Monday, September 17, 2018

Local Genealogy News

Our friends at the St. Clair County [Illinois] Genealogical Society have given their website a sleek makeover. If you had pages bookmarked on the old site, you might want to visit the new site and re-bookmark those pages, as the old links may not work. In addition, you may need to opt in again for electronic messages from the society and to receive notices for their publications. The SCCGS has also been adding indexes and records to their site, so if you have ancestors from that part of Illinois, be sure to check them out. The website address is

Many St. Louisans are eagerly awaiting the reopening of the Soldiers Memorial Military Museum, scheduled for Saturday, 3 November. In early August, the first artifact was installed in the refurbished main gallery, the bell from the deck of the USS St. Louis, a light cruiser that protected ships transporting American soldiers to Europe during World War I. Since then, crews have been painting, cleaning, and gathering up items to move into place to get ready for the grand reopening.

Exhibits will feature many items that reflect the lives of St. Louis soldiers throughout history. The museum is keeping up with the public via Facebook and Twitter. You can see lots more of the progress on their Facebook page at For those of you on Twitter, you can find the museum at or search for them with the handle of @SoldiersStLouis.

Interested in St. Louis orphanages? Head over to the Cliff Cave Branch of the St. Louis County Library on Friday, 21 September at 10 a.m. to hear Viki Fagyal, StLGS treasurer and author of Researching Orphans and Orphanage Care in St. Louis, discuss "St. Louis Orphanages." The talk is free and open to all. No pre-registration required. You can purchase a copy of Viki's book at our online store. Click here to go to the page, but don't forget to get your member code for your discount, if you are an StLGS member.

And, finally, mark your calendar for Saturday, 29 September, and plan to visit St. Louis County Library Headquarters, where our friends in the History and Genealogy Department will be celebrating their Twentieth Anniversary!

The day begins in the auditorium, where the staff will be on hand for refreshments and a meet and greet at 10 a.m. A short program will be followed by tours of the department. Seven classes are scheduled for the afternoon. The classes are free, but they do require registration. Click here and scroll down the page that opens to see the offerings.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Fall 2018 Speaker Series: Google Strategies for Genealogy

 Searching with Google is something most genealogists do all the time. It is, after all, probably the most powerful search engine on the Internet. However, making that search engine work efficiently for you is not always easy. In addition, there are other websites run by Google that you may be less familiar with but which could help you enormously in your research.

Think you'd like to know more?
We've got a real treat for you coming in October at the StLGS Fall Speaker Series!

On Saturday, 20 October 2018, come hear nationally-known expert, Lisa Louise Cooke, speak on

Google Strategies for Genealogy 

An all-day seminar featuring four talks and lunch. Lisa's lectures will be:
  • Google Search Strategies for Common Surnames
  • Create a Free Google Map Collection for Your Research
  • Google Books: The Tool You Should Use Everyday
  • Reconstruct Your Ancestors' World with Google
Once again, the Speaker Series will take place at Orlando Gardens in Maryland Heights. A boxed lunch with sandwich or salad and coffee/tea is included in your registration fee.

Pre-registration for the Speaker Series is highly suggested so you can be sure of a seat and your choice of lunch. You can find out much more about the workshop, get a registration booklet and directions to the venue, and/or register online by clicking here.

Monday, September 3, 2018

September Events and In Memoriam: Barbara McLean

Happy Labor Day! Hope you are having a good holiday weekend. While you are enjoying this day off, why not grab your calendar and make plans for some of these upcoming September StLGS genealogy events:
StLGS Monthly Meeting: Saturday, 8 September 2018
"Cities of the Dead for the Living: The Rural Cemetery Movement," by Jeff Smith; St. Louis County Library Headquarters Auditorium, 10:00 a.m.; free, open to all, no pre-registration.
Click here for more information.

German Special Interest Group Meeting: Wednesday, 19 September 2018
"Finding Clues and Information for your Ancestors in Unusual Places," by Carolyn Schaeffer; St. Louis County Library Headquarters Auditorium, 7:00 p.m.; free, open to all, no pre-registration.
Click here for more information.
StLGS Class: Sunday, 9 September 2018
"PERSI: The Periodical Source Index," by Carol Whitton; StLGS Office, 1:00 p.m. Free to StLGS members; fee for non-members; pre-registration required at 314-647-8547.

StLGS Class: Saturday, 15 September and Saturday, 22 September
"Foundations of Genealogy, Parts I and II," by Ilene Murray; StLGS Office, 1:00 p.m. Free to StLGS members; fee for non-members; pre-registration required at 314-647-8547.
StLGS Class: Saturday, 29 September 2018
"Beginning Irish Research," by Carol Hemmersmeier and Kay Weber; StLGS Office, 1:00 p.m. Free to StLGS members; fee for non-members; pre-registration required at 314-647-8547. 
Click here for more information on all our fall classes.

In Memoriam: Barbara McLean

With great sadness, we share with you the news that Barbara McLean, a former StLGS officer and board member has passed away. Barb died on 8 August 2018. She served as society treasurer from 1998 to 2001. In 2002, she was the recipient of the annual Achievement award, and for several years afterwards, she served the society in the office research room, where she assisted in cataloguing materials and helping visitors.

Barb was a thoughtful, compassionate woman who always had a big smile for everyone. She loved genealogy and traveling and her family. Married to husband Jack for sixty-four years, when she retired from the society office, she devoted herself to his well being and spending more time with her family. She had two adult children and two granddaughters, whose achievements she excitedly shared with her friends. All of us who knew Barb already miss her sparkle. We send our deepest sympathy to her family: son Tim and daughter-in-law Yoshika, daughter Linda, her grandchildren, and her sister, Naomi.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Gleanings from Some Interesting Websites

First, this week, a clarification, as we didn't mean to be misleading in the last blog. It is only the hotel registration that is currently open for the 2019 National Genealogical Society conference in St. Charles, Missouri. If you are thinking about attending from out of town, we urge you to book your room as soon as possible. Two of the conference hotels are already sold out! Please check the new conference page on our website for a link to the NGS site for more information and/or to register.

Now, we want to highlight a few interesting tidbits we've come across online.
  • Do you have Michigan ancestors? The State Archives of Michigan and the Michigan Historical Center are working with seventy of the eighty-three Michigan county courts and FamilySearch to index and place online an index to naturalizations from 1812 to 1985. In fact, they already have quite a bit available online at their site, Seeking Michigan. Click here to learn more about the project and then explore the entire website to see what is happening with Michigan records.
  • Looking for some help with early counties? How about an interactive map of the changing county boundaries throughout the country over time? Thank the Newberry Library in Chicago for this wonderful gift! The Atlas of Historical County Boundaries may grab hours of your time, since it includes all the territories and states over centuries. Click here to access it and then have fun!
  • Are you a fan of Google Books? Are you occasionally stymied over the fact that there is no easily discoverable set of tools for narrowing your searches? Many thanks to genealogist Judy Russell for sharing this tip. To find the advanced search options on Google Books, look at the top right of the screen and find the "Tools" button. When you click on it, you will get more search options, which may make your searching a lot easier. See below:
Notice the whole new line of search options. Now, you can click on each of those tiny down arrows and explore the options under all of the four topics.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Genealogical Musing with Fran

 (Thanks to former StLGS president, Fran Behrman, for being our guest writer this week.)

Hello from St. Louis. So glad that you have entered the “blogosphere” with us. This is the place to get all the news from StLGS. Obviously you know how to get here, but when you talk with others, please mention us and how to reach us. I just met someone the other day who had no idea about our blog and I was glad to share what it is all about with them. In the earlier years of StLGS we sent a newsletter  every month to our members alerting them to society happenings and events, but this blog as well as our Facebook and Twitter accounts and, of course, our website have become the way we communicate today. So we are glad you are here and hope you will spread the word.

The DNA seminar that we sponsored at the end of July was a sellout, and we thank everyone who came to learn how to interpret information from their DNA test results. Our speaker, Diahan Southard, was outstanding!

At the end of the day it seems that all roads, including using DNA, lead back to good old-fashioned genealogy research. Yes, you have to do your own research to see who on those online trees connects to your family in exactly which way.

Well, I say, YEAH! Nothing is better than a new research adventure. Yes, an adventure! Where else can you spend time traveling, researching, exploring, and meeting wonderful people all in the name of research?

I recently had the opportunity to go back to the roots of my paternal line in this country, New York City. If I ever win the mega, mega lottery (never play so I don’t know how it will happen) then I will buy a place in New York City. I have been there many times and it never disappoints. Records and history show my ancestors arrived in New Amsterdam/New York as early as 1653 and were notorious in a number of ways that makes it somewhat easy to find articles and papers about them. Remember when we go hunting for our ancestors,we never know what we will find.  It is always exciting to walk on the same ground as our ancestors and seek out their stories. We are all descendants of emigrants and I wonder if I would have been brave enough to leave my homeland and start all over in a foreign country. Don’t know. What about you?

What is your favorite family story? So many! Each ancestor does have a story and all are worth finding and chronicling.

We are gearing up for hosting the 2019 National Genealogical Society Conference. Hotel registration is now open for those of you who will be traveling here from out of town. Please check the new conference page on our website for a link to the NGS site for more information. I hope that all of you will have the opportunity to attend this exciting event, spending time meeting, sharing, and generally relishing the opportunity to mingle with others who share our passion for genealogy.

Glad you are staying in touch with us and as always, happy hunting!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Legacy of the Civil War

As we've done our genealogy, we often find soldiers in the family. Perhaps you had Civil War soldiers and have thought about how difficult it must have been for them, particularly those families who found themselves on opposite sides during the long years of conflict.

Did you know that the Civil War . . .
  1.  Set the stage for the organization of modern hospitals?
  2. Led to improved use of anesthesia and safer surgical techniques?
  3. Saw the first organized ambulance and nurses' corps, eventually becoming the foundation of the American Red Cross?
  4. Led to the foundation of more than seventy National Park Service Civil War sites?
  5. Was the beginning of mass production of canned food?
  6. Encouraged the development of left and right shoes, each shaped differently?
  7. Was the first "modern war" using repeating rifles, machine guns, submarines, hot-air balloons, soldier's ID tags, land mines, and ironclad ships?
  8. Led to the system we now have in place of national cemeteries for veterans, homes for veterans (becoming the Veterans Administration), and pensions for widows and orphans?
  9. Encouraged the use of national paper currency and was the impetus for our federal income tax?
  10. Left us with slang we still use today, for example, carpetbaggers, deadlines, horse sense, and greenback.
These are just a few of the lasting effects of the Civil War. Curious to know more? There are many websites where you can learn about the war's impact on our ancestors' lives and how we still are influenced by that war today. Here are a few you might like to look at:

"The Civil War: Facts, Events, and Information about the American Civil War: 1861–1865"

"How the Civil War Changed Your Life"

"The Civilian Experience in the Civil War"

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Correction on class schedule

We have an error in our prior post about the StLGS classes. The Citations class is August 18 at 1:00 p.m. and the PERSI class is September 9 at 1:00 p.m.  Both classes are at our office. For more information go to