Monday, January 31, 2011

TV Show "Who Do You Think You Are" Begins 4 February

The new season for the popular television show " Who Do You Think You Are? " will begin on NBC at 8 PM, 4 February. If you did not see the show in its first season, you're in for a treat. If you're familiar with the show, you will be happy to see it return.

During the first season, millions of viewers tuned in each week to watch the featured celebrity uncover his or her family history, and the United States saw a renewed interest in genealogy not seen since the days of Roots. The show creates excitement around genealogy by showing the types of stories and discoveries people can make about their ancestors.

There is a well-done website concerning the show that you can check out at

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Genealogy In

PGS at the Heritage Park Annual Folk Festival

On Saturday, 29 January the PGS was represented at the annual Heritage Park Folk Festival. Lois and Charlie Barros and their friend Fran put up our display table and fielded questions. Our thanks goes to them and also to members who stopped by.

The festival was a great event with food , displays, demonstrations, and three performance venues that busy simultaneously all day long. If you did not attend this year, I recommend you look for it in the future.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Check Out the Rare Book Collection

The PGS has several "rare" books in its collection. Some of the books are indeed rare, and some are simply of very old publication date and their condition causes us to classify them as rare.

The collection is not on the open shelves with the rest of the reference books, so you have to ask for access to them. The consultant on duty at the genealogy desk can help you with that. They are kept locked in private shelves that the consultants have access to.

When you use the books we ask that you take certain precautions to preserve the books. Namely, use gloves when handling the material. Those will be provided. And by all means, be careful...some of the books are in very delicate condition.

Although the books in this collection are entered into the library catalog system, you can see a special index of them. That index is in a binder on the genealogy desk, and a consultant can help you locate it.

The collection will not be for everybody, but you never know when you will find a genealogical treasure.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Register for the Annual PGS Seminar Before It Is Too Late

The annual seminar is coming up on 12 February, and you won't want to miss it. It is an all-day event with a great speaker (Megan Smolenyak), breakout sessions, lunch, continental breakfast, drawings, door prizes, book sale, and more. Go to the PGS website shown at the bottom of this post to read more and get a registration from.

The thing is, if your registration is received by 5 February, you can take advantage of the early-registration discount ($42 for PGS members, $47 for non-members). For a registration received after that date or at the door, the price goes up to $50 for everyone. This is a great event even for $50, but if you are planning to go, register early.

Check it out at Scroll to the bottom of the page for a link to a registration form.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

PGS Has a Rare Books Collection

Did you know that there is a rare books collection in the Genealogy Center of the Largo Public Library? You may not because due to the fragile condition of the books, they are kept apart from the normal shelved collection. You can see them only by asking a consultant at the desk for access...and then you must wear gloves when you handle the material.

There is an index of the books in a binder on the desk in the Genealogy Center (ask a consultant for it), and the books are listed in the library catalog along with all of the other holdings.

You will find items such as "Vital Records of Sudbury, Massachusetts, "Roster of Ohio Soldiers in War with Spain," as well as some family histories like "Hathaways of America."

This is not a collection that will be useful to everyone, but you might want to check out the index at least.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Book Displays in Library Give Some Good Suggestions

If you have been to the Genealogy center at the Largo public library lately, you may have noticed the book display on the shelves closest to the computers. One of the genealogy consultants, Donarita, has volunteered to periodically update the display. Each month you can expect to see a different selection of books on a particular theme.

This display can give you some great ideas on reading material in different areas of genealogy. The books we selected can come from both the reference collection and the circulating book collection. If one of the displayed books can be checked out and you are interested in it, do not hesitate to remove it from the display to borrow it. Circulating genealogy books are checked out the same way as any other library book: take it to the first floor and use the self-checkout machines or a see a librarian at the circulating to desk.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

DAR Seminar at the Dunedin Library

From 1 to 3 pm Wednesday, 26 Jan the DAR will hold a seminar at the Dunedin Library. The speakers will be yours truly and Bob Bryan, PGS Education Director. Bob's topic will be "Searching With Ancestry" and I will cover "Introduction to DNA Testing for Genealogy."

This event always had a good turnout to enjoy the program, displays, and snacks. It is free and open to the public. Join us.

PGS To Be At Heritage Park Folk Festival on 29 January

The Pinellas Genealogy Society will be represented at the 29 January Folk Festival at Heritage Park. We will have a display table with handouts and some volunteers to answer questions and enthuse visitors about genealogy in general and the society in particular.

Drop by and participate or simply to get some information.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Everything You Want to Know About Podcasts

Every once in a while in one of our classes or during an exploration of some Internet sites, I will ask the group how many listen to or subscribe to podcasts. The number of hands that go up is surprisingly few. After a short discussion of the subject and perhaps a demonstration of how to access and listen to one, I still get the idea that the technology is a bit intimidating.

A recent article by Dick Eastman in his Online Newsletter may help overcome that intimidation, however. Dick gives as complete a discussion of the topic as I have seen. It ranges from what a podcast is, to how to listen to them, to how you can create one yourself. Along the way he gives links to some of the more popular genealogy podcasts. He even explains how to get to podcasts using mobile devices such as an iPod in addition to using your desktop computer.

There is a wealth of genealogy information carried in podcasts that you do not want to exclude yourself from. If you are new to the technology, read Dick's column at the URL below.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

"Genealogy in Time" Search Tips

Want a quick refresher on how to construct Internet searches? An article appearing on the "Genealogy in Time" website gives the basics of writing searches. The syntax can be used not only with their search engine, but also with Google.

You can read the article at

At the end of the article (it is three pages long) is a link to the Genealogy in Time search engine.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Follow PGS on Facebook

PGS now has an organizational page on Facebook. You can get newsfeeds automatically if you visit the page and indicate that you "like" it.

There is a link to the page on the home page of our website and in the right margin of this blog.

Familypedia Website is Worth Checking Out

The Familypedia website may at first sound like a free-for-all, but the more you get into it the more intriguing it becomes and the more you realize its free-for-all nature is its strength.

It is actually a wiki, which means that participants can add edits to information that is posted...and you don't even need to be a registered user to participate. The core of the site is ancestral information organized into pages for each individual included. Those pages give you the information added by the originator and any comments/corrections/additions added later by the genealogical community. Pages can be linked to other pages so family structures can be developed and sources can be referenced in a really meaningful way.

There are many ways to navigate around the site, but the best is probably the surname index. Simply click on the first letter of the surname you are interested in, then click on the actual surname if it exists in the index. You will then be given a list of full names that are linked to pages on the site.

Dick Eastman in his Online Newsletter recently wrote an extensive review of Familypedia. You can read it at

You go directly to the site to start nosing around at

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Huge Book Sale at the Largo Public Library 23 January

The Largo Public Library is staging an annual book sale starting at 10 AM on Sunday, 23 January. Supported by the Friends of the Library, there will be books of all sorts from fiction to non-fiction.

Typically, the Friends give to the PGS the books it receives that are genealogy oriented, and we then include them in our book sale (held in conjunction with our seminar on 12 February), but you never know what you will find at this type of sale.

The library normally does not open until 1 PM on Sundays, so 10 AM is an early start time. Expect the cafe to be open at that time also. The sale will run the entire week.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Site for Scottish Research

Here is a great site for top stories and events concerning Scottish ancestral research. It is titled "Scottish GENES (GEnealogy News and EventS)." Chris Patton, the author, is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

The site deals with news from around the UK and beyond. People who would like to share details of a new product release, lecture, event, or news of interest to others researching their Scottish ancestry in particular, can post it here.

Those of you with Scottish genes may want to check it out at

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Free Genealogy Classes for the Week of 16 January

The following classes will be presented by the Pinellas Genealogy Society the week of 16 January at the Largo Public Library. All Classes are free and open to the public. The Local History Room at Largo Library has limited seating space. Please reserve your place for the Local History Room classes by sending an email to Bob Bryan at or calling 595-4521

Google your family tree--tips and techniques for using this very useful and powerful search engine for genealogy research--18 January, 6:00 PM

Immigration Records and Ships Passenger Lists-How to use them--19 January, 6:00 PM

RootsMagic User Group--Questions and answers and demonstrations of how to use the RootsMagic genealogy database software program--22 January, 10:00 AM

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Naturalization Records Online

There seems to be increasing activity in digitizing naturalization records to make them available on line. Both and have growing collections. It seems appropriate that those records would be getting attention since the naturalization event affected so many families.

You can check out the Ancestry collection at the Largo Public Library if you do not have a personal account.

The Pinellas Genealogy Society as has a class on finding and using naturalization records. It will be one of the breakout sessions at the annual seminar on 12 February (go to the PGS website for a registration form:

Monday, January 10, 2011

Irritated With Unsourced Information on the Web? Read This Opinion!

In a recent edition of his Online Newsletter, Dick Eastman gives us a personal take on dealing with unsourced information found on the Internet. I delighted in reading his view because it parallels my own, and if you have been to any of my classes, you have probably been treated to my expressing it.

One comment made by Dick that I want to highlight is "The proof is always up to me, regardless of where I found the claimed information."

You can find Dick's article at It is an excelled read.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Resouce for Confederate Cemeteries

The following article is by Melissa Shimkus and was published in the "Genealogy Gems Digest", Vol. 71, Issue 1. It is a publication of the Allen County Library.

The article deals with Confederate cemeteries--history and data sources.

Following the Civil War, the federal government created seventy-two national cemeteries for the burial of Union soldiers. In addition, in1879, Congress permitted Union veterans not entombed in these federal cemeteries to receive government headstones. No corresponding federal actions to provide grave sites or headstones for Confederate soldiers were legislated. Instead, these services were performed at the local level by the Confederate Memorial Association and other patriotic organizations, as well as by local and state governments. Records of these southern efforts are scattered and can be difficult for genealogists to locate and access.

One helpful source is "Confederate Cemeteries" volumes one and two by Mark Hughes. The set's title is a bit misleading because the first two volumes only cover cemeteries in Virginia, but more than 20,000 burials are listed including those of some two hundred Union soldiers and about twenty civilians. One example of a civilian burial included in this work is that of fourteen year old Nanie Horan, killed 15 March 1863 in the explosion of C.S. Laboratory, a gunpowder plant, and buried in Shockoe Cemetery in Richmond. Source material for these volumes included tombstone inscriptions, cemetery records, unpublished manuscripts and burial lists from patriotic organizations, local, state and national archives.

Introductory matter in the books includes a section on how to use them, keys to the sources, a history of post-war burial efforts, and descriptions of each cemetery covered. The lengthy list of burials in each volume is arranged alphabetically by the name of the deceased and provides each person's state, unit, date of death or burial and place of burial. For example, J.T. Bookout of the 7th Georgia, H. Saunders of the 4th Virginia, and Corporal Emory Cook of the 9th South Carolina died in the Confederate Hospital at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. The final resting places of the first two men can be determined using the reference number key and cemetery descriptions provided by the author. Bookout's data notes that he died 17 November 1861 of disease and was buried in the Charlottesville Soldier's Cemetery. Saunders died in 1861 and was buried in Maplewood Cemetery in Charlottesville. Cook died 20 January 1862 of pneumonia, but no place of burial is given.

With no centralized collection of burial information for Confederate soldiers, a resource such as the "Confederate Cemeteries" volumes is important to genealogists despite its limited focus.

[The books are availble at the Largo Public Library: RGEN355 Hughes]

Thursday, January 6, 2011

PGS Holiday Party and Heirloom Display

Two of the events at the December PGS meeting that has become traditions, are the holiday party and the annual heirloom display.

One of the photos below shows members and guests getting some treats to munch on as they wander through the displays and otherwise connect with other researchers.

The other photo is an example of the displays. This one offers family documents and photos, and others included memorabilia such as swords and watches.

This is the second year we have had the heirloom display during our December meeting is both times it has been well-received.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

"Shades of the Departed"

The website "Shades of the Departed" provides a slick look at the topic of old photographs. It gives you Blog entries and a really slick presentation of an online magazine. Past issues are available with a simple mouse click, and you will be captivated by the interface that lets you browse the eZine, let alone the content.

Check it out at

Monday, January 3, 2011

Roots Tech 2011

For those of you interested in technology as it applies to genealogy, this conference may be for you. It requires a trip to Salt Lake City, Utah, but think of all the research you can get done while you are there. (You get a price break if you register before 7 January.)

You have never seen anything quite like this-the first annual RootsTech Conference in Salt Lake City will be in a league of its own. From the Community Zone and participant-driven unconferencing discussions to the RootsTech Playground, this conference is going to be ground-breaking and unique. Think major technology creators (Microsoft, Dell, FamilySearch,, and brightsolid) and technology users (genealogists and family history buffs) coming together in a fun, collaborative environment for three days to learn new, technology-based skills and define the future of family history through technology!

Millions of genealogists use technology daily to help them in their ancestral pursuits. Be one of the thousands of RootsTech 2011 attendees to:
• See firsthand how new and emerging technologies can improve and simplify your activities
• Help influence the future of genealogy
• Learn and share new ways to adapt technologies to genealogy
• Engage in emerging technology demonstrations
• Help leading-edge technology providers better understand your needs and how to satisfy them
There will be sessions of interest to novice, intermediate, and advanced users of genealogical technology.

The sessions will include:
• Hands-on workshops
• Interactive presentations
• Sneak peek demonstrations of new products and services
• Panel discussions
• Common interest gatherings
• Unconferencing discussions (last minute, on-the-fly sessions requested by attendees)
Register at as well as see the full list of topics and sessions.