Saturday, May 31, 2008


June-August 2008

June 5, 2008
Walking the Cemeteries of St. Clair County. Presented by Martha Mae
Schmidt and friends. An Attendance prize will be awarded, The History,
Mystery and Unexplained of the Prairie State
by Troy Taylor.

July 3, 2008
Freeburg Historical Society Representative Bob Koerberg will share the focus, goals, and holdings of this group.

August 7, 2008
Belleville Library: 100 Years and Counting. Dana Prusacki, Archivist. Come hear the new and upcoming research tools, collections, and books of one of St. Clair's best research institutions. In celebration of Ms. Prusacki's first anniversary as archivist, cake will be served

Meetings are held the first Thursday of each month. Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: St. Luke Parish Hall, North Church and East "C" Sts.,
Belleville, Illinois **doors open at 7 p.m.***

For more info on SCCGS or its monthly meetings, go here


The Missouri State Archives has announced in the quarterly of the Friends of the Missouri State Archives (Spring 2008) that scanning of death certificates 1910-1957 has been completed a year ahead of schedule, thanks to the dedication of staff and volunteers and financial support from the Friends. Over 600 volunteers logged nearly 33,000 hours towards completing this project. All these certificates are now available for free viewing online.

The database since its creation has been searched 11.4 million times. The Archives filled 59,000 requests for photocopies before images of the certificates became available online (total doesn’t include an additional 4,700 requests filled by volunteers from the Friends organization).

Missouri Death Certificates, 1910-1957


The German Interest Group of the Iowa Genealogical Society is holding its 16th annual German Genealogical Conference on Saturday, 14 June 2008, 8:45 AM-4 PM. Speaker is Baerbel K. Johnson, A.G., an International Reference Consultant at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Topics include:

Using German Church Records
Using German Civil Registration Records
Marriage Laws & Customs in Germany
Strategies for Solving German Research Problems

Place is Des Moines Botanical Center, 909 East River Drive, Des Moines, Iowa. Conference attendees may also use the Iowa Genealogical Society Library from 10 AM-2 PM on Sunday, 15 June 2008. Conference registration fee includes lunch and admission to the Botanical Center.

Ms. Johnson is also providing a free lecture on Friday, 13 June 2008, 7 PM-9 PM. Subject is German Research on the Internet.

Place for this free lecture is Iowa Genealogical Society Library, 628 East Grand Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa.

Need more details, or registration information?

Iowa Genealogical Society


News from the Federal Register concerning establishing of a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Genealogy Fee-for-Service Program:


You may find that you prefer to get the info from a post on Dick Eastman’s online newsletter:



Need to name a baby, and want to be sure and give him or her a popular name, or do you just want to find out what baby names were most popular in any year from 1879 to the present? The Social Security Administration is here to help:


BTW, the year I was born my given name, Thomas, was No. 8 on the Baby Name Hit Parade…

My brother Bill’s given name was No. 6 the year he was born. Please don’t tell him, or I’ll never hear the end of it…


You can put together a neat little map that shows places you’ve lived, places you’ve visited, and places you’d like to visit someday at the Where I’ve Been website. You can then embed your map in a blog or on your MySpace, Facebook, or Friendster page.

Take a look:


FGS FORUM 20:1 (Spring 2008)

FGS Forum 20:1 (Spring 2008) includes several articles of interest to Missouri genealogists. “Railroad Lands and Your Ancestor” talks about government grants of land to railroads, and the subsequent sale of portions of that land to speculators and the public in order to finance construction of the railroads. Finding a record of your ancestor’s purchase of railroad land can be complicated by the facts that:

· Railroads as private companies were required to keep few specific records
· Railroads were not required to file notice of purchases of land with the federal or local governments at specific intervals
· Purchasers of railroad land also weren’t required to file notice of their purchase with local government (although the tax assessor usually found them soon enough anyway)
· Railroads weren’t required to keep land purchase records indefinitely
· Railroads that still own land purchase records aren’t required to share them with the public
· Few indexes exist for railroad land records

The article contains tips for finding out if the records for a particular railroad still exist (and who owns them).

There is also an article on the St. Clair County (IL) Funeral Cards Project that was previously reported on this blog. The article includes some tips for other societies wishing to start their own funeral card projects.

A third article discusses the use of GPS devices by the genealogist. The author, Pamela K. Boyer, has fallen in love with her GPS device, a Garmin Nuvi. The device has a name, Jill, and it talks to Boyer (no, Ms. Boyer hasn't gone "funny in the head"-- it’s supposed to talk). Jill tells Ms. Boyer how to get where she’s driving to. If you are directionally challenged, or are just tired of having a glove compartment stuffed with ten-year old highway maps, you just might be ready to purchase a new “techno-friend” of your own.


Looks like everything but the sky has fallen on this Missouri county:

Platte County Historical & Genealogical Society Bulletin 61:1 (Jan-Apr 2008) has an article on Platte County disasters. Seems they’ve had their fair share: floods in 1844, 1858, 1881, 1903, 1951, 1952, 1965, and 1993; major fires in 1861, 1864, 1873, 1884, 1885, 1887, 1890, 1896, 1936, 1953, 1957, 1967, 1975, and 1987; a Civil War battle in 1864; tornadoes in 1971 and 2003; explosions in 1957, 1966, 1979, and 1981; grapefruit-sized hail in 1965; and plagues of grasshoppers in the years 1874-1876 and 1936. Oh, and a number of fairly sensational murders in 1900, 1909, 1964, 1977, 1984, and 1990, too...


June-December 2008

All programs are held at Central Library, 3rd Floor, 1301 Olive Street, St. Louis, MO 63103. Please note that most programs are in Meeting Room 1, but several are in Meeting Room 2. Programs are free and open to the public. Registration is encouraged but not required. Parking is free on Saturdays (meters are not checked), and Scott Trade Center Metro-Link stop is only four blocks away. Call 314-539-0381 to register or for more information.

June 14, 2008. 10 AM-Noon. Show-Me Soldiers: Researching Missouri Civil War Soldiers & Regiments in Books, Newspapers, and the Internet. Meeting Room 1. Join us as we learn how to thoroughly research our Missouri Civil War ancestors (Union & Confederate) in books, newspapers, and on the Internet.

July 26, 2008. 10 AM-Noon. Great Civil War Battles: Lookout Mountain & Missionary Ridge. Meeting Room 1. Join us as we discuss the two unlikely Union victories that made the Spring 1864 Atlanta Campaign possible.

September 20, 2008. 10 AM-Noon. The Second War of American Independence: Researching War of 1812 Ancestors. Meeting Room 2. Join us as we discuss book, manuscript, and Internet sources of information about War of 1812 ancestors.

November 15, 2008. 10 AM-Noon. Records of the Great War: Researching World War I Ancestors. Meeting Room 2. Join us as we discuss book, manuscript, and Internet sources of information about WWI soldier, sailor, marine, and airman ancestors.

December 13, 2008. 10 AM-Noon. Great Civil War Battles: Fredericksburg. Meeting Room 1. Join us as we discuss this winter battle in Virginia during which reluctant Union Army commander Ambrose Burnside was outwitted and outgunned at every turn by the old Gray Fox, Robert E. Lee.

It’s also easy to add you to my programs notification list! Just send an email with NOTIFY in the subject line to You’ll get a reminder of upcoming programs a week or so before each program takes place (don’t forget to tell me if your email address changes, and please tell your email client it’s OK to accept mail from me!).

Tom Pearson, Special Collections Department
314-539-0381 or

Friday, May 30, 2008


The St. Louis Genealogical Society is sponsoring their 15th annual trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City November 9-16, 2008.

The week includes:

1. Seven nights at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel at Temple Square;
2. Six full days of research at the world's largest genealogical library;
3. An orientation tour of the library and surrounding area on Monday;
4. Individual research consultations with group leaders throughout the trip;
5. Transfers and baggage handling between airport and hotel in Salt Lake City;
6. Sunday evening group meal at the hotel;
7. Special genealogical lecture on Monday evening;
8. Access to all classes held at the library from Monday through Saturday.

For complete information and costs, please visit their website at:



New Missouri Train Wrecks, Tornadoes and other disaster articles have been added at:


For example:

Brookfield, MO Train Wreck, Dec 1902
East St Louis, MO Barber Shop and Grain Elevator Fire, Mar 1884
Gilmore, MO Storm And Train Wreck Jul 1915
Joplin, MO Train Crashes Into Motor Car, Aug 1914
Kansas City, MO Plane Crash Kills 20 Veterans, Sep 1945
Kansas City, MO Plane Crashes On Landing, Jan 1963
Lancaster, MO Farmer Killed in House Fire, Apr 1921
Missouri City, MO Train Plunges Through Trestle, June 1897
Moberly, MO Bridge Collapse Over Grand River, July 1884
Newtown, MO Tornado Ravages Small Town, Apr 1899
Robertson, MO Plane Crashes On Landing, Jan 1941
Spanish Lake, MO Train Wreck, Apr 1908
St. Louis, MO Airliner Crashes On Landing, July 1973
St. Louis, MO Flood Aug 1915
Worth, MO Tornados Hit Three States, Apr 1947

To view these disasters, go to After the page opens, click on "Browse by State" in the left side bar, then click on "Missouri". You can use the links in the right sidebar to navigate through Fires, Airplane Crashes, Floods, etc., or you can search for the specific disaster you're looking for by using the search box at the top of the left sidebar.

More Missouri Disasters:



Explore the recently opened NARA Digital Vaults:



A guide to what’s in the July 2008 issue of Family Tree Magazine:



TGS has a library consisting of 7,000 books and 700 periodical titles. The library is open Mon, Weds, Thurs, and Sat 1 PM-4 PM.

TGS meetings are held on the 4th Wednesday of the month (no meetings in April, November, and December).

Topeka Genealogical Society
2717 SE Indiana St.
Topeka, KS 66604

Want to join? Individual- $20. Family- $23. Sustaining- $30.

Send check payable to TGS to:

Topeka Genealogical Society
PO Box 4048
Topeka, KS 66604-0048


This virtual repository presents the best Territorial Kansas materials from the Kansas State Historical Society and the Kansas Collection, University of Kansas. Included are government documents, diaries, letters, photos, maps, newspapers, and historical artifacts. Site also includes lesson plans at the grade school, high school, and college levels.



Old Mines Area Historical Society of Washington County, Missouri will hold its fall festival on Sunday, 5 October 2008. Festivities include apple butter making, 1800s crafts, gunsmith, blacksmith shop, log home museum, story telling, and country store. Oh, and don't forget- a bakery with French pastry, plus they'll be serving chicken 'n dumplings, French sausage, corn on the cob, and mulled cider!

TIME: Sunday, 5 October 2008, 11 AM-4 PM

For directions and more info:


Please note that (according to the Army) the suicide rate for Army personnel, while the highest ever recorded last year (since record keeping began in 1980), is still lower than the rate for the general population (and even lower still, if reserve components are factored out). If so, the suicide rate of active duty Army soldiers in 2007 is an Army success story, and not at all a record of the Army’s lack of concern about the mental health of its soldiers.

Please also note that the suicide rate among female soldiers was cut in half in 2007 (11 in 2006, 5 in 2007). Again, we’re relying on the Army’s own statistics, but does that sound like a record of the Army’s lack of concern about the mental health of its soldiers?

Of course, saying that the Army in fact seems to be doing a good job preventing suicides does not mean that we’re not holding out for a statistic of 0 (zero) suicides for Army personnel, male or female…

Army Deploys Prevention Programs to Combat Soldier Suicides
by Gerry J. Gilmore, American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 29, 2008 - The Army is deploying a multitude of prevention programs as part of efforts to stop soldiers from taking their own lives, senior Army officials said here today. The Army should train its soldiers how to cope with psychological challenges as well as physical ones, Army Brig. Gen. Rhonda Cornum, assistant surgeon general for force protection, told reporters during a Pentagon roundtable. For example, the Battlemind training program prepares soldiers for a combat environment, Cornum said, adding that troops who've taken Battlemind training report fewer psychological health problems. Last year, the Army initiated a chain-teaching program to educate all soldiers and leaders about symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder and mild brain injury, Cornum said. More than 900,000 soldiers were trained sinc e July, she noted.

Cornum saluted Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates' decision to change Question 21 of the questionnaire for national security positions, regarding mental and emotional health. The revised question, she said, now excludes non-court-ordered counseling related to marital, family or grief issues, or counseling for issues related to military service in a combat zone. "So, the change was made because accessing professional help for those mental health issues should not be perceived to jeopardize your career," Cornum said. "On the contrary, failure to seek care for those kinds of issues might actua lly increase the likelihood that your psychological distress could escalate to a more serious mental health condition, and that more serious condition could, in fact, preclude an individual from performing those sensitive duties. "War is hard on soldiers and it can be even harder on families," she observed. "When soldiers return home, most will experience a readjustment period, but they will also experience a successful home transition."

Some returning servicemembers will require short- or long-term counseling to assist in that transition, Cornum said, noting that situation is not unusual. "We believe there is more to be done, and we are committed to maximizing prevention, as well as treating psychological health problems as they occur," Cornum said. The Army's personnel directorate and the Army Surgeon General hosted the initial Suicide Prevention General Officer Steering Committee on Feb. 11. That committee will take a critical look at policies, procedures, climate and culture as they pertain to suicide prevention, according to Army documents.

The 144-page Army Suicide Event Report released today said 115 soldiers took their lives in calendar year 2007, the highest number of suicides since record-keeping began in 1980, according to officials. Five of the deceased were female soldiers. Ninety-three of the departed soldiers were active-duty troops, and 22 were either in the National Guard or Army Reserve. Army records show 102 soldiers died by their own hands in 2006, of which 11 were women.

Most soldiers that killed themselves were young and male, according to the report, with failed personal relationships cited as the number one cause. Most soldiers that committed suicide did so at their home stations and not overseas. In fact, of the 115 soldiers who killed themselves last year, 32 died in Iraq, while 4 died in Afghanistan. Drug or alcohol use was cited in 30 percent of the suicide cases. The majority of the suicide cases last year did not have a known history of a mental disorder, according to Army documents.

The current active-duty Army suicide rate is 18.8 per 100,000 soldiers, according to officials. The Army suicide rate goes down to 16.8 per 100,000 soldiers when the reserve components are added. The adjusted U.S. population suicide rate is 19.5 per 100,000 people.

There've been 38 confirmed soldier suicides so far this year, officials said. "Obviously, suicide is a very complex phenomenon with a lot going on," said Army Col. Elspeth C. Ritchie, director of the Army Surgeon General's office for behavioral health. "The main motive for suicide is related to breakup of rela tionships, usually with a partner." Other soldier-suicide motivators include getting in trouble at work or elsewhere, Ritchie noted. "We know that the multiple deployments and the length of the deployment are major stressors back at home; so, there're kind of a lot of different factors," Ritchie said. "We certainly would hope that all of our indicators of quality of life get better as the deployments get shorter and there's more 'dwell time' back at home." Dwell time is the time at home station between deployments. "But, I don't think we would be able to say we predict that at this time," Ritchie continued. "We also know that we're doing a lot of mitigating strategies at (suicide) prevention and resilience, and we hope that those would help, as well."

"One soldier suicide is too many," said Lt. Col. Thomas E. Languirand, who works in Army's deputy chief of staff for personnel office. "We value each and every soldier, and we look continually ... at how we can put our policies and programs in place to help with the resiliency of our soldiers and their families to better enhance their life-coping skills," Languirand said. "And, we obviously believe that behavioral health is a very important, key part of preventing suicides in the Army." Languirand observed that high operational tempo is causing stress across the Army's ranks. "We understand that we are a force under stress, and we do the best that we can to mitigate those risks -- not only the risks that you may associate with persistent conflict, but also the risks that are normal and prevalent in everyd ay society," Languirand said. Yet, Ritchie said, there doesn't seem to be a statistical link between wartime operations and an increase in soldier suicides. "Actually, we're not seeing a clear relationship between conflict increase and suicide," Ritchie said.

This service is provided to you at no charge by U.S. Department of Defense. Visit us on the web at

Thursday, May 29, 2008



S407 DNA Testing: the Very, Very Basics (Tom Shawker, MD, speaker)

S417 The Nuts and Bolts of Using DNA (Buford Suffridge, Jr., speaker)

S425 DNA Testing for Genealogy: a Surname Project and Results(Robert McLaren, speaker)

Sessions Synopsis: All three speakers were very knowledgeable about their topics, especially Dr. Shawker and Robert McLaren. Dr. Suffridge is a charming country gentleman whose basics presentation was very well received. Dr. Shawker is an MD who really knows his stuff. Robert McLaren is a larger-than-life figure with a Santa Claus beard who dresses in a kilt (he’s head of Clan MacLaren and the MacLaren DNA Project). He’s very knowledgeable about DNA and genetic testing.

Contact info for Thomas Shawker, MD.

Bio sketch of Buford Suffridge, DDS.

Contact info for Robert McLaren.

S427 NGS/GenTech Luncheon: New Partnerships in the Genealogy Community (Dick Eastman, speaker)

Session Synopsis: Theme of this talk was simple: genealogical societies should be attempting to form partnerships in order to accomplish things that they simply can’t do without the help of other organizations / business firms. Many of the major players in the genealogy industry have already started forming partnerships with other players (NARA,,, FamilySearch to name a few). It’s important to form relationships that benefit both partners, so potential relationships need to be carefully considered before contracts are signed, etc.

Contact info for Dick Eastman.

Further information about the NGS Conference and Conference speakers/exhibitors is available on the NGS Conference Blog.


June 12 and 19 Intro to Legacy 6.0

June 22 and 29 Beginning Genealogy

June 25 and 27 Using the Mercantile Library

July 9 One-on-One Problem Solving Sessions

July 9 and 16 Trip to the Missouri State Archives

July 12 Internet Books: Google and Heritage Quest

July 25 Intro to German Genealogy: Where Do I Start?

August 7 Introduction to GPS

August 16 Are You Ready for a Research Trip?

August 13 and 20 Tips & Tricks of Subscription Websites

Classes take place at St. Louis Genealogical Society Headquarters in Sunnen Park.

Please see their website for complete information.


Please join us Thursday, June 5, 2008. Speakers, Martha Mae Schmidt and Friends will present "Walking the Cemeteries of St. Clair County". An attendance prize, The History, Mystery & Unexplained of the Prairie State by Troy Taylor will be given.

Our monthly meetings begin at 7:30 pm at the St. Luke's Parish Hall, 226 N. Church St. in Belleville, Illinois, 62222.

We are always looking for good speakers on genealogical topics. Let us know if you can recommend any speaker(s) from the St. Louis Metro Area, or if you can speak on a topic of interest to our Society.

For more information, program suggestions and inclement weather, please contact Nancy Pannier, 1st Vice President and Program Chair by e-mail or you may call (618) 235-7417.

Visitors and guests are always welcome!


Diane Auth
Membership Chairperson
St. Clair County Genealogical Society
PO BOX 431
Belleville, Illinois 62222-0431


Just in case you're planning to be in Washington, DC this coming weekend:

On Saturday, May 31st and Sunday, June 1st Swedish genealogy workshops will be held at:

House of Sweden
Embassy of Sweden
2900 K Street NW
Washington, DC

between 12:00 pm and 6:00 pm.

There will be lectures and free 30 minute one-on-one computer sessions with Swedish genealogists helping to solve problems and find solutions.

In addition, extra computers will be installed to provide free access to all major Swedish and Swedish-American databases.

Admission to the seminars and computer sessions are free. However, pre-registration is required at SwedGenTour2008.

Additional information can be found at


From their website:

“Welcome to our comprehensive guide to the 1930 census. Learn how the census was taken, which records survive today, and how to find microfilm that may contain your family's records.

Our microfilm locator

·is not a family- or individual-name index or a digital version of the original records.

·contains the microfilm lists for the 1930 population schedules and the Soundex indexes, searchable by over 120,000 geographic locations.

·allows you to know before visiting NARA exactly which roll(s) of microfilm you need to view, rent, or buy to start your research.

·is a good place to begin your census research. Only by viewing the actual microfilm rolls will you be able to complete your research.”


Monday, May 26, 2008


Friday (continued)

F304 The National Archives: Washington, DC and the Regional Branches (Kenneth Heger and Diana Duff, speakers)

Session Synopsis: This was sort of a dream session. Speakers included Kenneth Heger from Archives I in Washington, DC, and Diana Duff from NARA-Central Plains Region. It was wonderful to have these two persons with so much knowledge of Archives I and the NARA-Central Plains Region Branch available to talk about holdings and answer audience questions about these institutions.

Diana Duff and Kenneth Heger were knowledgeable, polished speakers who know their stuff and work well with a crowd.

Contact info for Diana Duff:

Contact info for Kenneth Heger:

F314 National Cemeteries (Kimberlee Reid, speaker)

Session Synopsis: Interesting talk by a talented speaker. This talk pointed out to me the possibility of breaking up a talk I currently do on finding soldier and veteran death and burial info into several different talks (National Cemeteries; American Battle Monuments Commission; State Veterans Cemeteries; The Army Quartermaster Graves Registration Department; etc).

Contact info for Kimberlee Ried:

F324 Your Ancestor's World Revealed: Using 19th Century Newspapers (John Philip Colletta, speaker)

Session Synopsis: Great talk to a huge crowd. Dr. Colletta's example will be a great help when a colleague and I do a talk on this very subject for St. Louis Genealogical Society in July 2008.

Dr. Colletta is a nationally known speaker with a well-deserved reputation for warmth, wit, and a great sense of humor. If you can afford him for your workshop/conference, get him!

Contact info for John P. Colletta:

(paste in address bar of your browser)

F330 APG Luncheon: Shifting Trends and Technologies Create Shifting Professions (David Rencher, speaker)

Session notes: Very good, accomplished speaker. The focus here was on what professional genealogists should be doing to keep up-to-date and employable. To sum up: get digital!

Contact info for David Rencher:

F346 Till Death Do Us Part: Health Information in Federal Records (Connie Potter, William Seibert, and Kenneth Heger, speakers)

Session Synopsis: Great talk on health information (usually but not always death information) in federal records. Wonderful to have all three NARA authorities in the same room.

Contact info for William Seibert:

Contact info for Diana Duff:

Contact info for Kenneth Heger:


MoSGA has been bestowed by NGS with an Award of Honor for having helped to arrange and coordinate the NGS Annual Conference in the States 2008 in Kansas City, Missouri.


Special mention must be made of Local Arrangements Committee members, who worked hard to make this a conference to remember:

David Sapp, Chair
Bill Hawkins & Martha Henderson, Hospitality
Kimberlee Ried, Sharlene Miller, & David Sapp, Local Publicity
Evie Brisette, CG, & Marieta Grissom, Registration
Nancy Thomas, Darrell Jackson, & JoAnne Manger, Vendor Support
Barbara Dale & David Sapp, Volunteer Coordinators

You may have noticed that David Sapp's name appeared more than once in that list of credits. Here's a special thanks to David for all his hard work!


Stories of people who chose to serve in various American wars:



Their library includes 20,000 books and 15,000 microforms covering many states and foreign countries. A bank of computers allows library users to access and provides high-speed Internet access. There is also wireless access to the Internet for laptop and PDA users.

They publish a newsletter, a journal, and have published over 2,000 softcover books covering a wide variety of records. Classes are provided on a wide variety of research topics, and the Society also sponsors several special interest groups, including a recently-formed Norwegian Interest Group.

Annual membership is $30- Individual, or $40- Family.

They're on the Web at

Location: 628 East Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50309-1924 (across the street from the Iowa State Historical Library).


If you missed the big NGS Conference in Kansas City, you can still go to the Midwestern Roots Conference in Indianapolis (15-16 August 2008). There are also some Pre-Conference activities on 14 August 2008. Speakers include Christine Rose, Charles F. Kerchner, Jr., Curt B. Witcher, Beau Sharborough, Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, and Stephen Morse, to name only some. Thirty sessions will cover genetic genealogy; conducting effective Web searches; working with photos and graphics; census, land, and vital records; and library and newspaper research.

Location: Indianapolis Marriott East, 21st Street & Shadeland Avenue.

More info:

Saturday, May 24, 2008


THURSDAY (continued)

T230 FamilySearch Luncheon: Digital Technology- Key to the Future (Wayne J. Metcalfe, speaker)

Session Synopsis: The speaker is connected with, the umbrella organization of the Mormon Church that deals with genealogical records. The Mormons are currently emphasizing not ownership of genealogical records, but rather providing free access to genealogical records. Providing that free access will increasingly involve partnerships with archives, churches, libraries, and commercial firms. Access will increasingly involve access to a digital version of the records in question, not a microfilm version, although a preservation copy of microfilmed records will be kept in secure storage. The microfilm the Mormons are currently using for preservation is rated to last 400 years. The Mormons estimate that there are 10 billion records of genealogical importance out there in the zeitgeist- they have already filmed / digitized nearly 3 billion. They estimate that everything in their Granite Mountain Records Vault in Salt Lake City will be digitized / filmed in 5-10 years. Mr. Metcalfe also noted that the Mormons are still in talks with the Catholic Church about filming / digitizing parish records, so those discussions are not over as has been previously reported.

Contact info for Wayne Metcalfe

T238 Alien Registration Records (Julie Miller, speaker)

Session Synopsis: I currently do a talk on foreign-born ancestors (Aliens Among Us), although this talk showed me that I could also be doing talks on more specific subjects like Alien Registrations, Naturalizations of WWI Soldiers, Naturalizations of Women and Children, Border Crossing Records, etc.

Contact info for Julie Miller

T243 Records of Military Posts (Craig R. Scott, speaker)

Session Synopsis: This talk will prove very useful to me. I had known relatively little about this subject: I am now planning to put together a talk on Researching Camps, Forts, and Air and Naval Bases.

I have heard Mr. Scott speak previously (at a MoSGA Annual Conference). He is very knowledgeable, and has a very good speaking voice. He can speak on a wide variety of military (and other) topics. He is also a genealogy publisher (Heritage Books).

Contact info for Craig R. Scott


Commentary: So Which One is Memorial Day?
by Army Sgt. Jerome Bishop
Special to American Forces Press Service

CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq, May 23, 2008 - Not long ago while I was sitting at my desk at work, a fellow soldier presented an interesting question-- not because of what it was, but because of why he asked it.

"So what's Memorial Day, again?" the soldier asked.

This kind of disturbed me. As it turns out, the confusion came from the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. While both are federal holidays to remember our nation's servicemembers past and present, only one commemorates the living.

The one that doesn't is May 26, the last Monday in May. That one would be Memorial Day. I just never thought I'd have to explain that to someone.

When Memorial Day comes around, a lot of thoughts rush to mind. Memories of picnics with the family, maybe catching the Indianapolis 500 on TV with a cold beverage in hand or enjoying the sun at a nearby public pool that just opened for the summer -- all of which are easily recognizable Memorial Day traditions. All the while, the true meaning of Memorial Day remains hidden in the back of our minds -- if it's even there at all.

Commemoration ceremonies and remembrances take place all over the United States on Memorial Day. We all know it's a holiday. It's a day off work, and it's got something to do with wars. Most people my age won't be seen at events like those. I know I've never been to my town's festivities -- not often, at least.

Four years ago, I would have been the last one to say I wanted to take time during the day commonly referred to as the beginning of summer to fill my head with sad memories of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines who never made it home. That was then. Three years ago, I was about 60 kilometers north of here on Logistics Support Area Anaconda near Balad for Memorial Day, and this year, I'm in Baghdad.

To me and a lot of other servicemembers braving the sand, heat and bullets in Iraq, Memorial Day carries a new meaning -- to remember not only those servicemembers we know only by the names on their tombstones at Arlington National C emetery, but also the ones with whom we've shared meals and laughs while trying to make the best of discomfort.

I'm fortunate enough to say that I haven't lost a friend over here, but as my job takes me from unit to unit, the list of acquaintances grows -- and more than a few might not make it home.

Three years ago, I knew Memorial Day would have a whole new meaning for me -- and it truly does -- because it could just as easily have been my name stretched across a banner for hometown heroes lost in battle.

One day, I'm sure I'll hear that question again: "Which one is Memorial Day?" or something of the sort. Unlike most people, I'll have a unique story to tell -- just as all of us here do.

(Army Sgt. Jerome Bishop serves in the Multinational Division Baghdad Public Affairs Office.)

This service is provided to you at no charge by U.S. Department of Defense. Visit us on the web at


Read the story of Marine Sgt. Merlin German, the most injured Marine in the history of the Corps to survive his wounding, and try to keep a dry eye:


BTW, Sgt. German did finally succumb to his injuries, but only after an extremely valiant (and painful) struggle to survive...


See photos (in most cases) and read biographical sketches of service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, often with the transcript of one or more articles from the service member’s hometown newspaper. You can search by name of the fallen service member, or you can browse by month and year:


Note: The alarming number of our soldiers, marines,and airmen who are killed by improvised explosive devices leaves no doubt that we are fighting an enemy who knows he has no chance of winning a war fought using conventional tactics. The listings also leave no doubt that women are serving in the war zone…


The next time you order a fairly widely available item on the Internet, such as books, DVDs, CDs, or computer software, first go to Google and enter this in the search box:

"free shipping"

BTW, do use the quotation marks. You will probably be amazed at how many Internet merchants offer some sort of free shipping deal. To save time, you can also enter the name of the merchandise category you are interested in:

"free shipping" books

"free shipping" DVDs

"free shipping" CDs

"free shipping" software

...and so on.

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Friday, May 23, 2008



The first person I talked to at the conference was Pam Pearson, an NGS Registration Desk volunteer from Kansas. We figured out fairly quickly that there appears to be no connection between our Pearson families, but it’s always nice talking to a person with such a distinguished surname.

I was really impressed by the meeting and banquet facilities, exhibits, scheduling, and the printed materials and CD-Rom syllabus provided by NGS. Speakers were uniformly good, as were the handout materials provided on the syllabus. The organizers must have planned the military track of classes with me in mind (again if you assume they are masters of time and space who have no trouble peering into the future). I attended the following meetings / luncheons:

WEDNESDAY (I arrived at 2:45 PM, and was able to attend one session at 4 PM.)

W129 Civil War Uniforms: Sizing Up Your Ancestor (Buford Suffridge, Jr., DDS, speaker)

Session Synopsis: Dr. Suffridge (orthodontist) is a down-home gentleman from Arkansas with a great drawl and good sense of humor. He can speak on several military topics, and can also do a program on DNA basics for genealogists. The Civil War Uniforms session I attended was a real crowd-pleaser. Dr. Suffridge was dressed in an exact replica of his CW ancestor’s uniform.

Bio sketch of Buford Suffridge: (paste into browser address bar)


T207 When Grandpa Comes Marching Home Again: Analyzing Military Pension Files (Julie Miller, speaker)

Session Synopsis: I do a program on Civil War records, but this program demonstrated to me that it is also possible to do programs on particular types of record. Ms. Miller showed us how to analyze and organize the information provided in a typical Civil War pension file. It seems obvious that similar programs could be done on how to analyze and organize the information found in typical Civil War descriptive rosters and compiled military service records, as well as pension files.

Ms. Miller (she’s from Colorado) is a very well-organized speaker with a pleasant speaking voice and demeanor. I heard her do this talk and one on Alien Registrations, and both were very well done.

Contact info for Julie Miller:

T214 Leavenworth Penitentiary Inmate Case Files, 1895-1952 (Tim Rives & Steve Spence, speakers)

Session Synopsis: This talk was about Leavenworth Penitentiary Inmate Case Files held by the National Archives, Central Plains Region (Kansas City, Missouri). Talk was very well organized, and included a fascinating “What Was He in For?” section during which the speakers showed photographs of men (and several women) incarcerated at Leavenworth (most case files include the familiar front and side mug shots). One gentleman did five years in the Big House for practicing animal husbandry, if you get my drift.

Tim Rives and Steve Spence work at NARA, Central Plains Region. They were a great team, very well-organized, good speaking voices, and great senses of humor. The talk was a real crowd pleaser.

Contact info for Tim Rives:

Contact info for Steve Spence: E-mail:; Telephone: (816) 268-8016

T226 Beyond the Draft Records: World War I Records in the National Archives (Marie V. Melchiori, speaker)

Session Synopsis: This very well attended session focused on military records of WWI held by the National Archives in Washington, DC, and the National Personnel Records Center here in St. Louis. Good coverage of the types of records available for men and women who served in the armed forces during WWI.

Bio sketch of Marie V. Melchiori:


If you served in World War II or Vietnam, have one or more relatives who did so, or if you are just a military history buff, you will be thrilled to learn that is providing free access to its collection of 80,000 photos of these wars:



Dick Eastman fires both barrels at the “everything should be free” crowd…



Arlington 'Flags In' Tribute Begins Memorial Day Commemoration
by Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 23, 2008 - More than 3,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines officially kicked off the Memorial Day commemoration last evening as they placed 265,000 miniature flags at every grave at Arlington National Cemetery. The tradition, known as "Flags In," dates back to 1948, when soldiers of 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as "The Old Guard," began the annual Memorial Day tribute.

This year marked the fifth year company-size elements of sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen joined about 3,000 soldiers in placing a U.S. flag at the base of the gravestone and columbarium niche of every single servicemember buried or inurned at Arlington.

Yesterday afternoon, the troops fanned out across the cemetery's hills and valleys, carrying rucksacks bulging with bundles of flags. They approached each headstone, centering a miniature flag exactly one boot length from the base be fore sinking it into the rain-softened ground.

"It's hard to put all this into words," said Army Sgt. Maj. Russell McCray, The Old Guard's top noncommissioned officer. "We're here every day honoring our fallen heroes, and everyone buried here is a hero. But being here for this is something particularly special.

"It's an honor for everyone who is part of this. If you look at their faces, you can see that," McCray continued. "This experience out here will humble you, beyond a doubt."

Even Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Andres Yanez, who regularly supervises funeral details at the cemetery, called it an honor to participate in the Flags In tribute.

"We come here every day, but today is special for us," he said. "When I look out there and see all those flags, I know that I've been a part of it. I'm rendering honors to our fallen, and I hope that someday someone renders those same honors to me."

Almost five hours after emplacing his first flag of the day -- and admitting he "couldn't count" how many more he'd positioned -- Navy Seaman Shawn Palaszewski still hadn't lost his enthusiasm for the mission.

"We're here rending honors to all our fallen shipmates, and showing them that we care," said Palaszewski, a U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard member just 10 weeks out of boot camp. "These sailors and all our armed forces [members] have fallen for our freedoms, and we're here to pay tribute to that."

"This is such a privilege and an honor for me," said Army Sgt. Mary Jackson, of The Old Guard's Headquarters and Headquarters Regiment. "These people gave the ultimate sacrifice. I can only imagine doing that for my country."

Positioned at the columbarium, Marine Sgt. David Gray from Marine Barracks Washington directed his troops as they moved among the rows of niches. After returning from a deployment to Iraq, Gray called his first time participating in the Flags In tribute particularly meaningful.

"It's a privilege to be alive and able to support those Marines who made the ultimate sacrifice for the country," he said. "We can't bring them back. The only thing we can do is honor them and pay tribute to them."

Like Gray, Army Staff Sgt. John Diggles, platoon sergeant for The Old Guard's H Company, said he considers the mission a special calling.

"Friends of mine are here, quite a few, so this is very personal," Diggles said, looking out over the rows of headstones. "This is a way of showing the remembrance of our fallen soldiers on such a special day."

As she looked out at the sea of flags fluttering in the wind, Army Sgt. 1st Class Jennifer Bailey from The Old Guard's Fife and Drum Corps declared the landscape nothing short of "breathtaking."

"The impact is huge. It's very dramatic," said Bailey, who was participating in the Flags In ceremony for the sixth year. "It's uniform, and it's simple. And I think it's the uniformity and the simplicity that makes this so beautiful and so unique."

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Thursday, May 22, 2008


Hyatt Regency Crown Center Hotel
Kansas City, Missouri
May 14-18, 2008


The organizers picked a great week for this conference held in Kansas City (if you assume that they are masters of time and space who had no problem peering far into the future). The weather was beautiful- blue skies and warm but pleasant days. Not that the weather mattered very much, for most attendees (me included) rarely left the hotel. Those of us who stayed at the conference hotel were able to attend numerous lectures, luncheons, and banquets, to browse the Exhibitors' Hall, and to use several on-premise restaurants without ever leaving the Hyatt Regency Crown Center (my room was on the 23rd Floor- not the top floor, BTW). In addition, an elevated pedestrian walkway directly connected the conference hotel with other nearby hotels, restaurants, and the Crown Center Shopping Plaza. It was a dandy location for a major conference. If you should get a chance to attend a conference there, do so!

I traveled to Kansas City by train. I caught the train at St. Louis’ lovely Amtrak Station (if you’ve been there, you know that lovely is not a word one would choose to describe it). The ride to Union Station in Kansas City (walking distance to the Hyatt Regency, especially if you are smart enough to pack a rolling suitcase-- I wasn’t) took 4 ½ hours. KC’s Union Station is more impressive than St. Louis’ Amtrak station, although the scenery along the railroad tracks between Lee’s Summit and Union Station is probably best described as “Urban Wasteland.” You can also board and disembark at the Kirkwood Amtrak Station, if that is more convenient for you (or if bleak landscapes like that surrounding the St. Louis Amtrak Station scare / depress you). The round trip with AAA discount was $45-- less than I would have spent on gas for my mid-size car one-way. BTW, you can plug in your laptop or other electronic device in an outlet next to your seat on the train-- sweet! Also, I had a two-seat row entirely to myself both ways-- also sweet! Note: bring a small pillow or other head-cushioning object, and you could sleep most of the way there or back if so inclined.


America Supports You: Historical Group Continues Serving U.S. Troops
by Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 14, 2008 - Through three military conflicts, beginning with the Civil War, a group of women contributed to the war effort by making bandages for the troops. While they no longer make bandages, the Virginia-based United Daughters of the Confederacy strives to support the country's servicemembers through historical, educational, benevolent, memorial and patriotic means.

"Since we are a country at war against terrorism, the patriotic objective is the one being focused upon at the present time," said Sherry Davis, chairman of patriotic activities for the general, or national, organization.

The organization meets its goals of patriotic outreach in many ways, Davis said. The members offer prayers for servicemembers and the country's leaders, and sends care packages, phone cards, air conditioners and letters. They also send Christmas cards to the troops, with one chapter sending 10,000 cards one holiday season.

United Daughters of the Confederacy also supports the wounded, sending civilian clothing to Germany for those recuperating from injuries.

Appreciation for their support is evident in e-mails members receive from troops serving overseas. A young Marine, Patrick Fike, acted as a mailman of sorts while serving in Baghdad. He received packages from United Daughters of the Confederacy chapters and passed them out to those who got little or no mail.

"We were so blessed to know Patrick and have him do this for us," Davis said. "I certainly didn't ask [him] to send me messages, as he had his family and girlfriend to send to, but he took time to send many to me."

A new supporter of the "America Supports You" program, United Daughters of the Confederacy is hoping to give more to the program than it receives.

America Supports You, a Defense Department program, connects citizens and companies with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.

"We want to give support to our troops and our veterans as we have for all the years since we were organized in 1894," Davis said. "Our efforts warm our hearts and that is the reward received."

Perhaps the affiliation will help to inform the American public about what United Daughters of the Confederacy is undertaking and afford it a new credibility, she added.

"Credibility may come when people learn of the [United Daughters of the Confederacy's] current efforts and know that this organization is not refighting a 150-year-old conflict," Davis said.


This service is provided to you at no charge by U.S. Department of Defense. Visit us on the web at


America Supports You: Anheuser-Busch Offers Free Theme Park Admission
by Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2008 - For the rest of this year, sitting in Shamu the killer whale's "splash zone" or talking turkey with a big yellow bird are just two activities servicemembers and their families can enjoy for free at Anheuser-Busch Adventure Parks.

Through its "Here's to the Heroes" program, which began in 2005, the brewing company is offering free tickets to its theme parks for servicemembers and up to three family members to thank them for all they do in service to the country.

"It's important to us for all the reasons you can probably predict," said Fred Jacobs, vice president of communications for Anheuser-Busch. "[This] is a great way for them to reconnect, particularly if they've been separated."

Jacobs knows the program is living up to the company's goals when he sees letters like one an airman wrote.

Air Force Master Sgt. Michael Huffman said in his letter that he didn't join the service for applause or to become a hero, but is simply serving his country as his father and grandfather did.

In his 26 years of service, Huffman said, he's seen the pendulum of public support swing from the more negative end of the spectrum to where it is today.

"I see the people express their support, and while I do appreciate it, I never really gave it much thought ... until I sat through the opening video of the whale show at Sea World," he said in the letter to Anheuser-Busch. "There before [everyone] was your CEO expressing his gratitude to me. Sure, it wasn't directed solely at me, ... [but] I felt a pride in serving that I had forgotten was in me. I had become so complacent.

"For that alone, I owe you thanks," Huffman added. "The free admission and opportunity to enjoy some high-quality family time was icing on the cake."

Active-duty servicemembers, activated or drilling reservists from all five branches of service, and National Guardsmen are eligible for the program.

All servicemembers need do is register online, print and sign the form and bring it with them. If the form can't be printed, it can be filled out upon arrival at the park. Every person over 10 participating in this program must present valid active-duty military or service identification.

Each pass is valid for a one-day admission per person per year to five of Anheuser-Busch's seven theme park brands. Visitors may choose Sea World Orlando, San Diego or San Antonio; Busch Gardens Tampa Bay or Williamsburg; Pennsylvania's Sesame Place; Florida's Adventure Island; or Virginia's Water Country USA. Discovery Cove and Aquatica parks are not included in this offer.

Anheuser-Bush is a corporate supporter of America Supports You, a Defense Department program connecting citizens and corporations with servicemembers and their families serving at home and abroad.


This service is provided to you at no charge by U.S. Department of Defense. Visit us on the web at


From the official Southeast Missouri State University press release:

"CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., May 16, 2008 - A once hidden gem has found its way back home thanks to an Illinois man and a donation from the Cape Girardeau County Genealogical Society and the Southeast Missouri State University Center for Regional History.

The Society and the Center have recently given original copies of the Cape Girardeau Weekly Argus dating from June 1863 to June 1871 to Southeast Missouri State University's Kent Library, where they are now housed in Special Collections and Archives, said Dr. Lisa Speer, associate professor, Special Collections and Archives."

Read the whole story here:


NOTE: Should prove to be a tremendous help for persons researching the Civil War in southeast Missouri!


Registration continues for MoSGA's 2008 Annual Workshop. This free workshop will be held in Columbia, Missouri at the Boone County Electric Cooperative on 23 August 2008. The workshop includes talks on getting started in genie research, land records, and Missouri Civil War soldier research by Janice Schultz, Dr. Bill Eddleman, and Tom Pearson. We're also having a genealogy book sale and our annual meeting and awards ceremony (lunch on your own at one of many fine nearby restaurants).

The workshop is free, but seating is limited, so we advise you to register ASAP if interested. You can now register online at the MoSGA website. We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Dick Eastman reports in Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter about’s offer of free access to its military databases from May 20-May 31, 2008:



Written for American servicemen and women who were to be trained and/or stationed there during World War II, and available for free download at the Internet Archive:



Need some historical background info on Quaker ancestors? Then a free download of this classic at the Internet Archive will likely be of great interest:

The Quakers in the American Colonies (1911)


If any ancestors were in the British military, or if any of your ancestors were Sudanese, this free Project Gutenberg ebook will likely be of interest:



Whether you had Abenaki ancestors or your settler ancestors had run-ins with the tribe, you'll be very interested in this free Project Gutenberg ebook on the tribe, with the text of two treaties and an Abenaki vocabulary:

THE ABENAKI INDIANS by Frederic Kidder


Here are a few more photos of the Kansas City skyline taken in my room on the 23rd floor at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center Hotel. I wish I had a few night-time photos to show you, but I couldn't solve the window glass flash problem-- it was beautiful, though-- take my word for it!

BTW- you can click on an image to see a larger version of that photo!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Free full-text version of this attempt to formally link Missouri to the Confederate States of America is available at Google Books:



Go here for info, floor plans, and a video update on Mid-Continent Public Library’s new Midwest Genealogy Center:


The not-yet-opened library is already on Family Tree Magazine’s 2008 List of Libraries to Visit Before You Die:

LINK (see post for Monday, May 19, 2008)


You can now download a guide to genealogy research in any state (costs $3.00 per research guide):


Alternatively, you can order a CD that contains all 50 state research guides ($49.99), plus guides for the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Feel free to do the math, but if you’re interested in more than 16 states, the CD appears to be a real bargain…


Monday, May 19, 2008


I just got back from the big NGS Conference in the States held at Kansas City, Missouri, from May 14-18, 2008. How was it? It was great! There's usually not enough military track classes at conferences to satisfy me, but this conference really delivered! I'll be offering reports on classes I sat in on in the coming days.

I was able to get a few photos of speakers. Buford J. Suffridge, Jr. gave a class on Civil War uniforms while dressed in an exact replica of his Civil War ancestor's uniform:

Buford J. Suffridge, Jr. in uniform

Tim Rives and Steve Spence of NARA- Central Plains Region gave a great class on Leavenworth Penitentiary Inmate Records, including a fascinating "What Was He in For?" section. One lonely man featured did five years for engaging in animal husbandry, if you get my drift.

Tim Rives and Steve Spence, NARA Central Plains Region

These are three photos of downtown Kansas City I took from my hotel window. How high up was I? The 23rd floor, that's how high up I was!

The Hyatt Regency Crown Center Hotel was just great! Great facilities, great meals, great room, and the view from my room window was-- well, you can see for yourself above! More on the conference tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Just a note to let you know that I won't be posting again until Sunday or Monday of next week. I'm off to the big NGS Conference in Kansas City. If you should see me there (Tom Pearson), say hi and let me know how I'm doing! Have a great week!

BTW, I'll have a report for you about the Conference, and hope to take some photos I can post here on MoSGA Messenger.


Are you researching Jewish ancestors who lived in the Deep South (Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and northern Florida)? Then you should know about the Deep South Jewish Voice:



You mean, you don’t know?

The Genetic Genealogist blog is offering a free 28-page ebook download:

"I Have The Results of My Genetic Genealogy Test, Now What?"


There’s also a list on the same page of the best posts from The Genetic Genealogist:



They’ve sequenced an entire Neandertal genome- it’s merely a matter of time till you’re riding the morning bus to work with Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble:



A Civil War soldier was much more likely to die in this manner than he was to be shot, stabbed, or mangled by an artillery shell:


Note: This killer could even take his life years after the war ended...


Would you like to know what kind of books your ancestors read as children? Find out at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections Department’s online exhibit, World of the Child-- Two Hundred Years of Children’s Books:



Have a question about finding / interpreting some kind of government document? Ask a government documents librarian (for free)! Answers within 48 hours:


Saturday, May 10, 2008


Recently released classified British documents, including a number concerned with the finding of "treasure" (archaeological artifacts) on British soil, and one concerning possible British preparations just in case the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 had ended with an "atomic incident":



The sticking point seems to be the Mormon practice of re-baptism of the dead:



What you can do to honor all the Moms on your family tree:



Epidemic Timeline is all the proof I need that the "good old days" weren't all good...



Did you know that NARA Central Plains Region Branch has a great collection of online finding aids? Topics include:

Select a Topic
* Aliens
* Chinese Immigration
* Labor/Employment
* Land
* Leavenworth Penitentiary Inmates
* National Parks
* Native Americans
* Naturalizations
* New Deal/Great Depression Era
* Veterans


Friday, May 09, 2008


The people of the Greek island of Lesbos are hopping mad. They want to be able to call themselves what they’ve been calling themselves for thousands of years-- Lesbians-- but that appellation appears to have been usurped by another group…



Amazing-- their goal isn't better prosthetics, it's to eliminate the need for prosthetics entirely...

American Forces Press Service
Thu, 8 May 2008 09:48:00 -0500

by Jamie Findlater
Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 8, 2008 - Thanks to great strides in medical care, today's U.S. warriors have a 50 percent greater chance of survival if they're wounded on the battlefield than their Vietnam War counterparts did. State-of-the-art prosthetics help troops who have lost a limb resume many, and in some cases all, of their pre-injury activities.

The Defense Department is hoping to find new and even better ways to help the nation's warriors as it researches a field called regenerative medicine that would enable people to generate new skin and even grow new limbs, Army Col. (Dr.) Robert Vandre told online journalists and "bloggers" in a conference call yesterday.

Vandre, research area director for combat casualty care research at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, has fielded the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine, a consortium that has the top scientists in the field working with the Army to drastically improve the quality of life of wounded service members.

Statistics show that 82 percent of returning wounded servicemembers have extremity injuries, 33 percent have wounds to the face or head, and 5 to 6 percent have burns, Vandre said. He noted that thanks to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, prosthetics for wounded warriors have come a long way in recent years.

"DARPA has great programs in place for prosthetics," he noted, "but we are hoping that eventually there will be no need for prosthetics."

Vandre said doctors often are forced to remove limbs because they know that if they don't, the injured servicemember would always be in excruciating pain, and unable to function normally. The Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine is working to find ways to improve chances of recovery and regeneration that would encourage doctors to keep damaged limbs in place.

"The idea is to use stem cells to put people back together and re-grow the cells that are damaged," Vandre said. The scientists use adult stem cells from the actual patients in their research to minimize the likelihood of rejection.

"Aside from guaranteeing that the body will likely accept the new stem cells, adult stem cells are also less likely than fetal stem cells to cause cancer," he said.

Vandre explained a process called extracellular matrix, in which scientists are working to re-grow damaged muscles.

"Currently, if someone has a wound right in the middle of the muscle and is missing the middle third part, there is not much you can do," he explained. "But with regenerative growth, you can tie the ends back together."

Vandre said the ability to produce new skin should be available in the next few years. "We will easily be able to do things like replace ears and the tip of the nose," he said.

Seven of the 10 top regenerative scientists in the United States are part of the institute, Vandre said, calling that a great indication of its potential for success. "It's really a dream team of people," he said.

The team is funded by $85 million in Department of Defense and National Institute of Health research funding and an additional $80 million generated through state and university grants.

"Since many of these scientists are already pretty big-name people, they already have grants from NIH and the National Science Foundation that adds about another 100 million worth of research to the total equation," he said.

Funding is key, he said, because it determines how many ideas can go forward as projects. "Out of 100 things you work on in the lab, only one becomes a project," he said. "We are bringing the gap by providing the funding to bring some of these projects to fruition, translating basic research to affect actual people."

This service is provided to you at no charge by U.S. Department of Defense. Visit us on the web at


And if you have ancestors from Chicago / Cook County, you're in luck! Go here to learn more about the Chicago Genealogical Society:



Here's what enumerators of the federal census (1850-1950) were SUPPOSED to do:



But, ladies and gentleman, they weren't selling roses to the highest bidder at THIS auction:


BTW- I know it's not really genealogy-related (but do write and tell me if it is for you), but it's a VERY good story...


A Civil War Navy gun crew fires a 75-pound cannonball in 1864, and it kills a Virginia civilian-- in 2008! How is that possible?


Thursday, May 08, 2008


Today (May 8th) is the birthday of Missouri President Harry S. Truman. President Truman was born on May 8, 1884, in Lamar, Missouri. He was the son of John and Martha Truman.

President & Mrs. Truman on his famous Whistle Stop Tour, October 6, 1948 (photo credit:

President Harry S. Truman (photo credit: CIA Library).

President Truman died on December 26, 1972.


Subscribe to free government newsletters on a wide variety of subjects:

Business and Finance | Defense | Education, Employment and Benefits | Environment and Agriculture | Foreign Affairs | Health, Safety and Consumer Protection | Housing | Information Technology Security | Misc. | Taxes | Travel



Audio-visual items of interest, courtesy of your Uncle Sam (and don't forget, Uncle Sam doesn't copyright the works he produces):

Blogs from the U.S. Government
Government RSS Library
Podcasts from the U.S. Government
State Photo Galleries
U.S. Government Photos and Graphics
Videos from the U.S. Government



By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 7, 2008 - The names of four U.S. servicemembers were etched into the glossy black walls of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial this week alongside more than 58,000 of their fallen comrades.

Finishing the addition today was the name of Raymond C. Mason, a Marine lance corporal who died a year ago as a result of ailing health stemming from a bullet wound that paralyzed him in February 1968 during the Tet Offensive.

In a ceremony at the wall here, Mason's widow, Priscilla Mason, watched as an engraver inched a sandblaster over the Marine's stenciled name with surgeonlike precision.

Priscilla got on bended knee, held a sheet of paper up to the bright, new inscription, and rubbed a crayon in diagonal strokes until "RAYMOND C MASON" was embossed against the white paper. She said she plans to have the outline tatto oed onto her skin, and she has promised to make dozens of rubbings for friends back home in Riverside, R.I., when she returns here on Memorial Day.

"This is wonderful. He's finally home," she said when asked how she felt upon seeing the finished product on Panel 41E, Line 64 of the memorial.

The names of Richard M. Goosens, a Marine lance corporal, and Dennis O. Hargrove and Darrell J. Naylor, both Army specialists fourth class, were inscribed here yesterday. The Defense Department determined that their deaths, which occurred years after the end of U.S. operations in Vietnam, resulted from wounds suffered in a combat zone there.

The wall's 58,260 etched names bear testament to the ultimate sacrifice paid by those U.S. troops, said R. James Nicholson, former secretary of Veterans Affairs.

"It's also a tangible expression of the gratitude of the American people for those who served and died there," he said in an interview today. "The hope is that more and more Americans will learn and grow to appreciate the sacrifice a nd the price that was paid to perpetuate our freedom."

Designed by architect Maya Lin and built in 1982, the memorial consists of two black walls sunken into the ground, with a rolling mound of earth behind it sloping toward a heavily trafficked street.

"It was Maya's vision for the memorial that it appear as a rift in the earth," said J.C. Cummings, architect of record for the memorial. "At the same time, the wall serves a practical purpose of separating the visitor from the noise and the traffic of Constitution Avenue and the noise of the city."

As a result, the architecture creates a quiet and contemplative atmosphere, he said, a design that allows visitors to have a respectful experience.

Jan C. Scruggs, founder and president of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, said adding the names this week completes the healing process for surviving friends and family members. The additions also reflect America's solidarity with its servicemembers of past and present, he said.

"When you join the service, you can feel comfortable that the service is going to stand behind you," Scruggs said in an interview today. "Especially the people who are serving today in Iraq and Afghanistan in combat, they need to kno w that we're behind them and we appreciate what they're doing."

This service is provided to you at no charge by U.S. Department of Defense. Visit us on the web at

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


First published in

Dear Dave Lossos,

I have "thanked my lucky stars" many times that I have access to the Catholic Church records at the St. Louis County Headquarters on Lindbergh.

I wanted to share an experience I had a few years ago in the hopes that it might
help someone else searching for an orphan.

I was researching an orphan girl raised at St. Ann's Asylum and St. Mary's Orphanage in the 1912-1926 time frame. I made three appointments with Catholic Children's Service before I was seen. I was told the records were destroyed in the 1970's. I was given copies of "non identifying information" that we already knew. Very disappointing and the cost was $40.00. I did come prepared with the orphan's marriage and death certificate.

After many false starts, I decided to take a look at the LDS Library catalog. Imagine my surprise to find that there were four microfilms of records of babies, children, and mothers from Catholic orphanages in St. Louis. I rented them and found my orphan's admittance into St. Ann's as a three year old and her transfer to St. Mary's Orphanage after reaching the age of six. Eventually I was able to find her birth family in far eastern Illinois.

I was so elated to find those records that I copied almost 800 pages, alphabetized them, and have used them to help others find their orphan records. With the MO State Archives online, I have been able to link death certificates to children and mothers. Connecting 28 orphans with families has made the work very satisfying.

I am very grateful to LDS for making it possible for me to do these searches by microfilming these Archdiocesan records.

Kathy Wieland of

Be sure to visit the "Genealogy in St. Louis" website at


First published in GENEALOGY GEMS: NEWS FROM THE FORT WAYNE LIBRARY, No. 49, March 31, 2008

Scottish Roots
by Steven W. Myers
Researchers with any hint of Scottish heritage in their background will find it useful to become familiar with the plethora of genealogical reference books produced by the indefatigable David Dobson. Over the last 25 years, he has combed unusual printed sources, newspaper archives and manuscript collections looking for records that provide linkages between the Scottish diaspora and individual Scottish
emigrants and specific places in Scotland.

Conducting an author search for David Dobson in the online catalog of Genealogy Center print publications yields 71 items that represent the fruits of these labors thus far. The wide range of titles reflects the scope of his efforts, from his "Directory of Scots Banished to the American Plantations, 1650-1775" to "The French and Indian War from Scottish Sources." Most of his work focuses on the late 16th to early 19th centuries, supplying the names of specific individuals with
links, not just to Colonial America, but to Canada, the West Indies, Latin America, Scandinavia, Poland, Russia, the Baltic States and Australasia, among others. Some volumes focus on links with specific places in America, such as "Scots on the Chesapeake, 1607-1830." Others feature linkages with specific areas in Scotland, such as his multi-volume "Scottish Highlanders on the Eve of the Great Migration,
1725-1775," each volume covering a different county. Dobson also pays significant attention to his Irish cousins with his two series "Scots-Irish Links, 1575-1725" and "Irish Emigrants in North America," each in six parts. Many, but not all, of these volumes are also searchable online at

For those not lucky enough to find their ancestor on a passenger list, Dobson has also compiled several volumes listing voyages of specific ships to America. These volumes could supply a valuable clue in researching family origins, and they include "Transatlantic Voyages, 1600-1699," "Ships from Scotland to America, 1628-1828" (3 vols.), "Ships from Scotland to North America, 1830-1860," and "Ships from Ireland to Early America, 1623-1850." In addition, Dobson recently produced an
important research guide titled "Searching for Scotch-Irish Roots in Scottish Records, 1600-1750." This valuable tool identifies source material in Scottish archives that could help genealogists of Scotch-Irish descent locate their family's place of origin in Scotland. Researchers would benefit from examining Dobson's many
existing volumes, as well as keeping an eye out for his regular additions to our online catalog (available at

Publishing Note:

This electronic newsletter is published by the Allen County Public Library's Genealogy Center, and is intended to enlighten readers about genealogical research methods as well as inform them about the vast resources of the Allen County Public Library. We welcome the wide distribution of this newsletter and encourage readers to forward it to their friends and societies. All precautions have been made to avoid errors. However, the publisher does not assume any liability to any party for any loss or damage caused by errors or omissions, no matter the cause.

To subscribe to "Genealogy Gems," simply use your browser to go to the website: www.GenealogyCenter.Info. Scroll down toward the bottom of the first screen where it says, "Enter Your Email Address to Subscribe to "Genealogy Gems." Enter your email address in the yellow box and
click on "Subscribe." You will be notified with a confirmation email.

Curt Witcher, editor pro-tem

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


Pond crossers / border crossers will also want to have boned up on new passport fees and procedures prior to any encounters with scary-looking Homeland Security personnel…



Or even just to visit Canada or Mexico, and haven’t been out of the U.S. since the new entry / exit regulations went into effect, you’ll probably want to be sure you’re carrying the proper documents to allow you to exit and enter the U.S. without spending hours in detention and / or enduring probes of one annoying sort or another…



If you’re interested in financial matters, or just need a little “put me to sleep ASAP” reading, take a look at Uncle Sammy’s proposed FY 2009 budget:


NOTE: We genealogists really shouldn't make fun of Uncle Sammy: his fairly diligent record-keeping has aided all of us many times over. So here's to you, Uncle Sam!



Major updates focus on the American south are on the way including a celebration of Tennessee state marriages — approximately six million names to be exact, covering the years 1780 to 2001 • We’ll account for approximately five m illion of North Carolina’s deceased with a new collection of death certificates • And our collection of major historical newspapers will see almost 20 million new images with enhanced search technology — that’s over one billion new names!


U.S. Naturalization Records Indexes, 1791-1995

3,338,030 names of some of the most American people you’ll ever read about. They are the intrepid pioneers of families around the world that escaped poverty, religious persecution, oppressive governments, racism and more to start a new life in America. Here you’ll find names, volume numbers, page numbers and sometimes even certificate numbers documenting the moment your ancestors became U.S. citizens.

U.S. IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918

It’s the only thing people hate more than going to war: paying taxes on it. In Civil War times, the government had no qualms about taxing its citizens to help fund the war, its end and the aftermath. This database contains the names and bus inesses taxed, their address, the taxable period and the amount of taxes reported. How did paying taxes on the war affect your wartime ancestors?

Register of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798-1914

All proud military traditions start somewhere. See the moment 2.5 million men signed up to become heroes. Information listed on these records includes name, age at time of enlistment, birthplace, date of enlistment, place of enlistment, occupation, physical description (including eye color, hair color, complexion and height), rank, company, regiment, and date and cause of discharge (if applicable). If your ancestors served in the Army before 1914, this is an excellent place to start your search.

Family and Local Histories

a. Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Baltimore, 1820-1834
b. Passenger Arrivals, 1819-1820
c. Passengers to America
d. Passengers Who Arrived in the U.S., September 1821-December 1823
e. Quaker Arrivals at Philadelphia 1682-1750
f. Genealogies of Rhode Island Families, Vol. I
g. Genealogies of Rhode Island Families, Vol. II
h. Rhode Island Passenger Lists by Maureen A. Taylor
i. South Carolina Naturalizations 1783-1850
j. Index to the 1800 Census of South Carolina
k. A Compilation of the Original Lists of Protestant Immigrants to South Carolina, 1763-1773
l. The Jury Lists of South Carolina, 1778-1779
m. Index to Wills of Charleston County, South Carolina, 1671-1868
n. Indexes to the County Wills of South Carolina
o. Warrants for Land in South Carolina, 1672-1679
p. Warrants for Land in South Carolina, 1692-1711
q. Warrants for Land in South Carolina, 1680-1692


Drouin Collection Index, 1850-1947

If you’ve ever searched for French-Canadian ancestors, it’s likely you’ve used the Drouin Collection. If you haven’t and plan to, it’s probably the best place to start. This collection represents the largest and most valuable French-Canadian family history resources available, including an impressive collection of Quebec vital records. The collection includes nearly 15 million records, marking the history of Quebec families over three centuries.

a. Acadia French Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1670-1946
b. Quebec Vital Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967
c. Ontario French Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1747-1967
d. Early U.S. French Catholic Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1695-1954
e. Quebec Notarial Records (Drouin Collection), 1647-1942
f. Miscellaneous French Records (Drouin Collection), 1651-1941

Slave Registers of Former British Colonial Dependencies, 1812-1834

Doing research to find ancestors in your past that were slaves can be extremely difficult. Collections like this may be exactly what you need to locate these people in your tree. Information in this collection includes owner name, place of res idence, slave names, gender, age and nationality, and covers various locales throughout the Caribbean and the world including the Bahamas, Sri Lanka, Trinidad, Tobago, Maruitius, Barbados and more.

Victoria, Australia Rural Cemetery Records, 1836-1988

This database was obtained from the Australian Institute of Genealogy and includes cemetery records from several cemeteries in rural Victoria as well as a few in New South Wales. If someone in your family tree passed away in Australia, you may find them here. This collection includes 172,318 names and lists names, age at time of death, death date, burial date, cemetery name and location, and AIGS source reference.


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I'm told there are still spaces available at some luncheons and nearly all workshops, so contact the NGS folk immediately if interested!

National Genealogical Society announces its 2008 Annual Conference and Family History Fair in Kansas City, Missouri.

May 14-17, 2008 will mark the 30th Annual Conference in the States and Family History Fair of the National Genealogical Society. The 2008 conference will be held in conjunction with local hosts – Missouri State Genealogical Association, Mid-Continent Public Library, Northland Genealogy Society, APG Heartland Chapter, and Johnson County, Kansas, Genealogical Society.

The 2008 conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency Crown Center hotel in Kansas City, Missouri. The conference will feature four days of educational sessions for the beginner to the more experienced family history researcher. In addition the Family History Fair will feature over 150 exhibitors of genealogical goods and services, including genealogical software companies, book sellers, genealogical and historical societies, gifts, maps, and more. The exhibit hall is attached to the main conference center and is open to conference attendees and the general public at no charge. There is a major shopping complex attached to the hotel by a glass enclosed walkway.

Midwest research, homesteading records, military records, National Archives records, writing lectures, Research in the States, methodology, computer topics, a BCG Skillbuilding track, adoption research, African American research, land records, German research are among the many topics covered in the over 150 sessions. A DNA track and several computer labs as well as other workshops are among the many special presentations.

Numerous social events will be held throughout the conference including a Show Me Missouri Wines reception; Reception at Mid-Continent Public Library; Reception at the National World War I Museum; ISFHWE dinner and NGS Banquet. There will also be several luncheons by participating genealogical organizations each day of the conference.

The National Genealogical Society was founded in 1903, and is the premier national society for everyone from the beginner to the most advanced family historian. The NGS serves its members by providing genealogical skill development through education, information, publications, research assistance, and networking opportunities.

Further information on the NGS Conference in the States & Family History Fair can be found at the NGS website at: