Friday, February 26, 2016

Free Index to Records From the US Railroad Retirement Board

The Midwest Genealogy Center, part of the Mid-Continent Public Library in Missouri has put online a free index to pension records from the US Railroad Retirement Board. This is a rather extensive collection, consisting of some 1.5 million records.

The Railroad Retirement Board, is an independent agency of the US government that was intended to administer retirement benefits to the country’s railroad workers. It was formed in 1935. 

Only railroad workers who have been deceased for more than seven years will be included in the index.

Genealogy Quick Look:

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PGS Events for the Week of 28 February to 5 March 2016

Monday, 29-Feb-2016 at 6:00 PM--Family Tree Maker 2012/2014 Basics--Part 5, Smith. Local History Room, Largo Library.
Tuesday, 1-Mar-2016 at 6:00 PM--ANCESTRY FAMILY TREES – Part 1. Publishing your tree on can be a great way to share your research with others, as well as to provide a backup for your work. This presentation covers how to start a family tree on, and how to maintain it. That includes working with people, events, images, and sources. Summers, Local History Room, Largo Library.
Tuesday, 1-Mar-2016 at 7:00 PM--Google Your Family Tree. Bryan, Tarpon Springs Public Library.
Wednesday, 2-Mar-2016 at 1:00 PM--England & Wales Genealogy--How to access the civil parish records of birth/christening/marriage/burials. Pearson, Local History Room, Largo Library.
Thursday, 3-Mar-2016 at 10:30 AM--Library Catalog Searching for Genealogists – Libraries are a great place for finding genealogy resources. This class will show you how to find libraries and archives that can help you in your search, how to get the most from catalog searches, and discover other helpful resources available through online catalogs. Fortin, Local History Room, Largo Library.
Friday, 4-Mar-2016 at 10:00 AM--Franco-American Discussion Group. Geographic areas include: Europe (primarily France, but not limited to France)-Eastern Canada (primarily Quebec, some Ontario, but including the Acadians of the Maritime Provinces)-USA (Central North America and New England, also Louisiana and the surrounding Southern states). This will be the last meeting of the season; will resume in November. Grandmaison, Local History Room, Largo Library.
Saturday, 5-Mar-2016 at 10:00 AM--Family Tree Maker User Group--Questions & Answers and Demonstration of how to use the Family Tree Maker genealogical database software. Just in case you haven’t heard, this software will continue to be supported by another company.   Hosmer/Bryan, Local History Room, Largo Library.
Other items of interest:
Mark your calendars for 12 March at 1:00 PM. PGS presents a mini-seminar on England and Wales Genealogy by Liz Pearson. Two lectures: “Counties of England and Wales, 1065 to Present”  and” Locating and Accessing Records.” Free and open to the public.Note the time is 1:00 p.m.—some earlier material indicated 11:00 a.m. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Suncoast Genealogy Mini-Seminar

The sprint Suncoast Genealogy Mini-Seminar will be held at the Palm Harbor Library on 26 March from 1-4pm.

The speaker is Donna Moughty who will present two topics: "Strategies for Finding Your Irish Ancestors," and "Online Sources for Irish Research." Also, there will be a used book sale.

The door opens at 12:30pm. Registration is $25 for SGS members and $30 for non-members. Walk-in registration is $35 for all. All registrations much be postmarked by 16 March and there will be no refunds after 23 March.

Make checks payable to Suncoast Genealogy Society, Inc., and mail to Ann James, 2850 Chancery Lane, Clearwater, FL 33759. For additional information contact Ann at .

Monday, February 22, 2016

Care, Handling, and Storage of Audio Visual Materials

If you have audio visual materials you wish to survive into the future, this article from the Library of Congress may provide the preservation steps you need to know. Some of the media addressed are discs, magnetic tape, and cylinders. Proper handling and proper storage are addressed as well as maintaining playback equipment.

Check it out at:
Care, Handling, and Storage of Audio Visual Materials - Collections Care - (Preservation, Library of Congress):

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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Granville County North Carolina Cemetery Indexes Online

Here is an impressive listing of Granville County, North Carolina Cemetery interments, provided in partnership with the Granville County Genealogical Society.

The list contains scores of cemeteries, many of which are small, family cemeteries. You can go directly to any of the alphabetically listed cemeteries (which are marked if pictures are available), or you can do a global search. The search box is at the top of the cemetery list on the landing page.

If your interests extend to other North Carolina counties, there is a link at the top of the landing page to "Other NC County Cemeteries" that may be worth exploring.

Check it out at:  Granville County North Carolina Cemeteries:

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Monday, February 15, 2016

Canadian Service Files of the First World War, 1914-1918

The Library and Archives Canada provides us with a valuable collection of digitized files of Canadian Expeditionary Force soldiers. The time period covered is 1914-1918.

You will find a search form on the landing page that you can use to search by name as well as regimental number. Your hit list will include name, date of birth, rank, regimental number, and information on where the record is located in the archives.

If you click on the name, you will be treated to a digitized image of the soldier's "Attestation Paper" which contains much personal information.

Check it out at:
Search: Service Files of the First World War, 1914-1918 – CEF - Library and Archives Canada:

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

International Coalition on Newspapers

The website for the International Coalition on Newspapers (ICON) may point you to digitization projects concerning newspapers that you would want to reference in your research.

The landing page allows you to select projects by country and by US State. The end of the line may not always give you to digital copies you want, but many of the link will do just that. This is a site with a very broad scope, so take some time to fully explore what it has to offer.

ICON - International Coalition on Newspapers:

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

RootsMagic and Ancestry - Working Together at Last

If you want the latest word on the budding relationship between Roots Magic and, follow the link below.

It will tell you the plans, the time-frame, and will give the answers to some commonly asked questions about the whole thing.

Check it out at:  RootsMagic and Ancestry - Working Together at Last:

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Monday, February 8, 2016

Lawrence County, Alabama Marriage Books and More Online

The Lawrence County, Alabama Archives has published several indexes of historic records in their possession.

Notable among them are marriage books from 1818 to 1947. A link on the landing page will let you view the database, and once there, you will find a search box in the upper right of the page.

Other collections you may want to check out are deed books (1818-1850), minute books (1818-1850, inventory and will books (1818-1850), military records (Revolutionary War to WWII), and more.

Lawrence County Marriage Books 1818-1947:

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Friday, February 5, 2016

PGS Event for the Week of 7 - 13 February

Monday, 8-Feb-2016 at 2:00 PM--Swedish Genealogy Interest Group, Charest, Local History Room, Largo Library.
Monday, 8-Feb-2016 at 6:00 PM--Family Tree Maker 2014 Basics--Part 3, Smith, Local History Room, Largo Library.
Tuesday, 9-Feb-2016 at 6:00 PM—RootsMagic-Part 3, Summers, Local History Room, Largo Library.
Wednesday, 10-Feb-2016 at 10:00 AM--English and Welsh Records--Understanding and organizing the three main sources. Pearson, Local History Room, Largo Library.
Thursday, 11-Feb-2016 at 1:00 PM--Irish Genealogy Interest Group-a discussion of resources and techniques for researching your Irish ancestry. This session will deal with Irish immigration and any of your questions. Focareta, Jenkins C, Largo Library.
Saturday, 13 Feb 2016-- Annual Pinellas Genealogy Society Seminar, co-sponsored by the Largo Public Library from 8 am to 4 pm.

Our featured speaker is Ann Staley, CG, CGL, and we have three breakout speakers as well. Ann’s four presentations will deal with:
·         piecing together the everyday lives of your ancestors,
·         how to attack research brick walls,
·         organizing, analyzing, and sharing your genealogical data, and
·         exploring popular and not-so-well-known free websites.

Ann is a nationally known speaker and we are excited about her presentations at this event.

The topics of the breakout sessions will be
  • using the website, particularly the Wiki, with Debbe Hagner,
  • researching the pre-1850 census with Debra Fleming, and
  • a look at the records of the National Archives in Kew, London, and how to access them with Liz Pearson.
In addition to the speakers, the event boasts a continental breakfast, box lunch, raffles, door prizes, huge book sale, and plenty of time to network with other researchers and guest organizations.

The registration fee is $40 for PGS members and $45 for non-members. After 6 February, the cost is $50, so register early.

A detailed schedule of events and a registration form are found at . Questions can be addressed to

The library is located at 120 Central Park Drive, Largo, FL

Memorial Park Cemetery Continues on Monday, 8 February

Join us Monday, 8 February at 10:00 am as we continue to canvas Memorial Park Cemetery. Bring your digital camera and sun protection.  

Brooms are provided, but you may wish to bring your own gardening gloves, etc .  Water and other refreshments will be provided.  Wear your PGS shirts if you have one.  

Toledo Blade Obituary Index

This site will be of interest to those of you with ancestors from the Toledo, Ohio area. The Toledo-Lucas County Public Library offers an obituary index of notices from the Toledo Blade dating from 1837 to the present.

Enter your search term into the form provided on the landing page and you will get a hit list consisting of name, source, newspaper date, and citation. If you click on the name, you will get more detailed information on that person, and an opportunity to request the obituary if you wish. When you click on the request link, you will be asked to complete a form. The service is free.

Check it out at:  Blade Obituary Index:

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Family Tree Maker Still Has LIfe, and Roots Magic Ups the Ante

You probably all have heard by now that a company called MacKiev has bought Family Tree Maker (FTM) from Ancestry and will continue its development. And you probably have heard also that Roots Magic projects that by the end of this year, it will have the same interface relationship with Ancestry that FTM has.

But in case you missed all of that, follow the link below for Dick Eastman's article on the events.

Family Tree Maker to be Continued and With More Options Than Ever Before | Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter:

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Megan Smolenyak Counts the Irish-born Dead in WWI

Megan Smolenyak, writing an article on the Irish America website, explores the estimated number of Irish-born Dead in World War I. (As you may recall, Megan was our featured seminar speaker a few years ago.)

The article is rather lengthy, but you might enjoy the logic behind her estimates, and learn a thing or two about Irish populations around the world.

Read the article at:  War Numbers: Counting the Irish-born Dead in WWI | Irish America:

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Monday, February 1, 2016

JGTSB Seminar Held in Two Sessions: 14 February and 13 March

We received this notice from our friends at the Jewish Genealogy Society of Tampa Bay:

This is to remind you that Part 1 of the JGSTB’s annual Jewish Genealogy Seminar will be held on Sunday, February 14, 2016.  Part 2 of this seminar will be on March 13, 2016.  Both sessions will be held at Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services, 14041 Icot Blvd., Clearwater, Florida.  Registration will be at 1:30 PM, and the seminar begins at 2:00 PM on both dates 
This year’s seminar is entitled “The JGSTB 2016 Guide to Naturalization Research: Why you cannot find your Bubbe’s Naturalization Records”.  
The naturalization records of your ancestors can help in determining their roots in the old country.  Unfortunately, the tangled web of naturalization laws, the multitude of judicial jurisdictions, and the scattered location of germane records make the search for these documents difficult and frustrating.  This two-part course is designed to reduce the mystery and confusion and to improve the chances of a successful search. A simplified history of the laws and governmental entities involved in naturalization processes will be presented, and a logical progression for finding the actual records will be demonstrated. Internet procedures will be emphasized.
Dr. Emil H. Isaacson will lead the seminar.  Dr. Isaacson has more than 30 years of experience in genealogy and, through his own research, has traced his ancestral roots back seven generations to the late 1700’s in Europe.  He will share his successful and sometimes unsuccessful techniques.
This seminar is free to JGSTB members.  The seminar fee for non-members is $25 for an individual or $35 for a family.  However, non-member fees include a one-year membership in the Jewish Genealogical Society of Tampa Bay.  There is an additional $10 charge for the seminar booklet that replicates the material to be presented.  This booklet will be useful both during the seminar and will be valuable for reference afterwards.  The booklet, which is available only to seminar attendees, is highly recommended, and only one booklet is needed for either a family or an individual.
Early registration is strongly recommended to ensure that sufficient copies of printed materials will be available.   Call Sally Israel at 727-343-1652 to pre-register for the seminar, or you can email Sally at  Walk-in registrations will be welcomed, but if there is a shortage of printed materials, pre-registrations will have first priority on the available supply.