Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Electoral Rolls—A Valuable Resource

An electoral roll  is a list of people who are eligible to vote in a particular place. They provide the person's name and address and sometimes additional information such as occupation.

Ancestry provides an electoral roll collection that is relatively new, and the British Library is expected to put a collection on line this year as well.

The "GenealogyInTime Magizine" has an interesting article on this topic and explains why this source will change the way people search for their UK ancestors. Check it out at Searching Electoral Rolls for Ancestors

Monday, February 27, 2012

Online Death Indexes, Records & Obituaries

Joe Beine has recently updated his listing of “Online Searchable Death Indexes & Records. If you have not put this on your list of browser favorites you are missing a great research tool.

The latest update has included listings from the “Old Northwest”: Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan.

You can see Joe’s index at Online Searchable Death Indexes, Records & Obituaries

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Genealogy Tip About Naturalization Documents

Michael John Neill who writes the ever-valuable “Genealogy Tip of the Day”, had on recently that directs our attention to the people who vouched for our ancestors when they submitted their 2d papers for naturalization.

The requirement was for two people to attest to the qualifications of citizenship for the applicant. He points out that those two were probably neighbors, and could have been relatives, and had to be citizens themselves. This opens many doors for additional research.

Read Michael’s tip at Genealogy Tip of the Day: Who Signed Their Naturalization?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

SSDI Issues

You may be aware of the growing controversy about access to the Social Security Death Index. There is a growing voice about how SSDI information is being used for illegal purposes (particularly information concerning deceased children). The direction this controversy is going is toward limiting access to the SSDI for everyone, including genealogists.

Blogger James Tanner has an analysis of the issue that starts to bring some critical clarity that is needed. His latest piece is one of several he is written and he will have even more to say on the subject in the future.

You can read his latest offering at Genealogy's Star: Researching the issues surrounding the SSDI

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Technology tips From FamilySearch

If you enjoy technology hints and tips as they relate to genealogy, then this Blog is for you. FamilySearch has a “TechTips” blog for genealogists and family historians.

Get in the know on topics such as digital copying, understanding browser settings, social networking, dealing with spam and much, much more.

Check it out at TechTips FamilySearch — Technology tips for genealogists and family historians.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Imperial Polk Genealogy Society 2012 Seminar

The Imperial Polk Genealogical Society's 2012 Seminar, featuring Dr. George Schweitzer, is scheduled for 3 Mar 2012 at Florida Southern College. His topics include Migration Routes and Obscure Genealogical Sources.

You can preregister for this seminar by contacting:
PO Box 10
Kathleen, FL 33849-0010

John Randle
Seminar Co-Chairman

Free Webinar: Ten Brick Wall Tips for Beginners

Whether you are a beginning researcher or have been at it for decades, if you have a brick wall ancestor you need to watch the recording of the webinar, Ten Brick Wall Tips for Beginners, by Marian Pierre-Louis.

This webinar if free and you can listen to it at .

When you go to the page you have to scroll down a bit before you come to Marian’s webinar. along the way you will see other webinars you may want to check out.

If your interested in this event, you best not tarry. It is viewable until about 25 February and then your only option is to purchase it on a CD.

PGS Events this Week (20-25 Feb.)

Here are the events scheduled this week (all are free and open to the public):

Tuesday, 21 Feb 2012 at 6:00 pm--Genealogy Photos: Organizing, managing and enhancing -- This class will demonstrate how to organize and manage your digital genealogy photos so they can be easily found and how to enhance their appearance. This includes cropping, straightening, one-touch fix, removing blemishes, adding captions and text to the photo, making a collage, and much more. All this can be done using Picasa, the powerful free program from Google. Bryan. Largo Library, Local History Room, 2nd Floor

Wednesday, 22 Feb 2012 at 6:00 pm--Tracking Your Family Through the Census - This class shows a strategy on how to do track ancestors from one census year to the next and thereby uncover relationships and lost or heretofore unknown ancestors. In addition it also shows how to uncover hints on using resources outside of the census itself. Summers, Largo Library, Local History Room, 2nd Floor

Saturday, 25 Feb 2012 at 10:00 am--GENEALOGY SOFTWARE UTILITIES-Part I -- Demonstration of several utility programs useful for genealogy such as: Dropbox, Skype, Google Voice, Google Earth, Evernote, Mozy/Carbonite online backup, Online software (Googledocs), automatic backup software, GEDCOM utilities and more. Bryan, Aging Well Center, 1501 N Belcher Rd, Clearwater, FL

Saturday, 25 Feb 2012, 10:00 am--RootsMagic User Group--Q & A and demos of how to use the RootsMagic genealogy database software program. Summers, Largo Library, Local History Room, 2nd Floor.

African-American Genealogy Class

Join PGS member Harriet Tompkins on 29 February at the North Greenwood library for her popular class on tracing your African American ancestors.

The library is at 905 North Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in Clearwater, and the event starts at 5:00 PM. For more information refer to or call 727-562-4970.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Southwest Florida Germanic Genealogy Society Seminar

The Southwest Florida Germanic Genealogy Society is holding a seminar on Saturday, 10 March featuring Leslie Albrecht Huber.

Ms. Huber is an award-winning freelance writer and speaker who has written nearly one hundred articles that have been printed in over twenty different publications. She has won first place in both of the only two national family history writing contests and has published her first book, The Journey Takers, culminating her ten year research journey. Ms. Huber has a Bachelor’s degree in History and a Master’s in Public Affairs. She has worked as a professional genealogist tracing German families, both for a large company and in her own business.

You can get more information about the seminar times, costs, etc at

Friday, February 17, 2012

Suncoast Genealogy Fair

The Suncoast Genealogy Society will hold its annual genealogy fair from 1-4 pm at the Palm Harbor Library on 31 March 2012. Registration begins at 12:30 pm.

There is no charge for admission, but reservations are necessary...Email . Seating is limited to 100 so don't miss out on this.

The featured speaker will be Debbe Hagner. Her topic will be "Tracing Your Ancestors Using United States Religious Records."

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Imperial Polk Seminar in March

The Imperial Polk Genealogical society will hold its annual seminar on 3 March 2012 at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida.

The featured speaker will be George Schweitzer, an alumni and distinguished professor of the University of Tennessee. He will make presentations on "North-South Colonial Migration Routes," "Rivers to Trails to Roads to Canals to Trains," and "Obscure Genealogical Sources." The first two will be delivered in period costume.

For more details and registration form, go to

Sunday, February 12, 2012

All Those Documents Are Not Digitized Yet!

With increasing numbers of documents being digitized and made available online daily, it is easy to think that the Internet is all we need to look at as we do our research. A little consideration and logic will reveal that in not the case, however.

In case you need a rather in-depth discussion on the state of “world digitization,” Randy Seaver gives us an interesting article that tries to put it all into perspective. I myself know that most documents have not been digitized and are not on the Internet, but even so, I enjoyed Randy’s take on the subject. Read what he has to say at Genealogy's Star: What is left to digitize?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sharing Your Family History with Your Children

I know many of you have an interest in this subject. Frequently I get into discussions with groups of our class attendees about the challenge of getting younger family members interested in genealogy.

Janet Hovorka, “The Chart Chick,” offers us a piece that presents her 6 principles for doing this. (I especially like the one that says “Teaching about family history is a lifestyle, not a single event.”)

The article is well worth the reading time. You can find it at The Chart Chick: The 6 basic principles of sharing your family history with your children.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Updates at

According to "Genealogy Blog, " the following databases were posted or updated at FamilySearch since 23 January 2012:

Arkansas, Marriage Index, 1933-1939 – index to marriages from the Arkansas Vital Records Division, Arkansas Department of Health – 421,079 records as of 24 January 2012.
Arkansas, Death Index, 1914-1950 – Index of deaths from the Arkansas Division of Vital Records, Arkansas Department of Health – 594,114 records as of 24 January 2012.
West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971 – Images and index. The collection includes the index and images for will books from all 55 counties of West Virginia. Probate records include petitions, inventories, accounts, decrees, oaths of executors, forms about guardians and other court documents – 25,162 records and 325,731 images as of 25 January 2012.
Utah, Box Elder County Records, 1856-1960 – Browsable images of county records, marriage, naturalization, military, probate and land and property located at the county courthouse in Brigham City, Utah – 25,379 images as of 25 January 2012.
New York Probate Records, 1629-1971 – Imaged Records – Images from probate records in various county Surrogate Courts in New York. The content of the probate records and their year range vary by county. Most records end in the 1920s with some indexes continuing to the year 1971. This collection does not include records from metropolitan New York at this time – 1,631,822 images as of 25 January 2012, up 1,922 images from 28 December 2011.
New York Queens County Probate Records, 1899-1921 – Images of probate records and proceedings from the Queens County Surrogate’s Court in Jamaica, New York. – 761,504 images as of 27 January 2012 – up 38,268 images since 9 January 2011.
Massachusetts, State Vital Records, 1841-1920 – Imaged Reords – Massachusetts births, marriages and deaths, 1916-1920 and state amendments to vital records, 1841-1920 located at the state archives in Boston. This collection is being published as images become available – 319,558 images as of 27 January 2012 , up 35,561 from 29 December 2011.
Arkansas County Marriages 1837-1957 – Index and images of marriages recorded in counties of Arkansas – 1,869,736 records as of 27 January 2012, up 81,822 from 4 April 2011.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Do you have Loyalist Ancestors?

Do you have a Loyalist ancestor? I do, and I delight in finding information about him and his family. He apparently was quite notorious in his area of New Jersey. He fought against his own brother, and eventually emigrated to Canada at the end of the war.

There are many good sources of information about loyalists, and fellow blogger Randy Seaver gives them good coverage in one of his posts. They include newsletters you can subscribe to and websites to visit including one hosted by United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada. Randy’s article is rich in research ideas. Check it out at Genea-Musings: Do you have Loyalist Ancestors? Check out the UELAC Site

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Preparing for the PGS Annual Seminar

Are you prepping for this Saturday's PGS annual seminar? A little background on DNA would be helpful. An interesting article on autosomal DNA testing by Judy Russell appears in the October-December 2011 (Vol. 37, No. 4) issue of NGS Magazine. Autosomes are the chromosomes that don't determine the sex of the individual.

For a long time, it didn't appear that the autosomes could be useful in genealogical research, but the technology of DNA testing has developed to the point now where this is no longer true. The article is a good primer on why autosomal DNA testing may just be in your future if you're still trying to break down one of those resistant brick walls.
As Russell says, "Autosomal DNA testing offers ... a glimpse into ancestral heritage, a way to test specific theories about families, and a fun way to find cousins we may know nothing about and even secrets about our familes."
This issue of NGS Magazine should be available in the Genealogy Center of Largo Public Library.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Ethics of Photo Restoration

This is an issue that we deal with frequently: how much photo editing of historical photographs is “ethical.” When I say we deal with it frequently, I mean every time we hold a class on the subject. We have presentations on editing old photos using both Picasa and Photoshop Elements. We always address the issues of what changes and how much change is “all right.”

James Tanner in his blog Genealogy’s Star also tackles the subject. He expresses the same concerns we do, and essentially arrives at the same conclusions. Check out his article at Genealogy's Star: More on the Ethics and Historicity of Photo Restoration

Saturday, February 4, 2012

New Records Available at FamilySearch

Like me you have probably seen the recent news release that FamilySearch has added over 100 million new records to the website since the first of the year. Do you wonder what they are, exactly?

Check out the list at GeneaPress: FamilySearch Ushers in New Year with 119 Million New, Free Records from 33 Countries

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Some More Genealogy Tips

Harold Henderson in the blog “Archives” has given us a good article containing some tips worth considering. I would guess that most of them will not be new to most of you, but he gives what I consider to be a fresh perspective…always of value.

Check out his tips at Climbing The Spiral Staircase: Learning Genealogy Harold Henderson

North Florida Genealogy Conference, 2-3 March

The North Florida Genealogy Conference will be held in Orange Park, Florida on 2 and 3 March. Festivities begin that Friday evening and continue for all of Saturday, 3 March. A variety of topics will be presented to include talks on orphan trains, the 1940 census, new things in FamilySearch, writing family history, and more.

You can get more information about the conference at