30 July 2018

Two-Step Authentication: What It Is and Why You Want It

Two-step authentication or two-step verification or two-factor authentication or 2Fa—all different ways of saying the same thing, which, however you name it, is a multiple-step process for proving it's really you when you log into some of your potentially security-sensitive accounts online. We've all read or heard about the security breeches and the hacking of major websites, like Facebook and Yahoo. So many people, in spite of the known risks, still have passwords that offer no protection from hacking, like 1234 or "Password" or "Fido." Of course, we all know we are supposed to change our passwords frequently, but most of us don't.

Because of all of these dangers lurking online, many websites that hold our personal data have begun offering the option of taking some extra steps to make sure you are who you say you are before you can log into an account. In its simplest form, two-step authentication requires you to sign into a website with your password and then the site generates a one-time code that is sent to you via text message or email. You have a limited amount of time, usually about ten minutes, in which to type in the correct code, after which, you can access your account. The logic is that if someone were to steal your personal account information they would not also have your smart phone or your laptop; hence, they could not reach your bank, your insurance company, your Apple or Google Play account, or any other place where you are likely to have private information.

Many websites, such as Google, Facebook, Dropbox, and Evernote, commonly used by genealogists, offer two-step authentication as a choice you can set up. Each process is slightly different so you'll want to explore the options on each site. Here are some examples from Apple (above) and Microsoft (below). Apple relies on a text message consisting of numbers; Microsoft, however, asks for you to install an authenticator app that reads scanned squares called QR codes.

For a thorough explanation of this security-saving process, you might want to click here to read an article in PC Magazine from February 2018. Although parts of it are a little "techie," scroll down to the sites you actually use to read specific instructions for how to increase your online safety when logging into those websites.

23 July 2018

Important Announcements About Upcoming Events

Important Announcements About Upcoming Events

Irish SIG Meeting
The Irish Special Interest Group (SIG) will hold a meeting on Tuesday, 24 July,  called "Irish Research in the U.S." Led by Irish SIG co-leaders, Carol Hemmersmeier and Kay Weber, this presentation will reinforce the idea that you have to start here before you can get there when doing European research. You'll want to mine those American records thoroughly before moving overseas, and you can learn how best to do so on Tuesday evening. The meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. in the auditorium of the St. Louis County Library Headquarters building, 1640 S. Lindbergh Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63131.

All SIG meetings are free, open to everyone, and do not require any advance registration.

 July Speaker Series Update/Road Closures
We are delighted to announce that our July Speaker Series on Saturday, 28 July is a sellout, and we are accepting no more registrations, nor can we accommodate any walk-ins. For those of you who have pre-registered, we remind you of the announcement we made this week on Facebook and Twitter that there is road construction currently underway on I-270 with lane restrictions and an imminent closure of the Dorsett Road exit as MoDOT rebuilds the bridge over the highway. MoDOT has not said exactly when the exit will be shut down, but they do maintain a real-time update of work zones online. Although Saturday traffic is usually very light, you may want to give yourself extra time for travel the morning of 28 July and pre-plan your route to Orlando Gardens.

Click here for a link to the weekly MoDOT road closures.

Click here for a map showing the venue at 2050 Dorsett Road and possible alternative ways to get there.

FamilySearch Class at StLGS
 On Saturday, 4 August, StLGS Information Systems Director, Bob Goode, will be offering a class on using the popular, free website FamilySearch at the StLGS office in Maplewood from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. All of the classes we offer at our office are free to StLGS members but pre-registration is required. Bob's class is the first of several in our late summer/fall series. Check out all of the possibilities on our website by clicking here. To register for a class, call into our office on Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. until noon (314-647-8547) or drop a note to office@stlgs.org and put "Class registration" in the subject line.

And finally, a reminder that the StLGS office will be closed on Saturday, 28 July so our volunteers can be at the Speaker Series in Maryland Heights.

16 July 2018

Missouri Announces Free Genealogy Workshops

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

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

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

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

09 July 2018

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

StLGS Summer/Fall Classes

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

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

 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG)

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

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

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

02 July 2018

Happy July 4th!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So Happy Fourth of July to all from StLGS.