Thursday, March 31, 2016

German Immigration Records: Hamburg, New Orleans and Ellis Island

On Tuesday March 29, 2016 Genealogy Insider by Family Tree Magazine Editor Diane Haddad posted a blog about German Immigration Records. The blog provides a helpful timeline regarding those that departed from Hamburg as well as providing the link to those records on  It also got me thinking about my German connections.   

My husband’s paternal grandfather came from Hamburg to Ellis Island only two generations ago, fleeing compulsory military service in an area claimed by both Germany and Russia that today lies in Poland. His lineage is difficult to discern in the geo-political jumble from whence he came with little family memory to provide clues.  Grandpa’s journey is recorded at departure from Hamburg on April 24, 1913 and his arrival 15 days later in New York.  He settled in Michigan and was naturalized in 1931.

On my maternal side, my German ancestors came through New Orleans, records also available on  At the age of 28 my 2x great grandfather Carl C. Raiffeisen came overland, likely by train, from the Rhineland near Cologne to Antwerp, Belgium in November 1849 and sailed to New Orleans.  He then took a steam ship up the Mississippi River to Booneville where he took horse and carriage to his final destination, a farm near Cole Camp in Benton County.  Within two years he had married and established his own farm in Morgan County near Syracuse.

The National Parks Service provides a list of resources from the U.S. Government and private sources for passenger records here, many of which are free.  There are a few listed that are new to me so I am looking forward to exploring new avenues to the past.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Be a Judge for National History Day (April 30th) in Columbia!

National History Day in Missouri is April 30, 2016!  The State Historical Society of Missouri is looking for volunteers for the judging team for National History Day in Missouri 2016.  

The state contest will be held April 30 at the University of Missouri in Columbia. The Society is seeking 150 volunteers to act as judges in both the junior division (grades 6-8) and senior division (grades 9-12).  

Support Missouri students as they express their passion for history through five diverse competition categories: documentary, exhibit, paper, performance, and website.

Top finishers will advance to represent Missouri at the national contest in the Washington, DC, area in June.

"What impressed me most about these young students was their combination of history knowledge and personal initiative."
—NHDMO judge

Judges will be provided a light breakfast, lunch, and a travel stipend of $50 for those living more than 40 miles from Columbia.

To sign up, visit or click Register Now.  

What is the Best Method for Long-term Photo Labeling?

A couple of weeks ago the Legal Genealogist, Judy Russell, who was the Guest Speaker at the 2015 MoSGA conference, posted a “how-to” for electronically labeling photos.  We have all been there…staring at the box / book / pile of photos from our ancestors.  Sometimes it feels a little like Russian roulette, when with trepidation we turn over a photo to look at the back to see if just this time we will hit the jackpot and find a date and perhaps even names of those pictured.
Today we are faced with the modern concern of how to label our digital files in an era of ever-changing technologies.  Meta-data, tagging and many other options are out there but how do we chose the one that will last? Even the "best" option today may not be the one that lasts.  

The Legal Genealogist recommended a program and I just had to try it.  I've been trying it out on a few of my photos with large groups.  I love it!  IrfanView allows you to essentially place a text box above or below your photo so that you may add the details for your photo in a way that is visible.  My example will be in the next MoSGA Journal.  Feel free to share yours with us here.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

MoSGA Seeking Journal Editor

The position of MoSGA Journal Editor is now open!

The Journal is published quarterly.  The editor receives $250 for each completed version of the publication, which features transcriptions of Missouri records including county, church, Bible, and cemetery records of great interest to genealogists, historians or anyone with Missouri ancestry.  It also features historical and educational articles contributed by experts in the field. 

Please contact MoSGA President Tim Dollens at for more information or if interested in the position.  Come join the MoSGA team!

Get Ready! MoSGA's Annual Conference will be August 5-6, 2016

MoSGA is gearing up for the 2016 annual conference to be held at the Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center in Columbia, MO on August 5-6. 

Our keynote speaker will be John Colletta.  I was fortunate enough to meet John at the 2015 NGS conference in St. Charles.  He will be a great speaker for the MoSGA annual event!  

For more details check the MoSGA website.

Monday, March 07, 2016

Nominate Your Favorite Volunteer for One of Our 2016 MoSGA Awards!

Awards season has arrived in Missouri! Take this opportunity to shine the spotlight on those valuable volunteers that make societies survive and thrive! 

Visit our awards page to download a nomination form. Deadline is June 1, 2016.

All nominees must volunteer in a capacity that furthers genealogy and/or historical research in Missouri. The nominee need not be a member of MoSGA nor does the submitter.

FGS 2017 Call for Presentation Proposals


Call for Presentation Proposals                                         Deadline for Submissions is 1 June 2016

March 7, 2016 – Austin, TXThe Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announces that presentation proposals are now being received for its 2017 Conference, “Building Bridges to the Past,” to be held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania August 30 – September 2, 2017. The conference will be held in cooperation with the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society as local host. The deadline for submission of presentation proposals is Wednesday, 1 June 2016.  See the FGS site for details.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Upcoming Event: Family Tree Magazine Winter 2016 Virtual Genealogy Conference, March 11-13

For details and to register for the annual Family Tree Magazine Winter 2016 Virtual Genealogy Conference, go here.  According to the Family Tree website: At this weekend workshop, you’ll learn research strategies and resources to boost your genealogy knowledge —and because it’s web-based, you can participate from anywhere!

RootsTech Conference is over, but you can still watch it!

The 2016 RootsTech Conference was held in Salt Lake City in February.  If you were unable to make it but are interested, RootsTech posted many of the seminars online.  You can choose those that interest you and watch them here.

Additionally, if there is a topic or speaker that is particularly of interest, you can look at the conference agenda and download the the course syllabus / speaker notes here for free.

FREE Genealogy Courses at SLPL: March & April

Tom Pearson teaches a wide variety of free genealogy classes at the St. Louis Public Library, at the Buder Branch Library, located at 401 Hampton Avenue, St. Louis, Mo 63109.  With free parking it is hard to pass up this opportunity!

Tom also shared that he is available to do a free class for your metro area group at your location. He covers 50+ topics in genealogy and military history, so he can certainly cover something of interest to your group!  If you prefer, he can also provide a free program for your group at Central Library or Buder Branch Library.  Contact Tom at for details.

In case of inclement weather, call 314-241-2288 to see if Library locations will be open that day.

MAR 5, 7 PM

Tom will be part of a (mostly) SLPL table at St. Louis Genealogical Society’s 7th annual Trivia Night at the Richmond Heights Community Center. Stop by and say hi if you’re planning to match wits with us!

MAR 19, 2 PM
A Guided Tour of Ancestry Library Edition

Join SLPL as Tom Pearson discusses features of and record sets contained in Ancestry Library Edition. He will also discuss ways to search ALE more efficiently. Buder Branch Library, 401 Hampton Avenue, St. Louis, Mo 63109. To register / more info: .

APR 2 (all day)

We will have a table in the vendor area at the St. Louis Genealogical Society Family History Fair at the Maryland Heights Centre. Stop by and say hi if you’re planning to be there! Note: Cynthia Millar will be providing a talk about genealogical resources at SLPL.

APR 21, 7 PM
Speaks with the Dead: the Basics of Cemetery Research
 Join us as Tom Pearson discusses burial customs; types of cemeteries; grave markers and headstones; death and burial records; dos and don’ts of cemetery research; and cemetery preservation and restoration. Waterloo Public Library, 215 Park St., Waterloo, IL 62298. To register / more info: .

Upcoming Events at the State Historical Society of Missouri

Upcoming Events at the State Historical Society of Missouri in March 

There are lots of ways to enjoy Missouri history and heritage this spring! We hope to see you at many of these upcoming events, which are free and open to the public unless otherwise indicated. For more details, look here.

The events include: 
  • The Missouri Conference on History (7-9 March, Columbia, MO).  Details here.
  • Breaking Barriers: Celebrating Women in State Politics 10 March, Columbia, MO). Register here.
  • Through the Lens: Visions of African American Experience (19 March, Kansas City, MO). Details here.

Search FREE Access to Irish Genealogy Records on Findmypast until March 7!

Search FREE Access to Irish Genealogy Records on Findmypast

Findmypast has released its new collection of 10 million indexed Irish Catholic parish registers, which will be free to search online—forever.  To celebrate, the site is making all of its Irish records free to search and view until March 7.

Click here for access!

WorldCat Update Makes Searching Easier

WorldCat is one of my favorite sources for finding obscure books about my lineage, history or genealogy in general.

According to the press release: 
WorldCat Discovery changes will help users more easily get the resources they identify in search results. Records now display library ownership and availability information together, so searchers can more quickly determine how to obtain needed items. Links to materials available electronically appear first, so users can conveniently connect directly with available online resources. For items not available online, users can view a list of libraries that own an item, with the closest libraries appearing first.
For an in-depth look at the changes, go here.