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 These partnerships will make millions of important Jewish historical documents available on, many of which are online for the first time ever and searchable for free.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.