Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Merry Christmas From MoSGA

Merry Christmas to all MoSGA members and friends!

Silver Dollar City December 2014

Ozark City Park, Christmas 2014

May you have a safe and happy holiday season.

Making the Most of Holiday Gatherings

As families gather to celebrate Christmas we are provided with many opportunities to gather and share stories, pictures and documents of the past.  Here are a few ideas and tools you can use to make the most of the holiday season. 

Flip-Pal mobile scanner is a handy little tool.  The small hand-held scanner has software that allows you to "stitch" together scans, which gives one the option of scanning a large picture or document.  It is very easy to use!  On the website Flip-Pal gives useful advice.  It also has a program called StoryScans with which you can make a video mixing pictures and audio to put the story behind the picture together.

If you are unsure of what to ask your forebears, here is a list of 50 questions to ask your family member to garner the details of their lives.  If 50 seems a bit daunting, Family Tree Magazine has this list of 20 questions.  Lastly, if you are a died in the wool genealogist and your family expects you to interrupt Christmas dinner with questions about relatives past lives, here is a list of 150 questions!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Mapping Website Unites Historic & Modern Maps

Last week I attended a seminar on land records and learned of a great tool for mapping your ancestors lives. uses plat maps, land records and other sources to provide a historic perspective overlaying a modern map. 

The website is run by genealogy publishing company Arphax, that specializes in original land ownership maps based upon land patents and plat books.  Most notable on the website is the First Landowners Project, which provides a searchable database of over 12.3 million landowners in 29 states, including Missouri. To gain full access a subscription is required.  I did subscribe and found the maps clear and useful.  Users may print or download maps including those magnified to show intricate detail.

The site was named as one of Family Tree Magazine's 2016 101 Best Websites.

Chronicling America Expands Dates & States

Chronicling America, the Library of Congress (LOC) database of American newspapers offering millions of digitized newspaper pages published 1789-1924, will be expanding in 2017, according to a LOC press release.  The current 11.4 million page database will grow with the addition of early American papers (from 1690) and modern era (through 1963) papers without copyright protection. According to the press release, anything published before 1923 is in the public domain, while from 1923 to 1963, materials fall into the public domain if their publishers have not renewed their copyrights. Lack of copyright protection must be proven for materials to be added.  Additionally, four new state partners were added: Alaska, Colorado, Maine and New Jersey.

I have had some success locating some smaller and limited run Missouri newspapers at Chronicling America.  The Sedalia Bazoo was the most exciting find.  The paper ran as a daily 1886-1881, and a weekly thereafter through 1904.  The October 22, 1889 Sedalia Weekly Bazoo carried the story of my great great uncle's death with details I had yet to find anywhere else. 

Chronicling America is a great resource, not only of digitized pages but also of determining where current copies of newspapers might be found on microfilm and original hard copy.  Here is the Sedalia Bazoo page that shows locations and the approximate date ranges for the paper.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Latest MoSGA Quarterly Newsletter Available

MoSGA's Winter 2016 newsletter is now available on the website here.

Catch up on all the latest happenings with the organization and Missouri genealogical interests!

NGS Has Released 2017 Conference Agenda

The 2017 National Genealogical Society has released details for the upcoming 2017 conference to be held in Raleigh, NC 10-13 May 2017. Check it out here.

Registration opens on December 1, 2016.

Great Genealogy Bargains on Cyber Monday

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I think I am still full from all the eating and fellowship.

Today there are some great bargains being offered for cyber Monday. Here are a few of my favorites"

Ancestry is offering 30% off their DNA testing. You can get it here.

Legacy Family Tree is offering 30% off on a year-long subscription to their webinars here. This is a great deal on over 400 different presentations on all aspects of genealogical research.

Family Tree Magazine has a deal offering 50% off plus an extra 10% off today site wide.

Flip-Pal mobile scanner also has a sale here.

Family Roots Publishing has a 20% off sale on all in stock items here.

Happy Hunting!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Happy Veterans Day!

Photo is titled: Group of Unidentified Military Personnel, no date, #59-1105,
courtesy of the Truman Library, Independence, MO

There are many great resources for those searching for the details of their family member's military service to our country. Missouri Digital Heritage has numerous electronic resources as well as guides for those databases not yet digitized and links to other Missouri sources such as the Truman Library in Independence. You can browse the collections as I did to find this picture or you can search with specific terms.

This picture is a great example of the treasures to be found.  It is an unidentified and undated photo from the Truman Library.  Yet there are many clues to its location and precise date.  First is the attire of the women in the picture.  The shoes speak volumes!  They are very likely from the 1940s.  The dresses echo that observation.

Most importantly however; is the flag in the naval officer's hand.  It says, "Welcome to Fulton, Truman and Churchill, March 5, 1946," thus signifying the photo was taken on the day of Winston S. Churchill's Iron Curtain Speech at Westminster College in Fulton, MO.  How often does one get that lucky that a date and monumental event is printed neatly on the front of a photo?

Happy Veterans Day, may you have good luck in all your genealogical searches!

Add Your Events to MoSGA's 2017 Calendar!

Is your society, town, or county planning an event or having a significant anniversary next year? Share the details with MoSGA publications readers!  MoSGA is constantly updating its calendar of events and will share calls for publications, notices of planning meetings as well as the actual events.  If you need to get the word out, let us help!  We want to keep our readers informed about events in Missouri and neighboring states.

Send your information to  We look forward to hearing from you!

Have You Hit Your Ancestral Brick Wall? Do You Have a Great Story to Share? MoSGA Can Help!

Missouri State Genealogical Association

The Missouri State Genealogical Association was founded in 1979 with the goal of  supporting genealogical research and sharing knowledge of and with Missouri's richest resource - its citizens. Since that time the association has grown substantially as methods for finding your ancestors have advanced exponentially.  MoSGA assists those interested in Missouri genealogical research through the association's website and publications including this blog, the newsletter and journal.

How does all this help?  Anyone interested can submit articles, requests for information or details of an upcoming event for publication. Share with the wide readership of these sources your brick wall OR even the story of how you succeeded in breaking it down.  Do you have an ancestor you cannot seem to track who lived in a Missouri county where a courthouse was burned, or records lost? By sharing your story, you may find an answer or a new information source from a MoSGA member who has a similar experience.

Send your requests, stories, brick walls or favorite Missouri family photo to  Please include your contact information and name so we can share it with our readers.  Thanks!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

FindMyPast Offering Free Access to Military Records Nov 10-13 is opening it's vast collection of military records for four days in honor of Veterans Day.  The collection includes over 70 million spanning the globe from 1760 through the 20th century.

You can enter as little information as you ancestor's last name into the search engine on the front page. Don't miss access to this great collection today (November 10th) through Sunday (November  13).

Friday, November 04, 2016 is Now Mobile-Friendly

According to NARAations, the official blog of the National Archives, the NARA website has been updated to make it much more mobile-friendly.  Past versions of the site made it challenging to use effectively on a tablet or phone. The new website offers the same functionality within an easier to view framework.  In addition, America's founding documents including the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and Constitution are all easily accessible on mobile devices.

Image result for national archives

Voting for the New Bicentennial License Plate Ends Dec 1, 2016

In celebration of Missouri's 200th anniversary of statehood in 2021, a new license plate is being designed.  You can view and vote on your favorite on the website. A design will be chosen after voting closes on December 1, 2016.

Option 3: Blue license plate with a ghost seal, three stars, the word Bicentennial on a curved red banner, and the years 1821-2021

Fold3: Free Access to Native American Records Through November 15 is offering free access to their Native American Records collection through November 15, 2016. If you are unfamiliar with Fold, Lisa Louise Cooke provides an excellent step-by-step guide to using the records. Also remember that Fold3 is now part of and thus if you have an membership or use your library's, you may already have access to these records.  Happy Hunting!

Image result for indians
Photo courtesy of

Friday, October 21, 2016

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

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

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

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Presidential Muckraking

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

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

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

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

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


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

2017 Roots Tech Early Registration Ends Oct 14!

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

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

A Matter of Time

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

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

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

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

Monday, September 19, 2016

Researching Heraldry

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 15, 2016

September Is International Save Your Photos Month

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

Falling Into Genealogy at Midwest Genealogy Center

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

MyHeritage Releases Large Collection of Finnish Historical Records

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

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

Friday, September 02, 2016

September Missouri Genealogy Events

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

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

Illinois Record Searches

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

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

Utilizing Google Earth

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

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

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

FGS Conference and the BIG Announcement

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

According to FGS:

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

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Harry S. Truman Photo Archive Highlighted by National Archives

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

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

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Great Series on Early Photo Retouching

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

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

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

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

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Missouri Creates Bicentennial Website

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

Mark Your Calendars! The 2017 MoSGA Conference Will Be August 4-5, 2017

The 2017 MoSGA Conference will be August 4-5, 2017 at Stoney Creek Conference Center in Columbia, MO.  The keynote speaker will be Kathleen Brandt, noted professional genealogist, who publishes a3Geneaology blog and has been featured at numerous workshops and lectures.  Ms. Brandt has participated in television shows including Who Do You Think You Are? and the Travel Channel's Dead Files.

MoSGA will offer pre-conference workshops, supporting speakers and many intriguing vendors and exhibitors.  Watch this blog and other MoSGA publications for updates.  We look forward to seeing you in 2017!

Successful 2016 MoSGA Conference Comes to a Close

The 35th Annual MoSGA Conference held on August 5-6 at the Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center in Columbia, MO, was hailed as a success by all those who attended. Conference Keynote Speaker John Philip Colletta entertained and informed participants with his presentations on immigration that focused on passenger arrival records and using unusual source repositories to trace your ancestors.

MoSGA awarded several individuals and organizations for their contributions to genealogical research and advancement in the past year.  Award recipients are listed below.

Award Recipients, 2016 Luncheon

    ·   Black Archives Museum Committee, St Joseph Museums, Inc. 
    ·   Mary Helen Catlett Allen, Genealogical Society of Boone County & Central Missouri 
    ·   Betty Chillington, Osage County Historical Society
    ·  Neoma (Alexander) Foreman, Cedar & Vernon County, MO Genealogy Society 
    ·  Sharon Hackworth, Iron County Genealogy Society 
    ·   Melba All ison Rector, Ozarks Genealogy Society 
    ·   Ted & Iva Roller, Barry County Genealogical & Historical Society 
    ·  Roberta Schinke, Osage County Historical Society 


·   Kelly Draper, St. Louis County Library
·   Michael O’Laughlin, Irish Roots CafĂ© 

Estella Morrison 


Jenna Mills


    Black Archives of Mid-America, Inc - $496.80 for archival supplies to preserve the “Muhammad Speaks” Collection of over 100 newspapers dating from 1968-1985.

         St. Charles County Historical Society - $990 to buy a scanner to digitize records acquired when the Society merged with the Genealogical Society of St. Charles County in 2009.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

MoSGA Announces 2016 Award Recipients

The Missouri State Genealogical Association  (MoSGA) recognizes individuals, groups and organizations that have put forth that extra effort to support genealogical research,  activities, and publications in the Show-Me State.

Join us in recognizing the 2016 Award winners at the August 6th  Awards Luncheon at our Annual Conference at Stoney Creek Conference Center, Columbia, MO.

Monday, August 01, 2016

TIP: Understanding Historical Context

A recent post by Genealogist Amy Johnson Crow offered an option for historical currency conversion that would assist a researcher in determining,  "How Much Was That Back Then?"  Amy suggests the site Wolfram Alpha. It got me thinking about other facts in our ancestors lives and how we can truly understand what their lives were like. I have used the site a few times and have found it useful. The site is located in Sweden which means it has some great European resources, but it lists North American sources as well.

This site includes conversions such as measurements, calendar,  clock, birthday, world population, foreign exchange rates and many more.

Sometimes understanding more about how our ancestors lived is only a matter of converting present day statistics and concepts back to a specific time or place.

Happy hunting.

Annual Conference This Week, Aug 5-6

We are really excited about this year's conference with our guest speaker John Philip Colletta. I saw Dr. Colletta in June at the IGHR in Birmingham and he said he was looking forward to coming back to Missouri.

Dr. Colletta is an excellent speaker and will assuredly provide insights into genealogy that beginners and experts will find useful and interesting.

We hope to see you Friday and Saturday, August 5-6 in Columbia! There is still time to register online at

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Missouri History Encyclopedia

Many Missouri researchers may be aware of the great resource the six volume set of the Missouri History Encyclopedia.  Published 1901, the set is organized alphabetically with vol 1 (A-Ci), vol 2 (Ci-Ga), vol 3 (Ga-La), vol 4 (La-Nu), vol 5 (O-Sl), and vol 6 (Sm-Z).

There are a various websites that have the books digitized and I find it useful to go between the sources for maximum search options, especially with older books that do not have an index.  Ancestry has it here.  Ancestry is focused on people so if you know a specific name you can look it up with the search function.  That said, I don't find it easy to browse on Ancestry, instead I use Google books or  Google is great because you can type in any search query and may find page numbers for town, maps or other details you seek.  This set is on Google Books, but if  you do not find a book there, you can go to and download the full book via pdf, save it to your own computer and go directly to the pages you seek.

If you want a hard copy of one or all of these volumes reprints can be purchased on

Canada, Oh Canada!

My husband and I returned this week from a 2000+ mile trek to visit family in Ontario, Canada, where most of his family resides.  We spent last week helping to prepare his mother for a move into a new apartment and discovered a few genealogical gems along the way.  

I thought I would share some of the great Canadian resources I have found useful.  As in the United States, the Canadian Archives, divided by provinces, is an excellent place to begin or continue your research.  The Ontario website is informative and gives access to numerous free online databases. From the English homepage you are given the option to explore several viable avenues listed under "Family History" and "What We Have." Both of these subheadings lead to the many databases and research guides the province has to offer, which includes, birth, death, immigration and marriage records, maps and photos, as well as detailed collections for World War I, the War of 1812, Patents and Black History records.

Some of the other provinces are not quite as easily accessible online as Ontario, however; each has a genealogy or archive website where you can learn the best avenues for your research.
 British Columbia 
 New Brunswick
 Newfoundland & Labrador
 Nova Scotia
 Prince Edward Island

Happy Hunting!

Friday, July 08, 2016

Papers of the War Department 1784-1800

This past weekend I found a great new historical reference - well, new to me anyway.  George Mason University has yet another great source for American History. is a project of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media that has digitized documents from the U.S. War Department long-considered lost since November 8, 1800 when a fire nearly destroyed all records of the department.

The project and the results open a window to historians that shed light on numerous aspects of U.S. policy for which the War Department was responsible including Indian Affairs, Naval Affairs, Veterans Affairs, militia and regular Army.  You can follow the progress of the project by reading the blog here.

FindMyPast is Offering a 50% Off Special through July 15th

Genealogy website FindMyPast is offering 50% off their 1-month World Subscription through July 15, 2016.  The site is known for its United Kingdom offerings, but after acquiring Mocavo earlier this year has expanded its U.S. portfolio as well.  Check it out here.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Las Vegas Man Finds Copy of the Declaration of Independence

Here is another great story of why we shouldn't throw away old papers and photos! The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that a man discovered a rare piece of American history.  The story can be found here.

Missouri State Genealogical Association Announces Two 21st Century Fund Awards

MoSGA announces the granting of two 21st Century Fund Awards.  The 2016 award winners are:

Black Archives of Mid-America, Inc. will receive a grant of $496.80 for archival supplies to preserve the “Muhammad Speaks” Collection of over 100 newspapers dating from 1969 to 1985. “Muhammad Speaks” was one of the most widely circulated African American newspaper publications in the United States.  A finding aid will be placed on the Black Archives of Mid-America’s website.

St. Charles County Historical Society will receive a grant of $990.00 to purchase a scanner to digitize the many genealogical records acquired by the society when the Genealogical Society of St. Charles County merged with the St. Charles County Historical Society in 2009. The merger resulted in a large collection of genealogical materials. The Historical Society intends to organize, scan and place these records on the society’s website for researchers worldwide.

The awards will be presented at the MoSGA Annual Luncheon, Saturday, August 6th, during the Association’s Annual Conference, August 5-6, Columbia MO. Conference information is available on the MoSGA website. 

The 21st Century Fund was established in 2005 during MoSGA’s 25th Anniversary. Grants of up to $1,000 are offered to Missouri societies, libraries and/or archives to promote the preservation and publication of Missouri genealogical data. 

The 2017 grant cycle begins July 1, 2016. Grant application and guidelines are available here.

The 21st Century Fund is supported by generous donations from the genealogical community.  If you wish to make a tax deductible contribution, please send it to MoSGA, 21st Century Fund, PO Box 833, Columbia MO 65205-0833.  Thank You!

Martha L. Henderson, Chair

21st Century Fund Committee

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Genealogical Gleanings about Yourself

I had the good fortune to have dinner with a couple of friends visiting from the Netherlands this week.  Over the meal we caught up on our lives, a conversation that led to the discussion of aging parents, the artifacts of our lives and genealogy.  One of my dinner companions stated that he and his siblings had given their mother a book in which to record the details of her life.  The book interspersed facts with memories and questions about what life was like at each milestone.

It got me to thinking about the issue we all face - what about the details of our own lives?  Every time I head to Missouri I visit my parents and we often visit other relatives, cemeteries and go in search of yet another unanswered genealogical question.  Only in the last few years have I started talking to my parents about their lives and mine.  Even in the years I was at home, it has been valuable and fun to ask the questions such as why did you pick this land? this house? this town?  What made you decide to take this job? this car?  Their answers have provided a depth of understanding of my family during my lifetime, as well as before.

To get started look with your own life story check out Diane Haddad's Blog, Genealogy Insider the post from May 31, 2016 here.  It provides a list of 16 questions you should ask yourself.

Family Search History Books Accessible on the Digital Public Library

I use Google Search daily and find it especially helpful when I reach a brick wall in my research. Twice in the the last few months I found hits on Google that led back to sources in the Family Search library.  The sources I was seeking were history books written about a specific community, in this case Lindsborg, KS.

Then on June 22 on Diane Haddad's Blog Genealogy Insider announced that Family Search and the Digital Public Library had signed a deal to incorporate Family Search's digital library on DPL.  I have used DPL for several years and find it very user friendly and often has digitized version of books helpful to my research.

The DPL website catalogs more than 13 million digitized sources from libraries across the US.  Adding the Family Search collection with further ease access to these useful sources.  DPL is free, requiring only the creation of an account.

TIP: While I found the local history book I was seeking on Family Search, I quickly realized that - as with many local histories the book contained no index.  I decided to see if anyone else had done one for this substantive local source.  I discovered that indeed, the local historical society had indexed the book and in this case it was even online.  I suggest the next time you find a great source that has no index it is worth your time to look online and even contact the local historical society as they often maintain family files and thus, find it useful to provide an index to local resources.

Combining local resources with online discoveries often provides optimum results - saving you time and effort.  Happy Hunting!

The National Security Archive at George Washington University

One of the biggest challenges for a genealogist is to understand the context of history surrounding their ancestors' lives.  What was happening, how did it affect individuals and families and how did these events unfold?

A great source for gaining understanding of American history and international events is the National Security Archive at George Washington University in Washington, DC.

According to the website:
Founded in 1985 by journalists and scholars to check rising government secrecy, the National Security Archive combines a unique range of functions: investigative journalism center, research institute on international affairs, library and archive of declassified U.S. documents ("the world's largest nongovernmental collection" according to the Los Angeles Times), leading non-profit user of the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, public interest law firm defending and expanding public access to government information, global advocate of open government, and indexer and publisher of former secrets.
 What is music to the genealogist's ears is that the Archive provides "evidence-based research and primary source documentation."  There are no opinion pieces here, only facts gleaned from 
US Government documents. Through Freedom of Information and declassification requests the Archive provides insight into the events we and our ancestors may have experienced.

The website contains more than 450 "electronic briefing books" of newsworthy documents on major topics in international affairs.  You can gain access to the information by visiting the website, visiting the reading room on the GWU campus or checking to see if your local library subscribes to ProQuest which includes the Digital National Security Archive.  Finally you can subscribe to their email service that provides updates and information about their research here.

Friday, June 17, 2016

MyHeritage Releases New Family Chart — the Sun Chart

MyHeritage has released an innovative new type of chart — the Sun Chart — available for free to all MyHeritage users. Called the "Sun Chart," the main ancestor (selected by the user) is shown in the center of the chart, with multiple generations of descendants in outer concentric ringsIt can be classified as a descendant fan chart, but it isn't limited in the number of generations and is unique to MyHeritage in that it also includes photos, making it the only descendant fan chart with photos that you will find anywhere. 

The Sun Chart is designed to plot as many descendants as possible on the smallest chart possible. Charts that include hundreds or even thousands of people can now be prepared in this compact circular format and hung conveniently on the wall.

Non-MyHeritage users can easily import their tree to MyHeritage (as GEDCOM) and generate this chart. Check it out here.

TIP: Military Research Begins with the Service Historical Centers & Museums

This week I took the Military Records III: Post Civil War Course the IGHR  at Samford University in Birmingham, AL.  I learned how to identify and trace units; a vital piece to understanding any soldier or sailor's service.  

One of the best places to start your search is with the services historical centers.  All have research guides and tons of information online.

The Army's is in Carlisle, PA and can be found online here.
The Navy's is at the Naval Yard in Washington, DC and can be found online here.
The Marine Corps is in Quantico, VA and online here.
The Air Force is in Montgomery, AL at Maxwell AFB.  Details are here.

Last Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research held at Samford University

This week I have been attending the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research  (IGHR) at Samford University in Birmingham, AL. It was a real treat to attend this year as the program is moving to the University of Georgia in Athens, GA in 2017.

Samford University has been home to IHGR for 51 years and we were treated to a peek into some of the great history at last night's banquet with key note speaker Elizabeth Wells, who has been head of Samford Library's Special Collection Department for 38 years. 

The Collection is a rich source of Alabama and southern genealogical resources as well as a notable Irish history collection. If you are visiting the South or live here as I do don't miss this collection. It's open to the public.

Friday, June 03, 2016

News from May

May was a crazy time for my family.  My nephew graduated from high school in Aurora, MO and is headed to Mizzou in the fall.  My brother retired after 27 awesome years of teaching high school.  Then my husband and I celebrated his BIG birthday in Hawaii.  All the events required planes, trains and automobiles, which left little time for genealogy, so I have spent the last week trying to catch up. I found a couple of newsworthy items to share.

Check for recently added or updated collections.  A couple of them were jackpots for my research.  My Spencer family line represents my greatest brick wall; however; I found Elias Spencer's (G2 Grandfather) probate records (1852 & 1855) Crawford County (MO) were added to the Missouri Wills and Probate Records 1766-1988.  Not all of the records are indexed.  When I saw that Crawford County was included, I had to search page by page, but it paid off as I found part of his probate and a likely new relative named Nathaniel Spencer.

Another updated database, helpful to many Missourians with German heritage is the German Immigrants 1712-1933. When looking at this page you can check out the related databases that contain specific regional German records.

Finally, some World War II draft registration cards from the fourth round in 1942 have been added. These cards often provide little known details including occupation and employer, as well as family and address information.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Searching for Military Records

In a recent article on Ancestral Findings details how the 1973 fire can affect military record availability.

Many U.S. Army or Air Force records (1912-1964) were destroyed at the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri, in a devastating fire on July 12, 1973.

The article explains how "over 6.5 million records were able to be recovered from the building after the fire, though they were in terrible condition. They were carefully dried, sprayed with mold repellant, and pieces of records that were charred began to be put back together in a painstaking, careful, and slow process."

At the 2015 NGS conference in St. Charles a representative from the Center provided a comprehensive explanation of what has been done to ensure veterans, historians and genealogists have access to the records. He explained that the only way to know for sure whether a record is available is to request it from the NPRC. More than 40 years later many records have yet to be scanned. Instead records are found, copied and preserved by request only.

Organizing with Evernote

Guru Lisa Louise Cooke has shared another helpful tip for using Evernote. A recent Genealogy Gems post detailed the process of organizing your notes into notebooks.

This is another tool I use daily.  The Evernote Web clipper is my best friend as I can quickly scan emails, articles or other Web information and save items I want to read later or add to my files quickly and easily. I use both tags and notebooks to organize my documents. Items are easy to move or delete which means you aren't stuck with keeping a lot of data you don't want. I tag data with multiple tags so that I can easily find it again with Evernote search.

Word Press Upgrades For IOS 6.1

On her blog Moultry Creek Gazette, Denise Olson recently explained the attributes of the Word Press app upgrade.  The app now allows users to "manage Publicize and third-party sharing using the app" and "manage comments using swipe gestures to approve, unapprove or trash them."  Additionally users can tag locations by using map search.

I use Word Press for my own blog and find it an effective platform. Even if you don't blog you can set up a free account and follow genealogy, history and local / regional blogs of interest to you.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

2016 FGS Conference Registration is Open

The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) online registration is now open for the 40th Annual 2016 FGS National Conference, “Time Travel: Centuries of Memories” to be held August 31 — September 3, 2016, in Springfield, IL. Register by July 1, 2016, for the early-bird discount here.  visit the conference website for additional details. Also, follow the FGS Voice blog and by subscribing to the FGS Voice Newsletter to keep up with FGS events and conference details.

FREE Fold3 WWII Records 1-15 May

Fold3 is offering FREE access to all of its World War II records to honor veterans this Memorial Day.  Hurry!  Its available only through May 15, 2016.

2016 NGS Family History Conference this Week in Ft. Lauderdale, FL (May 4-7)

The 2016 National Genealogical Society Family History Conference is this week in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.  Even if you cannot attend there are several ways you can participate.  The conference program is here.  NGS has a live stream option where several of the lectures will be available for online viewing.  Third, you can follow the event or your favorite presenter via Twitter or Facebook.

You can purchase professionally-made recordings of sessions after the event from here.  I attended last year's even in St. Charles.  While there were many great lectures and events, Elizabeth Shown Mills blew me away with her presentation on how she traced her "lost relatives" through a combination of DNA and records.  I was overwhelmed with the information so I purchased the recording so I could go back to it and absorb more of the details of her process.

Finally, many nationally-known genealogists participate in the NGS conference so it is a great time to watch their blogs and websites for news and updates - sometimes gratis "conference extas" can be found.  This year's presenters include Lisa Louise Cooke, Dick Eastman, Pam & Rick Sayre and many others.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Is Pinterest a Useful Tool for Genealogists?

Pinterest, if you have never used it, is a social media site where individuals, groups or organization can post pictures and share them with the public.  As a user you can create boards on which you pin anything that interests you.  I have used Pinterest for a little over a year, but in searching recently have found a few gems.  Here are a few highlights:

  • Organizations such as the Library of Congress, GeneaBloggers, the Allen County Public Library and many other genealogy-related organizations post pictures and graphics.  You can follow their boards or simply create your own.  Many localities also have boards.
  • I have found Pinterest to be an excellent source for dating pictures by comparing my photo with ones on the site that have precise dates.  Additionally, you can often find photos or maps of specific locations in a given time-frame that can hone your research. I have maps of all the counties I research in Missouri on a board allowing me quick access when conducting my research.
  • While pictures are a great resource for genealogists, I have found numerous graphics explaining how to use a website or tool, but also succinct lists of event timelines. I have two - one of WWI and WWII that briefly list countries' entry into war and other relevant historical details that can help to pinpoint a fact as well as providing the context of your ancestors actions. 

While there are many tips on the best genealogy websites, methods of preserving or organizing your artifacts, I simply enjoy the ability to browse and find new things. You might just find the key to breaking through your brick wall might be a "pin" on someone else's board.  Happy Hunting!