Sunday, May 30, 2010

"Person Pages" Seen As the Wave of the Future

A recent article in the Mormon Times suggested that "person pages" are the wave of the future in genealogy.

Person pages are pages devoted to individuals. They are able to be search, usually, and when you find them you get a biographical page about the selected individual. Anything can be included on the page to include photos, time lines, stories, anecdotes, etc. These pages give an in-depth view of the individual, certainly more than simply the vital statistics that we are most familiar with.

Those of you who subscribe to probably know already about person pages, because footnote allows you to establish them for you ancestors on their site.

You can read the article at:

Friday, May 28, 2010

Check out ""

Dick Eastman recently wrote a review of in his online newsletter.

He characterized it as "a new bookmarking site for genealogists and hobbyists to share genealogy blog posts, articles, news, and other information with each other."

Here you will find how-to articles, posts about other websites, notices about genealogy events, and more. The posts can be displayed in various orders of your choice, including by subject category and by recency of the post.

Do not expect to be able to search by your ancestor's name at this site. It is not designed for that. But if you want to be exposed to other genealogy sites and topical material, check it out.

Dick's article is at:

Visit the GenealoGee site at:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

PGS Meetings and Programs Continue Through the Summer

In a previous post I mentioned to you the effect on some of our operations that the summer schedule would have: specifically on educational events and the Blog. One thing that is not affected, however, is the general meeting on the third Saturday of each month.

We will continue to have meetings with great programs. Here is the line-up:

19 Jun -- Brickwall Panel: Bring your brick wall issues and let a panel of experts, which also includes everyone in attendance, help with suggestions of untried avenues of research. Even if you don't have a brickwall to contend with, you will pick up great research ideas.

17 Jul -- Scrap Booking Your Genealogy: Esther Meinhardt will introduce us to her hobby of scrap booking. In a genealogical context, scrap booking is a way to make your research appealing to other family members as well as a way to preserve some of your treasures.

21 Aug -- St. Petersburg History: Jeff Klinkenberg will make interesting presentation on St. Petersburg History. Although you may not have roots in this area, hearing the history of one area often brings research insights and ideas to explore in other areas more relevant to our own families.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Writer's Workshop Continues Through the Summer

The next meeting of the Family History Writer's Workshop is this coming Tuesday (yes, tomorrow, 25 May at 6 pm at the Largo Public Library)...and it will continue through the summer on the fourth Tuesday of each month, same time, same place.

Any of you who have thought about formalizing your thoughts, memories, and research findings into a memoir, journal, book, or just the back of an envelope should consider attending this event. The workshop gives you a supportive environment in which to nurture your writing.

There is no attempt to make anyone a professional writer. This is simply a group of people with the common objective of wanting to capture parts of their family history in writing. Whether you are writing for publication, your family, or just yourself, participating will be of benefit.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Summer Schedule Affects the PGS

As the summer descends upon us with its heat, humidity, afternoon rains, and threats of hurricanes; it brings also the effects of summer travel. We at the PGS feel the effects of summer schedules and that is reflected in our schedule of events.

The number of classes we present at the Largo Public Library between now and the end of August is still sizable, but certainly less than our fall, winter, and spring list. Over the summer we will concentrate on the basics of getting started in Genealogy and using and Also, the Family History Writer's Workshop will continue at 6pm the fourth Tuesday of each month. You can see the full schedule on the PGS website ( or pick up a handout in the Genealogy Center.

This Blog will also be affected by the summer schedule. I will be traveling for the next couple of months and will be without regular Internet access. That means that the number of posts will be reduced. I'll try and keep up the flow of hints, tips, and recommended websites, but the frequency will certainly be less than the daily posts I try to provide normally. Keep checking, however, because I hope you will continue to find items of value. Expect the pace to pick up again in August.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Major Worldwide Epidemics

We are often encouraged by genealogy speakers and authors who give us guidance in research, to learn more about the historical times in which our ancestors lived. The purpose of this, of course, is to get a fuller understanding of the their lives: the social, historical, and political issues that impacted them.

At the PGS General Meeting this past Saturday our friend George Morgan gave us a presentation on the "Push and Pull of Immigration." He examined those factors that "pushed" people away from their home land as well as factors that "pulled" them to our shores. Understanding the broad context of social, historical, and political issues was certainly part of his presentation.

The website gives us a perspective of some major health issues that may also contribute to the contextual understanding or our ancestor's challenges. It is a table of worldwide epidemics. As we search for cause of death for our ancestors, it can be revealing to find they had fallen prey to wide-spread events that others across the country and perhaps even across the world were also dealing with.

You can see the list at:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Census Records Do's and Don't's

We can never get enough hints and tips about using the U. S. Federal Census in our research. It is such a rich source of information that no matter how much time you have spent using it, if you examine it from a slightly different perspective, it gives you event more.

Shirley Hornbeck in the Genealogy Today Blog treats us to a handy list of census "do's and don't's." Check them out at:

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Immigration/Naturalization Links

Here are a couple of links concerning New York immigration and naturalization research you may find helpful. Each of them transfers to a page with scores of other links.

New York Passenger Lists Research Guide 1820-1957
Online New York Naturalization Indexes and Records

Friday, May 14, 2010

Brother Against Brother in the Civil War

You Civil War buffs out there may find an article by David Christy, a columnist for the Enid News and Eagle, good reading. In it he gives several interesting examples of family members who ended up on opposite sides during the Civil War.

Check it out at:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Genealogist's Bucket List

This is not necessarily a pleasant topic, but it is one that we must all face. The topic, of course, is our own demise and the things we want to get done before that happens. The "bucket list" became one of our idioms due to the recent movie of the same name. The "bucket list" is that list of things we want to accomplish before we "kick the bucket."

By now you can see the application of the concept to genealogy research. We all have bucket list items, but we don't necessarily think of them in those terms. When we say to ourselves things like "I should get my stuff organized" or "I should write all those memories down somewhere" or "I should take a class or two," we are talking bucket list talk.

Perhaps thinking in terms of a buck list, will give some urgency to actually accomplishing those "should" items.

The Morman Times has a good article by Michael De Groote on this subject that treats it in a bit more detail. You can read it at:

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Speech Recognition Software Has Its Uses in Genealogy

Dick Eastman in his online newsletter and others (see Mormon Times at have talked about the use of speech recognition software in conjunction with genealogy research.

I have personally used "Dragon Naturally Speaking" for several years and rely on it. But it is a pricey item coming in from $150 to $200. However, many of you are getting new computers that run Windows 7, and you should know that a speech recognition program comes included with that operating system. Simply click on your Windows 7 equivalent of the "Start Button" and type "speech" in the search box. The top item returned(or close to it) will be "Windows Speech Recognition."

The program leads you through some setup steps, but in the end the program works very well. Don't forget that you need a microphone to use the software.

So you might ask about how this is useful in genealogy. Well, I find it most useful if I am transcribing information for a book or journal. Rather than doing all that typing, I can simply read it into the computer. Also, when I am recording notes, especially lengthy ones, speech recognition saves a lot of time. And if you are a family history writer, amateur or otherwise, using speech recognition to get initial thoughts into the computer rapidly can't be beat.

Admittedly, the software will not recognize everything I say correctly, so there is some cleanup needed. But it is much less work than doing all the typing myself. In fact, the speech recognition errors are typically fewer than my typing errors. On top of that, the more you use the software, the more accurate it becomes.

Give it a try, you may find you have a new best software-friend.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Many Additions to Family Search Record Search

Many genealogy bloggers have lately commented on the vast number of records (300 million names or so) that have recently been added to Family Search Record Search. In case you have not seen those comments nor recently visited the sight, you should check it out.

You get to Record Search by going to the Family Search website ( and then under the "Search Records" tab, click on "Record Search Pilot." Or simply click here on

If you want to zero in on a specific database rather than simply putting a name in the search box, click on "Search or browse our record collection," which is at the bottom of the search form. When the world map comes up on the next screen, click on the part of the world you are interested in (e.g. North America) and all of the available databases will be listed, each of which is a hot link.

I highly recommend you do this to get an idea of the records available. You will be amazed at the number of vital records (birth, death, marriage) that have been added for many states.

Monday, May 10, 2010

PGS Supports Hospice Centenarian Birthday Party

On 6 May at the Hospice Center on Roosevelt Boulevard in Clearwater, the Hospice held a birthday party for those who were 100 or more years old (or were close to it). The PGS was asked along with others to support that event.

We did so by providing a questionnaire that family members could use to capture some of the life events of their centenarians. A questionnaire was located at each place setting for people to complete, and were then used later in the program to introduce and tell something about each honoree.

There were about 30 guests and their families and friends which brought the total to about 120 people. It was a great event, and Deborah Hagopian, the regional program director, hopes to make it an annual event.
The picture shown here is a group shot of some of the honorees.

This lady deserves special mention. She is Elsie Thompson and was 111 years old in April.

I was proud to represent the PGS at this event, and I'll have several more pictures to show you at the general meeting on 15 May at the Largo Public Library.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The End of the 3 1/2 inche Floppy Disc is in Sight

Dick Eastman gives us news about the coming end of the 3 1/2 inch floppy disc. Many of you already no longer use them, opting for CD-ROMs, DVDs, or USB drives. But even so, it is rather sobering when you officially bid farewell to a such a staple of storage. You might also have felt similar pangs when the old 5 1/4 inch floppy came to the end of its life cycle.

At any rate, Dick tells us that Sony, the disc manufacturer, will stop making the product in March of 2011.

You can read Dick's article by copying the following URL to your browser:

Friday, May 7, 2010 Subscription Discount for PGS Members

For the past several weeks we have been publicizing the great deal PGS members can receive on an annual subscription to Instead of paying the regular price of $79.95 for access to this unique and beneficial site, you pay only $39.95. (Check out the Footnote site at:

But what if you are like me and have already subscribed to the service? I signed up in November of 2009. Well, you can still benefit. You can extend your subscription by one year at the discounted price. So in my case, my subscription now expires in November 2011 instead of 2010, and I extended it for only $39.95. Of course, if you have done an initial subscription at the discounted price, you can also extend for another year at the same price.

You can do all this from a link at the very bottom of the special web address we have sent to all of our members. If you did not get that special email for some reason and are a PGS member, contact Bob Bryan at He will confirm your membership status and then send you the link.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Debra Flemming Presents April Program to the PGS

Debra Flemming was the PGS program speaker for the monthly meeting in April. Her topic was "Exploring Obscure Record Sources...Unusual Records in Unusual Places." Debra has been a program speaker for us before, and was one of our seminar break-out speaker in 2009. She had agreed to present a break-out session in our 2011 seminar also.

To the right is a picture of Debra and Bob Bryan, the GPS Education Director.

George Morgan will be the presenter at the PGS meeting on 15 May at the Largo Public Library. His topic will be "Push and Pull: The Causes of Migration."

The meetings are free and open to the public. If you have some curiosity about genealogy, drop by. And, of course, if you are an "old hand" at genealogy research, George's topic will give you some of the background you need to do a better job of researching your immigrant ancestors.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Use That Digital Camera to Capture Docments Before It's Too Late

Last Monday I attended Bob Bryan's class on using the digital camera in genealogy research. It was a great class giving very useful tips about getting decent pictures of documents in low light environments...such at as libraries and archives, and your living room.

I've had a digital camera for some time now, as most of you probably have, and I have used it in capturing not only simple photographs of family events, but also pictures of documents as well as even pictures of other pictures.

But Bob's class gave me the motivation I needed to undertake a rather large project I had been putting off. I came into possession of about 100 letters my father wrote to my mother during their courtship and during the early days of WWII when my father was in Europe. I have read them several times. I have summarized them. I have written short articles about the. And I have long thought that I should do something to preserve those letters digitally (in addition to storing them in a safe and archival environment).

Bob's class was the push I need to take action. I've got about half of them photographed now. I probably would be even further along in the task if I had not been diverted by reading each one yet again. But that was a pleasant diversion from the repetition of picture taking.

My guess is that some of you may have such a project looming over you. There is no sense in postponing it...all delay will accomplish is putting your treasures at greater risk of something happening to them. Bob's class will be coming around again if you need some inspiration or hints and tips about getting started and doing a decent job of it.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Author Lisa Scottoline to Speak Here Next Saturday

The PGS is a member of the Greater Largo Library Foundation which is sponsoring the appearance of author Linda Scottoline at the Largo Public Library on 8 May. This doesn't have much to do with genealogy, but it does affect the Largo Library and we are all interested in that.

Lisa will speak as part of the Outstanding Author Series. The time is 1 pm, and tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.

Here's a bonus! Ticket holders will receive a copy of Lisa's latest novel, Think Twice, and she will sign books after her talk. You just can't beat hearing a best selling author speak, getting a signed copy of a brand new release, and contributing to the Largo Library....all for $25.

For tickets, call 727-586-7398 (and introduce yourself as a genealogist, or better yet, as a member of the PGS) or go to

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Confused by "Dowers"?

A Blog by the title of "Gena's Genealogy" has a good but brief explanation of a dower (a wife's right to part of her husband's land). She also provides some links to more complete treatments of the subject.

You can check it out at:

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Manasota Genealogical Society Meeting

The next Manasota Genealogical Society Meeting will be Tuesday, May 4th, 2010 from 9:30 am-12:00 noon at the Central Public Library. The meeting will feature a panel of experts in genealogical research addressing and answering questions from the audience. Following the panel discussion, the computer special interest group will feature a short presentation on Navigating the MGS Website.

For more information, please call Jean Morris at (941) 722-5156 or visit us on the web at: