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?