Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Did You Miss "Who Do You Think You Are?"

If you missed episodes of the television show "who do you think you are?", you can watch it on your computer. Just go to the website listed at the bottom of this post and click on one of the stars pictures that appear in the middle of your screen. If the episode has not aired yet, you can watch the entire episode on your computer.

After you click on the personality's picture, another screen will appear about that individual. Somewhere in the middle of the screen there will be a link that allows you to "view the full episode."

At this point the video should start automatically. The only other choice you may have to make is one about screen resolution. If you're confronted with that choice, I recommend you take the lowest resolution since it doesn't require any downloads and is sufficient for small screen viewing on your computer. This sounds like a bit of "clicking around," but the end result is worth it if you have missed episodes of the show.

Here is the website to go to view the videos:

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Are Vital Records a Target of Identity Theft?

Dick Eastman tackles the question of how much vital records play as a target of identity theft in a recent issue of his news letter. The answer is apparently "not much," according to a recent survey quoted by Dick on the subject.

This is important to us since every once in a while legislation gets proposed to limit access to vital records... an action that would be detrimental to genealogy.

You can read Dick's rant at:

Monday, March 29, 2010

Lost War Department Papers

Fire destroyed the office of the War Department and all its files in 1800, and for decades historians believed that the collection, and the window it provided into the workings of the early federal government, was lost forever.

Thanks to a decade-long effort to retrieve copies of the files scattered in archives across the country, the collection has been reconstituted and is now offered online as a fully searchable digital database.

Check it out at:

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Naming Conventions Revisited

Mary Harrell-Sesniak wrote a fascinating article recently in the Rootsweb Review on names. She talked not only about some naming conventions that are motivated by particular societal norms, but also gives methods of discovering naming patterns in your individual ancestral families.

She explains with examples how to construct birth order charts and then examine them so find trends and patterns.

It is great reading, even if you have seen other articles on the same subject. This, I think, will give you something new.

Check it out at:, and click on "Using Roots Web."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Medal of Honor Considered for Gettysburg Hero

This story deals with a specific Civil War soldier, but when I read it, I felt compelled to pass it on. The heroics of Lt. Alonzo Cushing, Union, at the battle of Gettysburg have gained him the possible award of our country's highest award for valor, even this many years after the fact.

Check it out at:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

State Library of North Carolina--Digital Collection

On Monday, 22 March, we had a class at the library on finding genealogy books online. The class concentrated mostly on full text books, ones that you can download to your computer or simply read online.

The State Library of North Carolina has a digital repository that fits into that class. It from the home page (, click on "View Collections" or go directly into a search.

The collection deals mostly with North Carolina, of course, but there are other references there as well.
This was an earlier post on this Blog, but its important is such that I want to repeat it:

For those of you who could not make it to the public hearing on 8 March about the services related to the Largo Public Library, there is still a way to be heard.

Go to the library website ( and click on the link titled "Library Services Survey"...the link is right on the home page.

The survey is quick and easy to complete and it will give the library information upon which to base service decisions for the next three years (the extent of its planning cycle).

One of the questions specifically asks about the services of the Genealogy Center...something we are all interested in.Take a minute to do this. It is important to the library and to us.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

PGS Speaks to Tampa Genealogy Interst Group--Ancestor Trackers

The PGS has an active speakers bureau that provides speakers to local genealogy discussion groups, neighborhood associations, other genealogy societies, and genealogy seminars. One such engagement occurred on 19 March in Tampa when one of our speakers gave a presentation on the genealogy software program Roots Magic to the Ancestor Trackers genealogy interest group. The picture provided here is a candid shot of group assembling.

If you know a group that may like to hear a pitch on some aspect of genealogy, contact Bob Bryan ( to arrange it.

The PGS Journal Needs Your Help

Our journal, Pinellas Genealogist, is a first-class product that is sent all over the country to PGS members, other genealogy societies, and the Allen County Library which enters it in PERSI. It has become as significant publication contributing to not only our members, but to the field of genealogy as a whole.

That quality comes at a price, however. To successfully produce the journal four times a year, a dedicated group of assistant editors is needed. The time required is not necessarily all that much (perhaps five or so hours every three months) but dependability and the willingness to pitch in are a must.

David Dellinger, the editor of the journal, is looking for a core group of folks to help him put the journal together. There are several "departments" that need dedicated support so that David can concentrate on bringing the whole thing together. Examples of those departments are distribution, the cover, book reviews, and the "Where to Look" section.

Of particular help would be someone willing to take on the distribution job. This includes putting the labels on the completed journals and getting them to the post office. It takes only a few hours every three months to do this job, no particular expertise is needed to get it done, but taking it off David's plate would be a tremendous help.

Don't let the titles of the areas I mentioned above intimidate you. Send David ( an email to let him know you would like more information on those areas and perhaps other ways you could help him out. Simply making the query does not obligate you. Let us give you information to help you decide if you want to support the journal or not.

I cannot express how important this call for assistance is. Our journal needs our support, and I am confident that we, as a group, have it to give.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Impressive Vietnam Wall Memorial Site

We have probably all seen site that show the Vietnam Memorial and some that even let you search for a service members name. This site does that, but in a very impressive way.

After you locate the service members name, you are presented with a display of the person's unit insignia, awards and decorations, a link to others from the same geographic location, a link to the full panel of the memorial wall, and a link to the service member's full profile. That last gives you personal, military, and casualty data in printable form.

Check it out at:

Thanks to my sister-in-law, Sara Reynolds for this one.

Your Chance to Enjoy Florida Spring Weather

The final canvassing of Calvary Catholic Cemetery, 5233 118th Ave N., Clearwater, will be on Wed., 24 Mar at 10:00 AM. The bad weather/rain date is Friday, 26 March. If you are interested in helping, please contact Esther Meinhardt at

The Calvary Catholic project has had a number of leaders over the past years, and Esther and Bob have taken it on to finish off. Canvassing parts of the cemetery remained to be done before they could start production of the final book, however, and this effort should be the last big push at recording data.

There are a couple thousand head stones to be recorded and they can be done in one day with a little assistance. Contact Esther at the email address above to get information about where to meet on Wednesday. You don't have to commit the entire day to this. Even a donation of one hour of your time would be a help. Let's work together to get this one done.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Reduced Subscription Available to PGS Members

An agreement with has been put in place so that PGS members can get a substantially reduced subscription rate. Where the normal annual subscription costs $79.95, PGS members can now get it for only $39.95. This offer is good until 30 June 2010.

Shortly, all PGS members will be receiving an email giving a web page address to go to in order to take advantage of this opportunity. Simply go to the address we give you and follow the instructions to get your annual membership.

If you are not familiar with the site, here are a couple of ways you can find out about it.
1. On Wednesday, 24 March, we will hold two classes on Footnote at the Largo Public Library. They will be at 10am and 6pm. The class will also include an introduction to the Godfrey Memorial Library Site, where we have another agreement that gets PGS members a reduced subscription fee...see an earlier post on this Blog about that.
2. The Footnote site itself ( has a link right from the home page to take a tour of the site.

I will say that if you have Revolutionary War or Civil War ancestors, you will find original documentation (e.g. consolidated military service records, musters, rosters, pension application, etc.) at this site that would normally cost you up to $75 to order from the National Archives. That in itself makes this opportunity something to seriously explore.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lee County Genealogy Society Seminar; 10 April 2010

You are invited to register for the Lee County Genealogy Society Spring Half-Day Seminar featuring Pamela J. Cooper, Supervisor of the Archive Center and Genealogy Department of the Indian River County Public Library in Vero Beach, on Saturday, April 10, 2010.

The seminar’s theme of “CENSUS – CENSUS – CENSUS” will focus on the sometimes over looked information in the U.S. Federal Census. Pam’s two programs are:

"1790-1840 Censuses – The Surveys of Chickens, Ducks, and Geese," and "The United States Population Schedules 1850-1930."

The Seminar Fee is $5.00 which includes all topic related materials and refreshments. Attendees must pre-register no later than Wednesday, March 31, 2010. No walk-ins will be permitted.

Visit the society website for information and a registration form:

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

New Jersey "Genealogical Gold" Available in Flemington

This news article was brought to my attention during one of our recent classes. If you have early Plymouth and New Amsterdam ancestors, you may be interested. There is a fee for this, so you may want to follow the contact information for more information before you take the plunge. Here is the blurb from the Hunterdon County Democrat:

"A treasure trove of genealogical data labeled "ye Colonial Kinsmen From Plymouth Rocke to York Towne" has been discovered and is offered to the public by both the Hunterdon County Historical Society in Flemington and the Warren County Historical Society in Belvidere.
"The genealogical study is presented on eight 2-foot by 3-feet charts documenting about 200 immigrants of the Plymouth, Massachusetts and New Amsterdam (present day New York City) and tracing their families through six generations. In total, over 3,000 individuals, all related by blood or marriage, are included, providing many genealogical connections for current New Jersey residents.
"The set of eight charts are suitable for framing and available for a $30 donation.
"For more information, e-mail or call 908-782-1091."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Researching Genealogy at the Library of Congress

James Tanner gives us a good, albeit short, overview of what the Library of Congress has to offer genealogists. The statistics he provides are over-whelming. For example, there are a total of 141,847,810 items in the collections, including: 21,218,408 cataloged books in the Library of Congress classification system, 62,778,118 total manuscripts, 5,357,385 maps, 16,086,572 microforms, etc.

Perhaps most helpful is the link the author provides to the "Local History & Genealogy Reading Room." Check it out at:

Monday, March 15, 2010

An Explanation of Autosomal DNA

Thanks to Dick Eastman and his online newsletter for pointing this one out. If you think you could benefit from a short review of how your DNA is composed of the DNA from your ancestors, and subsequently this link is for you. The best part about the review, is that it uses graphics to explain the process. If you are like me, pictures help when it comes to this subject.

You can watch the video from the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation on your computer by going to

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Let The Largo Public Library Know Your Opinions

For those of you who could not make it to the public hearing on 8 March about the services related to the Largo Public Library, there is still a way to be heard.

Go to the library website and click on the link titled "Library Services Survey"...the link is right on the home page.

The survey is quick and easy to complete and it will give the library information upon which to base service decisions for the next three years (the extent of its planning cycle).

One of the questions specifically asks about the services of the Genealogy Center...something we are all interested in.

Take a minute to do this. It is important to the library and to us.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Midwestern Genealogy Blog

I ran across a Blog that may be interesting especially to those of you from the Midwest. It is titled: "Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog -- Genealogy and family history in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan, and neighbor and feeder states."

This is fun one to explore. One of the more interesting features is the way it handles tags (tags are the subject headings associated with each post so you can do some easy searching for topic of interest to you). On the right of the screen is a list of the most frequently used tags. The unique aspect is that the tags are listed in different sized type, with the largest type associated with the most frequently used tags. You can see at a glance where the most interest is.

Check it out at: Midwestern Microhistory: A Genealogy Blog

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Research Experiences

Lisa Kaylor in the The Augusta Chronicle wrote an article that tells of several research stories. She starts off by reviewing the recent TV shows on NBC and PBS, but then drills down to actual research experiences by various people.

The title of the article is "Every family has a history." and it can be found at:

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Genealogy TV Shows

I hope you all were able to see the initial show of the new TV series titled "Who Do You Think You Are?". Sarah Jessica Parker was the celebrity whose genealogy was traced in the series opener. An earlier post to this Blog gives you the list of other celebs to be focused on in the coming weeks. The show appears at 8 pm on Fridays.

Less publicized is another television show on PBS, Wednesdays at 8 pm, titled “Faces of America.” It has been showing for some time now and features the Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. as he reveals the interesting ancestry of 12 renowned Americans such as comedian Steven Colbert, actress Eva Longoria, musician Yo-Yo Ma, poet Elizabeth Alexander, and others.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Seminar on Researching Irish and Scots-Irish Ancestors

This information comes to us from Carol Rooksby Weidlich, President, Membership Chair and Webmaster of the Lee County Genealogical Society:

"With St Patrick’s Day approaching many people think again about their Irish and Scots-Irish ancestry. Ave Maria University (Naples FL) and the Ulster Historical Foundation are holding a one day programme on how to trace your Irish and Scots-Irish ancestors on Tuesday 16 March."

Here are the specifics:

Date and Time: Tuesday, 16 March 2010 (8.30am to 4.30 PM)
Program title: Researching your Irish and Scots-Irish Ancestors
Location of program: 5050 Ave Maria Blvd., Ave Maria, FL 34142-9505
Ballroom and Executive Dinning Room in the Bob Thomas Student Union
Host organization: Ave Maria University
Main contact: Patricia Fernandez at 239-280-2425
OR Rev. Deacon Forrest Wallace --
Cost: $20 per person.
Register with the University.
Further information: visit

Monday, March 8, 2010

"Who Do You Think You Are?" Celebrity Schedule

The first show in the series "Who Do You Think You Are?" aired at 8 pm on Friday, 5 March and it featured Sarah Jessica Parker. There will be at least 6 additional shows in the following weeks. Here is the celebrity schedule:

· March 12 – Emmitt Smith
· March 19 – Lisa Kudrow
· March 26 – Matthew Broderick
· April 2 – Brooke Shields
· April 9 – Susan Sarandon
· April 23 – Spike Lee

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Vermont Vital Records Online recently announced an addition to its online collection of vital records. You can now view the actual birth, marriage, and death records for Vermont from 1909 to 2008.

The collection boasts about 2.9 million records and information you could find includes when and where your Vermont ancestors were born, married and died; their occupation; religion; residence; complications at birth; causes of death; as well as parents’ names and birthplaces.

The collection is automatically included in a general search of the Ancestry databases, but you can also focus your search by finding that specific database in the Ancestry card catalog first.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Roots TV Ends Its Run

I have posted links to the Roots TV website at various times on this Blog. And in our class on "Internet Explorations" we have visited the site to explore it as a group.

Sad to say that Roots TV is closing down as of 10 March. Its unclear if the site will remain accessible but just not updated, or if it will completely disappear. Whichever happens, its closure will create a void in the genealogical cosmos.

If you what to get in some last viewings, check it out at:

Friday, March 5, 2010

Godfrey Scholar Discounnts for PGS Members

In an earlier post to this Blog (16 February), Alice Charest, PGS member and Godfrey Library representative, reported that we had enough participation in the program to qualify for a 20% discount on a normal 1-year Godfrey Scholar subscription.

In an even earlier post (2 February), the complete details of the deal were outlined. Refer to either of those entries for subscription information.

The purpose of this note is to tell those who have not subscribed but may want to in the future, that the 20% discount will be good for the remainder of this year. Simply contact Alice if you are interested. Send her an email note (please type “Godfrey interest” in the subject line of your note). Alice’s email address is: Of course, you can contact her at our monthly meetings as an alternative.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

PGS Help Desk

Do you have questions about Midwestern US research? Internet research? German research? How about using the Excel spreadsheet program?

You can use the PGS help desk to get information about those topics and more. The Help Desk is a collection of volunteers who are willing assist you in the above areas and many more. All you have to do is ask.

To see the Help Desk topics and the points of contact, simply go to the PGS website, click on the "Volunteer Spotlight" link, then click on "The PGS Help Desk" and you are there. The top of the page shows the topics and the bottom has contact information.

We are always looking for people to be Help Desk volunteers. While you are at the web page, take a minute to read the introductory information at the top and you can find what you have to do to volunteer.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Don't Forget to Register for Classes

Where ever we advertise our classes held at the Largo Public Library, we also ask attendees to register. The classes are free and open to the public, but we ask for registrations so we can assure that there are seats for everyone. The room is wonderful for holding classes, and it comfortably seats about twenty. After that, it gets rather "close." If you register and the seats are full, we will take your contact information so we can notify you of the same class we will schedule to accommodate the overflow.

Another way that registration can benefit you is our being able to notify you if the class meeting is changed in some way. Very occasionally we have had to cancel a class, and those who did not register found out about the cancellation only after they arrived at the library. Those who registered were notified by email or phone of the cancellation.

You incur no obligation if you register, other than to do your best to attend and fill your reserved seat, but you do get considerable benefit.

We certainly do not want to discourage people from simply dropping in to attend a class. Sometimes you find out about the class too late to do otherwise. Do not hesitate to come if that is the case. But if you know you are going to attend ahead of time, take a moment to register to help us manage things a bit. If the situation occurs that the class is overly full and we have to ask some people to leave, it will be those who have not registered.

To register simply contact Bob Bryan at or 727-595-4521

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Suncoast Genealogy Society Seminar

The Suncoast Genealogy Society will hold a Mini-Seminar on 27 March, 2010 at the Palm Harbor Library. The cost is $10 for members and $20 for non-members.

The speaker will be Debra Fleming who will address the topics of "Census Analysis--Using Pre-1850 Census", and "Heritage Quest--An Underutilized Resource!"

For additional information contact Ann James at 727-791-1983 or

Monday, March 1, 2010

Largo Library Public Meeting

As part of its long range planning effort, the Largo Public Library is going to hold a public meeting at the library on 8 March at 6:30 pm.

The purpose of the meeting is to get feedback from the public on the services the library provides or should provide. From this and other sources of information, the library will make decisions about programs and services. These decisions become critical in the current environment of budget constraints.

This is a wonderful opportunity for patrons who use the Genealogy Center at the library, attend PGS classes, or attend PGS meetings to let the library know the value of that resource. The genealogy program is the largest and most active in the library because of its volunteers, and this is the time to try and influence the level of formal support that the library provides.

So drop by the meeting at 6:30 pm on 8 March. You don't have to talk long, just let your voice be heard.