cemeteries in North St. Louis. The fifth photo-- yes, a flock of wild turkeys-- was taken in Memorial Park Cemetery in Normandy, Missouri in 2006 (north St. Louis County).

Let us know what you think of the slideshow!


We all like to think we’re descended from heroes and heroines or kings and queens. Well, David Howe really is-- he’s the last known descendant of the Kings of the Isle of Man (if only he’d been named David Gilligan-- his kingdom would be called Gilligan’s Isle). He has therefore done what any of us would do in his situation-- had himself crowned King-- and he’s begun selling titles of nobility (proceeds to charity, thank you very much). If you’ve always wanted to be a Baron or Count, Baroness or Countess, and have enough spare change burning a hole in your pocket, you, too, can be a member of the aristocracy. Need more info (or if you’re ready to purchase that title you’ve always coveted)?


Note: Stories like this always make me wonder why reporters occasionally fabricate stories-- reality is plenty weird already, thanks…


MoSGA Messenger just reached 1,000 hits! Not bad for a six-week old! Thanks to all our readers, and thanks for supporting MoSGA!


We're all about the holiday season here at MoSGA Messenger, and we think you probably are, too. We're betting all of you have heard the Christmas carol “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” We're also betting that most of you don’t know what they’re talking about when they sing, “Now bring us our figgy pudding..” Yeah, sure, it’s got figs-- that much is obvious, Einstein. But what else goes into a figgy pudding? It must be good stuff-- after all, the carolers “won’t go until they get some.”

Curious? Genealogy Insider has the answers for you:


Note: the recipe did sound great, although I don’t typically sling a few strips of bacon across desserts, but if you think your arteries are up to the challenge, go right ahead…


It's good news if you live in or near Salt Lake City, or one of the other cities listed below-- it's bad news if you don't. The parent company of has granted free access to to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and the thirteen largest Family History Centers. Merry Christmas to you if you happen to live near one of these FHCs:

* Mesa, Arizona
* Los Angeles, California
* Oakland, California
* Orange, California
* Sacramento, California
* San Diego, California
* Idaho Falls, Idaho
* Pocatello, Idaho
* Las Vegas, Nevada
* Logan, Utah
* Ogden, Utah
* St. George, Utah
* Hyde Park, London, England

Link to article in Everton’s Genealogy Blog


Social Security has gone the extra mile trying to explain how you can request SS-5 application forms filled out by deceased loved ones. More info here:


Wednesday, December 19, 2007


We've been told by the media for years, it seems, that the holidays depress people so much that suicide rates skyrocket. Well, that conventional wisdom was only partly correct-- the holiday season does affect suicide rates: it causes them to decrease sharply! Thank you, Santa Claus (oh, and baby Jesus, too!).



And you thought it was depressing when you found out that students from most other countries are better than ours at math and science-- now, it seems, a chimp has bested college students in a series of math tests…



Illinois State Genealogical Society is gearing up for its Big 4-0:

Dear Local Affiliate Member Contact:

By now, you have been contacted about a recent development that we are excited about sharing with our membership! The Illinois State Genealogical Society (ISGS) is going digital with its Newsletter. A letter was recently sent to all of our members announcing the news.

The first issue, available on our web site, is scheduled to be released on or around January 15, 2008 for the January/February edition.

This change coincides with our the upcoming 40th Anniversary of ISGS to be celebrated in October 2008. The Newsletter will be only be available to all of our members and anyone that visits our web site through the Anniversary Celebration.

We hope to have plans to create a Members Only access on our web site by October 2008. More details on these developments later in 2008.

In the meantime, I invite you to take advantage of your membership benefits that include a listing of your society's events on the Illinois State Genealogical Society's Calendar, publication in the ISGS newsletter of your society's events, ISGS link to your web site and links to your society's cemetery publication and/or databases, among other benefits.

I invite you to contribute any and all newsworthy items to our new electronic Newsletter - especially upcoming meetings, genealogical events and conferences. Pictures are most welcome!

The deadline has been extended to December 28 for any contributions for the January / February 2008 edition. I hope that you will consider submitting news about your organization. After that, the next deadline is February 15 for the March/April issue.

I look forward to hearing from you. Certainly contact me with any questions!

Happy Holidays and warm regards,

Robert M. Tenuta
Illinois State Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 10195, Springfield, IL 62791-0195

ISGS 40th Anniversary 2008 - October 18, 2008

Happy 4-0 to all ISGS members from all of us at MoSGA!


Here's an update on the 2008 NGS Conference and Family History Fair, 14 - 17 May, at Kansas City, Missouri!

Online Attendee Registration for the 2008 NGS Conference and Family History Fair is now open. Please stop here for more information.

Registration Brochures for the 2008 NGS Conference in the States and Family History Fair are available for download from the NGS website now! The 2008 conference program is available here. Make your travel arrangements and hotel reservations today!

Exhibitor Booth Reservations are now open for the 2008 NGS Conference in the States and Family History Fair. You can go here for more information.


The moral of this story-- never give up hope, and never stop looking for that genealogical needle in a haystack. Two sisters last see a beloved cousin as they wave to her from a train leaving Moscow in 1937. The sisters wind up in America; their cousin remains in the Soviet Union. Cut to 2007-- the cousin's son is doing a Google search, lands on a genealogy site, and realizes he has discovered his mother's long-lamented cousins, alive and well in Florida these seventy years on!


Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Yes, your family is weird-- everybody’s is. The question is, are they weird enough to win you a subscription to Just tell Family Tree Magazine about your weird family holiday tradition (burying Uncle Torwald up to his neck in a snowdrift; making 100 proof eggnog in Grandma’s bathtub; reindeer polo on the county fairgrounds, etc.) by January 1st, and you can be the big winner. Interested? Go here:



If you have a broadband connection and an old telephone in a closet, the garage, or the basement, you might be able to lower your telephone bill to nearly zero (for calls to U.S. and Canada, although it’s apparently possible to get around that limitation with a little know-how..). It’s all apparently easy to do, start-up costs are also VERY low (and it's perfectly legal), so your lack of geek credentials and shallow pockets won’t prevent you from taking advantage of this. Sound interesting? Dick Eastman has the details about magicJack on his blog:



If you're thinking about getting your feet wet filming family reunions, weddings, christenings, etc., but don't want to spend a lot on computer software until you know if you like doing it, you may want to have a look at VideoThang. It sounds promising, and you can't beat the price: $0.00!

"VideoThang is a free and easy-to-use video editing software that lets you design and create your own videos. You can mix video clips with images and background music, and make movies in the MPEG formats. With VideoThang, you can cut, trim video clips, add captions, transitions and give effects to your videos in a simple way like a pro. Then decide how you want to share: email, upload or keep it for yourself. VideoThang picks the right size when you're done. VideoThang supports input from popular video and image formats, including AVI, FLV, WMV, MPG, and JPG. And it's free."

author: VideoThang LLC
required: Win2K, WinXP, Vista
size: 15.4 m
added: 18-Dec-2007


Note: If you’re planning to download VideoThang, please note the file size if you are still using dial-up-- it will take a week to download this bad boy. Also, if you’ve got Windows XP or Vista operating systems on your home computer, you already own Windows Movie Maker…

Monday, December 17, 2007


Are you attempting to research ancestors from the Dundee, Scotland area? If so, you may want to book tickets for the next available flight to Scotland. The Dundee City Council has opened a Local History Research Centre that combines the offices of the city registrar, city archivist, local history library, and the burials administration section. Officials expect that staff in the centre should be able to trace most families back to the late 17th century. The Local History Centre collection includes government records, books, directories, maps, plans, photographs and even images of gravestones. Local History Centre staff can also issue official certificates for any Scottish birth, death, civil partnership or marriage record held by the General Register Office for Scotland for which digital images are available.

Need more info, or already planning that trip back to the mother country?

Link to Dundee Local History Centre website

Link to BBC News article on the Local History Centre

BTW, this is our 200th post to this blog-- not bad for a five-week old...


Denver Public Library’s Western History/Genealogy Department has received a $778,000 grant to digitize the City of Denver’s collection of materials relating to Denver’s historic neighborhoods. The collection to be digitized includes manuscripts, photographs, published narrative, cartography, audio and video recordings. Newspaper clippings from private sources will also be linked with the public records to create a source of in- depth information about the history of the city of Denver and its historic neighborhoods.

Link to article in the Cherry Creek News


The American Library Association wants to remind you that the Internet is just one more source of information, not the only source of information, genealogical and otherwise:

Link to the article

BTW, I'm a librarian, but that fact did not influence me in the least (ahem!) as I decided whether or not to post this item...


Excelsior Springs, Missouri has an Art-Deco palace built in the 1930s as a spa where people could “take the cure’ using the supposed healing powers of the local waters. Soon after it was built, however, water cures fell out of favor, and now this “Hall of Healing” contains only local government offices. Well, you can buy a souvenir bottle of water-- if you can find somebody to take your money…



If you are a geek /techie type you’ll like it (and understand it), otherwise skip this one-- you’ll just scratch your head and say something we high-minded MoSGA types can’t print here…


Sunday, December 16, 2007


Crossroad Trails 28:4 (2007, No. 4) includes a nice list of websites of interest to genealogists:

Put in a town name and fill in the state name to see what county that town is in, or leave the state name blank and get a list of states that have a town by that name (plus you get the county for each):


Need help with country or regional abbreviations?


Need UK country and county codes?


Looking for older photos of counties and / or cities? Try penny postcards:


You can also see if any postcards / ads / photos of the county or city are for sale on—smart sellers post a good-sized photo of the object for sale:


This issue also features a nice timeline of Ellis Island. Did you know it was originally known as Gull Island, because those birds were its only inhabitants? The first Dutch settlers called it Oyster Island, because of all the oyster beds that surround it. It received the name Ellis Island because of Samuel Ellis, who at the time of the Revolution owned a tavern on the island that catered mostly to fishermen (did New York State issue BWI tickets-- boating while intoxicated?).

Link to Effingham County (IL) Genealogical Society

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Researching a Kentucky ancestor? Then you’ll want to know about the Kentucky Land Office, a service available on the Kentucky Secretary of State’s website. Here’s what they have to say about services they offer:

“The Secretary of State's Office is the place to start when researching Kentucky land acquisitions. All chain of title in the Commonwealth traces back to Virginia land patents and Kentucky land patents. In fact, all Kentucky deeds eventually trace back to an original patent recorded in the Kentucky Land Office. The Secretary of State maintains the security and preservation of these historical documents. We assist a variety of researchers such as historians, genealogists, and applicants for honorary societies as well as attorneys, mineral rights researchers, and land owners tracing the history of their properties. Researching land patents is as easy as determining the surname of your ancestor, when he might have obtained a land patent, and the area in which he might have been located. A number of publications, as well as databases on our website, can help you determine if your ancestor was involved in a land patent.”


There’s a special section for Kentucky bounty land warrant searching:

“The Military Registers and Land Records site includes information regarding Military Warrants issued to Virginia veterans prior to 1792 and all Kentucky patents authorized by those warrants.”


I find that many History Channel TV programs are likely to be of interest to genealogists. Here's some programs of possible interest from their schedule for 12-16-2007 to 12-22-2007.

You can browse their complete schedule here.

Did you miss one of your favorite History Channel shows, or you don't get the History Channel? Visit their online store to buy thousands of programs you can watch anytime you want.

Please Note: All air times are Central and subject to change. Check your local listings for broadcast dates and times. Also, History Channel programs are often shown once during the day and then again that night, so do check your local listings for most convenient show times.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

6-7pm -- History Rocks - More '60s
Some of the biggest cultural changes and events of the 1960s are set against the original soundtrack of the decade's memorable hits. Viewers will gain both new perspectives and new information through the pairing of the most important events of the decade with the music of the era. Eight events are told through on screen words with no narration over the songs. Continue the journey with Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride" as you re-live the exciting race to the moon; the JFK conspiracy "I Can See for Miles and Miles" by the Who; and experience Growing Up in the Sixties through Donovan's "Sunshine Superman".

Monday, December 17, 2007

9-10pm -- History Rocks - The '80s
The 1980s was a decade of extremes. The most important events of the '80s will be paired with music of the era. Songs are matched to documentary clips to deepen the meaning and evoke the mood of the event. Segments include the perestroika between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev told to the hard rock strains of "Cult of Personality" by Living Colour; the crack epidemic that ravaged America's inner cities with "Electric Avenue" by Eddy Grant; and Mount
St. Helens' eruption with "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by the Clash.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

9-10pm -- Mega Disasters - Krakatoa's Revenge
In 1883, Krakatoa, the most famous and feared volcano on Earth,
erupted. Gigantic explosions blew the volcano to bits, which triggered
massive lava flows that generated huge tsunamis. Nearly 37,000 died,
the greatest death toll caused by a volcanic eruption. It could happen
again. Watch as state of the art models, 3D animations and practical
demonstrations show how the eruption occurred. Leading experts
speculate on the impact of a mega eruption today. Would the resulting
colossal ash cloud cause a worldwide catastrophe?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

6-7pm -- Modern Marvels - Logging Tech.
When Paul Bunyan cried "Timber!", he never foresaw today's cutting-edge, controversial industry that feeds a ravenous, lumber-crazy world--a world striving to protect nature while devouring it. Come into the woods to see how he-men and hi-tech combine forces to topple 4-billion trees annually; journey to 19th-century America, when lumberjacks cut a legend as large as the timber they felled; and travel with a tree from stump to sawmill and learn its non-wood
uses--from aspirin to film to toothpaste!

Friday, December 21, 2007

6-7pm -- Modern Marvels - Super Guns of Today and Tomorrow.
An examination of guns that exist on the cutting edge of firearm technology. Fighting battles on computers decades before an actual shot is fired, these super guns may make the world safer...or more dangerous than ever before.


Genealogy Blog reports that this idea is working for the Champaign County (IL) Genealogical Society-- who knows, it might work for yours, too:

“Playing cards featuring local historical photos are proving to be a moneymaker for the Champaign County Genealogical Society. The cards, which sell by the pack, went on sale right before Thanksgiving and the response has been amazing, according to CCGS organizers. The proceeds of the sale will support the CCGS.”



Well, I guess you could, but you’d get a dirty look from the poor horse…

Yes, it’s a tipi made out of concrete. If you live in western Missouri, or just happen to be traveling near Lawrence, Kansas, you won’t want to miss this 50 foot tall concrete tipi. It’s weathered nearly 80 years thus far, including two floods of the nearby Kansas River (you can see the high water marks on the tipi walls). Interested? More here:


BTW-- the site also provides links to other stories about giant tipis, in case stories about oversized Indian dwellings happen to be what floats your canoe…


Clan Scott has put together a nice list of links to online booksellers who stock genealogy / history titles (as if enabling you to buy yet more books you can pack into your basement / attic / garage / bomb shelter is a good thing):



Nikki Roth-Skiles has gone to A LOT OF TROUBLE to gather together links to websites of interest to persons researching Missouri ancestors, so it’s only fair that MoSGA Messenger make you aware of all her hard work:


Friday, December 14, 2007


If you thought Google searching only means a word or two typed in a simple search box, the following list of possible searches from Google is sure to raise your eyebrows:

“In addition to providing easy access to billions of web pages, Google has many special features to help you to find exactly what you're looking for.

• Book Search Use Google to search the full text of books.
• Cached Links View a snapshot of each page as it looked when we indexed
• Calculator Use Google to evaluate mathematical expressions.
• Currency Conversion Easily perform any currency conversion.
• Definitions Use Google to get glossary definitions gathered from various
online sources.
• File Types Search for non-HTML file formats including PDF documents and
• Groups See relevant postings from Google Groups in your regular web
search results.
• I'm Feeling Lucky Bypass our results and go to the first web page
returned for your query.
• Images See relevant images in your regular web search results.
• Local Search Search for local businesses and services in the U.S., the
U.K., and Canada.
• Movies Use Google to find reviews and showtimes for movies playing
near you.
• Music Search Use Google to get quick access to a wide range of music
• News Headlines Enhances your search results with the latest related
news stories.
• PhoneBook Look up U.S. street address and phone number information.
• Product Search To find a product for sale online, use Google
Product Search.
• Q&A Use Google to get quick answers to straightforward questions.
• Refine Your Search - New! Add instant info and topic-specific links to
your search in order to focus and improve your results.
• Results Prefetching Makes searching in Firefox faster.
• Search By Number Use Google to access package tracking information,
US patents, and a variety of online databases.
• Similar Pages Display pages that are related to a particular result.
• Site Search Restrict your search to a specific site.
• Spell Checker Offers alternative spelling for queries.
• Stock and Fund Quotes Use Google to get up-to-date stock and mutual fund
quotes and information.
• Street Maps Use Google to find U.S. street maps.
• Travel Information Check the status of an airline flight in the U.S. or
view airport delays and weather conditions.
• Weather Check the current weather conditions and forecast for any
location in the U.S.
• Web Page Translation Provides you access to web pages in other languages.
• Who Links To You? Find pages that point to a specific URL."



If you’ve noticed that your Windows computer is working more slowly, or you seem to be running low on available memory, there are several fairly easy things you can do to free up disk space and /or use available space more efficiently. From the Microsoft website:


The Disk Cleanup tool helps you free up space on your hard disk by searching your disk for files that you can safely delete. You can choose to delete some or all of the files. Use Disk Cleanup to perform any of the following tasks to free up space on your hard disk:

Remove temporary Internet files.

Remove downloaded program files. For example, ActiveX controls and Java applets that are downloaded from the Internet.

Empty the Recycle Bin.

Remove Windows temporary files.

Remove optional Windows components that you are not using.

Remove installed programs that you no longer use.

To start Disk Cleanup:

Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Disk Cleanup.


Analyze a Disk Volume
Because defragmenting a disk volume can take a long time (depending on the size of the volume, the number of files, the percentage of fragmentation, and the availability of system resources), you should analyze volumes before defragmenting them to decide whether or not it is worthwhile to take the time to run the defragmentation process.

To check for fragmented files and folders on a volume:
1. Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Disk Defragmenter.
2. Click the volume that you want to analyze.
3. Click Analyze to begin the analysis.
4. Review the results of the analysis after it is complete by clicking View Report. If the analysis tool recommends that the volume be defragmented, follow the steps in the next section.

Defragment a Disk Volume
1. If the Disk Defragmenter tool is not already running, click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Disk Defragmenter.
2. Click the volume that you want to defragment.
3. Click Defragment to begin the operation.
4. Review the progress of the operation in the Defragmentation Display window. Fragmented files on the disk appear in red, contiguous files are blue, and system files are green. The goal is to eliminate most of the red in the window.”

How often should you do these things?
Disk Cleaner: once per week-- it’s easy to do and doesn’t take long, so get in the habit of doing it the same time every week.
Disk Defragmenter: every time your computer appears to be running noticeably slower, it’s time to defragment. The interval between defragment sessions will vary depending on how often you use your computer, how much you use the Internet, and how often you download files to / change existing files on your computer.

Virus / Malware Checking: many commercial / freeware computer security programs allow you to schedule regular system checks of your computer. Why not schedule a check once per week, or even once per day if you use the Internet several times per day? Just leave your computer on, and schedule the check to run when you are asleep / at work. No muss, no fuss-- just a notice next time you sit down at the keyboard that the check was made and your computer is virus / adware /malware /spyware free!

Cleaning your keyboard: you’re human, so you probably snack (or even eat meals!) at the keyboard. Once per week, lift the keyboard up, turn it upside down, and be amazed how much STUFF drops out. You are now good to go for another week!

If what’s been said above is all Greek to you, beg or bribe a nerd you know to stop by and do these things for you, possibly while showing you how it’s done as he or she proceeds!


Oklahoma Territorial Census, 1890 and 1907
The 1890 U.S. Federal Census was lost to a fire in 1921—but if your ancestors were from Oklahoma, the 1890 Oklahoma territorial census can help fill in the gaps. And the 1907 Oklahoma census can complete the details.

Ontario, Canada
If your ancestors were born, married, or died in the most-populated of the Canadian provinces, check out our new collection of Ontario vital records.
Ontario Births, 1869–1909
Ontario Marriages, 1857–1924
Ontario Deaths, 1869–1934

Coming soon: Southern Claims Commission Records
This collection has roughly 220,000 claims filed by former slaves and former slave owners who sought compensation for property seized by the Union Army.

Coming soon: Freedmen’s Bureau Commission Records
This is an eclectic record collection created by the Freedmen's Bureau, which was formed to assist former slaves in the South during Reconstruction.“

If you’re a very active genealogical researcher, an subscription may well be worth every penny you spend on it. If you’re on a budget, though, call your local public library and see if they give you free access to at the library. If they do, write down family research questions that occur to you during the week, so that you’ve got an agenda (and specific questions to work on) when you finally sit down at the Library’s computer.


KNOW THYSELF (GENETICALLY SPEAKING) offers you some free basic info about genetic testing- what it costs, what it reveals, and what it can’t tell you:



A story sure to interest family researchers: why don’t pregnant women tip over when they walk? Researchers now have the answer:



An option to be aware of if you're searching for Nebraska ancestors:

“Introducing a new genealogical search tool for Nebraska researchers.

O'Bits of Nebraska

This new website contains actual images of Nebraska obituaries from small town newspapers prior to 1930. The database search is free with a nominal fee ($4.99) to view the newspaper images via PayPal. New names added weekly!

When your research takes you to Nebraska, please keep my new website in mind.

Thank you,

Barbara Starks


Read your service contract and make sure your phone service supplier isn’t billing you by the minute. A Canadian oil field worker discovered that his “unlimited” phone service contract didn’t cover Internet connect charges the hard way-- phone bills totalling $84,000 arrived in the mail:


Thursday, December 13, 2007


When New York State closed the Willard Psychiatric Hospital in 1995, workers doing an inventory of property left on the premises discovered 400 suitcases of former residents of the facility, most of whom had been institutionalized for years and finally died there. Researchers who became interested in the suitcases starting doing some research, and were able in many cases to connect a suitcase with the case file-- the life, if you will-- of its owner. Photos from many of those case files, coupled with photos of the contents of many of those suitcases, are now available for viewing in an online exhibit:


Some materials used in the virtual exhibit are also available from the Exhibit Alliance as a real, low-security exhibit available for rental to institutions / organizations. More info is available at the link above.


OK-- you wanted the truth-- here it is. If you want to know who your grandparents and great-grandparents were and where they came from, a DNA test is probably not going to answer those questions—- those people are too close to you chronologically speaking. If you’re looking for a more ultimate sort of “where do I come from” answer, however, a DNA test may be just the ticket…



From RootsWeb Review-- great story, and great idea for a Christmas / birthday gift for genealogists OR mundanes on your shopping list:

Family History Book by Sherryl Snow

I had a fun genealogy experience this week that I wanted to let you all know about.

Several months ago I was able to take a trip to visit my aging grandmother in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Before going I decided I would bring my scanner and scan any old photos from her albums that struck my fancy--if there were any.

Were there ever! I had no idea the treasure I was in for. I guess I just sort of assumed I'd seen all her photos, but there were pages of pictures I'd never seen--some of her as a baby, a toddler, a teenager, and a young mother.

I had only ever seen one photograph of her mother--somewhere back someone told me it was the only one still in existence. But there were multiple photos of her in my grandmother's album. What a wonderful surprise to see my great-grandmother as a young woman for the first time. Also, to see a new picture of my great-great-grandmother.

After scanning the photos I wanted to share them with my siblings. They are not really into family history but I knew even they could get excited about pictures--who can't? Instead of just sending them a CD of photos, however, I decided to put the pictures in a book. There are a number of book-making websites out there that make it easy to drag and drop your photos and create professionally bound and printed books for relatively cheap (mine was about $30.00 for a book of 35 pages, minus the shipping costs).

I won't mention the specific product I used, but here are a few sites you can look into:,,, and You can also use your iPhoto application to make a book if you're a Mac user and I'm sure there are more programs out there for both Macs and PCs.

Making the book took several weeks. I added photos and then pasted snippets of text from a brief autobiography my grandmother wrote some years ago. I supplemented it with short bits of text from an oral history interview I also conducted with her on my last trip.

I knew that not many people in my family were likely to read the oral history or even the autobiography and would only glace quickly at a CD of pictures--unless I was sitting by them and talking them through it.

But this way, I think they will all get a better appreciation for my grandmother and her life--at thirty-five pages the book is not too overwhelming and contains my favorite photos. I also tried to keep the text portions brief enough that they would be engaging and easily digestible.

I plan on giving these books to my family for Christmas, and I can't wait to see their reactions. I almost cried when I got them in the mail and saw how professional they looked, thanks to the service I used.

I recommend looking into making a short photo book like this for your family. It's a great way to get even the most disinterested family members to enjoy a little family history.

Previously published in RootsWeb Review: 12 December 2007, Vol. 10, No. 50.


Here’s your chance to get in on the ground floor with innovations being tested by the FamilySearch Labs. They’ve got a blog on which they provide information about new searches and products they’re trying out. See what’s new and try out beta versions of new searches and products before other people even hear about it!


Thanks to my pal Nancy Thompson at TriCounty Genealogical Society for bringing FamilySearch Labs to my attention!

Tri-County Genealogical Society
212 West Walnut St.
Nevada, MO 64772

WWII ON THE WEB IN A BIG, BIG WAY… is giving you one more great reason to subscribe:

“These World War II documents and photos, available for the first time on the web, paint a picture that few have seen. Read news articles from home about the war, case files about war crimes, accounts of air battles. View photos of the war heroes, aerial targets, war planes, etc.

7-day Free Trial-- Access everything-- Cancel anytime-- Get Started Today

On Footnote you will find (to name just a few types of available items):

Missing Air Crew Reports
US Air Force Photos
Army & Navy JAG Files
WWII Allied Military Conferences
Japanese Air Targets
Naval Press Clippings
Photos of Eisenhower and FDR”


Interested in subscribing to Now you can do so via a link on the MoSGA home page.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I hope this doesn't seem like too commercial a plug, but I am extremely pleased with the holiday offerings of two radio stations. 102.5 FM KEZK here in St. Louis is sponsoring a Christmas Station that plays all Christmas songs all the time. Sirius Satellite Radio is doing the same with its Holiday Channel, on the Dish Network 6002 Channel. My point-- I've got a real thing for Christmas songs this year, and these stations are making it possible to feed my need in a big, big way-- so, my thanks to them both!

BTW, Sirius 6002 just played "The Little Drummer Boy," sung by Bing Crosby and David Bowie. At the time the song was recorded, they brought Bowie into the studio, introduced him to Bing, and let the two exchange brief pleasantries. Bing then did the number with Bowie like the two had been partners for years, then graciously shook hands and wished him happy holidays as Bowie left the studio. Bing then turned to his manager and said, "Who was he again, and do I know him?"


Here's a Merry Christmas you can give a wounded soldier that only costs you the price of a card, an envelope, and a stamp. Help make sure that every recovering soldier at Walter Reed Hospital receives a get well and happy holidays wish from a thankful MoSGA member. Send those cards here:

A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20307-5001


No, your husband's head probably can't block a sword thrust, but good guess...

Whether you're researching an armor-wearing ancestor or have some REALLY bad neighbors who've got you thinking that a suit of armor might not be such a bad idea, The Armour Archive has all your armor wearing / making answers:



OK-- it may not be the greatest list of its type ever, but it for darn sure is a REALLY lengthy list of web 2.0 applications (many online applications, some free downloads). If you’re tired of spending money on software for your home computer, why not take a look? The application you need may be only a (free) click away:



No, I can’t promise that he’ll visit YOUR house (and word on the street has it you've been fairly naughty this year), but I can offer you this online version of the classic poem by Clement Clarke Moore (first published in a Troy, NY newspaper). Actually, you get a typescript of the poem; a facsimile of its first newspaper publication (1823); and a facsimile of its first book publication (1848):



You’ve traced your spouse’s family back to Charlemagne, and your own family back to Julius Caesar. You should be happy, but you’re not-- you need new worlds to conquer! So, do you own a dog? You do! You, my friend, are in luck! Now you can get the lowdown on Rex’s pedigree with You (and Rex, I guess, although I’m betting this test is fairly low on his list of priorities) are just a cheek swab away from the truth-- is he the latest incarnation in a long line of canine supermodels, or is your furry best buddy just one more American mixed-breed? More info here:



Do you have so many genealogy books / other books that you don’t know what to do, or where to turn (or where to dump the next load you bring in the house, since you can’t stop buying the darn things)? Zack and Mary Grossbart were in the same boat, but found a solution that works great for them, and might just work for you:


Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Store your bookmarks on a USB stick:

"Safavor is a browser independent bookmark manager which can be stored on a USB stick (or on any other storage medium) to ensure easy transport. If you're always looking for the right link, put an end to it by integrating notes, keywords or detailed descriptions into your website URLs. Just click on the 'Search' button to search for a specific word in all your entries."

author: LISSWORX
required: Win2K, WinXP, Vista+.NET
size: 108 k
added: 18-Oct-2007


BTW, always check freeware downloads with your virus checker / security software before installing on your computer-- better safe than sorry!


Booky for Windows is a freeware bookmarks manager / transfer program that may be of interest to Windows users:

"Booky for Windows is a small utility for synchronizing bookmarks, it is capable of converting the Internet Explorer Favorites to a Hotlist that is used by the Opera browser or to a Bookmarks file that is used by the Netscape browser."

author: Jan G.P. Sijm
required: Windows
size: 245 k
added: 10-Dec-2007


BTW, always check freeware downloads with your virus checker / security software before installing on your computer-- better safe than sorry!


If your computer doesn't have an address book / phone book (or you don't like the one you've got), you may wish to check out Recall, a freeware address / phone book that may be everything you've been looking for:

"Recall is an easy to use Address Book, Phone Book and Memo Pad rolled into one. The address book/phone book can be used to store addresses, phone numbers, e-mail, etc, whilst the memo pad can be used to store personal information such as passwords, access codes etc, this information can be password protected. Recall comes with 8 skins which allows you to customize the look to match your mood. If you still don't find any skin you like, you can download more skins."

author: JJC Software
required: WinXP
size: 1.24 m
added: 10-Dec-2007


BTW, always check freeware downloads with your virus checker / security software before installing on your computer-- better safe than sorry!

Monday, December 10, 2007


Dick Eastman notes in his online newsletter a health problem-- previously undiagnosed diabetes-- that will be keeping him out of circulation for awhile:

“Sadly, this is not a vacation. On Thursday morning I got an unexpected trip to a local hospital's emergency room when I lost my vision and developed a bunch of other unhealthy symptoms. I was diagnosed and then admitted as a patient. I'll be out of circulation for a while.”

We love Dick’s newsletter, so here’s hoping he’s back up and blogging in no time. Happy holidays and best wishes to Dick and his family!

Link to Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter

CRIME IN NEW YORK: 1850-1950

If you've got any New York City crime victims (or-- err-- criminals) in your family tree, you'll want to have a look at this site put together by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice: Crime in New York: 1850-1950:



If your family tree includes Native Americans from North Carolina tribes, you'll want to take a look at a special section of the Documenting the American South website: Native American History in North Carolina:



If you served in Vietnam, or are a relative or friend of someone who did, you'll be interested in this article on the war that's part of the Military History Encyclopedia on the Web, an extensive site that includes sections on battles, biographies, concepts, documents, weapons, timelines, and maps:



Happy Holidays!

'Tis the season to think about giving back, and here at National Genealogical Society we would like to help you do just that!!

Our online store offers you a variety of publications, novelty items, learning aids and more. It's a great opportunity to gift family, friends or you with an item or two that will be cherished.

Check out our Hunting for your Heritage comic! A full color adventure story teaches children about ancestors, descendants, generations and family trees. A great gift for a dear little one!

Excitement is already building for the National Genealogical Society Conference in the States and Family History Fair which will be held 14-17 May 2008 at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center, in Kansas City, Missouri. Gift a conference registration to a loved one today!

Support the National Genealogical Society!

Visit here for more information on online donations while renewing your membership or email Jan Alpert to contribute towards a project. You can help support the NGS Quarterly, Research in the States series, NGS Learning Center or online database projects.

For more information about the National Genealogical Society or to donate online - visit our web site.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Happy Holidays,


Gayathri Kher
NGS Information Technology Specialist and Learning Center Director
3108 Columbia Pike Suite 300
Arlington VA 22204
Tel: 703-525-0050 Ext-221
Fax: 703-525-0052
NGS Website: