10 December 2016

StLGS Cemetery Project Completed!

(The following article, acknowledging the completion of the society's cemetery project, was written by Ted Steele, one of many St. Louis Genealogical Society volunteers who worked on our cemetery project over the years.)

Throughout the nineteenth century, thousands of families came to (or passed through) St. Louis, Missouri, on their way west. Some families stayed and some were in the city for only a brief time. In either case, many of those families had one or more of their members who died and were buried there. Since 2000, the St. Louis Genealogical Society (StLGS) has had a project to transcribe and index every burial in every cemetery in St. Louis city and county. Thus began a society effort that involved StLGS volunteers photocopying cemetery records or walking cemeteries to record whatever information could be gleaned from tombstones. This project identified 444 open or historical cemeteries in St. Louis city and county. Once the data was captured, StLGS volunteers created an every-name index to each cemetery.

It wasn’t always easy. By and large, cemeteries are private businesses, so access to their records or obtaining access to walk the grounds required permission from each cemetery owner. While many owners were happy to provide this access, others required considerable encouragement to do so. A few were adamant against allowing any access to their records—or their property. One by one, however, determined society volunteers worked with these recalcitrant owners, convincing them that creating these copies and indexes would provide both off-site backup for their businesses and alphabetical indexes to their interments that would prove to be helpful to them. One by one, they agreed.

In November 2016, StLGS volunteers completed their work on the last of these cemeteries, Oak Grove, in Normandy, St. Louis County. That effort, then, culminated the society’s project to record and index all of St. Louis’s cemeteries. During the past sixteen years, StLGS volunteers have captured and indexed more than 1.5 million interments. Those indexes are now available to society members on the society’s website at www.stlgs.org/research-2/life-death/cemeteries-2/st-louis-area-cemeteries-list/.

StLGS is now working to do the same with all St. Louis area congregations. Although this work has only recently begun, StLGS already has thousands of baptism, marriage, and burial every-name indexes for selected congregations available to society members on its website at www.stlgs.org/research-2/congregations/congregation-index/.

12 October 2016

St. Louis Co. Library Needs Our Help

Our friends in the History and Genealogy Department at St. Louis County Library Headquarters need the help of all genealogists, and not just those in St. Louis, to determine the future configuration of a rebuilt Headquarters building. In order to provide for adequate space for the H&G Dept., the library needs to understand how much we use the facility, how important it is to have enough space in which to work, how much nicer it would be to have open stack access to all the collections, etc. Got ideas about technology? Heating/cooling?  Allocation of space? This is the time to make yourself heard.

Please take the short survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/dpwnyc7 and include your comments so that H&G takes priority in plans for the new Headquarters building. And please do the survey within the next week, if possible; time is of the essence, as planning has already started.

07 October 2016

Mo. State Archives Updates Search Capabilities for the Post-1910 Death Certificate Database

On 5 October 2016, the Missouri State Archives announced that they have a new, expanded search option for their 1910 through 1965 death certificate database. Now, for at least part of the database, you can search not only by the name of the deceased person but by the names of their parents and spouses as well. There is also a date range function available.

The Archives has started adding names of parents and spouses mentioned on death certificates with the present and is working backwards; at this time, 1965 back to 1961 is complete. They are currently indexing 1960 and will add that year as soon as it is finished. They plan to continue working back to 1910, so ultimately the entire database will be expanded.

You can see the new search engine and start using it for the expanded search at https://s1.sos.mo.gov/records/Archives/ArchivesMvc/DeathCertificates#searchDB/. If you are interested in volunteering to move things along more quickly, you can volunteer to be an indexer at https://s1.sos.mo.gov/records/archives/evolunteers/.

03 October 2016

StLGS Office Closures in October

The StLGS office will be closed on Saturday, 8 October and again on Saturday, 15 October so our volunteers can attend the monthly meeting on the 8th and the Fall Speaker Series on the 15th. We are sorry for any inconvenience.

For more information on these events, be sure to check the home page of our website www.stlgs.org/. Also, remember that early registration for the Speaker Series ends on the 8th. We hope to see you on both Saturdays.

16 September 2016

Early Registration Deadline Extended for October Speaker Series

The kids and grandkids are back to school and cooler weather is on the way. Time to think about genealogy again after vacations, gardens, and other distractions have filled our long summer days. StLGS has just the perfect way to spend a Saturday in October––our annual Fall Speaker Series!

Following Your Ancestors Through Time
Saturday, 15 October 2016
Orlando Gardens, 2050 Dorsett Road, Maryland Heights, MO
Registration 8:30 a.m.

Featuring Ann Fleming, CG, CGL, FNGS
Ilene Murray
Carol Whitton, CG
Four talks plus lunch included!
  • Discovering New Research Clues
  • Leaving Home and Becoming an American
  • Migrating from the Eastern U.S. to the Midwest
  • Death Records: What Do They Reveal?
 Save some money! The early registration deadline has been extended to Saturday, 8 October!

You can register online at www.stlgs.org or mail the form that came with your August News 'n Notes.

Please note: Orlando Gardens does not permit any outside food or beverages. 
Coffee and water will be available throughout the day.

30 August 2016

September President's Column in its Entirety

 As we promised in the issue of News 'n Notes that went out this morning, here is the entire "President's Column." To those of you who aren't StLGS members, a reminder that the electronic edition of each month's newsletter is always just a click away. Just use the News 'n Notes button on the home page of our website to access it.

“One day you turn around and it’s summer. Next day you turn around and it’s fall. And the springs and the winters of a lifetime, whatever happened to them all?” (lyrics by Sammy Cahn, recorded by Frank Sinatra) Well, yes, here we are in the fall and where is this year of 2016 going? Are we preserving the memories of our lifetime? I think as genealogists that is exactly what we are doing.
I always think of September as the transitional month––getting back to the routine of settling in for the shorter days, the anticipation of the leaves turning, and the changing of greens to yellows, oranges, and browns.
So much about September can also be related to our memories of returning to school. I remember well setting off for my first day of school proud of my brand new box of crayons and my freshly sharpened #2 yellow pencil and lined tablet. Well, times they are not only “a changing” but have changed. The tools of the trade today are laptops. Where my pencil had an eraser, my computer has a delete button! But we change with the times and keep moving forward. I am sure like me you are reminded that staying busy and taking on new challenges keeps us in the game, our minds active, the aging process slowed. Well, we who are doing genealogy are very much keeping our minds active.
Our group of researchers who are going to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City this fall has had their pre-departure group meeting and should be, as I write this, in the throes of preparation. Getting prepared to go on a research trip, whether it be a day or a week, is essential. You have to know what you are looking for and where you will find it. It is wonderful to be able to sit at home and just log on to the Family Search website and search their catalog.
Researching is what we love about genealogy, but I have always loved puzzles. My grandmother loved doing jigsaw puzzles, and during the winter, there would always be a puzzle on the dining room table where you could sit and work while listening to the radio. Yes, remember radio?
My recent endeavors have taken me to researching South Carolina. Now as you have probably discovered in your own research, when you get back to the early 1800s and before, finding actual records gets to be an even greater challenge. No census before 1790, but thank goodness for land records, tax records, and court records.
When at the St. Louis County Library History and Genealogy Dept. the other day, I found a marvelous book with a detailed map inside where I was able to pinpoint the exact location of the earliest land record for my ancestor. It turned out that even though it was a South Carolina record, the land was actually in what was then North Carolina. This discovery has thrown a new light on this research.
Maps are wonderful in so many ways and another essential resource for genealogists. There is a very useful book, Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790–1920, by Thorndale and Dollarhide, that if you haven’t used, you might want to refer to when researching county and state boundaries. (Coincidentally, this book, which until recently was out of print, is now available at the StLGS store in case you might like to buy a copy for yourself.)
The society has come into possession of an 1873 Atlas of the United States that is so extremely detailed and full of valuable information. A professional photographer has scanned it for us and we hope to get the images up on our website for you, our members, in the near future as another research tool for your benefit.
I hope that you are being successful in your pursuits. When I get to a place in my research where I just seem to be bogged down and I am not getting anyplace, I lay that particular line aside for a bit and pick up another to work on. As there is never going to be an actual “finish,” I find it a better method for me.
            No matter whether you are working alone or with a partner or a group, the experience of solving the puzzle and the satisfaction of success are the tangible rewards but there are to me so many other rewards that seem to come with this hobby. One of the best rewards for me is the people whom I meet and the experiences and stories that are shared. We often think of genealogy as a quiet, studious endeavor but to me it is wrought with serendipitous moments that can be shared and enjoyed with others.
      Please know that we are here not only to assist but we want to hear your stories of discovery. 
      Happy hunting,
      Fran Behrman, StLGS president

30 July 2016

StLGS to the Rescue!

This story appeared in the July issue of the society's newsletter, News 'n Notes. We received a request to re-publish it in our blog so it would be available to a wider audience, and the author, Karen Goode, granted her permission to do so. Here is the article in its entirety.

The St. Louis Genealogical Society recently had the pleasure of helping Branko Stivic locate his ancestors in the St. Louis area and in Chicago. It was a rewarding experience for us and for Branko, who was fulfilling a request from his mother, Barbara Stivic née Blumenschein, to find out what happened to her sister, Marika. What we found was thrilling for his mother and for Branko.
            Spurred by his mother’s request, Branko emailed the St. Louis Genealogical Society from Croatia at the end of March of this year. He said he worked as a park ranger in the Park Maksimir in Zagreb, the capital city of Croatia. He was going to attend the 8th International Ranger Federation World Ranger Congress in Colorado, in May, and was planning to come to St. Louis the first week of June for a couple of days. Branko requested our help in finding information about the Blumenschein family that were at one time in St. Louis.
            He told us that his mother’s grandfather Karlo Blumenschein met and married his wife Barbara (Hummel) in St. Louis. They had eight children, including a daughter named Marika, who was born here. Karlo’s brother, Peter, had a shoe repair store at 4383 Natural Bridge Avenue in St. Louis. Karlo and his wife Barbara returned to Croatia, where they are buried. Marika Blumenschein came back to the U.S. and married a man named Glazer. Then the family lost track of her.
            A team of volunteers at StLGS began to assist Branko even before he arrived at our office. Using online sources first, Viki Fagyal found a death certificate, passenger manifest, censuses, and street directories for Peter within a few hours. Viki also found notices of Karlo and Barbara’s marriage and Peter’s death in newspapers.
            When Branko arrived at the office, we printed out several documents for him and then Ed Dolata, Kathy Franke, and I took him to the Missouri History Museum Library and Research Center. Ed had contacted Molly Kodner, an archivist there, who assisted us with finding maps to show where Peter Blumenschein had his shoe repair shop on Natural Bridge. We also found information in the street directories for both Peter and Karl Blumenschein.
            The next day, Bob Goode and I took Branko to the History and Genealogy Department at St. Louis County Library Headquarters, where we found the marriage certificate for his great-grandparents, Karl Blumenschein and Barbara Hummel. We then visited the Croatian Catholic Church in Soulard and toured some of the streets that we had identified in the street directories.
            After Branko went back to Croatia, out of curiosity about his family history, I found the immigration record for Marika Blumenschein, who came back to America in 1928. She listed her uncle, Peter Blumenschein, as her destination. I also found census records for her and her husband, who were living in Chicago in 1940.
            On a whim, I decided to check out the public family trees posted on Ancestry.com, and this is where I found Judith Blochowitz, the daughter of Frank, the oldest son of Peter and Marika/Maria/Mary Glazer. I contacted Judith, and now she and Branko are communicating, sending family pictures to each other, and eager to learn about their family in America and in Croatia. Judith was very excited to hear of her Croatian family. She had recently completed a DNA study on Ancestry hoping to find her Croatian ancestors!
Karen Goode

Branko speaks and writes some English, which made helping him a bit easier. Although we are not in the habit of doing genealogy for our members, we do pitch in when visitors arrive from Europe and are not familiar with our records and repositories. Branko was delighted with the success he had and it was wonderful to meet him and to reunite him with his American relatives.


07 July 2016

Updated News About the StLGS Speaker Series, 23 July 2016

The response to our Summer Speaker Series has been overwhelming, leading us to move the all-day workshop in July from our office to a new location to accommodate the increased number of participants.

If you tried to register and saw the "Sorry, we are full" sign, we apologize, but it took a bit of time to get the venue changed. We are now delighted to announce that we will hold the Summer Speaker Series at Orlando Gardens in Maryland Heights and we welcome all of you to register!

StLGS Summer Speaker Series
Saturday, 23 July 2016
Orlando Gardens, 2050 Dorsett Road, Maryland Heights, MO 63043

Details and more information on our website: http://stlgs.org/events/speaker-series

08 June 2016

StLGS Summer Schedule

Hope everyone is enjoying the lovely spring weather in St. Louis! We want to take this opportunity to remind you to about some upcoming StLGS events.

Our June monthly meeting is this Saturday, June 11th. Please join us in the auditorium at the St. Louis County Library (SLCL) Headquarters to hear Carol Hemmersmeier talk about "Sifting for Pay Dirt: Finding and Recycling Golden Nuggets in our Own Backyards."
     Carol will share some techniques for finding overlooked information in all those stacks of material you already have collected. Remember, our meetings start promptly at 10 a.m. and they are free and open to everyone.

Also coming up this month on Wednesday, 22 June, at the SLCL Headquarters, in the auditorium, is our German Special Interest Group (SIG) meeting. Carol Whitton, German SIG leader, will present a talk on "Exhausting U.S. Records to Find Your German." The meeting starts promptly at 7:00 p.m. and is free and open to all.

And in July . . .

Our July monthly meeting is on the 9th of the month at SLCL Headquarters and will feature Dorris Keeven-Franke talking about "Missouri's German Heritage."

Have you registered yet for the Summer Speaker Series? You won't want to miss Beth Stahr, a librarian and educator from Louisiana, who will be joining us at our office in Maplewood for an all-day conference (including lunch) on Saturday, the 23rd. "I Know They Came Here! Why Can't I Find Them?" will focus on finding immigrant ancestors, and the day's talks will concentrate on censuses, passenger lists from New Orleans, German migration up the Mississippi River, and analyzing data. This promises to be an outstanding event, and we hope to see you there! Save a bit of money by taking advantage of early registration, but remember, that discount ends on 9 July!

For those of you with Irish connections, the Irish SIG will meet on Tuesday, 26 July at SLCL Headquarters in the auditorium at 7:00 p.m. Patricia Walls Stamm will be the guest speaker and will talk about "Mining All of the Resources from FamilySearch.org/."

More information about all of our meetings and special events is always on our website. Go to www.stlgs.org and use the buttons on our home page and the calendar at the bottom of that page for the most up to date information.

13 April 2016

Announcing Two New Classes at the StLGS Office

 Beginning RootsMagic

Because the first class was so popular, Ted Steele has agreed to repeat his Beginning RootsMagic class! If you couldn't make his previous class or were on the waiting list, here is your second chance:
Saturday, 23 April
1 p.m. until 3 p.m.
StLGS office (4 Sunnen Drive, Suite 140, Maplewood, MO)

The class is free to all StLGS members; non-members pay $30. 

Interested? Call the office at 314-647-8547 on Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday between 9 and noon to sign up. Pre-registration is required for StLGS classes.

 Finding Your German Ancestors

This class was recently added to our spring schedule. German SIG leader, Carol Whitton, CG, will cover this important topic for SIG participants and anyone else who is interested.
Saturday, 21 May
1 p.m. until 3 p.m.
StLGS office (4 Sunnen Drive, Suite 140, Maplewood, MO)

The class is free to all StLGS members; non-members pay $30. 

Interested? Call the office at 314-647-8547 on Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday between 9 and noon to sign up. Pre-registration is required for StLGS classes.

10 March 2016

Local Authors Will Appear at the StLGS 2016 FHC

Are you registered for the annual Family History Conference on Saturday, 2 April, at the Maryland Heights Community Centre? In addition to a full day of workshops and exhibit spaces that will be overflowing, this year we will have four local authors in the lobby from noon until 2 p.m. selling and autographing their books.

Do you have German ancestors who came to Missouri? Stop by to purchase Followers of Duden by Steve Claggett.

NiNi Harris, well-known St. Louis historian, will have her newest book, Downtown St. Louis, as well as other titles.

Ross Malone documents the history of Missouri in his books including, The Book of Real Missouri Records: Show Me the First, Last, Smallest, Fastest, Strangest, Weirdest and Funniest.

Carol Ferring Shepley will be signing her latest book, St. Louis, An Illustrated Timeline, but also take a look at Movers and Shakers and Scalawags and Suffragettes: Tales from Bellefontaine Cemetery.

Remember that early registration for the FHC ends on Saturday, 19 March. Of course, you can still register after that date, but you'll save some money by signing up early. Register online at our website www.stlgs.org/.

25 February 2016

Hope to See You at Trivia Night, Saturday, 5 March 2016

Our annual Trivia Night fundraiser is coming in just one week and we are bursting with excitement at the wonderful silent auction items and fabulous fun-filled games and rounds of questions we have for you this year. Our committee members are busy making beautiful baskets chock full of donated goodies. The questions are done and the answers double-checked. The beverages and snacks have been purchased, so they are ready to go, and all the volunteers are in place for helping out both before, during, and after the event. Now, the only thing missing is all of you! Our registration has been very good, but there are still tables and individual seats available. Don't be shy! You can come by yourself or with a friend or two, and we'll find places for you. Just be sure to let us know you are coming.

Here is just one of the silent auction baskets we know you will enjoy. The basket is called "Cardinal Legends," and it's got jerseys, bobbleheads, a ball signed by Bruce Sutter, and some awesome tickets for this year's games. Other baskets have food, wine, gift certificates, bird houses, and all kinds of other enticing items.

And this just in . . . we have a week's stay at the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel in Salt Lake City, good until the end of September 2016. If you have been looking for the perfect genealogy vacation spot, here's your chance to be right next door to the Family History Library; this item alone is worth more than $700!

Online registration is open on our website. Just click here to go to the StLGS home page and then tap the Trivia Night button. Or you can call into the office and someone will take your registration over the phone. Looking forward to seeing you at the Richmond Heights Community Center on Dale Avenue on Saturday, 5 March. The doors open at 6:15 p.m. and the fun starts at 7. See you there!

03 February 2016

More News on Family Tree Maker

Ancestry.com announced in December that it would no longer support updates to Family Tree Maker, a genealogy software program it had promoted for many years. That left many people confused as to what to do next and trying to decide how to migrate family trees from one place to another.

A major announcement from Ancestry's management yesterday (2 February 2016) reveals that they have been working behind the scenes to help FTM users and now have two solutions that will please many. Here is the press release from Kendall Hulet, Ancestry's senior vice president of product management.

Since our Family Tree Maker announcement last December, we have continued to actively explore ways to develop and support Family Tree Maker and ensure you have choices to preserve your work in ways that matter to you. Today, I am pleased to announce two options for desktop software that will work with Ancestry.

Software MacKiev
Software MacKiev, with whom we have a long-standing relationship, is acquiring the Family Tree Maker software line as publisher for both Mac and Windows versions. Software MacKiev has been the developer of Family Tree Maker for Mac for more than six years and is thrilled at the opportunity to publish future versions of Family Tree Maker for Mac and Windows.

This new agreement means you will receive software updates and new versions from Software MacKiev, and have the ability to purchase new versions of Family Tree Maker from Software MacKiev as they are released.  You will have continued access to Ancestry Hints, Ancestry searches, and be able to save your tree on Ancestry with Family Tree Maker moving forward.

We have made an agreement with RootsMagic, a leading genealogy desktop software program publisher, to connect Ancestry with the RootsMagic software by the end of 2016. With this new relationship, RootsMagic can serve as your desktop family tree software, while having access to Ancestry hints, Ancestry searches, and the ability to save your tree on Ancestry.

We have heard your concerns and are working to provide the solutions you requested. These new agreements will make it possible to preserve your work on Ancestry and Family Tree Maker and enable future features and benefits to help you discover your family history. Be assured that Ancestry, in cooperation with Software MacKiev and RootsMagic, will continue to support you as you discover your family history.
We ask for your patience as we work diligently through all the details to make these solutions available. Be sure to check back on our blog as we share more information about Family Tree Maker in the next few months.

For more information on Software MacKiev and RootsMagic, click below:

14 January 2016

Genealogy in St. Louis: StLGS and SLCL Featured on Living St. Louis

On Monday, 11 January, the St. Louis Genealogical Society and the History and Genealogy Dept. of St. Louis County Library were featured on Living St. Louis, a local program on PBS, hosted by Ruth Ezell. Ms. Ezell's ten-minute segment focused on treasures one can find in church records and included interviews with StLGS Projects Director, Carol Whitton, and Scott Holl, manager of the H&G department at County Library Headquarters.

Carol described the process by which congregation records are being scanned and indexed at the StLGS office, and many of the office volunteers involved in the project were filmed at work. Scott was interviewed at the library. He showed an example of an Ortssippinbuch, a book written in German describing the genealogies of people living in particular communities, usually based on parish records. In addition, an introductory story line showed some Czech family letters from World War II serving as a way for two men to learn more about their families.

If you missed the show on Monday night or if you saw it and want to watch it again, you can find it online at http://ninenet.org/archives/30318/. And if it inspires you to help, we can always use more volunteers to work on the congregations project! You can scan, index, or proofread and many things can be done from home. Contact our volunteer coordinator at volunteers@stlgs.org to find out how you can help.

06 January 2016

Some January 2016 News

Happy New Year! Now that the holidays are behind us, it's time to think genealogy again, and what better way to begin the year than with an StLGS monthly meeting? Please join us on Saturday, 9 January at 10:00 a.m. at the St. Louis County Library Headquarters auditorium to hear Information Systems Director Bob Goode explain "How to Use Evernote for Genealogical Research." Evernote is a popular cross-platform application that helps users organize and collect a wide variety of notes. You can use it on any computer, laptop, tablet, and/or smart phone. Bob will explain how this powerful piece of software can help you with your genealogy.

Due to the holiday and some computer issues at the StLGS office, the January issue of News 'n Notes will be a bit delayed; however, members should be receiving it next week. The complete 2016 calendar, meetings and events flier, winter/spring classes, and a Trivia Night registration booklet will be inside. Meanwhile, you can find all those items already online on our website. Just go to www.stlgs.org and click on the appropriate button or scroll down the page to find the calendar.

Did you catch the first program in the PBS series Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr.? The new season began last night, 5 January, and it was a truly fascinating glimpse into the ancestry of three disparate people who surprisingly had a strong connection to each other. Actor Ty Burrell, artist Kara Walker, and political organizer Donna Brazile share a tie to slavery and those sort-of-almost-but-not-quite accurate family stories that most of us have. If you missed it, it's well worth watching, and you can do so online at www.pbs.org/. You may want to hurry, though; the video will only remain on the site until the 4th of February.