Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Illinois Genealogy

Those of you interested in Illinois genealogy will be interested in the website "Illinois Clicks" found at:

About half way down the home page on the left hand side is a hyperlink to "Genealogy and Local History." That will lead you to further clicks covering a variety of topics. Of particular interest is the link to "Illinois Relatives: Online Records." Here you will find cemetery and city directory records among other selections.

The site is nicely arranged and easy to use, but don't expect completeness. Some of the links to certain types of data lead to deadends. That simply means the site is a work in process and more information will be added over time. It is worth checking our, however, because some of the data you find there is fairly unique.

Manasota Genealogical Society Meeting

For those of you who are getting itchy feet and want to do a little traveling, the Manasota Genealogical Society Meeting in January is on the 6th and they welcome visitors. Here are the particulars:

Date: TUESDAY, January 6, 2009
Where: Manatee Central Library, 1301 Barcarrota Blvd.
West Bradenton, Florida
Time: 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

The guest speaker is Drew Smith, of the Florida Genealogy Society in Tampa...who, by the way is going to be our speaker in March. His topic is titled: "Kicking the Tires of Genealogy Software."

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Newspapers Online

If you are interested in finding newspapers on line that are associated with your geographic areas of research, check out I did a quick check and found more than 90 newspaper sites listed for Florida and more than 50 for Wisconsin.

The sites you are taken to are for the modern day paper, but from those sites you may find access to archives that can take you back to the time of your ancestors. Archive access is determined by the individual newspaper, but it may be worth checking out.

Florida State Census

This notice about the availability of Florida State Censuses has been in the genealogy news lately: now has them available on line...indexed...with images! Now available are the 1945, 1935, 1875 and 1867 Florida state censuses.

Don't forget that the Largo Library also has those censuses available in microfilm, as well as some years and schedules that Ancestry does not yet have. Check them out.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

What to do with all the Christmas Cards

Have you thought about the genealogical value of all the cards you receive? Keep a record of the addresses of your kinfolk through the years. The notes inside some of the cards also have some family information. Take a look at the article at for some ideas. Thanks to Dick Eastman's newsletter of 25 December for this tip.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Video Helps Explain Use of DNA

Dick Eastman's recent newletter contained an article about a video that helps explain the use of DNA in genealogy. Scott R. Woodward, executive director of Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation is the presenter. He explains what DNA is and then goes on to explain how it is used in genealogy to show relationships between individuals and groups.

The video is 16 minutes long and well-worth viewing if you are new to this area of genealogy. You can find the video at:

Monday, December 15, 2008

Emily Coeyman Dies

I have just been informed of the passing of Emily Coeyman. The word comes from her daughter, Sue Thomas.

As many of you know, Emily was a long-time member and active contributor to the PGS. For those of you who wish to pay your respects, a service will be held at 3 PM on Friday, 19 Dec at the Anderson-McQueen Funeral Home at 7820 38th Ave N., St. Petersburg.

Our best thought are with Emily's family.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

New Database for African-American Research

This was recently released by the Associated Press and also covered in Dick Eastman's newsletter:

"Historians hope a new Web database will help bring millions of blacks closer to their African ancestors who were forced onto slave ships, connecting them to their heritage in a way that has long been possible for white Europeans.
"Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database" launched Friday in conjunction with a conference at Emory University marking the bicentennial of the official end of the trans-Atlantic slave trade in 1808. Emory spearheaded the two-year interactive project, which is free to the public.
"Genealogy and DNA tracing have gained popularity for blacks looking to trace their slave roots, and "Voyages" could help give a fuller picture of slavery for a culture stripped of its heritage... You can read more in an Associated Press story at" [This is well worth the read to put the capabilities of the database in context.]

You can visit the website at

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Photo Editing Software Now Available

There is a new piece of software now loaded on the genealogy PC that supports the new microform reader. It is PhotoShop Elements. PSE is a shorter version of the full PhotoShop photo editing software, but which still gives you most of the editing capabilities. To access the program, just sign on the computer and doubel click on the PhotoShop icon.

But beware, this is not a snap to use. It will require a lot of experimentation and help-reading to be able to get it to do the things you may want it to do to improve your photos. But if you have imiges of old photos that are damaged (torn, creased, water damaged, faded, etc), this program can do a lot to improve them. Just be patient and realize that to most good and powerful things there is a learning curve.

We can make some demonstrations available of there is a demand. Just let me or Bob Bryan know if you are interested and we will set it up.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Newspaper Website

Here is a site you may find helpful. It is a free online collection of old newpaper articles. It's a pretty ambitious project since it is being done by an individual, but it provides a smattering of news articles from the 1800's and 1900's from all over. The site is fairly easy to navigate, it provides a surname list, and it is searchable.

It is "The Olden Times: Historic Newspapers Online" and is found at

Suncoast Genealogy Society Seminar-24 Jan 2009

Suncoast Genealogy Society Announces Suncoast Mini Seminar 2009
January 24, 2009
Oldsmar Library Community Room
400 St Petersburg Drive East, Oldsmar, FL.

1:30 PM to 4:30 PM
(Registration 12:30PM)
Debra Fleming

The Three D’s: Deeds, Death and Divorce
Google for Genealogists

Also a huge used genealogy book and periodical sale!
Plus Creative Memories Vendor Sue Wilson!

For additional information Contact: Ann James
Phone: 727-791-1983

Monday, December 1, 2008

Another Genealogy Society Closes It's Doors

The closing of the Sangamon County Genealogical Society in Illinois was reported just recently in Dick Eastman's online newsletter. He said:

"After 40 years in existence, the Sangamon County Genealogical Society is shutting down next month. Declining membership and dues revenue, as well as the abundance of genealogical information available on the Internet, all contributed to the group’s demise, its leaders said this week."

Althought the Sangamon society's situation is different from ours, it typifies the challenge that faces all genealogy societies today. That is why we work so hard to keep our members interested and is why we focus so greatly on programs, classes, and education in general. And it is why we at the PGS are so pleased that our membership remains enthusiastic and growing.

This unfortunate news from Sangamon underscores the essential value of membership. Thanks to all of you who support your genealogy society through volunteering to work on projects, signing up as consultants, serving on the board, coming to hear our speakers, attending classes, and (most fundamentally) for contributing your membership.

Is this a good time to ask?......have you renewed your membership for 2009 yet?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Reminder: Genealogy Consultant Orientation

Here's reminder of the orientation sessions we have scheduled for PGS Genealogy Consultants. If you are curious about what the job entails, one of these sessions will fill you in. Consulting is a great way to help out fellow genealogists as well as to hone your own research skills and become fully familiar with what our library has to offer. Here are the three sessions to be conducted in the genealogy department of the Largo Library:

2 Dec., 12 PM
5 Dec., 12 PM
9 Dec., 10 AM

No advanced notice is necessary, just show up and join in.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Want to be a census worker?

For all of you who have ever complained about the quality of census documents, here's your chance to do something about a census worker for the 2010 census.

There are both part-time and full-time jobs in the Tampa Bay Area. Individuals will be compensated for participating in training, if selected for employment. Mileage is reimbursed and wages are paid weekly.

Applicants must take and pass a basic skills test (Copies of a practice test are at the reference desk of the Largo Library). Bring to the testing session either your U.S. Passport, current, or expired; or a Driver’s License or State issued ID card AND a U.S. social security card. Testing is conducted at St. John’s Episcopal, in the Parish Hall Tuesday’s at 9:00 a.m. on the following dates:
December 2, 16 and 30,
January 13 and 27,
February 10 and 24,
March 10 and 24.

For additional information and to schedule a test, please call toll free 1-866-861-2010.

St. John’s Episcopal Church
1676 S. Belcher Rd.
Clearwater, FL 33764

Directions: Located in northern Pinellas County, Florida, St. John's is on Belcher Road, about 1 milewest of US 19, between East Bay Drive and Belleair Road. Belcher Road runs parallel toUS 19 (the main north/south arterial in Pinellas County).

Here's a couple of interesting interviews

Dick Eastman recently conducted interviews of two people notable in the world of genealogy: Craig Scott and John Titford. Those interviews are now available on Roots Television if you are interested.

Craig Scott is President and CEO of Heritage Books, Inc. as well as an expert in military records, Scottish ancestry and a number of other topics. He talks about his experiences in publishing 3,200 genealogy books, as well as his genealogy research expertise. You can watch the video at

John Titford is a well-known British genealogy expert, author and lecturer. He has recently completed the project of rewriting The Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. He also talks about his experience with Louisiana culture & history. You can watch the video at:

Monday, November 24, 2008

New City Directories on

This was recently posted on the 24-7 Family History Circle Blog: has posted 1,100 U.S. city directories to its Collection. This addition, with an estimated 50 million names, covers some large cities such as New York City and Brooklyn. There are directories for quite a few large cities, as well as some smaller ones, with coverage typically from the 1880s through around 1900, which neatly bridges that gap left by the missing 1890 Census. These directories are, in fact, part of the 1890 Census Substitute Collection at Ancestry.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Genealogy Gifts

With the holidays coming up and the need to find gifts for friends and family, don't forget gifts that have a genealogy theme to them. They are a great way to stimulate interest in the subject. There are several websites with genelogy gift to look at that give you a selection of light-hearted gifts is Genealogy magazine subscriptions also make a good gift, and of course there is always genealogy software if you want to dive into the deep end of the pool.

The PGS also has some great gifts you can purchase...our collection of instructional CD-Rom's. Just go to the PGS website <> and click on "publications" to get to a list of the titles currently available.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Looking for Genealogy Consultants

What you see to the right is our consultant schedule with only the openings shown. Those are the 3-hour blocks where we have no one on duty at the genealogy desk in the Largo Library. In case its confusing, "AFT" stands for afternoon, and "NITE" means night.

We need to cover these time periods. Patrons rely on PGS consultants to aid them in using the library resources. Don't worry about how much you will receive training, and we will team you with an experienced consultant until you feel confident to go it on your own.

If you want to volunteer and wish to do so during a time when we already have a consultant on duty, that's all right...we would like to have depth at each time slot. And don't worry if you must miss a time or two. This is not an Army enlistment, we will just work around absences.

Contact me if you wish to participate (272-535-3093; Take it from me and the other consultants: this is a very rewarding way to spend your time.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Full Text Newspapers Available at the Library of Congress

A short while ago I put a notice similar to this one on the Blog....and it was wrong...the referenced website was a pay site. So let me try again.

A while ago, the Library of Congress announced that "Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers" is debuting with more than 226,000 pages of public-domain newspapers from California, Florida, Kentucky, New York, Utah, Virginia and the District of Columbia published between 1900 and 1910. The fully-searchable site is available at

When you reach that site, right in the middle of the screen will be a box labeled "Search Pages." If you click on that you will be taken to a search form and eventually to the image of the target newspaper.

Good Luck.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Discussion Leader Wanted

This is something to consider. There is a genealogy discussion group which meets the second Saturday of every month at the West St. Petersburg Community Library on the Gibbs Campus of the St. Petersburg College (that's at the corner of 67th Street North and 8th Avenue. It generally sees attendance of from 6 to 12 people. Charlie Grandmaison, one of our members, is supporting that group, but the "formal" leader has been Susan Hickok. Unfortunately, an accident resutled in Susan's death recently, and so the group now needs a leader/coordinator. The group was established to serve the genealogical interests of those who live a bit south of us, but it also encourages membership in the PGS. The PGS directly supports the group by attending some of the meetings and also by making presentations and extolling the virutes of PGS membership. That support, although appreciated, is not sufficient to keep the group going, however.

So....if you live down in that area and would like to help lead that discussion group, let me know. Call me at 727-535-3093 or send an email to

Manasota Genealogical Society meeting announcement

Here is a notice I just received from the Manasota Genealogical Society about their up-coming meeting:
>Date: TUESDAY, December 2, 2008
>Where: Manatee Central Library, 1301 Barcarrota Blvd.
>West Bradenton, Florida
>Time: 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
>Guest Speaker: ALEX MORRIS from the Sarasota Genealogical Society will speak on “The Most Important Moment in American History: George Washington’s Resignation from the Army” anouncement

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Documentation and Evidence ala Elizabeth Shown Mills

Many of you may be familiar with the name Elizabeth Shown Mills. She is the author of several genealogy books, two of which are Evidence and Evidence Explained. Those are two volumes we reference in our class on "Documenting Your Sources."

She was recently interviewed by Dick Eastman and the interview was poster at Roots TV. Use the following link to see that interview. She has interesting things to say about her books, the need to evaluate sources, and what her current projects are:

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Family Tree Maker 2009 Free "Webinar"

If you are interested in Family Tree Maker 2009, you might be interested in an upcoming "webinar" on this software. Here is the blurb describing the event:

“Family Tree Maker 2009 – What’s New and What’s Coming”
Get up close and personal with’s newest version of award–winning family tree–building software, Family Tree Maker 2009. We’ll give you an overview of its new features, preview what’s in the works for the upcoming year and give you tips and tricks to help you use Family Tree Maker to grow your family tree.

There will be a 20–minute Q&A session afterward. We’ll also be answering questions that have been submitted from the Family Tree Maker community. To submit a question, please visit the Family Tree Maker blog.

Check it out at FTM 2009 Webinar.

Speakers for PGS meeting on 15 November.

Remember the PGS general meeting (open to the public) at 11 AM on 15 November at the Largo Public Library. This month Jim and Terry Wilbur will be our speakers.

Jim and Terry have shared a love of genealogy since their high school days together. Both are retired teachers. They have researched their genealogy back 15 generations on both sides. Jim has found ancestors who fought on opposite sides of the French and Indian War, and both found that they were 6th cousins through their French-Canadian heritage. You might remember them as “hosts” on the PBS series Ancestors.

PGS is pleased and excited to have been able to secure them to speak with us on Franco-American/ French Canadian (meaning Quebecois) Research. The focus is on the descendants and ancestors of those that left Quebec to come to US...French speakers. The program is titled, " An Introduction to Franco-American/ French( Quebec )-Canadian Genealogy".


Hope to see you at the meeting.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Genealogy Consultants Rock!

We have a dedicated core of folks who volunteer as genealogy consultants at the genealogy desk at the library. This is a wonderful way to positively impact library patrons who are pursuing their family histories, and it is a wonderful way to learn how to improve your own research. We need more people to get involved with this effort so I want to tell you a bit about what the consultants do.

They are called consultants because their primary purpose is to provide guidance to patrons working on their genealogy. Consultants aren't expected to actually do research for patrons, but instead they familiarize them with the sources the library has to offer, they assit them in operating the computers to do their research (always a source of confusion for new researchers), and they give ideas and directions on how patrons can proceed to find what they are looking for. If time permits, they also assit in doing some of the many tasks that contribute to keeping the genealogy department running smoothly.

We are proud of our consultants and the job they do. They are one of the most visible parts of our society since they are "out front" interacting with the public, and by their actions they influence people to become involved with the PGS.

Now that you know a little bit about consultants, please consider becoming one. You can set your own hours (generally people volunteer for a 3 hour period anywhere from once a week to once a month), and you will get all of the training you need. When possible, we will pair you with an experience consultant until you feel comfortable doing the job. And did I mention that one of the benefits of of the job (in addition to the good feelings you get by helping out) is that you learn a lot for yourself in the process of helping others with their research.

If you are interested or have other questions, contact me at or phone 727-353-3093. Join this special group of the PGS...sharpen your own research abilities.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

November Classes

We have a full lineup of classes this month including the following:

Searching with
Getting Started in Genealogy
Using your digital camera for genealogy
Getting the most out of
Using MS Excel In Genealogy
Introduction to using Godfrey Library
Courthouse Documents
Using message boards & mailing lists

See a more detailed description along with times and dates at

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Suncoast Genealogy Society Seminar

The Suncoast Genealogy Society Announces its Mini Seminar on January 24, 2009 at thePalm Harbor Library (Community Room). The library is at 2330 Nebraska Ave, Palm Harbor and the event is from 1:30 PM to 4:30 PM, with registration at 12:30 PM.
The speaker is Debra Fleming and her topics are "The Three D's: Deeds, Death, and Divorce" and "Google for Genealogists."

For additional information Contact: Ann James Phone: 727-791-1983; Email:

More Volunteers for Adopt-A-State

Adopt-A-State is catching on. We now have 8 people who have adopted states. Thanks to Mary Ann Farrell, Betty Lindberg, Dianne Troyer, Ernie Whalen, Helen Savage, Rose Mary Hays, Betsy Filz, and Sandi Haynie. Between them they are covering 10 states.

Recall that under this program, you can volunteer to keep a state section of the genealogy books in order. This means that at least two times a month you will carve out time to visit your chosen state section to straighten up the shelves and ensure that the books have been shelved in the correct order.If you would like to participate in this program, simply let me, Peter Summers, know of your desire to participate (727-535-3093; A short orientation session will be arranged and you will on your way.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Jewish Genealogy

This announcement by Generations Network has had play on several websites and blogs lately, including Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter: has partnered with two leading organizations committed to the preservation of Jewish heritage – JewishGen, an affiliate of the Museum of Jewish Heritage, and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. These partnerships will make millions of important Jewish historical documents available on, many of which are online for the first time ever and searchable for free. These unique records, including photographs, immigration records, Holocaust records and memorials, can now be searched alongside other records already accessible on, creating the largest collection of Jewish family history records on the Web with more than 26 million records documenting Jewish life.

Coincidentally, the PGS just recently reasearched an gave to the Largo Public Library a list of 50 titles dealing with Jewish genealogy for the Library to purchase as part of its annual book purchase. This is an aspect of the genealogy collection that needed expansion, and we were pleased that at our suggestion the library was willing to take action.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Instruction on Using the New Microform Reader

An earlier post on this Blog told you about the new piece of equipment now located in the Genealogy Department that is used to read microfilm and micofiche. It is attached to a computer that allows editing, printing, and saving of the images being read.

On 30 October a representative from the company that makes that equipment will be at the library to demonstrate it, and in particular show how the editing software that comes with it can be used to impove to quality and read-ability of poor images. He will be available the entire morning for these demonstrations, although no formal schedule is is a matter of simply dropping in and asking for the demonstration.

If you have not explored our microfilm or microfice collection because of the difficulty in using the old reader/printer or because of the poor quality of the output, drop by and learn how remarkably improved the viewed or printed image can become. And if you are interested but cannot make it on the 30th, let me know (; 727-535-3093) and we'll arrange a session more convenient for you.

Canadian City Directories Now Available Online

This was recently reported in Dick Eastman's Online Newsletter. launched online the fully indexed Canada City and Area Directories, 1819-1899, which feature the names and addresses of more than 5.2 million people who lived in Canada during the greater part of the 19th Century. In total, 19,764 pages of directory pages were scanned and are now available to search online.

A pre-cursor to phone books, these historic directories feature an alphabetical listing of the majority of heads of households in major cities across Canada along with their address and occupation. It also lists businesses, town officers, schools, societies, churches and other public institutions.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Getting to Heritage Quest From Your Home Computer

As you know, you can log on to Heritage Quest from your home computer without paying the subscription fee if you go through the Largo Library site ( and use your library card number.

There has lately been a problem with that process, however...after people have entered their library card number, they have been confronted with another screen asking for another ID and password. To make matters even more perplexing, sometimes this problem occurs and sometimes it does not.

BUT, the temporary solution is easy. Simply type in the address box of your browser again, click your way to the list of databases as you did the first time you tried to log on, choose Heritage Quest from the list again, and you are in...the home screen of Heritage Quest will appear without you having even to enter you library card number a second time.

The library staff is trying to solve the problem for the long term, but in the meantime simply take the above steps.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Renew Your PGS Membership Now

Please do not forget to renew your membership in the society. It helps the board a great deal in our planning if you renew now would be a good time to do it. At only $17 per person or #25 per household this has got to be one of the best deals around.

Your dues support all of the programs that the PGS undertakes. Just look at what that includes:
>classes (over 20 classes every three months),
>speakers (each month at the general meeting),
>seminar (an annual, all-day event with book sale, seminars, and nationally knowed speaker),
>newsletter (monthly),
>journal (quarterly),
>projects (too numerous to count, but include cemetery canvasing, bible record transcriptions, data publication on the internet, etc),
>instructional CD ROMs (3 available now and 2 more to be introduced at the seminar in February),
>computer user groups (Family Tree Maker, Roots Magic, and general computers-in-genealogy discussion group)
>speaker's bureau (we make presentations on genealogy and the society to local civic groups, libraries, as well as to neighboring genealogy societies. Yes, just as we hire speakers for our monthly meetings, we are hired to be speakers as well)
>consultants (these are the people who support the genealogy desk at the library and provide assistance to researchers.

Your dues support all of these efforts and make your society one of the largest and most active in the state. Support your society. Renew your membership now.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Help Wanted

If you are reading this blog, you must have some free time on your hands! PGS could use some of that free time for our genealogy projects. We have projects that you can do at home or in the library! Interested?? Contact Pat LeConte at Largo Library, Genealogy Department!


Volunteers- I am updating the volunteer projects list for PGS. If you are working on a project, please let me know by leaving a message at the Genealogy Desk at the Largo Library.
Pat LeConte

PGS Has Ad on Bright House Cable

Here is the ad that is running during the period 9-22 November on the basic Bright House cable channels (those below channel 100). The plan is to have it run on various channels about 200 times.

This came about through a grant from Bright House where that company awards free air time to non-profit organizations such as ours.

I guess I should state the obvious that this was not done by professionals, but it's not half bad either.

Ancestry Makes Yearbooks Available For A Limited Time

The Ancestry Weekly Journal just had an article about the yearbook collection at Ancestry has just significantly increased the size of its yearbook collection to more than 6000. The dates covered range from 1902 to 2005. Also, Ancestry is opening the database to all, free of charge, until the end of October. Click here to search the yearbooks or type the following address in your browser:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Roots Magic User Group Meeting

Roots Magic is a genealogy computer program that is similar in its objectives to PAF and Family Tree Maker, but which also has its own particular approach to the job of managing genealogy data. By popular request we have formed a users group to explore the "ins and outs" of using the program. There will be a meeting of that group on Saturday, 25 Oct in the Local History Room of the Largo Library at 12 noon. This is not a class, but instead is a forum at which to ask questions and get answers. Users of the program as well as those who may be considering buying the program, will find this session valuable. So bring your questions and/or problems to the Local History Room at 12 noon on Saturday, 25 October and we will work through them together.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Washington State Archives Now Online

Got to to see Washington State Digital Archives containing about 74 million online records. Marriage licenses, birth and death certificates, census data, military service, election data, property deeds and even old pictures are all accessible.

In the past week I have had two people ask me research questions for which this site was the answer. That was the indication to me that we should publish the site in this Blog. Good hunting.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

St. Petersburg Times Archives Now Available

Flash...The "St. Petersburg Times" has teamed up with Google to make its historical archives freely available online. The new database includes millions of Times articles dating back more than 100 years. This is obviously a boon to genealogists. The range of dates available is from 1901 to 2007.

You can search for this material at Type source: "St. Petersburg Times" before entering your search query. The same access will also boon be available through the newspaper's own web site,

I found the search process to be a bit confusing (although it sounds simple), but maybe that's just me. Like most things in genealogy, if you need the info, you need the info, and you are willing to dig it out.

And don't forget, although not searchable, the following St. Petersburg Times microfilmed issues are available at the Largo Public Library in the Genealogy Department: 1901-1946 and 1979-1991.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

More Changes in the Largo Library

Here are some changes that are occurring in the library that you may be interested in. First, all of the St. Petersburg Times and New York Times microfilm that used to be located by the second floor reference desk are now located in the Genealogy Department. Since it turned out to be genealogy researchers who used that collection most, the change makes sense. On top of that, we will now have room to put out several years of the Florida State census that we have not had cabinet space for. It will take a few days for the film to be loaded in the cabinets, but the process is underway.

Second, the two CDRom cabinets that were stacked one on top of the other have now been unstacked. Because of that, the safety issue of the top cabinet falling over no longer exists. As a result, both cabinets are now kept unlocked and a genealogy consultant no longer has to provide the key to allow researchers have access to the resource.

Third, the old, large, hooded microfilm readers and the three old microfiche readers that were located in the back of the Genealogy Department have been removed. They were not being used any longer and have been replace with newer equipment. That area will be used for table space for researchers to spread out. That is a great improvement to my mind...and as proof, those tables were already being used by two researchers when I was working in the library today.

Last, most if not all of the office space behind desk in the second floor reference area (not the genealogy area, but the REFERENCE area) are going to be removed and the space will be turned into quite study areas...that probably means tables and chairs. That seems to me to be a good move since the staff is not using all that space, and we find more and more conflict for table space...even in genealogy.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Lewis Martin Assists in Genealogy

Lewis Martin, a staff member in the library, is assisting in the Genealogy department for the foreseeable future. He will work there during the mornings on Thursday and Friday. Please drop by the department if you are in the library on those days and welcome him.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Heritage Scrapbook class--14 Oct at 10 AM, LH room

PGS is presenting a new class on scrapbooking techniques in genealogy. This will be presented by Esther Meinhardt who has done some beautiful and creative scrapbooks. Come and see these areas discussed:

• digital vs, paper scrapbooking
• how to handle photographs
• uses for ephemera, documents, family trees & pedigree charts
• how to journal
• organization ideas and design principles
• resources and tools
• preservation methods

There are still some spaces available. Email Bob Bryan at to reserve your space.

Friday, October 3, 2008

PGS Town Hall Meeting

Our town hall meeting is a chance to express opinions and ideas, address issues, and ask questions about the inner workings of PGS in an informal atmosphere. Although we have a short business meeting at the start of every monthly meeting, there is seldom time to dig into operational matters of the PGS or to give time to items that may be of interest to the membership....such as financial plans, educational issues, policy questions, plans for the future, and library relations.

On 14 October in the Local History Room of the library, we will have two town hall sessions: one at 2 PM and the other at 6 PM. Two sessions are scheduled so that most member's schedules can be accommodated. Each of the sessions is scheduled for about 2 hours.

The discussion will be free-flowing and follow the path that those in attendance choose by virtue of their questions. Whether you can come for the entire time or only part of it, if you have questions/issues about PGS business, come and let your voice be heard.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Nominations for PGS Board of Directors

For the next 2 months, the nominating committee (Beth Shields, Bob Tanner, Esther Meinhardt) will be accepting nominations for board positions to be elected in December. Not only will they be accepting nominations, they may approach some of you directly about serving.

One position in particular that they will be seeking to fill is the Seminar Director. Damon Hostetler is the director now, but his term will end with the 2009 seminar this coming February. The new director will spearhead the 2010 seminar.

Now is the time to look deep inside yourself to decide whether or not you would be willing to serve on your board for the coming year. You would be joining an active and dedicated team.

Nominations will be accepted up to the end of the general meeting in November. If you are interested, contact any one of the nominating committee members.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Genealogy Databases Accessible Again

As many of you know, when the library switched to its new catalog system about a month ago the genealogy databases such as were no longer accessible from the three IPAQ terminals in the genealogy department. That problem has now been fixed and all genealogy databases are now accessible from all terminals in the department. The process of getting to them from the iPAQ terminals is a bit different, however. Instructions on how to get to the databases will be located next to the those terminals... it's not difficult, just different.

Thanks to Geri Malham for her efforts in getting this all working again.

By the way, all of the genealogy databases are accessible from all Internet terminals and PCs in the library. The consultant at the genealogy desk can give you instructions on how to use those other library workstations if you need to.

Friday, September 26, 2008

More New Equipment in the Genealogy Department

Another new piece of equipment has been added to the Genealogy Department in the Library. There is now a large screen monitor attached to the PC that is attached to the new microform digitizer (see an earlier post to read about the digitizer).

The large screen makes it easier when viewing microfiche and microfilm images for sure. But don't forget that the PC can still be used to access and the other library databases. The large screen is helpful there too.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Largo Library Genealogy Librarian Departs

As many of you know by now, Carla Kerns, our genealogy librarian at the Largo Library has left for a new position at the Seminole Library. Her last day with us was Friday, 19 September. At the PGS monthly meeting on the 20th we had a chance to formally say goodbye to Carla and she had an opportunity to address the membership. We are sorry to see Carla leave, of course, but we cannot deny our happiness at her opportunity to advance.

The good news is that although Carla is leaving the Largo Library, she is not leaving PGS. She intends to stay involved as a member and so we will see her at monthly meetings, making some presentations, and possibly as a project volunteer.

The library administration is now considering how to deal with the vacancy created by Carla’s departure, and the PGS board is staying close to that decision. In the mean time, the PGS Library Coordination Committee and the genealogy consultants will continue to work as they always have to provide support to the patrons. We will let you know as news in this area develops.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Manasota Genealogical Society meeting

We share PGS meeting and program information with genealogy societies in the surrounding area. The Manasota society has responded in kind. Here is a notice of their next meeting and program:

Date: TUESDAY, October 7, 2008
Where: Manatee Central Library, 1301 Barcarrota Blvd., West Bradenton, Florida
Time: 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Topic: "The Paper Trail: Florida ’s Court House Holdings”

Monday, September 22, 2008

Adopt-a-State has its first volunteer

Congratulations and thanks to Mary Ann Farrell who is our first Adopt-a-State participant. Mary Ann adopted New York and has agreed to visit that portion of the genealogy collection once or twice a month to straighten and maintain the books shelved there. Not only is she helping patrons who are trying to find New York references, she also gets a first look at material added to the New York collection.

If anyone else wishes to Adopt-a-State to assist in the maintenance of the genealogy collection, contact Peter Summers [; (727)535-3093].

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Historic Houses in Massachusetts

After the meeting on 20 September and the program on the genealogy of houses, PGS member Sallie Barr Palmer approached me with a story I thought was interesting an so I am passing it on (with Sallie's approval, of course). Although it deals with a specific house in her family, there is a piece of information that will be of interest for anyone researching homes in Massachusetts...I have used bold type to highlight that. Thanks, Sallie, for sharing this follow-on to our meeting program:

"The September PGS meeting with the theme “Houses Have a Geneological Past Also” brought back memories of my search for my great-grandmother’s house in Massachusetts.
If you’re trying to find your old family home and your forebears came from Massachusetts, you’re in luck!
"About ten years ago, on a trip to New England, my husband and I decided to look for the house where my great-grandmother had been born about 150 years earlier. Although my great-grandparents had moved west to Illinois after they were married, my mother had visited the house in 1927 and had her photo taken in front of it. By that time, the house had long ago gone out of family ownership. On the back of the photo, my mother’s mother had noted the town and why the house was significant.
"We arrived in the little town of Blackstone, Mass., on the Rhode Island border, and decided to head for the local library for help. There the staff bent over backwards to help us - probably an interesting change from the routine of checking books in and out.
"The librarian produced a looseleaf binder containing a page for every house of historic interest in Blackstone. She explained that the state of Mass. had dispatched a team of researchers to seek out every house in the state over 100 years old and issue a report, with photo, description and history, on each one. The library in each town has a copy of the reports on its own historic houses. Presumably the master copies for the whole state are held in Boston.
"We had no address, but we knew what the house looked like. We paged through the binder and lo and behold, there it was. The library gave us a town map and off we went. We spotted the house easily and knocked on the door, but no one was home. We did peek through the windows, and my husband took my picture standing where my mother had stood 75 years earlier. We left a note for the owners.
"Across the street was an old graveyard, abandoned and overgrown, but we picked our way through and found a few family graves.
"We returned to the library to tell them of our success and to get a photocopy of the report on “our” house. The report traces the various owners from the time the house was built. It turned out to have been built in 1810 by my great-grandmother’s grandfather and remained in the family for over 100 years. The library had other genealogical documents, too, and we delved through some of them.
"I sent copies of the new photo and of the research report to my cousins in California. One of them wrote back that among his father’s effects, he had found a photo of the house but until now had no idea of what it was.
"Great-grandmother was descended from two early settler families - the Ballous and the Cooks - who were among the founders of the town. The two families intermarried extensively - for example, on the family tree I came across two men, one from each family, who were not only uncle and nephew, but also second cousins. Great-grandmother, however, had the good sense to marry someone from out of town."

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Heritage Scrapbooking Class

Heritage Scrapbooking Class on 14 October at 10:00 AM in the Local History Room of Largo Library.

This will be an overview of how to create a family heritage scrapbook using photographs, mementos, and information about the family's history, culture, and traditions. The class will be led by Esther Meinhardt and will feature examples of heritage scrapbooks and will discuss materials and methods for creating a treasured family heirloom.

The class is free but space is limited so sign up now to reserve your space. Email Bob Bryan at or call at 595-4521.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

New Equipment in the Genealogy Department

You may have noticed a new piece of equipment in the genealogy department if you have been there recently. It is a digital microform reader (it will read microfilm and microfiche). It is attached to one of the PC's. That PC can still be used to access and other databases, but it also now has this added capability.
Rather than making you read a projected (and unclear) image of the microfilm, this device converts it to a digital image and shows it to you on the computer screen. You can do all sorts of improvements to it (change the brightness of the image, increase its sharpness, etc), and then chose to print it or save it to a flash drive.
New instructions are being made up now and are projected to be placed next to the reader by Tuesday, 16 Sep. We will also be giving orientation sessions periodically to demonstrate its use. It will take some time before all the consultants at the library are up to speed on the reader, but we hope the instructions (which contain lots of pictures) will be all that you need to get up and running.
This reader will breathe new life into our microfilm and microfiche collection. Check it out.

Friday, September 12, 2008

New Look for Genealogy Journals in the Library

There is a new look to the journal section in the Genealogy Department in the library. Those journals that are associated with a particular state have been moved back to that state section in the stacks. The only journals separated out for the journal display shelves are those that are general in nature such as "Internet Genealogy," "Everton's Genealogical Helper," "Focus," etc.

Previously some journals were kept in the state section of the shelves and some were kept in the journal display shelves. You never really knew where to look for a particular journal. We feel that this new arrangement will reduce much of the confusion ...for most journals there is now only one place to look, and that is in the appropriate state section.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A New Way to Support the PGS

We now have an “Adopt-a-State” program for the Genealogy Department of the library. Under this program, you can volunteer to keep a state section of the genealogy books in order. This means that at least two times a month you will carve out time to visit your chosen state section to straighten up the shelves and ensure that the books have been shelved in the correct order.
Patrons often try to help by re-shelving the books they use, and sometimes get them out of order. Then the next person looking for that book gets frustrated because the book appears not to be available. Your assistance under the Adopt-a-State program will be a great help. Not only will it make resources more available, but the genealogy department will be a more pleasant place to visit and do research...and YOU get to see new additions to the state collection first.

SO HOW DO YOU DO IT? Simply let me, Peter Summers, know of your desire to participate (727-535-3093; A short orientation session will be arranged and you will on your way.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

20 Sep - Houses Have A Genealogical Past Also

Join us for our next meeting in the Jenkins Room at the Largo Library at 11:00 AM on 20 Sep 2008.

Learn how to search for past records on a house and who lived there.  Ellen Babb and Joyce Pickering from Heritage Village are working on a project to do just that for the houses in the Village.