Friday, May 12, 2017

Northwest Missouri Genealogical Society Records Offering

Today i would like to highlight one of Missouri's regional societies and some of the historical records available there. The Northwest Missouri Genealogical Society has many records available online. Volunteers are indexing and adding digital copies of cemetery records, obituaries, death notices from local newspapers- just to name a few. For example, deaths are recorded from 1890-1909, when death certificates became legally required by the state.  More years are being added so check now and check again later if you have ancestors in Andrew, Atchison, Buchanan,  Clinton,  DeKalb, Gentry,  Holt, Nowaday and Worth counties.

NGS Releases Two Newly Revised Guide Books for Tennessee and North Carolina

NGS Releases Two Newly Revised Guide Books for Tennessee and North Carolina

The National Genealogical Society (NGS) announced this week the publication of two newly revised books in its Research in the States series. These guides are two of 26 books that provide information about genealogical repositories and resources in specific states to aid individuals who are researching their family histories. The latest editions are Research in Tennessee, 3rd Edition and Research in North Carolina, 2nd Edition.  The books are available in pdf and hard copy from the NGS online store.

Spring Sales for DNA and Genealogical Research

With the spring holidays (Mother's Day, Father's Day and graduations) several companies are offering discounts for genealogists.  

MyHeritage is offering their best deal ever.  The Mother’s Day promo on their DNA tests – is just $69 thru May 15. 

  • is offering 25% off memberships for Mother's Day.  

  •  Lisa Louise Cooke's Genealogy Gems is offering 25% of annual membership using the code SAVE25NGS

  • Genealogy Bank is offering 2 months free with an annual subscription.

Excitement Builds as Ground is Broken on the New Center for Missouri Studies

As the Spring semester ends at Mizzou, construction is slated to begin on the new Center for Missouri Studies at Sixth and Elm on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia. The State Historical Society of Missouri (SHSMO) celebrated the culmination of its 10-year effort to create its Center for Missouri Studies in a ceremony on April 19, 2017.  
Ground Breaking Ceremony April 19, 2017
As well as acting as headquarters for SHSMO the new state-of-the-art facility will offer a lecture hall, art gallery, historical research center, conservation lab and meeting rooms.  SHSMO President Bob Priddy said, "This building reminds us that our history is not a bunch of papers and books to be stored in an attic. This building reminds us that our history is alive and it can guide us."  The new Center for Missouri Studies new Center for Missouri Studies will open in April 2019.  We can't wait!
Artist Rendering of the New Center for Missouri Studies

Thursday, May 04, 2017

New York Public Library Has Digitized 5,000 NYC Historical Maps

"An article in Hyperallergic caught my eye when I read, "The New York Public Library Has a 'Digital Time-Travel Service' for Its Historical Maps."  I had to check it out.  It seems the New York Public Library has a two year project to plot 5,000 digitized street maps across the five boroughs, organized by decade from 1850 to 1950.  

The article states that the "New York Public Library’s new NYC Space/Time Directory is imagined as a 'digital time-travel service,' a two-year project engaging the library’s collections of maps and geospatial data through interactive tools." The first tool, Maps by Decade, was launched this month.

“The goal of the Space/Time project is to connect the library’s collections through space and time,” Bert Spaan, NYPL’s Space/Time Directory engineer, told Hyperallergic. Now that is pretty cool.  If your ancestor came through Ellis Island they may have lived in NYC for a time.  If you are really lucky, you might just be able to view the exact location "real time." Happy hunting!

NGS 2017 Family History Conference in Raleigh, NC, 10-13 May: Livestream & On Demand

Many genealogists soon will be flocking to North Carolina to attend the 2017 National Genealogical Society annual conference.  For those of us who cannot attend in person, still have an opportunity to see some of the many interesting lectures by premier American genealogists.

You can now live stream select sessions from the Conference—and watch them again and again for three months from the end of the Conference (until 13 August). You can watch one track (5-sessions on DNA and/or BCG Skillbuilding) or both tracks (10-sessions) as they happen live, and then replay them anytime.

Personally, I think I will listen to the DNA sessions.  I have tested my DNA along with several family members but I have yet utilize the information to its fullest.  I look forward to hearing some great lectures on the subject!

Happy Hunting.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

April 25th Is National DNA Day

National DNA Day, organized by the National Human Genome Research Institute at the National Institutes of Health, is Tuesday, April 25, 2017.  The event commemorates the completion of the Human Genome Project in April 2003, and the discovery of DNA's double helix in 1953.  The website lists numerous events from Tuesday's Twitter Chat with  NASA Astronaut Kathleen Rubins, the first person to sequence DNA in space, to discussions at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

Several organizations are offering deals on DNA-related products to celebrate the occasion. Here are a few of the bargains: 

1. Lisa Louise Cook is offering 27% off a Genetic Genealogy Bundle.  Additionally, Lisa's website is offering a coupon code DNADAY to save 15% on all single DNA guides, print or digital. 
2. is offering 20% off AncestryDNA kits.
3. Family Tree DNA has several options on sale.
4. Two DNA workshops will be offered at the 2017 FGS National Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on August 30-September 2. Both DNA workshops are sponsored by Ancestry ProGenealogists and require pre-registration in order to attend.  Check here for more details.
5. The MoSGA conference will offer two DNA-related from Eric Wells, the first will be a DNA introduction for beginners while the second will detail a case study that offers insights into how to use DNA results with your other genealogical research.  Join us on August 4-5 in Columbia!

Google Earth's New Release Offers Genealogists Updated Tools

Google Earth released an update that offers several great tools for genealogists.  The new search function has been updated with "knowledge cards" that provide encyclopedic details of locations. Users can orbit the world in 3D and utilize the new "Voyager" that incorporates BBC Earth and NASA.  There is a "wildcard" function that allows you to view random locations.  While some of these functions such as street view may not be available for small towns and villages, I was able to pinpoint the church where my 3x great-grandfather was baptized in a small town in Germany.  Happy hunting!

Halifax, Nova Scotia Releases Photographs of the Harbor as the Centennial of Halifax Explosion Nears

On December 6, 1917, a French cargo ship, the SS Mont-Blanc, fully loaded with wartime explosives, collided with the Norwegian vessel SS Imo in the Halifax harbor. A resulting fire on board the French ship ignited the cargo and caused an explosion that devastated the Richmond District of Halifax. It was the largest man-made explosion prior to the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Approximately 2,000 people were killed by debris, fires, and collapsed buildings, and an estimated 9,000 others were injured.

As Halifax prepares to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion, the Municipal Archives is highlighting historical sources on how the communities of Halifax and Dartmouth responded to the tragedy, and how the city worked with the Halifax Relief Commission to rebuild. Visit for information on commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion.  

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

American Ancestors Opens Probate Databases April 18-25

The New England Historic Genealogical Society is offering free access to thirty-two probate databases for one week, April 18-25. The databases contain some of the earliest records in the New England colonies.

Anyone can sign in as a guest member to gain access on There is a free webinar on how to use probate  records.

Monday, April 10, 2017

WWI at the National Archives

First, I would like to express my thanks for a reader Vicki Root/Carpenter-Runk/Patton Evans for pointing out that some of the links from the April 6th post were not working.  They are fixed now.

Second, I failed to mention the best source for U.S. records related to World War One are at the National Archives.  In commemorating the war, the National Archives has created a special portal for the WWI holdings. This page provides a breadth of information on current programs, photographs, genealogical records and a mobile app that allows the user to build your own collection of memorabilia.

Gun crew from Regimental Headquarters Company, 23rd Infantry, firing 37 mm gun during an advance on German entrenched positions. Courtesy of the National Archives.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Today is 100th Anniversary of the U.S. Entry into World War I - Links Repaired

Today is the 100 anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War I.  I share some of the most profound coverage here.
The Washington Post has never before published photos here.
The Associated Press shares their coverage here.
Family Tree Magazine has a time line for other countries entry into the conflict here.
Watch the ceremony at the National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, MO on YouTube

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Fold3 Offering Free Access to Civil War Records Through April 15, 2017

Fold3 is opening its Civil War records collection through mid-April including the popular collections:  

  • Civil War “Widows’ Pensions” Files
  • Civil War Pensions Index
  • Soldier Service Records
  • Southern Claims Commission

Gen. Edwin V. Sumner and staff in Warrenton, Virginia, 
main eastern theater of the Civil War, Nov. 13, 1862
Photograph courtesy of Library of Congress, 
Prints & Photographs Division, [cwp 4a40037] 

I have found several of my Missouri ancestors' records on Fold3 and have added a memory page for some of my favorites.  Fold3 allows members to create a memorial page where records can be saved and a picture may be uploaded. For example, see my Great-Grandfather (x3) Carl C. Raiffeisen's page here.  He immigrated to mid-Missouri in 1849, married and lived in Morgan County for the rest of his life.  He served in the Benton County Home Guards during the Civil War.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

MoSGA Website Receives Mention on

Family History Daily is a great source of information for genealogists providing articles on every aspect of the industry.   One of today's articles, "Absolutely Free Genealogy Research Sites for Every Single U.S. State." MoSGA is one of the two Missouri websites recognized. Specifically noted were the access to surname lists, digitized newsletters and the many valuable links provided. Happy hunting!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

March is Women's History Month

The first International Women's Day was celebrated on March 8, 1911.  In 1980, President Carter extended the event into National Women's History Week; by 1987 the popularity had grown to the extent that both houses of Congress passed a law to extend the event further into a month-long celebration of women.

Numerous online sources have offered tips in researching your female ancestors.  Here are are a few of my favorite:

1.  In first place is Maureen Taylor, the "Photo Detective."  In her blog for Family Tree Magazine, Taylor gives great advice especially regarding dating photographs by women's hairstyles, accessories (hats and jewelry) and clothing.  Beyond the individuals themselves, Taylor suggests you consider possible events (weddings, anniversaries, holidays) and the other elements of the picture such as backdrop and furniture.  Recently she blogged about clues regarding women's occupations.

2. Several news outlets have had articles on women's efforts in World War One including the New York Times,, the Imperial War Museum (UK), the BBC and the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

3. Family Tree Magazine is highlighting a Woman of the Day each day during the month on their Facebook page.

4. Finally the National Archives has a series of patented items marketed to women.  Several of them are really funny!

Registration is Open for the 2017 MoSGA Conference

We are excited to announce that registration is now open for the 2017 MoSGA Conference to be held on 4-5 August 2017.  The event will be held at the Stoney Creek Conference Center in Columbia, MO.  Our keynote speaker will be Kathleen Brandt of

Kathleen has been featured on television shows including NBC's Who Do You Think You Are? Seasons (2010-2011), PBS's Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates (2012) and she appeared on the History Channel's How the States Got Their Shape (2012). 
Register today!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Did You Know Meyers Gazetteer Can Be Searched Online?

For those of you with German ancestors you are likely familiar with Gazetteers, the most common being Meyers.  What is a Gazetteer, you ask? 

FamilySearch Wiki explains: 
A gazetteer is a dictionary of place names. Gazetteers may describe towns and villages, parishes and counties, states and provinces, rivers and mountains, and other geographical features. They usually include only the names of places that existed at the time the gazetteer was published, but may reference name changes. The place names are usually listed in alphabetical order, similar to a dictionary. Common German words for gazetteers include "Ortsverzeichnis" (listing of places) and "Topographie" (usually more descriptive; may also contain historical information).
Meyer's Gazetteer (often referred to as Meyers Orts) lists the names of places as they existed in Germany from 1871 to 1912. It gives the name of the state or province where each town was located at that time. The gazetteer is written in Gothic print, which can be hard to read. 

This website allows for full search options of the Meyers Gazetteer.  Try it! Announces Family Tree Maker Transition Deadlines - Backup by MARCH 29!

Here is the latest update from Ancestry about the Family Tree Maker support: 

Last year, we announced the purchase of Family Tree Maker desktop software by Software MacKiev and because we wanted to make the transition to a new owner as smooth as possible, we committed at least a year of customer and product support.  The goal has always been to maintain the capability to share your family tree data between files on your computer with your personal Ancestry online trees. We’ve been hard at work co-developing a new Ancestry gateway with Software MacKiev to use in their Family Tree Maker 2017, which will be available soon We believe Software MacKiev continues to deliver the best value to users of Family Tree Maker with their focus and expertise in software solutions.   

What you should know:

·         TreeSync will be replaced by Software MacKiev’s FamilySync™.  In the new FamilySync, Ancestry’s search, merge, and Ancestry hints will all work as they do now for users who sync with their Ancestry trees and you can also look forward to more exciting new improvements.

·         FamilySync will be available only in Software MacKiev’s Family Tree Maker 2017 edition, which will be released on March 31, 2017.

The upgrade is free for all users who purchased a copy of a MacKiev Family Tree Maker edition since March 1, 2016. Those with previous Ancestry editions, or who got a free copy of Family Tree Maker 2014.1 or Mac 3.1, are eligible for discounted upgrades. The pre-order upgrade is $29.95 for those who sign up for Software MacKiev’s mailing list before March 29 and the upgrade will continue to be a discounted price ($39.95) for a limited time after March 29.

·         Between Wednesday, March 29 and Friday, March 31, there will be a short period where syncing functionality may be interrupted as Software MacKiev rolls out their new syncing technology.  

·         As of March 29, 2017, Ancestry will no longer be supporting TreeSync, given the introduction of Software MacKiev’s FamilySync™.  Software MacKiev will continue to handle all related customer questions for Family Tree Maker.  Visit Software MacKiev’s Family Tree Maker Support Center at if you have questions.

For additional information, news and discounted upgrade offers for Family Tree Maker, visit

Finding Revolutionary War Soldiers Who Lived in Missouri

The organization called the Missouri Commandery of MOLLUS (Descendants of Federal Officers from the Civil War) has an online index of soldiers who served in the Revolutionary War and lived in Missouri.  In addition, the website provides links for a similar database for the Civil War and organizations with additional online information including Sons of the American Revolution, Daughters of the American Revolution, and Children of the American Revolution.

MOLLUS encourages corrections or additions to the list.

Genealogy Events - Conferences

I must apologize for my long absence. I have had a few road blocks arise personally and professionally in the last month that have gotten me off the path.

There is much to report beginning with upcoming conferences and events.

1. First and foremost is the MoSGA conference "Show Me the Way Around the Brick Wall," scheduled for August 4-5. We are very excited about this year's line up featuring Kathleen Brandt. Registration is now open!

2. Topeka Genealogical Society's 4th Annual Conference 
"Beyond Belief: The Wealth of Genealogy" co-hosted by the Kansas Historical Society on April 7-8, at KHS - 6425 SW 6th St., Topeka, KS, will feature Dr. Joshua Taylor.  Go here for additional information and to register.

3.  The 2017 National Genealogical Society Family History Conference is May 10-13 in Raleigh, NC.  Check the conference website for details.

4. The Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), has two week-long course offerings this year: June 25-30 and July 16-21. Conference information can be found here.

5. 2017 Institute of Genealogy & Historical Research to be held at the University of Georgia Center for Continuing Education & Hotel, Athens, GA, July 23-28. Details here.

6. 2017 International Germanic Genealogy Conference to convene at the Minneapolis Marriott Northwest Hotel in Brooklyn Park, MN on July 28-30. Register or find out more information here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Newspapers Online - New Additions announced this month that they had added the Guardian (UK) to the expansive list of newspapers the website has digitized. The basic subscription includes the papers between 1821 to 1900; while the Publisher Extra adds 1901 to 2003.  The Guardian's sister publication, the Observer is also available. has added thirteen new British papers to its newspaper database, including the Haddingtonshire Courier, Linlithgowshire Gazette, Ross-shire Journal, Rothesay Chronicle, Kinross-shire Advertiser, Peeblesshire Advertiser and the Scottish Referee.

The Library of Congress's Chronicling America database is adding 70,000 new pages from Delaware newspapers printed between 1690 and 1922.

The State Historical Society of Iowa announced they are partnering with a Cedar Rapids firm, Advantage Companies, to preserve more than 12 million pages of newspapers in its collection. The company plans to photograph the pages onto microfilm and then digitally scan the microfilm; making them accessible to the public. There are no current plans to put them online but they are available at the Historical Society's Research Centers in Des Moines and Iowa City.

GRIP Conference Registration Opens Today

Here is another stellar genealogical learning opportunity!  The Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP), located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is offering TWO week-long sessions in Pittsburgh in 2017.  Attendees may choose to attend one week, or the other, or both!  For the list of courses offered visit the conference website.  

Registration opens Noon (Eastern) on Wednesday, February 22, 2017, for courses held June 25-30, 2017.
Noon (Eastern) Wednesday, March 8, 2017, for courses held July 16-21, 2017.

TLC's "Who Do You Think You Are?" Returns March 5

March 5, 2017 will mark the beginning of season nine of The Learning Channel's "Who Do You Think You Are?"  Celebrities include film and TV stars Jessica Biel, Courteney Cox, Jennifer Grey, John Stamos, Liv Tyler, Noah Wyle, Julie Bowen and music icon Smokey Robinson.  The show will are at 9 p.m. CST on TLC.  The show can be viewed after it airs on the TLC website.

IGHR Conference (July 23-27, 2017) Registration Available

Registration for the 2017 Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) to be held on 23-27 July 2017, is now open!  IGHR provides an educational forum for the discovery, critical evaluation, and use of genealogical sources and methodology through a week of intensive study led by nationally prominent genealogical educators. Students choose one course that lasts throughout the week. Topics range from a course for beginners to a variety of courses on specialized topics. 

I attended last year's conference and found it a great way to expand genealogical knowledge and network.  The 2017 event has moved from its home in Birmingham, AL to Athens, GA and promises to be another great genealogical opportunity.  For more information check out the Georgia Genealogical Society website and register here.

Registration for 2017 MoSGA Conference is OPEN!!

We are excited to announce that registration is now open for the 2017 MoSGA Conference to be held on 4-5 August 2017.  The event will be held at the Stoney Creek Conference Center in Columbia, MO.  Our keynote speaker will be Kathleen Brandt of

Kathleen has been featured on television shows including NBC's Who Do You Think You Are? Seasons (2010-2011), PBS's Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates (2012) and she appeared on the History Channel's How the States Got Their Shape (2012). 

Register today!

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Livestream the Roots Tech Conference that Starts Tomorrow!

The 2017 Roots Tech Conference runs February 8-11 in Salt Lake City,  Utah. If you can't make it in person you can live stream several of the sessions for free. Check it out here.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Researching Ancestors in Other States

Most Missouri Researchers know about our great state resources including Missouri Digital Heritage and those on the University of Missouri Digital Library such as plat books.  But what about when you are searching for relatives in other states?  Do you automatically search for similar resources?  Here are a few sites I have found useful.

A good site for nailing down those state sources is at the Digital State Archives that lists the primary online source for each state.  Happy Hunting!

Creating Context for Your Ancestor's Life: A History of Restaurants

I recently read an article about Italian restaurants in America that detailed a new book by historian Paul Freedman titled, "Ten Restaurants that Changed America."  The book explains the lives of Italian immigrants in New York City and how those new Americans adapted to life in the New World. Italians, according to the author, were much less likely to assimilate into the New York City culinary life.  Rather Italians made the conscious decision to teach their children to cook in the ways of the old country.

There were stark differences, however, mainly relating to the availability and variety of food products such as meat, butter and cheeses.  Many of us cherish our family recipes, but when considering the lives our ancestors led in America, it is worth considering how their eating habits changed and what that meant for families. While food facts may not add leaves to your family tree knowledge of food and the circumstances surrounding it will go a long way in understanding the fabric of the times.

Paul Freedman's book, published in 2016, can be found on Amazon or other book retailers.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

2017 Family Tree University Winter Virtual Conference, March 3-5

Early Bird Registration is open for Family Tree University's 2017 Winter Virtual Conference. By registering soon you can get $40 off the $199 conference cost. It is not clear from the website when early bird pricing will end so check it out.

The conference includes 15 presentations on genealogy issues such as DNA testing, tools and technology, and research and preservation strategies.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Find My Past Offers Free Records Weekend is offering free access to all birth, marriage, census and death records on the site through January 15, 2017.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Mark Your Calendars!

There are several state and national events on the horizon.  Here are a few to add to your schedule.  Please feel free to submit your event to add to the calendar by emailing

RootsTech is February 8–11, 2017 in Salt Lake City, UT.  Register for the live or web events here.

National Genealogical Society (NGS) 2017 Family History Conference will be held 10-13 May 2017 in Raleigh, NC.  Registration is now open!

NGS 2018 Conference  - Call for Proposals for call for proposals for the 2018 Family History Conference, Paths to Your Past to be held 2-5 May 2018 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  All proposals must be submitted electronically by 1 April 2017.

Ozarks Genealogical Society is hosting an event called, "Genetic Genealogy: Identifying and Confirming Ancestors with DNA Testing," on 11 March 2017.  Register or get more details here.

Useful Genealogy Advice

There are so many genealogy experts out there dispensing advice it is often hard to keep up.  In the coming months I will highlight a few of the ones I find consistently excellent.  

Amy Johnson Crow, a certified genealogist, has an excellent blog providing advice on many current genealogical issues we all face.  Her recent post "The Truth About Ancestry's Hints," provided useful information about how Ancestry hints should be approached with caution and understanding of the underlying resources. For example, not all databases are included in hints; instead hints tend to come from federal and state records including census, birth, death and marriage.  Additionally,  hints are intended to drive interest and provide possible clues.  Amy reminds her readers that often the hints are not the correct individual.

Amy's recent round-up of her 2016 best blogs reminded me how useful I have found her advice.  I highly recommend reading "Top 10 Genealogy Tips" to discover an excellent resource that is worth your time.  My favorites were "How FindAGrave Could - And Should - Be Made Better" and "5 Things You Can Do in Genealogy When You are Short on Time."

Amy also provides a free program called "31 Days to Better Genealogy" accessible on her website.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a warm and joyous Christmas with family and friends.  2016 was a bit rough for my family and many friends so we were quite happy to close that chapter and have a chance to begin anew.

When a new year begins we often make resolutions to organize our genealogy, start new projects or finally break down that brick wall.  In the spirit of new beginnings here are a couple of great FREE resources to help you in your quest.

Family History Daily has created a genealogy-specific search engine that looks through free sites. Called doGenealogy, the website offers the ability to search by location, subject or record type.  The project is new so check in regularly for new resources.

The other new resource for organizing your research is to follow the blog Do As I Am Doing, which describes in detail a method for organizing into binders.

Most importantly, mark your calendars for the 2017 MoSGA Annual Conference on Aug 4-5, 2017 in Columbia, MO.  See you there!