Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Are Common Names Vexing You?

Many of us sooner or later run into the problem of ancestors with common names, and if not that, then families with the same names even though they are not necessarily common.

James Tanner in his Blog “Genealogy’s Star” has written a great article about overcoming such challenges. He gives some tips and research strategies. He also advises that the search is not going to be an easy one, but having perseverance and a strategy will go a long way.

Check out his article at Genealogy's Star: Finding John and Mary

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Colleen Fitzpatrick is Primary speaker at PGS 2012 Seminar

The Pinellas Genealogy Society is pleased to announce Dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick as the primary speaker for its annual genealogy seminar to be held on February 11, 2012 at the Largo Public Library in Largo, Florida.

Colleen is the author of two of the best-selling books in genealogy: Forensic Genealogy and DNA & Genealogy. Both have been critically acclaimed as “must reads” and significant contributions to the field. Colleen's newest book, The Dead Horse Investigation--Forensic Photo Analysis for Everyone, extends her forensic background and analytical skills to the analysis of photographs to reveal family history. She brings photo identification into the 21st century.

Colleen is a real-life CSI detective who has helped crack the most compelling mysteries of our time. As a top forensic genealogist, she has been called upon to identify and locate people worldwide, sometimes based on information 80 years old.

She has been featured on NPR's Talk of the Nation radio program, she has written cover articles for Internet Genealogy, Family Tree Magazine, and Family Chronicle, and she writes a regular column for Ancestry magazine. She and her work were also featured in More Magazine in 2010. She consults with television and documentary production companies on both Forensic Genealogy and DNA & Genealogy.

Colleen brings critical skills and inventive techniques to such genealogical areas as mining databases, interpreting photographs, determining how to look at data as well as where to look for it, and using DNA in conjunction with traditional genealogy research. In all of her work, she emphasizes the creative aspects of an investigation over the mechanics. We are indeed fortunate to have her as our featured speaker for the Pinellas Genealogy Seminar on 11 February 2012.

For more information about the seminar and all it has to offer (Colleen's four presentation topics, breakout speakers, booksale, etc) see the special events page of the PGS website at http://www.flpgs.org/NMbrs/seminar/2012/seminar_brochure.aspx

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Day at NARA Finding Land Case Files

Ginger Smith in her Blog “Genealogy by Ginger’s Blog” gives us a blow-by-blow account, complete with pictures, of what she experienced at the National Archives while doing research in land files. Her pictures recount for us everything from the subway ride to the Archives to what the request forms that she had to use looked like.

And of course, she gives us a narrative of what she had to do, filled with tips to help you make such a trip yourself.

The topic of land records at the National Archives is a big one, so she is devoting more than one blog post to the subject. This is part 1. Check it out at Genealogy By Ginger's Blog: Day 1 at NARA - Land Case Files - Part 1

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

WPA Records

“WPA records were created between 1935 and 1943, when the federal government created the Works Projects Administration to provide work for thousands of unemployed Americans who were struggling to survive the depression of the 1930's.  Records of this program are at the National Archives and some state archives. Some of the projects resulted in interviews, surveys or guides that are useful to genealogists.”

This is the beginning of an article on using SPA documents in your genealogy research by Barb Snow. She gives both print and web resources on the WPA. If you had an adult male ancestor of working age in the 1935 to 1943 timeframe, they may have been employed in the WPA.

When the 1940 census is released in just a few months, you will be able to determine that work history for sure. At least one of the occupation questions on that census specifically asks if the respondent was employed in government programs such as the WPA.

Keep checking the PGS class schedule. ON 12 December 2011 and again on 9 January 2012 we will present a class on the content of the 1940 census and talk about ways you can search the census even before the indexes are completed for our normal website searches.

Check out the article at WPA Records

Monday, November 21, 2011

New Records Being Added to Fold3

Fold3.com continues to add new military records to its holdings. If you have not checked out the site lately, you may want to do so. Although the collections are certainly not complete, they are continually working on War of 1812 pension files, Mexican War service records, WWI officer experience reports, and WWII draft registration cards ("Old Man's Draft"), to name a few.

You can find it all at www.fold3.com

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Interviewing Relatives

We all know that interviewing relatives is a profitable avenue of genealogy research. It is even “necessary” when you realistically consider the perishability of the information living relatives have.

Al and Dottie Hamilton (PGS members and Bloggers) have posted an article reviewing the process of doing such interviews, giving tips on how to make the session more productive, and even listing suggested questions.

The article is on the “Family Genealogy Tutor” Blog at http://familygenealogytutor.com/2011/09/20/interview-relatives/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=interview-relatives

If you want another list of questions and you are a PGS member, you can go to the PGS Members-Only website and find one there. It is used each year by the society as one of the sponsors of the Sun Coast Hospice Centenarian Birthday Party. Each of the honorees is assisted in answering the questions, and their responses are used to introduce them during the celebration. It not only provides great information for the honorees’ families, but everyone has an enjoyable time participating in the process.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Free Access to Newsbank

Did you know that one of the databases availble to you at the Largo Public Libary is Newsbank? Using it you can access St. Petersburg Times articles from 1987 to the present as well as issues of several magazines to include Newsweek, Foreigh Affairs, Slate, Popular Science and others.

AND...here is something else: did you know that you can get to the Newsbank collection from home? Simply go to the Largo Public Library website (http://www.largo.com/department/index.php?fDD=11-0), click on "Databases" then "Databases A-Z", scroll to "Newsbank" and click on the "at home" option.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Free Access to Heritage Quest

Did you know that one of the databases availble to you at the Largo Public Libary is Heritage Quest? Using it you can access images of US Census records, over 20,000 digitized books, Revolutionary War pension files, Freedman Bank Files, and more.

AND...here is the best part: you can get to the database free from home. Simply go to the Largo Public Library website (http://www.largo.com/department/index.php?fDD=11-0), click on "Databases" then "Databases A-Z", scroll to "HeritageQuest" and click on the "at home" option. You will be prompted for your library card number and then you are connected.

The PGS offers a class on using the various parts of the Heritage Quest website. Keep you eye out for it on our class schedule at (http://www.flpgs.org/classes.aspx).

You can also see a presentation on Heritge Quest by our speaker, George Morgan, at the 19 November meeting of the the PGS. It is held at 11 AM at the Largo Public Library and is free and open to the public.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Canada Gazette is Online at Library and Archives Canada

Library and Archives Canada (LAC) has finished putting all the back issues of the Canada Gazette online from 1841 to 1997.

The Gazette is the official newspaper of record for the Canadian government. As such, it contains many genealogical lists and records such as military promotion lists, naturalization lists, and others.

Access is free. Check it out at Keyword Search - A Nation's Chronicle: The Canada Gazette - Library and Archives Canada

Friday, November 11, 2011

Irish Genealogy

If you are doing Irish research, you should love this site. It is the  Irish government’s genealogy website, and it has added more Roman Catholic Church records for Carlow, Cork, Dublin and Kerry. This now completes the collection for these regions (some 3 million records).

The access is free, and site is very user-friendly, even providing links to related sites.

Check it out at Irish Genealogy

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Social Networks

When we hear the term “social networks,” I imagine most of us think of the modern use of the term born by modern technology…Facebook, etc..  But social networks have a much broader (and older) application.

Social networks include such things as educational affiliations, neighbors, professional contact, etc. Exploring those networks of our ancestors can reveal much information about their lives and even reveal other family members.

Check out this entry the MY Heritage Blog: Social Networks: Our ancestors had them - MyHeritage.com - English blog

Monday, November 7, 2011

Free Maps from the US Census Service

OK, this is a weird thing to send you to, but if you stick with it, you will find a gold mine of information…map information.

The link below will take you to a sub-page of a site called Census.gov . The displayed page is nothing more than a listing of sets of maps, by state, that you can view as pdf documents.

The files have strange names like “mn_cosub.pdf”, but just pay attention to the first two letters and they will tell you the state covered by the maps you get when you click on the name. (In case it’s not obvious, that file name is for maps of Minnesota.)

The maps will not necessarily get you down to street level, but they will show counties and the townships within them.

Check it out at Index of /geo/maps/general_ref/cousub_outline/cen2k_pgsz

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Online Searchable Death Indexes, Records & Obituaries

I know I have suggested previously that you visit the Online Searchable Death Indexes website maintained by Joe Beine, but perhaps it is time for a refresher.

This is a great reference. The link below will take you to a page where you can select your state of interest. Once done, you will see a list of links to appropriate websites. Each site is accompanied by a short explanation of its content, and a note on whether it is a fee site.

Joe is good about keeping the list of sites updated. It is well worth a minute of your time to check it out. But be careful…once you start exploring it is difficult to stop.

Check it out at Online Searchable Death Indexes, Records & Obituaries

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Learn About Fold3

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have heard by now the Footnote.com is now Fold3.com . But did you know that there are video tutorials available to tell you about the website and how to use it?

You can check them out at Fold3 Video Tutorials

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Copyright One More Time -- copyright vs. family trees online or otherwise

This is another article on copyright by James Tanner in his Blog Genealogy’s Star. It deals with how protected by copyright is the family tree that I publish—online or otherwise.

The entire article is worth your time to read, but in particular, read the second to last paragraph.

Find it at Genealogy's Star: What is original? copyright vs. family trees online or otherwise