Saturday, October 7, 2017

Have You Got Genealogy Questions?

One of the events that has been most successful for StLGS in the past is our "Ask Your Questions Day." With that in mind, as we plan our 2018 calendar, we have decided to kick off the year with an "Ask Your Questions" open forum at our January monthly meeting. So that we can best choose our "volunteer expert" and be sure to have answers for you, we need your questions.

If you have a question that is puzzling you about genealogy, please jot it down and send it to our vice president for programs, Viki Fagyal. She will compile the questions and consult with genealogists who have expertise in your areas of concern. Please try to keep your questions fairly general such as "Where can I find divorce records in St. Louis?" rather than "I need to know when John Smith and his wife Mary divorced." The more general your questions, the more people we can help with the answers.

Please send your questions to and then plan to attend the 13 January 2018 StLGS monthly meeting to hear the answers and learn from others.

Monday, October 2, 2017

St. Louis County Library to Host Lineage Society Fair

 If your ancestors were colonists, fought in an early war, or were part of the settlement of a location, you may be eligible to join a lineage society and honor their past achievements in the here and now. The St. Louis County Library is holding a lineage society fair on Saturday, 21 October from 10 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the Headquarters building, 1640 S. Lindbergh Boulevard, and everyone is invited to come and learn more about local groups.

Representatives of several societies will be on hand to discuss the work of their organizations and offer membership information to the public. This event is free and open to all. You do not need to register to attend.

Organizations scheduled to participate in the fair include:
  • Colonial Dames XVII Century, Margaret Wyatt Allyn Chapter
  • Colonial Dames of America
  • Colonial Daughters of the Seventeenth Century
  • Daughters of the American Colonists
  • Daughters of the American Revolution, Mideast District and Olde Towne Fenton Chapter
  • Daughters of the Union Veterans of the Civil War, 1861–1865
  • Jamestown Society
  • Magna Carta Dames and Barons
  • Missouri Society, Sons of the Revolution
  • National Society, Daughters of the Union, 1861–1865
  • National Society of New England Women
  • St. Louis Genealogical Society—First Families of St. Louis
  • United States Daughters of 1812
If you have questions, please contact the library at

Monday, September 25, 2017

St. Louis: Did You Know?

If you are doing Catholic research in the St. Louis Archdiocese, an invaluable tool is linked from the St. Louis County Library website, Parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. This provides an interactive Google map showing the locations of open and closed churches with brief historical data. Users can search for an address and see its location relative to churches shown on the map. If you know the address where your ancestor lived, it is easy to find the churches closest to that address. You can go directly to this map by clicking here.
When you get to the map, you can enlarge it by zooming in to see the street names and find your exact address. The churches are marked with green, blue, yellow, or black stars to indicate whether the church is still operating or closed. Click on a star and it tells you (on the left side of the screen) the name of the church, the dates of operation, and a brief description of the parish. Don’t forget, the St. Louis Archdiocese extends south to Perry County, west through Franklin County, and north through Lincoln County.
 (Thanks to StLGS Vice President of Programs, Viki Fagyal, for writing this week's blog post. If you know of an interesting website and would like to share with other genealogists, please contact us at

Monday, September 18, 2017

September Genealogy Events

 StLGS German SIG Meeting
The end of this month is filling up with several genealogy events. As we posted today in our Facebook group, the society's German Special Interest Group (German SIG) has a meeting on Wednesday, the 20th, featuring Dan Lilienkamp, reference librarian in St. Louis County Library's History and Genealogy Department. The meeting will take place at the Headquarters Auditorium at 7:00 p.m. Dan will speak on "Using Ortssippenbucher to Research Your Family." The meeting is free, no pre-registration required, and open to all. For more detailed information, go to the German SIG page on our website at

Old Jamestown Stories
The Florissant Valley Historical Society will be hosting a program featuring stories of Old Jamestown on Sunday, 24 September, at 2:00 p.m. Led by Peggy Kruse, author of Old Jamestown Across the Ages: Highlights and Stories of Old Jamestown, Missouri, this program will be presented at the historic Taille de Noyer house located on the McCluer High School grounds, 1896 South New Florissant Rd. The program is free, but due to limited seating, you do need to pre-register. Call either Pat at 314-440-2344 or Mary Kay at 314-409-9478. More information at
For directions to the Taille de Noyer house (on Google maps), click here.

Illinois Ancestors? Two Choices
For those with Illinois roots, Thursday, 28 September at 7:00 p.m. presents you with two choices:

French? Join Larry Franke, reference librarian in St. Louis County Library's History and Genealogy Department for a talk on learning to research old manuscripts from eighteenth-century Kaskaskia. Called "Using the Kaskaskia Manuscripts," Larry's talk will explain the marriage contracts, wills, land records, and manumissions in French civil records from southwestern Illinois. This is a free program, held in the auditorium of the Headquarters building at 1640 South Lindbergh Boulevard. No pre-registration is required. If you have questions, contact the H&G department at .

German? The St. Clair County Genealogical Society in Belleville, Illinois, is hosting a special lecture on the Rhineland-Pfalz (Palatinate) given by Roland Paul, director of the Institute for Palatine History and Folklore in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Mr. Paul will be talking about a German newspaper called Pfaelzer in Amerika, published in New York from 1884 to 1917, and containing thousands of obituaries. Mr. Paul and a colleague have published the first of four volumes of these obits, from 1884 until 1897, with about 200 obituaries of residents of the Metro East. He will speak about the newspaper and its importance as a source for locating German ancestors. More information at the society's website The meeting is free with no pre-registration required. It will be held in Belleville at the St. Luke Parish Center, 226 N. Church St. Directions to the location (on Google maps), click here.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Free Webinars: This Week Only!

Genealogy software company, Legacy Family Tree, is celebrating its seventh anniversary by offering fifteen of its most popular webinars for free for seven days only! This wonderful ability to learn from some of the nation's top genealogists began yesterday, 14 September, and will continue for a week. Normally, you would need a membership to its webinar series, which contains 583 genealogy classes taught by 149 well-known genealogists, to view these lectures.

The free webinars include classes on a wide variety of subjects from "Finding Your Early 1800s Ancestors Online" taught by James Baker to "Using Evernote for Genealogy" with Lisa Louise Cooke, and lots more in between.

So how do you take advantage of this great offer? Go to and enjoy!

Thanks to Geoff Rasmussen and the staff at Legacy Family Tree for their anniversary gift to all of us!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Zion and Fee Fee Cemeteries Plan Special Events

 Did you have ancestors buried in Holy Ghost (also called Old Picker's) Cemetery who were moved to Zion Cemetery in 1917 when Holy Ghost closed? If so, you might wish to attend a special service on Saturday, 16 September at 10:30 a.m. at Zion Cemetery, 7401 St. Charles Rock Road, to dedicate a new memorial in honor of those whose remains were re-interred at Zion. The cemetery does not have records or names of the individuals moved there, but wishes to honor them as a group.

If you plan to attend, please let the cemetery know so they will have adequate chairs and refreshments. Send a note to .

Also, on Saturday, 16 September, you are invited to take a walking tour of Fee Fee Cemetery, which opened in 1814. The tour is planned from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m. and there is a fee of $5 per adult and $3 per child from four through fifteen; proceeds to benefit the Bridgeton Historical Society. Parking is limited at the cemetery, so visitors are asked to park at Fee Fee Baptist Church, 11330 St. Charles Rock Road, where there will be free shuttles to the cemetery. Please note that the ground in the cemetery is uneven and not suited for walkers or wheelchairs.

For more information, call the Bridgeton Recreation Center at 314-739-5599.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Fall Classes at StLGS About to Begin

Did you know that one of the perks for StLGS members is free classes? StLGS classes are taught at our office, 4 Sunnen Drive, Suite 140, Maplewood, MO, from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m., and the teachers are all experienced genealogists.

The first class of the fall schedule begins this Thursday, the 7th of September, when Judy Belford will teach "Learning About Lineage Societies." Then, on Sunday, 10 September and Sunday, 17 September, Ilene Murray will teach a two-part class called "Foundations of Genealogy," meant for both beginners and those who are looking for some new ideas. Carol Whitton, CG, will teach "Beginning German Research" on Saturday, 23 September.

October brings a class by Viki Fagyal called "Can't Find it on the Internet?" on Saturday, the 21st, and "Beginning Irish Genealogy," taught on the 28th by Carol Hemmersmeier and Kay Weber.

The last class of our fall cycle will be on Saturday, 4 November, when Ted Steele teaches "Beginning RootsMagic."

More detailed information about all the classes is on our website at To register, please call our office at 314-647-8547 during regular business hours (Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, 9:00 a.m. until noon).  

All classes require pre-registration. No walk-ins, please.

Also, Please Note: Bob Goode is teaching a class on on Saturday, 16 September, but that class is filled and wait-listed. If you have signed up for Bob's class, you have a space but no new participants are being registered.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Celebrate French Heritage

For those of you with French heritage or an interest in French history/genealogy, two events are scheduled in the next few weeks in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri.

The first, sponsored by New France: the Other Colonial America, honors one of the founding pioneers of Ste. Genevieve, Louis Bolduc. In fact, Saturday, 26 August is Louis Bolduc Day, and there will be an all-day celebration at the Louis Bolduc House Museum beginning at 9:45 a.m. with registration. This is a family day, and children are most welcome. A scavenger hunt begins at 10 a.m. and, at the same time, the Linden and Bolduc houses will be open for tours. From 11 to 12:30 p.m., a party with sweets, games, and balloon animals will take place at the Linden House. At 1:30, you can take a special curator tour of the Bolduc house to learn more about the house's construction and history. Finally, at 3:00, Yan Bolduc, a historian and descendant of this colonial family, will present a genealogy lecture.

Admission for the day is $9 for adults and $4 for children. More information at

Also in Ste. Genevieve but a month later, the Foundation for Restoration of Ste. Genevieve will hold their annual fall history conference. The three-day event begins on Friday 22 September with a reception and continues on Saturday, 23 September with a full day of lectures from six different speakers. The lectures focus on John Scott, Missouri's first U.S. representative; Louis Bolduc and Agathe Govreau; The Battle of St. Louis and the attack on Cahokia; the Dodge family in the Mississippi Valley; the Green Tree Tavern in Ste. Genevieve; and diversity in the town in the 1770s. The conference concludes on Sunday, 24 September, with a tour of the Louisiana Academy, Missouri's first school of higher education.

A registration fee of $50 includes the reception, continental breakfast and lunch on Saturday, and Sunday's tour. Register prior to 16 September to guarantee your place and meals. Registration form and more information at

(Thanks to Mary Lee Chivetta for alerting us to the September conference.)

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Noteworthy Items to Start Your Week

A reporter from an online magazine, called simply, St. Louis, recently interviewed StLGS projects director, Carol Whitton, about the society's ongoing congregations project. If you haven't yet had a chance to see the article, we think you will really enjoy it. Find it here:

If it inspires you to join the fun, we always need more volunteers. Go to the Volunteer Opportunities page on our website for all the information you need to get involved. In addition, if you are affiliated with a congregation that has records to share, please let us know so we can reach out to you and your church or synagogue leaders.

While working with twentieth-century death certificates, you may have noticed that many have large numbers written on them somewhere in the "cause of death" section. Perhaps you thought these were just random numbers, but it turns out, they are not. Begun in the late 1890s, these numbers are part of the International Code of Diseases or ICD, and they may reveal more information on how your ancestors died, especially if the handwriting and/or the spelling on the certificate is difficult to decipher. Go to for an easy-to understand explanation of the coding system (try not to get sidetracked by all the ads on the page, though) and then click on the link to find the codes or go directly to Be sure to choose the link that corresponds to the revision closest in time prior to the person's death for the most accurate information.

In the following example, note that the person died in 1912 of "chronic bronchitis with pulmonary abscess." If we use the revised code for 1909, the closest date prior to 1912, we can see that the number 96 stands for asthma, which adds more information to the cause of death.

(Many thanks to our Twitter expert, Laura Mackinson, for alerting us to both these websites.)

Monday, August 7, 2017

A Software Announcement and a Great Article!

 Just a few days ago, announced it was purchasing the genealogy software Legacy Family Tree. MyHeritage has been slowly growing in the shadow of the giants, Ancestry and FamilySearch. They have a heavy European emphasis and more than 91 million members. Legacy, for years a top contender in PC genealogy software, is widely respected for the quality of its product and its tech support. It also has a well-used webinar platform.

For those of you PC owners looking to update your genealogy software and save money in the process, Legacy Family Tree is offering a substantial savings that will expire this Sunday, 13 August. You can get the Legacy 9 software and/or subscriptions to the webinars for half-price.

Please do not consider this as an endorsement of this product. We just want to make you aware of a good savings on a reliable product. For those who are interested, you can learn much more on the Legacy website: .

(Thanks to Pat Stamm for alerting us to this special offer.)

With so many genealogists now using DNA testing to help them establish roots, it should not be surprising to learn of extraordinary finds. A recent story, published in the Washington Post, tells of an "Irish-American" woman who discovered an amazing incident in her father's past when she began doing DNA testing of her relatives. It's a great read and a wonderful example of how important it is to follow every clue to get to the truth.

(Thanks to Ann Fleming and Ted Steele for sharing this link.)

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

From Slaves to Soldiers: Talk at Sage Chapel Cemetery

StLGS member Dorris Keeven-Franke wanted everyone to know about this upcoming talk and invites you to attend. Dorris writes:

"Several years ago, my friend George Abington asked me for help in researching his family history. He had his father's name, and was looking for the name of his father's father. I enthusiastically said yes without thinking (just as I often do) before beginning this research project. You see, George Abington's grandfather was born a slave in St. Charles County. Although I had over 20 years of experience as a professional genealogist, I didn't fully realize the challenges that African Americans face in tracing their ancestors. In fact, all four of George's grandparents were born slaves.

Many of you may have already heard the story of George's grandfather when we shared it with him at a St. Charles County Historical Society program several years ago. Since then, the story has grown so much larger! When the St. Louis African American Genealogical Society was working on their project for a monument for the U.S. Colored Troops, we discovered that the Abington family had a voice in that story as well. Now, that chapter can be updated for everyone! The Abington family, like many other African American families also has a voice in the history of the Sage Chapel Cemetery in O'Fallon, Missouri. These voices do not get an opportunity to be heard very often.

My friend George Abington is here in St. Louis, and I would like to personally invite you to a very special program, this coming Sunday, July 16, 2017, at the VFW Post 5077 (8500 Veterans Memorial Highway, 63366) at 1 p.m. for "From Slaves to Soldiers." This is an opportunity to hear a story that is so seldom heard, and visit the Sage Chapel Cemetery. This is a special place that is filled with the history of George's relatives and is in need of some care.  I do hope you can join us, and please feel free to bring along a friend to share in the story. I look forward to seeing you."

The Sage Chapel Cemetery is in O'Fallon, Missouri. Click here for a link to Google maps.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Family History Library To Discontinue Lending Microfilm

Genealogists who remember the days of sore shoulders and necks obtained from cranking blurry rolls of microfilm probably never thought this day would come. As of the first of September 2017, the Family History Library in Salt Lake City will no longer send out copies of microfilms. As many of you know, the FHL has been digitizing its enormous collection at breakneck speed. They expect to have all of their 1.5 million microfilms converted to digital images by 2020, much sooner than most people thought possible.

All records being captured today are in digital format and many are already posted online. Local family history centers will decide whether to keep the microfilms they already have. Keep in mind, however, that not everything that is on microfilm will be available from the comfort of your home. There are copyright restrictions on many records and books, meaning that they will only be available to patrons in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Another great reason to come with us on our annual research trip each fall!

To read the complete news release from the Family History Library, go to

(Thanks to Pat Stamm for alerting us to this breaking news.)

Friday, June 16, 2017

Genealogical Musing with Fran

Hello from St. Louis, Missouri, the home for fifty years of the St. Louis Genealogical Society, where we like to brag that we have members in all fifty states as well as several foreign countries. If you are a member, then thank you for your support, and we hope that you will take full advantage of your member benefits. Classes are free, there is a members’ only area on our website with information on thousands of St. Louisans, and members are encouraged to use the free Ask Louis service, plus so much more. Also, as a member, you know that you are supporting an all-volunteer organization dedicated to preserving and sharing documents and instruction in basic and special genealogy topics. Go to to keep up to date.
 I have been quite busy lately, and genealogy has sort of taken a back seat to everyday life. Imagine that! I am trying to make shelf room for new items and, of course, that can be a dangerous mission, for each item on the shelves has to be evaluated and a decision made as to where it should be placed. Now this chore mandated going through some of the family papers, and, what can I say, I got waylaid. I simply ask you, how can we as researchers not stop and reread and reevaluate each piece of paper or publication? One of the notebooks contained a handwritten note from one of my maternal aunts who died quite a while ago. My aunt had listed the names of her siblings and their spouses that went back five generations. Now I had seen this before and know that we had researched and documented this information, but this time I stopped where she stated that the female progenitor of this line was a full blooded Cherokee Indian. As the saying goes, do I “ Believe It or Not”? We have not been able to find documentation to prove it and I have dabbled in this subject before, but my question to you is, if all the rest of the information on the page has been proved, then can this also be accepted as true? What do you think? In genealogy there are many instances when we are faced with that very question, "Believe It or Not"?
Another example, the death certificate of a relative gives the name of the mother of the deceased. So is that a fact that you can accept and not worry about further evidence? Who gives the information for a death certificate anyway? “Believe It or Not”? Third and last example, several publications state the name of a female/wife of an ancestor but none have any proof or references. The information is not documented, just repeated over and over. Does repetition make it fact? "Believe It or Not"?
The Genealogical Proof Standard states, “We conduct a reasonably exhaustive search in reliable sources for all information that is or may be pertinent to the identity, relationship, event, or situation in question.” What is a “reasonably exhaustive search”? “It is prerequisite––regardless of whether the problem is simple or complex, and includes appropriately broadening the search beyond the person, family event, or record of most-direct impact on the project. The search effort extends to discovery of information that does or might illuminate (or conflict with) the other items of collected data.”
There are many times when I feel like Sherlock Holmes, “Elementary, my dear Watson,” and others when I feel like I am playing a game of Blindman’s Bluff. Researching genealogy mandates investigation and proof. You take all the data collected and analyze the sources. You seek to find facts to support your hypothesis. You analyze and correlate your collected data and then find any conflicts in your data and then go back and start all over to resolve those conflicts. Wow! What work! Yes, it is! But when you have positive proof of your information and your ancestry you get to boast and to walk tall because you have proven your place and your ancestor’s place in the history of this grand, great world we live in. Too much?
We all started our research for a personal reason. When our oldest had to do the family tree for a school project, it suddenly made me aware of what we didn’t know about the family, and so it began. My two sisters soon caught the mania from me and off we went in every possible direction collecting papers and cheering ourselves with each new fact. We knew nothing about correct documentation or the standards of genealogical proof. It was only after I took a class through the St. Louis Genealogical Society that my eyes were opened to all that we had been missing. WOW, what a moment!  Getting it right. Oh, I have gone off on many a flight of fancy since those early days but the difference is now I do a reasonably exhaustive search.
We all have the list of “can’t proves” and each time we review we hope to get a new perspective on how to proceed. It goes without saying that the earlier in history you are working, the less likely you are going to find say a birth record or a death record. And don’t get me started on the lack of records for women! These are some of our challenges and isn’t it wonderful?
I can claim no rank of expert when it comes to genealogy, but I can claim a dedication to serious, honest research. Would we like to forget some of the unsavory relatives that exist in the family line? Maybe, but at the same time it is fun to tell about those characters from the past and get a gasp of disbelief or a scowl of disapproval. After all, there are always a wart or two to be found and whatever else, you can always challenge others to “Believe It or Not!”
I had a few moments to share my thoughts with you on Memorial Day. Many of us have relatives who have served in the Armed Forces and I hope that you have a chance to say thank you to them. I like to think of myself as a “Yankee Doodle Gal” and it is with great pride and appreciation that I think of all those who have stood up for this country decade after decade after decade.  
Well, off to the family gathering to open the summer season. Do love the BBQs and homemade specialty dishes and chatting that brings back memories of those who are no longer with us.
I hope you are enjoying yourself as you seek the facts of your family’s history. Happy hunting and visit us at or at the office. Fran

Monday, June 5, 2017

StLGS Special Events

Missouri Research Institute
Your Missouri People

17–20 July 2017, StLGS Office 

Featuring John Dougan, Missouri State Archivist
Viki Fagyal; Ann Fleming, CG, CGL, FNGS; Ruth Ann Hager, CG, CGL; Carol Hemmersmeier; Christina Miller, Senior Reference Archivist; Kay Weber, and Carol Whitton, CG

Four-day workshop, including lunches and snacks, 
plus syllabus notebook in print and digitally

Early registration ends on 15 June. Spaces still available.

More information and registration at


Summer Speaker Series
Mining Online German Research

Featuring James M. Beidler

Saturday, 22 July 2017
Orlando's Event and Conference Center, Maryland Heights, Missouri

All-day workshop, including lunch

 Early registration ends 9 July. 
Combine with the Research Institute before 15 June for big savings!

More information and registration at


Annual Research Trip to Salt Lake City

                               5–12 November 2017

                                       Led by Bob Goode and Ilene Murray

Six days of research in the world's largest library devoted to just to genealogy!

Trip includes pre-trip meeting and workshop, hotel, airport shuttles, Sunday dinner, Monday orientation, group meetings, and individual assistance throughout the week.
Just a few rooms left! Early registration ends 30 June. 

More information and registration at

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Genealogical Musing with Fran

We who live and breathe St. Louis baseball are in the midst of another wonderful time of watching or just listening to the play by play. There have many a champion player born in St. Louis and not all played for the Cardinals. One, St. Louisan Yogi Berra, has been quoted many times and as I was rereading his book, I Really Didn’t Say Everything I Said, I was amused at a few of the quotes that “synced” with genealogy research. Quote #1: “You’ve got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going ‘cause you might not get there!” Just think about it! I am smiling as to how many times I have not known where I was going on a family line only to be pleasantly surprised––or not. Each and every name has a possible surprise behind it, and as we dig deeper and deeper we get to the essence of the person. We might find out that a relative was not law abiding, or not sane, or a wanderer. Or on the flip side, perhaps he was a steady provider for his family, a community supporter, and/or a solid moral person.
A second quote: “ We’re lost, but we’re making good time!” is one where you have to pause and then smile and then think about all those waste-of-time, hasty false starts. Think about those long paths that you go down only to find they lead to the wrong place or nowhere at all. All that energy that could have been saved if, at the very beginning, we would have gone step by step to prove the connection.
Quote #3 “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Oh, yeah, here we are with two people in the same place at the same time with the same name! Which road to follow and research first? Which one will take us to the right destination?
And the fourth and last quote, “Slump? I ain’t in no slump––I just ain’t hitting.” Well, we have all been in a slump and and not hitting but there is always another turn at bat as long as we stay in the game! I, like you, I hope, am staying in the game! The game of genealogy that is.
My latest interest has been finding out more about the history of StLGS as many questions pop up about how this organization has continued to grow and prosper with “only” a volunteer staff. The mission has always been the same, to “promote family history research by providing educational and research opportunities, offering community services, and collecting, preserving, and publishing genealogical and historical records.” From the very first meeting, there was a togetherness to the group, which stemmed from the common subject of St. Louis genealogy.

Here at StLGS we work as a team to achieve our goals. Volunteers, all of whom are home run hitters, know that it takes a full team effort to continue to keep up the quality of the work to the standards set fifty years ago by the founders of StLGS. If you don’t know us, then I hope you will go to and investigate our past and our present projects and events and join our team.
Our 46th annual Family History Conference, which featured Cyndi Ingle, Jan Alpert, and Bruce Buzbee, was quite the success. We want to thank our special sponsors: the History and Genealogy Department at St. Louis County Library, the Genealogy Department at St. Louis Public Library, the Missouri History Museum, NoWaste Publishing, Travel Leaders and Nancy Mettes, Vagabond Information Services and Peggy Thomson Greenwood, Salt Lake Plaza Hotel,, Carol Whitton, cg, Findmypast, Fold3 and

Also our exhibitors: Acclaim Press, Jefferson County Genealogy Society, Once Upon A Trip Travel, Perry County Historical Society, Voices of the Past, Sons of the American Revolution, Missouri State Archives, St. Louis County Library, and Missouri History Museum.
We have two events coming up in July, the first of which, The Missouri Research Institute, 17–20 July will be held at our office at  #4 Sunnen Drive, St. Louis, MO 63143. The second is the Summer Speaker Series, “Mining Online German Research,” featuring James M. Beidler, on Saturday, 22 July. This will be an all-day in-depth learning opportunity for those researching their German ancestors. As the events are back to back we are offering a package deal for those who want to attend both. The Institute is limited to thirty attendees but the Speaker Series is open to many more. Remember that as a member you are entitled to a discount on the cost of attending most StLGS programs.
          There are so many perks to being a volunteer and a member of StLGS but for most of us it is the people we meet and the service to StLGS that keeps a smile in our hearts and a spring in our steps. I encourage you to come and join this “merry band” of searchers and seekers.

Thank you to all who continue to support us and volunteer for us. We look forward to seeing all of you at our upcoming events or when you visit our office.

Happy hunting and, as Yogi Berra said, “Ninety percent of the game is half mental.” Think about it!
Fran Behrman

Monday, May 1, 2017

Genealogy News

We have several interesting items to share with you!

First, an announcement from Scott Holl, manager of the History and Genealogy Department at St. Louis County Library Headquarters. Those of you with interest in the historic St. Louis Post-Dispatch will be delighted to learn that the online database offered by St. Louis County Library to its patrons will now extend to 1968. Previously the database stopped at 1922. Actual digital images of the newspaper, beginning with 1874, are available with your St. Louis County library card at
We also want to make you aware of a free week-long conference focused on Western European research. Held from the 15th through the 19th of May and sponsored by FamilySearch, the focus of the conference will be on Germany, France, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Belgium. If you live in or near Salt Lake City, you can attend in person. An additional 500 people can register for the online version, a series of webinars. The entire week's schedule as well as links to registration are at the FamilySearch wiki at
Finally, check out the updates to our Orphanages page on the StLGS website! Viki Fagyal, author of the ongoing orphanage articles that have been appearing in our StLGS Quarterly, has created a wonderful bibliography, timeline, and census charts that should be of great help to everyone looking for more information on ancestors who spent time in a St. Louis orphanage. Find all these new pages as links in the right-hand column called "More Orphanage Information" at

Have you missed any of our blog posts? All previous blog posts are archived online. You can always read them by going to

Friday, April 21, 2017

Genealogical Musing with Fran

I am sure that by now everyone is aware of the recent death of Chuck Berry, “The Father of Rock and Roll” who was from St. Louis. What a talent and how lucky I was to have been part of that time when we went on Saturday nights and danced and reveled in this new, wild, extraordinary, and fabulous sound called “Rock and Roll.” Chuck Berry is just one of many born in St. Louis who are famous for their contributions in multiple fields of achievement.

When reviewing the list of “St. Louis Walk of Fame” persons, I am chagrined at how many I am not familiar with, and it makes me grimace. What is your connection to St. Louis, and have you gone back to the place where you first found your family there? For many of us, when we add a name to our tree, we immediately plot our course of action. We might do a timeline of when and where that person lived and then try to visit a location and record what we find. I have always found it fills my senses with a wonder and longing to know more about an ancestor when I see how he or she may have lived.

When I recently was in New York City and able to share the family’s early history and walk the streets where they lived with my daughter, it was thrilling and a little bit ego boosting. She had no idea of this information and was not only impressed but proud of her heritage. Felt good! It also cast a new light on N.Y.C. for us both.

If you haven’t made a visit to St. Louis to further your knowledge about your ancestor, then I urge you to do so with maybe a relative with whom you can share your knowledge and who knows, maybe heighten their interests in your discoveries.

St. Louis was founded in 1764 and there is an ongoing dispute as to whether we give credit to the French or Spanish, but the important part is its place in the history of the western development of the U.S. Who stayed in St. Louis? How long? Who died here? Was born here? What did they do for a living? What ethnic background? How did they get here? And for me the never-ending-so-often-asked question is WHY! Yes, why. I always want to try and connect with the past so I can get a better understanding of the history of person and place.

The history of St. Louis is built on the backs of our ancestors who brought a new spirit to this land and used their industry to make it a city that rivals the likes of Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Richmond, and Washington, D.C. in its contribution to the greatness of this country.

My husband loved to share stories and visit the places of his early childhood. Now the grandchildren only have the oral stories from what is remembered, as he never wrote anything about his memories. Just a page or paragraph about one single remembrance would be wonderful to have to share (dated and signed of course). Just as simple as this: “When the children were young, it was always a fun outing to pack a lunch, pens, paper, and crayons and go to the St. Louis Zoo. Sit down and observe, write about or draw a picture of the animal in front of us as we ate lunch.” Not much, you say, but does it not give a picture of the easy, relaxed, free in this case, family outing that brings together a St. Louis location and the family? Of course, that could be repeated by anyone today as the St. Louis Zoo is a much-visited jewel in St. Louis.

But what about the story of a place or event that no longer exists such as the Highlands, the excursion boat Admiral on the Mississippi, or Busch Stadium, when it was on North Grand Avenue? Just some that come to mind that would have been experiences shared with family and friends. There is a story to share about our day-to-day lives and the basic “w”s ( who, when, where, what, and why) are all you need to record. All other details are icing on the cake. So as you move forward with your family history, don’t forget to make it as personal as you can so those who read it later will be drawn to the past and the glory of each life.

How about a “ Meet Me In St. Louis” time in the near future for you to renew your memories and maybe discover more about those wonderful ancestors? This genealogy is a fun and never-ending adventure.

Good hunting and stop by the StLGS office when next in the neighborhood.


For those of you with Missouri roots, check out our 2017 Missouri Research Institute coming in July. Enjoy four intensive days of classes on “Your Missouri People.” More information and registration at

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Early Registration Deadline for the 2017 Family History Conference

Have you registered yet for the 2017 StLGS Family History Conference on Saturday, 8 April at Orlando Gardens in Maryland Heights? You can save a bit of money if you get your registration in by midnight, Thursday, 23 March. This year's conference promises to be another excellent one, featuring nationally-known speakers Cyndi Ingle, Jan Alpert, and Bruce Buzbee, joined by local speakers Bob Goode, Ilene Murray, and Carol Whitton. The focus will be on technology and DNA, and, of course, there will be prizes, some fabulous raffle items, and vendors with all kinds of goodies for you to browse and purchase. The StLGS Trading Post is filled with gently used books for reasonable prices, and we have quite a few new titles available in our StLGS store.

Registration is as easy as going to and clicking on the Family History Conference button. Don't forget to get your coupon code, if you are a member, so you get member pricing. Instructions and a link to the code are right there.

If you have questions, the office is open on Thursday, the 23rd from 9 a.m. until noon: 314-647-8547. We are looking forward to seeing you at the FHC!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Genealogical Musing with Fran

“No one is beat till he quits. No one is through till he stops. No matter how hard failure hits, no matter how often he drops, a fellow’s not down till he lies in the dust and refuses to rise”––words from the work “Defeat” by Edgar Guest. Harsh and somber you say these words are, but do they apply to the feeling of frustration when that elusive, long sought-after relative remains unfound? Well, what to do but brush yourself off and start all over again with new thoughts and an open mind. Yes, back to a clean slate.

First, I go to the experts. I have found over these many years that there is always someone who has probed and studied most all of the genealogical subjects, and it is my duty to go for HELP!

When St. Louis Genealogical Society was founded fifty years ago, education was put at the top of the list of what the mission of StLGS should be. Have you taken advantage of these opportunities? Well, what are you waiting for?

It is not an afterthought or accident that StLGS offers regular classes free of charge to members, conducts an all-day Speaker Series once or twice a year, multi- day seminars, quarterly Irish and German Special Interest Group programs, a free monthly meeting, and an annual all-day conference. Those are a lot of opportunities to further your skills. We know that the best way to get over a hurdle or through a brick wall is to arm ourselves with knowledge.

The annual Family History Conference for 2017 is coming up Saturday, 8 April 2017 and will feature Cyndi Ingle, creator of Cyndi’s List of Genealogy Sites; along with Jan Alpert, fngs, expert on DNA and genealogy, and Bruce Buzbee, creator and owner of RootsMagic software. In addition, local speakers Bob Goode, Ilene Murray, and Carol Whitton, cg, are on the program. What a line-up of experts!

This program is designed to wow and thrill the genealogist in each of us. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by attending, so why not sign up NOW? Early registration ends on 23 March. For information on the conference and/or to register, go to and click on the "Family History Conference" button. And while you are on the home page, be sure to check out some of the other upcoming events too!

Will look forward to seeing you soon, 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Genealogical Musing with Fran

Hi, fellow travelers through time,

I am smiling as I write this, and I want to share this with all of you “older” readers. A little girl is turning ten! The thought was that a little girl who loves to play dress-up might like “stuff” from the past. The old portable phonograph with some 45s and 78s seemed just the ticket, as well as the old pink dial phone! You get the thought here, right?

Well, the absolute puzzlement on her face as to “What are these things and why would I want them?” truly stunned me. Even after I put a record on and the music blared, she just looked puzzled. And you try and explain a dial-up phone. Am I that old? Well, I guess when I can remember our beautiful huge floor model of a phonograph player which required that you crank it up and our first phone where you had to go through an operator, then I guess I answer my own question. Yes, I am that old!

When did it happen? Sixty years old? Sixty-five? Older? When do we realize we are the eldest in the family? When we are treated with deference? It happened this past weekend to me and I have given it quite a bit of thought since.

My paternal grandmother was my ideal. I have only perfect memories of her. Walking to Grandma’s house was always filled with a joyful expectation of what would come. She could cook, bake, sew, do needlework, garden, and most of all tell a great story. The times spent with her were precious. Now I am the eldest in the immediate family, and I don’t think I have the depth to do the job that my grandmother did. The only thing I know about all of this is that I have always had an “old” soul and will endeavor to tell the stories of our discoveries.

As we delve into the past for each name, I hope we are also endeavoring to grasp and record the facts of the era that surrounds that person’s life and times. We do not experience life in a vacuum, and genealogy gives us the opportunity to gather the spirit of our relatives' lives and times.

Oh, by the by, there was something monetary with the birthday card, so all was not a puzzlement.

Continue to enjoy this passion and . . . I hope to see you at the StLGS Family History Conference on 8 April 2017. You can register at

Happy hunting,


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Trivia Night is Friday, 3 March 2017

Are you ready for an evening of fun and games? Have you signed up for the StLGS annual Trivia Night? It's coming up this Friday, 3 March, at the Richmond Heights Community Center, 8001 Dale Avenue, just one block southeast of Hanley Road and Highway 64/40. Doors will open at 6:30 and Trivia Night begins at 7:15. That should give everyone time to arrive after rush hour traffic has made its way home.

As in previous years, thanks to the hard work of the Trivia Night committee, there are fabulous  
baskets of goodies for a silent auction that will begin as soon as doors open. Bring your checkbook and/or your credit card so you can bid on a wide array of wonderful donated items sure to entice you.

You can register a group of eight or just come by yourself and we'll find you a new group of friends to join for the evening. Soft drinks and some snacks are on the house, and you are welcome to bring any other goodies you like: more snacks, dinner, adult beverages, dessert, whatever. (The community center does not allow glass containers in the building so if you bring anything in glass, please plan to take it home with you, full or empty. Thanks!)

Trivia Night is our biggest fundraising event of the year and we rely on your support to make it successful. You can register online at We look forward to seeing you Friday night.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Genealogical Musing with Fran

(This is our second post from past StLGS president, Fran Behrman, who will continue as a guest blogger. Be sure to read her first post from 25 January, and follow her ongoing genealogy journey as she shares more with us on a regular basis.)

“Meet Me in St. Louis” always provokes images of the 1904 World’s Fair, streetcars, and the wonder of an era more than a century ago. What were your ancestors doing in St. Louis at that time? The Behrman family arrived in the late 1800s and settled on Park Avenue. The elders were entrepreneurs and lived the life that this country had promised. As we are all here because our ancestors decided to relocate to this land of “milk and honey,” we relish the quest for more information about these daring men and women who only wanted the opportunity to live free, raise their families in peace, and prosper.

St. Louis has always been a city of neighborhoods, and when we locate where our ancestors lived, it aids us in our search. The Hill, Grand-Oak Hill, Hyde Park, Near South Side, Central West End, DeBaliviere Place, Soulard, and Carondelet are just a few of the St. Louis neighborhoods we’ve come to know. Our ancestors were drawn to areas with those of ethnic origins akin to theirs. Nothing much has changed over the years as we continue to welcome immigrants to this great land of freedom and opportunity for all. Just as our beautiful Statue of Liberty denotes, “Give me Your Tired, Your Poor . . .”

My husband, third generation German, adored his father and went to work with him each day in his store, which was in the Near South Side neighborhood. We have in our home one of the ladders that was used in the store. The stories that were passed on to the children and grandchildren about that time often brought not only smiles but tears. Riding on the back of the milk wagon was a favorite.

We have always felt fortunate to have lived in a time of families settling and staying in a neighborhood. What are your early memories? Do you know the details of the entire family unit? Extended family information can add valuable facts to the make-up of a family heritage.

This thing we do, genealogy, continues to fascinate and puzzle as we move forward. Never a dull moment for sure!

Please enjoy the hunt and let us hear from you.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

An Opportunity to Learn About a Preventorium in St. Louis

During the 1920s, tuberculosis ran amok among all classes of people. Communities made efforts to improve sanitation and to treat adults but not much was done about children. In 1926, the St. Louis Jewish community began a summer camp for at-risk children. Called Camp Fee Fee, it was a preventorium, meant to get kids out into the fresh air and teach them about how to stay healthy so they would not become victims of this potentially fatal disease.

Diane Everman, archivist for the St. Louis Jewish Community Archives, will present a lecture on this fascinating topic on 21 February 2017 at 7:00 p.m. at the Jewish Federation, 12 Millstone Campus Dr., St. Louis, MO 63146.

The lecture is free but pre-registration is required. Call 314-442-3720 or send an email to Cyndee Levy A dessert reception will follow the lecture.

Learn more at

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Genealogical Musing with Fran

(Past StLGS president, Fran Behrman, so enjoyed writing her monthly column that we asked her to continue as a guest blogger. A natural storyteller, Fran has graciously agreed, and we know her many fans will be delighted to follow the ongoing saga of her research. Enjoy!)

We have all been there when we find something new but are not sure how it relates to our ancestor. We know it would be good to just bounce our thoughts off someone who could help to think it through face-to-face. Well, that was the simple thought, the seed, the need for Dorothy, and she decided to act! 
Dorothy contacted NGS for a list of members in St. Louis. She wrote letters to local institutions and placed ads in the local newspapers letting all know of an intended meeting on 6 October 1966. Now I would like to tell you that hundreds showed up, but that is not the case. There were thirteen, including Dorothy, but you do not always need large numbers to succeed. Enthusiasm and spirit count for much more in this situation. Dorothy and her merry band clicked, and as the saying goes, the rest is history!  The St. Louis Genealogical Society (StLGS) was established.

StLGS is fortunate that in its fifty-year history, volunteers have come forward to do the work that today supports members in all fifty states and six foreign countries. From that original thirteen have come thousands through the years to learn and share in this company of like minds. The mission of StLGS for fifty years has been to collect, preserve, and publish genealogical and historical records and provide educational and research opportunities Quite a lot to think about, right? 

I remember my first class when I was awakened to the wonder of what was possible and how to go about achieving success. I have had the good fortune to meet so many knowledgeable genealogists during the years, but I have never met one who thought they were finished learning. This is a challenging area of research and the information we gather requires discernment. What is that line from The Music Man? “You gotta know the territory.”

Our research will expose us to not only the history of our ancestors but the history of the world they created. How very exciting it is to make these discoveries! I hope that you are having as much fun with this wonderful exploration as I am, and I encourage you to take advantage of the local and national societies that exist to aid you in your success.

Good hunting, 
Fran Behrman