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!

Google Offering New Tool to Compete with Evernote & Trello

Google is announcing it has added a new item to its toolbox, called Google Keep.  I regularly use Evernote and Dropbox to keep and share my information so any time I hear of a new tool genealogists can use to quickly and easily save from the internet, I have to check it out. I downloaded Keep today and find it very easy to use, especially if you use Google Chrome as your primary web browser.

Family History Daily has a great how-to article on Keep here.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Ste. Genevieve to Celebrate the 29th Annual ÉCOLE de SOLDAT on April 23, 2016

29th Annual ÉCOLE de SOLDAT (School of the Soldier)
WhenSat, Apr 23rd, 9 am - 5 pm & Sun, Apr 24th, 9am - 12pm
WhereJour de Fete Grounds & Creole House Properties Historic District Ste. Genevieve, MO 63670 
image: Milice de Ste Famille (Redcoats) A  family-friendly, living history demonstration and encampment by French, British and Native American re-enactors. Come to see one of the “10 best undiscovered small cities” in the United States. Admission is free. For more details see here.

Registration is OPEN for MoSGA's 2016 conference!

Annual Conference, August 5-6, 2016

To Register for our Conference:
  • Click here to register online, using a credit card. Be sure to read the brochurebefore registering online so you understand the options.
  • To register by postal mail, print the brochure, fill in the Registration section, and mail in.

Apple's QuickTime for Windows Computers No Longer Supported & Could Pose Hacker Threat

On April 15, 2016, Kim Komando known as "America's Digital Goddess" posted an important message regarding Apple's decision to no longer support the Window's version of its program QuickTime.  Komando recommends removing the program from your computer and tells you how here.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Greatest Genealogical Source: Newspapers?

Using newspapers as a genealogical resource is not a new topic, but access is changing...daily.  This month's Family Tree Magazine provides an up-to-date list of websites where newspapers can be found.  Here are a couple of examples in my own family tree where newspapers have been helpful and fun.  First, in my maternal great-grandmother's family, there were eight children who survived to adulthood, but one child died in when he was 25.  I have seen his gravestone in Sedalia, but no one in the family seemed to know how he died.  I found the facts in a brief newspaper clipping on the Library of Congress website Chronicling America.  From the October 22, 1899 evening edition of the Sedalia Bazoo:

Albrecht Raiffeisen died this morning at 9:50 o'clock at the M. K. & T. Hospital, of Typhoid fever. He was sick 33 days. The deceased was a well-known young man, nearly 25 years of age and for some time had been employed on the M. K. & T. work train. His three brothers, four sisters and father and mother survive him.

What a treasure trove of information in only three sentences!  On a lighter note, located on, from the August 26, 1890 edition of the Sedalia Democrat

Charlie Raiffeisen won second prize in the "largest and best" watermelon contest at the Missouri State Fair.  

Newspapers are an excellent source for finding interesting details about our ancestors daily lives. Most online resources are adding new pages constantly.  It can be a challenge to keep up, but you never know what gems you may find.  Happy hunting!

Happy National Library Week!

This week (April 10-16) is national library week.  Hooray!  There is nothing like the joy of getting lost in a book or two or twenty.  Ever since graduate school I seem to read multiple books concurrently often one fiction (usually murder mysteries for me), one inspirational/aspirational (often genealogy-based or business-related) and always history/biography.

I am a political scientist by trade.  I spent a decade in Washington, D.C. playing my part in politics and national security.  These days in particular I do not miss being in the thick of things as the "things" seem rather dire.  In an effort to to stay positive in an election year, I turn to my favorite author of American history, David McCullough.  I just finished The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris; a beautifully written story about Americans, many of whom today are renown artists, writers and inventors, but in the nineteen century were individuals trying to make their way in the world.  McCullough has a knack for telling stories that highlight not only those with names we recognize, but also those Americans of whom you might not have heard but have shaped the country and world we now inhabit.

When current events leave you frustrated or confused my advice is to take refuge in the past.  David McCullough has written of many great events (1776 & Johnstown flood), structures (Panama Canal & Brooklyn Bridge) and people, including Missouri's own President Harry Truman.  Check out his books from your local library. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

National Archives (NARA) is holding a Transcribe-a-thon on April 8, 2016!

On Friday, April 8 at 1 PM - 4 PM in EDT, NARA is holding a a Transcribe-a-thon where volunteers (that means you!) anywhere can transcribe  and win prizes graciously donated by the National Archives Foundation! 

You can register here.

21st Century Grant Deadline is April 30!

April 30 is the deadline to apply for a MoSGA 21st Century Grant of up $1,000. Does your local Missouri society have a project in mind but not enough funds to complete the project? A 21st Century Grant might just be the answer. 

Application and Guidelines are available on the MoSGA website.  To apply, use our online form, print it, and mail.