Monday, May 30, 2011

Family History Questionnaire

If you are going to be interviewing any of your family members about their history and experiences this summer and need an interview guide, we have one for you.

This guide was put together for use at the Suncoast Hospice Annual Centenarian Birthday Party. After hearing about it, several PGS members asked that it be posted on our website.

To get the to questionnaire, go to the PGS Member-Only website, click on the "Genealogy Center" link, and you will find it listed there.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The National Park Service Civil War Commemoration

The National Park Service has established a home page for the commemoration of the Civil War sesquicentennial. If you want a fascinating look at Civil War topics, then and now (like presidential security or fashion or Fort Sumpter), this site is for you.

Warning: the site is as extensive as it is interesting, and once you start exploring it, you may be lost for hours.

Check it out at

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Indiana Maps Anyone?

Go to the website for modern maps of Indiana. These are not detailed road maps by any means, but you can display counties within regions of the state, and townships within counties.

Find the maps at

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Online City Directories

Thanks to Miriam Robbins Midkiff for this great website. She is attempting to produce one list that contains all of the city directories that you can find online...she admits it is a work in progress. But what a work it is.

She states "My goal is to have a complete listing for historical alumni, business, city, county, farm, Masonic, rural, social, and other types of directories for the United States and Canada, and then go on to add directories for other countries."

From the home page you can click on your country of interest (I chose the US). Then you bore down through state and county, until finally you end up with an image of the page you want. Granted, there are lots of blank spots in this database, but when you get a hit it is pure gold.

Check it out at

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Fresh View of Genealogy Software Programs

Kerry Scott in her Blog "Clue Wagon" has written a refreshing post on genealogy software. The refreshing part is that she iconoclastically states that it really doesn't matter which product you use.

Finally, an opinion about software that I agree with. I know that opinion may be hard to absorb...most genealogists I know are pretty locked into one program or the other. In fact most can become almost belligerent in support of their favorite.

Treat yourself and read kerry's post at

Friday, May 20, 2011

See and Hear Curt Witcher at RootsTech 2011

Curt Witcher (Allen County Library) was a speaker at the RootsTech 2011 conference in February. His topic was "The Changing Face of Genealogy." You can see his presentation at the link provided below.

The talk is about 1 hour so grab a cup of coffee before you start, and then settle in and enjoy. The first 6 minutes of the video deal with conference administration, but it is worth holding on for Curt.

Check it out at

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Suncoast Genealogy Society to Hold Genealogy Fair

The Suncoast Genealogy Society is having a Genealogy Fair on May 28, from 1 - 4:30 PM at the Palm Harbor Library, 2330 Nebraska Ave, Palm Harbor. Some organizations participating are Creative Graphics of Dunedin. They will show you how they can help preserve your family memories. The Palm Harbor Library, Caledesi Chapter of the DAR, and the American Institute of Polish Culture.

There will be used genealogy books and periodicals for sale. Experienced genealogists will be available to offer help with starting your research or research questions. There will be a lecture at 2 PM by Debra Fleming, the Ancestor Detective, on Free Internet Genealogy.

Admission to the Fair is free, but pre-registration is required for seating for the lecture. To pre-register for the lecture, contact John at (727) 667-0457 or email

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

"A Date Guide to English Genealogy-Part 3"

This is the third in a series of articles that encourage you to take a research approach that involves identifying what records are available in what time frames for a particular area as a starting point.

Really, there is no sense searching for a name when applicable records have not been kept yet. The other part of this logic says that once you identify existing records, then focus your search on those for better results.

The link provided below also includes links to the first two installment of the article. This Blog pointed you to the first installment in a 20 March post.

A related post is also found in this Blog on 12 May. Check the article out at

Monday, May 16, 2011

Revolutionary War Pension Application Transcriptions Online

There is a web site that contains free transcriptions of over 10,000 Revolutionary War Pension Applications. It contains about 10,500 pension application as well as many roster transcriptions, all from the Southern Campaign.

This can be a double edged sword: transcriptions can contain the errors of the transcriber, but they are certainly easier to read than the original documents. The ideal strategy would be to use the transcriptions to determine that you have an ancestor who made an application, and also to help you decipher the original documents when you ultimately get them.

Remember, these cover only those who fought in the Southern Campaign. Check it out at

Thanks to Dick Eastman and one of his Online Newsletter readers for this lead.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

PGS Features Copyright Presentation

At 11 am on Saturday, 21 May at the Largo Public Library, the featured program at the monthly PGS meeting will be on copyright law. It will essentially outline what your can use from other authors and when you can use it.

The presenter is David Ellis, an attorney who has spoken to us on this topic before, but long enough ago that a refreshed is warranted.

Whether you are an aspiring author or not, this program will be of value to you. Join us on the 21st. The meeting is free and open to the public.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Big Plans at

During the past few days, The National Genealogy Society Conference has been going on in Charleston, NC. (our own journal editor, David Dellinger, has been in attendance).

One of the highlights of the conference was a presentation by where representatives outlined past accomplishments and future plans. In both cases they were many.

Dick Eastman was at the conference and wrote an long article in his newsletter about Ancestry's presentation. It is well worth reading since so many of us use that website either through a personal subscription or at a public library.

You can find Dick's article at

Thursday, May 12, 2011

How Far Back Can Your Research Take You?

James Tanner in the Blog "Genealogy's Star" has written a great article on this subject. He uses his own search in Arizona as an example, but with very little effort you can get the idea and apply it to your own research.

The "limits" of our research essentially are defined by what you are looking for and what records exist for the time period in question. You might recall an earlier post on this Blog (20 March 2011 titled "A Date Guide to English Genealogy") that also talks to this approach...check it out.

James' article is apparently going to be in several parts, and this is the first. By the way, he references two helpful print resources, Red Book and The Handy Book for Genealogists which we have in our collection at the Genealogy Center.

You can read the post at

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Book Talk and Signing on 21 May

James Anthony Schnur is a native and lifelong resident of Pinellas County. A life member of the Largo Area Historical Society, Schnur has also served as president of the Pinellas County Historical Society and has taught college courses in Florida and U.S. history since 1996. He also has published a book that will be of interest to Pinellas County and especially Largo residents. It is titled Largo.

James will be at the Largo Library to talk about his book and sign copies on 21 May at 1:30 pm. This book will be of both historical and genealogical interest.

Author Bio: James Anthony Schnur is a native and lifelong resident of Pinellas County. A life member of the Largo Area Historical Society, Schnur has also served as president of the Pinellas County Historical Society and has taught college courses in Florida and U.S. history since 1996.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Search Tip for US Census on

Here is something that may work for you when you are searching the US Census on You can now included in your search the birth places of the father and mother of the search subject.

To do that, however, you must use the advanced search form. You get there by clicking on the "Show Advanced" hotlink located at the top right of the seach form.

Sadly, the advanced search form is often over looked in our search efforts. Check it out and you will find other seach options that may help you also.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Hospice Annual Centenarian Birthday Party

The PGS was pleased for the second year to be one of the sponsors of the Sun Coast Hospice Annual Centenarian Birthday Party. It was held on 5 May at the Hospice offices on East Bay Drive.

A total of 33 honorees attended with ages ranging from in the 90's to the oldest at 112 years. With them were their with families and care givers. The picture here is a group shot of some of the birthday folks.

The PGS provided a family history questionnaire that was used to interview each honoree and then also used to introduce them. You can find a copy of that questionnaire at the PGS Members Page under the "Genealogy Center" link.

We also had a table providing information on getting started in genealogy. It was staffed by Lois and Charlie Barros, and Fran Connolly. Thanks goes to these great volunteers who represent the PGS at several different events.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Need a Special Gift for a Genealogy Friend?

the Zazzle website has a selection of inscribed mugs, T-shirts, etc where you may find that special gift idea for that special genealogist in you life.

Check it out at

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ideas For Finding Name Variations is filled with great research guidance, tips, and ideas. One of them is ideas for searching for name variations in those cases where you know your ancestor should be present but you just can't find it.

Check out this helpful article at

Monday, May 2, 2011

Genealogy Fair at Suncoast Genealogy Society

On Saturday, 28 Mary from 1-4:30 pm, the Suncoast Genealogy Society is holding its 2011 Genealogy Fair. It will be at 2330 Nebraska Ave., Palm Harbor, Florida.

The speaker is Debra Flemming and her presentation is free. You do need to pre-register, however. You can do so by emailing John Mangan at

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Dennis Lehane to Speak at Library on 14 May

The Outstanding Suthors Series at the Largo Public Library presents best selling author Dennis Lehane at 1 pm on 14 May. Tickets are $25 in advance (ask at the library) or $30 at the door.

This is a great event that in past years has been sold out, so if you are interested, do not hesitate to get your ticket early.

Dennis will also sign copies of his newest book, "Moonlight Mile," and there will be a reception at Royal Palms following the event at the library.

By the way, you may have seen Dennis recently on the TV mystery show "Castle."