Monday, July 16, 2018

Missouri Announces Free Genealogy Workshops

Thanks to archivist, Mike Everman, for sharing this important announcement from Jefferson City.

The Missouri State Archives reference staff will provide instruction on how best to use lesser-known county, state, and federal records in a series of workshops for intermediate-level genealogists. According to the press release, these day-long workshops are "intended for intermediate level family historians already possessing a basic understanding of genealogical research sources and methods." Included will be many unusual record sets, such as appellate court documents, non-population census records, professional registration records, and much more.

Multiple locations around the state offer a chance for many people to attend, but, although the workshops are free, pre-registration is required. Maximum attendance at each venue will be determined by the size of the space available.

Here is the schedule:
  1. Hannibal: Wednesday, 15 August, 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. at the Mark Twain Boyhood Home and Museum, 120 N. Main Street
  2. Springfield: Wednesday, 12 September, 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. at the Library Center, 4653 S. Campbell Avenue
  3. St. Joseph: Wednesday, 10 October, 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. at the St. Joseph Convention and Visitors Bureau, 911 Frederick Avenue
  4. Cape Girardeau: Wednesday, 24 October, 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. at the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center, 2289 County Park Drive
  5. Independence: Tuesday, 30 October, 10:30 a.m. till 5 p.m. at the Midwest Genealogy Center, 3440 S. Lee's Summit Road
  6. Jefferson City: Tuesday, 13 November, 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. at the James C. Kirkpatrick State Information Center, 600 W. Main Street
  7. St. Charles: Thursday, 15 November, 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. at the Spencer Road Branch of the St. Charles City-County Library District, 427 Spencer Road, St. Peters
To register or to get more information, contact Brian Rogers at 573-526-1981 or send Brian a note at

Monday, July 9, 2018

Summer/Fall Classes Now Open for Registration AND Information on SLIG 2019

StLGS Summer/Fall Classes

Got your calendar handy? Check out the StLGS Summer/Fall class schedule for 2018. All classes are held at the St. Louis Genealogical Society office in Maplewood during the afternoon from 1 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. Days vary depending on the instructor's schedule. Classes are always free to StLGS members and cost $30 per class for non-members.

Here's what's on the current schedule:
  • Saturday, 4 August: "FamilySearch"
  • Saturday, 18 August: "Citations: A Hands-on Experience"
  • Sunday, 9 September: "PERSI, the Periodical Source Index"
  • Saturday, 15 September: "Foundations of Genealogy, Part I"
  • Saturday, 22 September: "Foundations of Genealogy, Part II"
  • Saturday, 29 September: "Beginning Irish Research"
  • Saturday, 6 October: "Using Reunion 12 (for the Mac)"
  • Sunday, 21 October: "Beginning German Research"
All classes are taught by experienced genealogists who volunteer for StLGS. You must pre-register and can do so by calling into the office or mailing the registration form found on our website. You can read complete descriptions of the classes and get the form by clicking here.

 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG)

One of the premier programs for increasing your knowledge of genealogy is the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG), sponsored by the Utah Genealogical Society and taught by nationally-known experts in Salt Lake City each January. This year's program runs from January 21st through the 25th and registration is now open. A few of the classes are already full, but the following still have space available.
  • "The Family History Law Library," taught by Judy Russell and Rick Sayre
  • "Beside, Through, and Beyond the Golden Door: Immigrants to the United States After 1890," taught by Rich Venezia
  • "Bridging the Gap: New England to the Midwest, 1780–1840," taught by D. Joshua Taylor
  • "Researching New York: Resources and Strategies," taught by Karen Mauer Jones
  • "Advanced Southern Research and Resources," taught by J. Mark Lowe
  • "1619–2019: Four Hundred Years of African American Genealogy," taught by LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson
  • "Native American Research," taught by Rick Fogarty
  • "Gothic Script and Fraktur: Reading Records of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, and the Czech Republis, plus German-American Church Books and Newspapers," taught by F. Warren Bittner
  • "Introduction to Genetic Genealogy," taught by Paul Woodbury
  • "Researching Like a Professional," taught by Michael G. Hait
  • "Burned Counties and More: Overcoming Destroyed, Missing or Non-Extant Records; Sources and Techniques/Methods," taught by Kelvin L. Meyers
Classes run from Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Some include homework and additional labs or consultations. There are other events scheduled during the week to expand your learning and to socialize with participants.

Click here to go to the conference website. Once you are on the website, use the links on the left hand side (in the navy blue column) to explore all the aspects of the program.

 You can go directly to the schedule by clicking here. Learn more about the classes and the instructors and get directions on registration here.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Happy July 4th!

 (Thanks once again to former StLGS president, Fran Behrman, for writing this week's blog. And from all of us at StLGS, have a safe, happy holiday week. Stay cool in this heatwave!)

Where does the summer go? Here we are at the beginning of July! I have always thought of the 4th of July marking the middle of summer. Of course the 4th is much more than that to Americans––our official day to celebrate this democracy that we have inherited from our immigrant relatives.

There are many of you who have Native American lineage and that is definitely something, I believe, to be proud of. I have a handwritten family tree done by the oldest daughter of my grandparents and it states that six generations back we have a “full-blooded” Chickasaw grandmother. There is no DNA that proves that, so is it fact or fiction? The jury is out so to speak.

As genealogists, we trace our lineage back to the immigrant who traveled to the United States from another part of world. There are many reasons to have made the long journey to an unknown land where the dream was and continues to be freedom. If you get to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, you come away with both a chill and a thrill.

All immigrants did not stay in the place of their arrival. Mine migrated from Virginia, New York, South Carolina, and Maryland to settle in Missouri. My Maryland Catholic immigrants came en masse to settle along the Mississippi River just south of St. Louis in the early 1800s. It has been quite the adventure to research and discover the facts about the past. Mostly they are positive, but we all have a few that we would rather not brag about.

This is what we do as researchers. A name is just a name until we find the facts behind it. Who knows what we will find as we start our research but each and every discovery is meaningful and important.

I can not compare the relative who left his home to be part of the great Oklahoma Land Rush only to have both he and his wife meet death suddenly as they settled this new territory, to the band of families who left an established comfortable life in Maryland to find a new home on the frontier, or to my Frenchman who came alone to the U.S. in the mid 1850s. All their stories are important and it has been a great adventure to seek the truth of these immigrants who became settlers in this country. I love the words from the song “This Land is Your Land” by Woody Guthrie––"From California to the New York Island . . .This land was made for you and me."

So Happy Fourth of July to all from StLGS.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Family History Library in Salt Lake City: Why Go There?

The StLGS Annual Research Trip to Salt Lake City

Each year in the fall, StLGS sponsors a research trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. For one full week, you can enjoy non-stop, uninterrupted working time at this huge genealogy playground! The trip includes seven nights at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel, right next door to the library and across the street from Temple Square. Shuttle service to and from the airport, a Sunday dinner, Monday evening meeting, and individual assistance all week long from two experienced leaders are also part of the package. A pre-trip meeting and an electronic mailing list insure that all your questions are answered and give participants a chance to get to know each other a bit before traveling.
If most of your genealogy research has been done online, perhaps you've never even heard of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Or maybe you have been to the website and wondered about what was on the site and where it all came from. What's the connection between the two and why go to Salt Lake City when it's supposedly all online anyway?

Here's some food for thought:

  •  First, less than ten percent of all available family history documents are online.
  • Copyright restrictions and state and local laws have and will continue to prevent "everything" from being offered online in the near future.
  • Some books and/or documents that were filmed in the past are available to peruse ONLY in the Family History Library because of agreements signed with the owners.

What's in the Library?

  • The Family History Library in Salt Lake City is the world's largest library devoted just to genealogy. It contains four floors of books, microfilm/fiche, maps, reference books, and computers from every state and most countries on the planet.
  • The Mormon church owns and runs the library, which is open to everyone and free of charge. They also own and run the FamilySearch website, which contains the library's catalog, a wonderful wiki with instructions on how to do research on various topics and in a wide variety of locations. Also on the site are tutorials, classes, workshops, and more, all free.
  • Within the library are copies of millions of original documents, either on microfilm/fiche or digitized. There are also thousands of books and maps covering both past and present.
  • An increasingly large computer network gives access to many subscription websites and many records that previously had been on CDs or DVDs.
  • Very fast, modern digitizing and printing machines are on each floor, allowing you to save files to your own media for free or to print them on paper for a nominal fee.

Interested in Going?

The StLGS 2018 trip begins on Sunday, 28 October and ends the following Sunday, 4 November. Pre-registration will be ending on 30 June, and you can save $100 and take part in all the pre-trip preparations if you register by that date. More information and a four-page registration flyer are on the StLGS website: If you have any questions, please send an email to We hope you will join us!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Making Sense of DNA

(Our guest blogger, Fran Behrman, reminds us that we have a wonderful opportunity to learn from an expert at our Summer Speaker Series in July about the mysteries of DNA research.)

Father’s Day might have made us think about our paternal lines and how difficult it can sometimes be to know for sure that the man we have identified as a male ancestor really "planted the seed."

As I've worked on my own family's male (Y) DNA, I can tell you a couple of stories where DNA disproved male descent. I can also tell you it is a shock to receive such information! In fact, it presents a real dilemma. If you find such information, do you share with family members or do you not? I think we can all remember one or two shocks, positive or negative, we have found by doing genealogy.

We live in a time when science can indeed assist in our search for our heritage, and DNA can hopefully keep us on the correct path to our roots. My DNA results pretty much nailed my ethnic profile per the research that I have done, but there are still questions in my mind about the meaning of these results. For example, I am 26% western European, but my sister is 62%, my first cousin on my paternal line is 24%, and my first cousin on my maternal line is just 10%. Now what does that all mean? Shall I be doing an Irish jig, an English waltz, a Schuhplattler, or all of the above? Really, what do these results mean?

Well, StLGS will be assisting in furthering our knowledge of DNA on Saturday, 28 July 2018 at the Summer Speaker Series, Making Sense of DNA. Diahan Southard, well-known author, lecturer, and expert on deciphering DNA results, will present four lectures:
  1. "Let Your DNA Tell Your Story"
  2. "Five Tips to Make Sense of Your DNA"
  3. "Three Powerful Ways to Find Your Best Matches"
  4. "Connecting Your DNA Matches"
You can sign up for a day of learning on the StLGS website. Click here for more information and to register. Lunch is included with your registration, and directions to the Orlando Gardens location in Maryland Heights are on the website.

 It is my experience that every time I think I have as much information as I need to be successful at finding, discerning, and proving my lineage, I find that is not the case. There is always more, and, thank goodness, StLGS makes continuing education a priority.

So we shall rendezvous on the 28th of July to learn more about our DNA results and how to use them to further our research. Until then, hit the courthouses, libraries, cemeteries, and the Internet to keep digging into the past and the personal role your family has played!

See you in July,

Monday, June 11, 2018

June Genealogy Events Around St. Louis

Too hot to be outside? Perfect weather for a class or two! Here are some possibilities for this month:
St. Louis Genealogical Society
  • Wednesday, 20 June: "Exploring German Records in the Ancestry Library Edition Database"
    • Presented by manager of the History & Genealogy Dept. at St. Louis County Library Headquarters, Scott Holl. 7:00 p.m., auditorium; free and open to all, no pre-registration required. More information at the StLGS website: click here.
  • Early registration for the annual research trip to Salt Lake City is ongoing throughout the month, ending on 30 June.
    • Enjoy a week of research at the world's largest genealogy library with experienced genealogists to guide you and help you get the most out of your trip. 
    • Stay next door to the library, explore the beautiful downtown area of Salt Lake City, and immerse yourself in four floors of genealogy records. More information on the StLGS website: click here.
    St. Louis County Library (SLCL)
    • Friday, 15 June: "English Church Records"
      • Presented by assistant manager of the History & Genealogy Dept. at St. Louis County Library Headquarters, Jake Eubanks, 10:00 a.m., Cliff Cave branch, free and open to all, no pre-registration required. More information on the SLCL website: click here.
    •  Monday, 18 June: "Finding Immigrant European Ancestors"
      • Presented by research librarian, Larry Franke, 2:00 p.m., Florissant Valley branch, free but pre-registration is required. Registration and a map on the SLCL website: click here.
      Missouri History Museum
      • Sunday, 17 June: "The Battle of Belleau Wood Commemoration"
        • Honor those who died in this historic battle during World War I and those who served during the war. Learn about the battle, see a Marine Corps color guard, and, while you are at the museum, see the exhibit, "World War I: Missouri and the Great War," which will close on July 8th. 
        • Free and open to all, no pre-registration required, 2:00 p.m., Lee Auditorium. More information on the museum's website: click here.
      •  Thursday, 21 June: "Sacagawea: Mother, Ambassador, Leader"
        • Presented by Dr. Rowena McClinton, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville
        • Explore the life of this remarkable young Shoshone woman, who accompanied Lewis and Clark on their expedition across the continent in search of the Pacific Ocean.
        • Free and open to all, no pre-registration required, 7:00 p.m., Lee Auditorium. More information on the museum's website: click here.
      Check out the websites of all three organizations for more possibilities!

      Monday, June 4, 2018

      House Research and Orphanage History

      Got the June meeting on your calendar? The StLGS monthly meeting for June is this coming Saturday, the 9th, when experienced genealogist, LaDonna Garner, will present "Don't Forget Their House! Researching the Homes of our Ancestors." This meeting, originally scheduled for August but switched due to a conflict, will help you to determine how to go about pursuing the history of your ancestral homes. Often neglected in research, those houses are part of your family history and may help flesh out the stories of the people who lived in them.

      The monthly meeting is at St. Louis County Library Headquarters, 1640 South Lindbergh Boulevard, in the auditorium. The meeting is free and open to all; no pre-registration is necessary. Doors open at 9:30 a.m. and the meeting starts promptly at 10 a.m. See you there!

      (The meeting originally scheduled for June, "Non-Genealogical Websites for Genealogists," by Bob Goode, will now be the August meeting, on Saturday the 11th.)

       Questions about orphans and orphan care in St. Louis?

      Take a look at our newest publication, available for sale now in the StLGS store. You can find it at

      For more on St. Louis orphanages, be sure you also check out the section on our website: