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.