Friday, February 29, 2008

Searching Women's Manuscript Collections

March is National Women's History Month. Once again, honoring this celebration of women, Gena Philibert-Ortega in her article, "Searching Women's Manuscript Collections," aims at helping you find the writings of women who were part of your ancestors' community. As the author points out, in the absence of today's media, many women wrote about items of interest and the comings and goings in their own communities. Your ancestors may be among those chronicled by someone other than a family member, and it is certainly worth the investigation, to say nothing of the historical interest.

Online video guides African American research

As we come to the end of Black History month, and article from the Springfield's News-Leader, suggests an online resource out of Missouri that might be of interest to anyone researching African American history. African-American Genealogy: Putting Together the Pieces of Your Past is a five-part video created by the Missouri State Archives, a division of the Secretary of State's office. Family History Research Consultant Traci Wilson-Kleekamp provides tips on accessing the best Web sites, which records are most beneficial and how to get the most out of original records. Wilson-Kleekamp guides researchers through the process of identifying ancestors from the era of slavery through a variety of records and documents. The series and other information on researching African American history is available online at the State web site.

Online resource for local history and biography

In a recent column, Mary Penner helps readers appreciate and use the Google Books resource. "Google Book Search is a regular pit stop in my genealogy journey." A few keyword searches can steer you toward a genealogical windfall. Launched just a few years ago, the project reportedly scans 3,000 books a day; exact numbers of scanned books aren't public knowledge, but computer users, with just a few mouse clicks, have access to well over a million books on the site. While Google Book Search has its critics, primarily those concerned with copyright issues, the ambitious digitization project can certainly benefit family history researchers.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Refocus your Efforts for Success

Not only is it important to become familiar with the location where you ancestors lived, in order to find documentation, but it is also important to understand something about the culture of the people within a particular community. In his article, "Refocus Your Efforts for Success," Kevin Cassidy uses a case in point to show that standing back from your research and making common sense connections, may lead you to the documentation in question.

Sorensen hosts Mongolian photo exhibition

In a press release Wednesday, the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation (SMGF), a non-profit scientific organization that has created a comprehensive collection of genetic genealogy, announced the opening of a month-long exhibit of 30 photographs from its recent genetic genealogy expeditions to remote, rarely visited locations in Mongolia. Along with the photo exhibit will be a one-night program featuring a lecture by geneticist Dr. Scott Woodward and remarks from the Consul General of the Mongolian Embassy in Wash., DC.

The photo exhibit, which runs March 1-April 1, 2008, is entitled “From The Land Of Genghis Khan: Photographs From the Mongolian Genetic Genealogy Collection Expeditions of the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation.” Both the exhibit and the lecture are open to the public and will be held in the Lower Urban Room of the downtown Salt Lake City Public Library at 210 E. 400 South. The exhibit will open simultaneously at the National University of Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar.

On Friday, March 21, at 6 p.m., Woodward, who is executive director of SMGF and one of the world's leading genetic genealogy researchers, will offer a lecture and discussion that includes Gonchig Ganbold, Consul General of the Mongolian Embassy in Washington, DC and Malan Jackson, Honorary Consul of Mongolia in Utah.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Highlights for February 24h, 2008

There are a bunch of insurance-related items this week, including claims paid by Monmouth Mutual Fire Ins Co. (1851-52), Woodworth Lodge No. 2 A.O.U.W., Maine State Relief Association (1897, 1899), Windsor County Mutual Fire Ins. Co. (1859-60), Montgomery County Mutual Ins. Co. (1852-4) and Continental Life Insurance Company of N. Y., Ohio Branch, (1872). Some of these items are very small, partial sheets of paper that have a dozen or so claims listed.

I picked up a copy of the New York Tribune for Saturday, August 13, 1864, and discovered it had a listing of the Deaths of Soldiers in the Hospitals in and about New York from August 5 to August 12, 1864 on the cover. I'll be looking for additional copies of the paper for this time period.

These are just a few of the 32 resources published today. Every week I send out a complete listing of the items added. If you'd like to join this RootsWeb mailing list called GenToday-L, click here for instructions.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Utilizing newsgroups as a genealogy resource

While some researchers may shy away or be unaware, a particular set of tools used in the computer field, Newsgroups, Mailing lists and Bulletin Boards, can be valuable in sharing problems in genealogical research. In his article, "Newsgroups and Genealogy Resources," Alan Smith seeks to clarify terms and simplify the process of accessing available information in this "growing resource."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Resources for determining if there is an inventor in your family

If you read our GenWeekly article last May on using Google patents as a genealogical tool, you may be interested in Gena Philibert-Ortega's latest article, "Your Ancestor the Inventor," which also explores the subject of patents and provides additional resources.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Society launches online guide to parishes

As reported in the Worcester New, "Help on hand for family researchers," a new online guide has been launced to help family historians research their ancestors in Worcestershire. Tracing Your Ancestors in Worcestershire is a guide to all the parishes of the old county of Worcestershire as it was prior to the reorganisation of local government in 1974. It has been launched on the Worcester branch web site of the Birmingham & Midland Society for Genealogy & Heraldry (BMSGH).

Palentines of America aids German research

A recent genealogy column in the TribStar introduces those who might not be familiar, to the Palentines of America and its usefulness to German research. The article reports, if you visit the Web site at you will learn that Palatines to America (Pal Am) is a “German genealogy society dedicated to the study of ancestors from all German-speaking lands. The society takes its name from the fact that some of the earliest German-speaking immigrants to the American colonies came from a region in present-day Germany known as the Palatinate (Pfälz) and were called Palatines (Pfälzers). The founding members of Pal Am all had ancestors from this area of Germany.” For information on the national society along with its state chapters, visit

Over 1 million records added to UK National Burial Index announced that it has added another 1.2 million National Burial Index records to its existing online collection of UK family history records, according to a recent column on The new records cover the counties of Somersetsire, Dorset and Essex and have been contributed by he Somersetand Dorset Family History Society as part of an arrangement with the Federation of Family History Societies (FFHS) to transfer their local family history society records to

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Highlights for February 17th, 2008

I really like insurance claim information. How interesting would it be for you to find information about a significant event (e.g. fire) in your ancestors' lives? There are three insurance-related items in this weeks' update: Farmers' Mutual Fire Ins. Co. (Vermont), Blooming Grove Mutual Fire Ins. Co. (Pennsylvania), and Knights Templars and Masons Life Indemnity Co. (Illinois). More insurance claims records are currently being transcribed and will be included in upcoming updates. Well, I'm starting to believe that there must be an association for just about every group of workers that ever existed! Here's a fun one: an 1893 membership list for the American Ticket Brokers Association.

These are just a few of the 22 resources published today. Every week I send out a complete listing of the items added. If you'd like to join this RootsWeb mailing list called GenToday-L, click here for instructions.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Art-quality quilts on display in three states

According to an article in the Cincinnati Enquirer, "Art-quality quilts," this winter, three quilt exhibitions offer ample evidence that the imagery on quilts can equal any work of fine art, whether it is a colonial quilt from Connecticut, a modern quilt from Alabama, or a contemporary quilt from Ohio. "Eye-popping geometrics that rival op art paintings. Sweet scenes of childhood that look as if they came from a richly illustrated picture book. Painterly narratives that explore family history." The article provides some interesting historical background as well as details of each exhibit. The times and places are as follows:

Quilting African American Women's History, runs March 8 to November 8, 2008 at the National Afro-American Museum in Wilberforce, Ohio.

Masterpiece Quilts from the Shelburne Museum, runs February 16 through June 1, 2008 at the Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, OH.

Gee's Bend: The Architecture of the Quilt, runs January 2 through March 23, 2008 at the Speed Art Museum, 2035 S. Third St., Louisville, KY.

Friday, February 15, 2008

No lack of creativity in presenting family history

We all appreciate something new and creative. In her article, "History & Genealogy - Through Music," Judy Rosella Edwards introduces us to family history through music, Joel Mabus style. The author suggest music and other creative talents might be just the ticket to engage youngsters in family history.

Computerized Family History and Genealogy Conference, Mar 14-15

The eleventh annual Conference on Computerized Family History & Genealogy at Brigham Young University is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, March 14 and 15, 2008. This conference is designed to be a how-to guide for everyone—beginning, intermediate, and advanced researchers. The focus of the conference is to help everyone learn how new computer programs and advancements in existing programs can improve family history and genealogy work.

In addition, representatives from the Family and Church History Department will be discussing how to effectively use LDS Church family history programs. Also this year will be new classes by vendors of products that aid family history work. The conference is sponsored by the BYU Center for Family History and Genealogy, LDS Family History Library, and BYU’s Division of Continuing Education. Anyone with an interest in family history or genealogy is invited to attend and meet with fellow genealogists and computer enthusiasts.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Genealogy Fundamentals

Those new to family history research often get ahead of themselves, seeking to jump right in and gather information on an ancestor of interest several generations back -- maybe to solve the family mystery or prove a relationship. What the novice researcher may not realize is that genealogy works from the present to the past, starting with the individual researcher. YOU are No. 1 on your own pedigree chart. Or, if you are trying to help someone else, placing that person in the No. 1 spot. The process is so much easier when you begin with yourself and work back, starting with what you know and, as you go along, researching and filling in what you don't know. The clues build upon themselves, generation by generation. In the article, "Genealogy Fundamentals," Donnie Boursaw discusses this and other fundamental elements for those just getting started on their family history.

South Dakota 1940s era cemetery records online

As noted in a recent article on Keoland TV, the South Dakota State Historical Society has put a searchable index to a database of cemetery records online.

A 1940s-era collection of cemetery records is in the archives at the Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre and is a popular research tool for genealogists. Staff and volunteers have entered information from the records into a database during the past several years. The information is from a Works Progress Administration effort known as the Graves Registration Project. The inventory included the name of the deceased, the grave, lot, block and section number, date of death, age at death, gender and whether or not the person was a veteran. To check out the online database, go to

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ancestry adds new records to its African American Collection

Announced in a recent press release,, has expanded its online repository of African-American family history records with two new collections that provide unique insights into African- American family history: Freedman's Marriage Records and Southern Claims Commission Records.

"While these documents depict the horrors of slavery, they also provide invaluable information that help uncover ancestors' life stories," said Megan Smolenyak, Chief Family Historian for "These documents further cement the fact that African-Americans can discover their family's heritage, even those ancestors enslaved prior to the Civil War. We're seeing an increasing interest among African-Americans in tracing their roots, especially as collections such as these are made available and accessible online, rather than stored away in archives."

Users can explore the African-American Historical Records Collection and begin piecing together their family tree at

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Highlights for February 10th, 2008

You may notice quite a few yearbooks in this weeks update. I have hundreds of yearbooks from around the country sitting in boxes and wanted to get some more of them online. The June 1920 Hard Lines is an interesting one from North Dakota. Also interesting this week is the 1927 Directory for the Park Hill Church of Christ in Arkansas. And there's a large list of Deceased Soldiers and Sailors from Rhode Island in the 1871 Monument Dedication.

For those of you craving information for Canadian Ancestors, this week we added the June 1915 Classic (Normal School at Stratford) and the 1916 Hya Yaka (Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario).

These are just a few of the 43 resources published today. Every week I send out a complete listing of the items added. If you'd like to join this RootsWeb mailing list called GenToday-L, click here for instructions.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Early missionary "bands" establish churches and colleges

"We have grown up with the image of the little prairie church perhaps without even considering where they came from. Beginning in the mid-1840's, young graduates from East Coast schools of theology began a movement that established both churches and colleges in the new frontier." In her article, "The Missionary Bands," Judy Rosella Edwards provides some background and the names of early members.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Searching for burial records may take time

In her article, "Searching for Burial Grounds Takes Time," Karan Pittman reminds us how many old cemeteries and burial spots have been lost over time, and how much time and effort it can take to dig up evidence of an ancestor's death and burial. In an age when so much information is at a our fingertips, we may be frustrated when our expectations are not met. It's good to keep in mind that some things take time and there are many avenues to explore.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

WorldVitalRecords launches World Genealogy Collection

In a press release today, (a service of, Inc.) released today its flagship product, the World Collection, an online genealogy database containing more than 1.5 billion names from 35 countries.’s World Collection launch includes significant collections from countries such as: England, Canada, Australia, France, Ireland, Scotland, Hungary, and Portugal.

“All over the world there are wonderful people who are digitizing and preserving historic records,” said Paul Allen, CEO,, Inc. “During the past year we have traveled and met with these content providers from more than a dozen countries. We are pleased today to announce that many of them have chosen to let us distribute their genealogical databases on the Internet.”

More than 20 companies have partnered with to make this new collection possible. They include Find My Past, Genealogical Publishing Company, Archive CD Books Australia, British Origins, Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild, Archive CD Books Canada, Eneclann, Quintin Publications, Gould Genealogy, Familias Argentinas, Godfrey Memorial Library, and Moravian Heritage Society.

The World Collection includes birth, marriage and death records, census records, passenger lists, immigration lists, emigration records, foreign newspapers, cemetery records, reference materials, land records, family histories, historical records, city directories, business directories, township histories, civil service records, telephone directories, government records, war records, and maps, atlases, and gazetteers. Individuals can access more than 5,000 genealogical databases, more than 2 billion names (these names are being added throughout the year), and the World Collection at

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Highlights for February 3rd, 2008

If you have a plumber in your family tree, you're in for a special treat this week. Check out the 54th Edition of the Directory of Members of the National Association of Master Plumbers of the United States. We've added yet another report for the Soldiers' Orphans Schools of Pennsylvania. This one is for 1890 and also includes a list of "Sixteeners" -- children being discharged as a result of turning 16 years old. And here's an interesting military resource: Reminiscences of the Experiences of Company L, Second Regiment Massachusetts Infantry, U. S. V., in the Spanish-American War.

These are just a few of the 37 resources published today. Every week I send out a complete listing of the items added. If you'd like to join this RootsWeb mailing list called GenToday-L, click here for instructions.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Tips and strategies for tackling your brick walls

Often at the beginning of a new year we set out to tackle some of our old brick walls. In her article, "Taking Your Brick Walls Head-On," Gena Philibert-Ortega provides a tips and hints for taking a fresh look and developing new strategies.