27 May 2019

St. Louis County Historian: A Post Currently Unfilled

(Politics has become a hot-button issue and we do not wish to enter the fray. However, the post of St. Louis County historian is currently vacant, and the lack of a historian is a concern for all genealogists with roots in the area. Thanks to StLGS liaison to local historical/genealogical societies, Mary Lee Chivetta, for this week's post.) 

The office of St. Louis County preservation historian in the Department of Parks and Recreation has been unfilled since April of 2018. The position was most recently held by Danny Gonzales, who moved out of town. Before that, it was held for a number of decades by Esley Hamilton. Due to budgetary cuts by the most recent county administration, the position has not only remained unfilled, but it has been removed from the budget. Many of the county council members are young and/or new to the job and may be unaware of the position and the functions of the office.

Why do we need a county historian? According to an online history of St. Louis County Parks and Recreation, St. Louis County "now owns one of the most wide-ranging and significant groups of historic buildings and museum collections of any county park system in the country."

A county historian can coordinate historical information sources for the county he or she serves and handle inquiries from within and without the county. He or she can promote cooperation between local historical organizations—of which we have a wealth—and can organize workshops for local societies to promote and sustain their work. A historian is well acquainted with and interested in the county’s heritage and will take stock of the historical needs in the county and address them as they develop.

Most counties have preservation historians because they are good for the local economy. Cultural heritage is a demonstrated economic asset and an essential component of any thriving location, providing part of the framework that attracts talent and enhances business development. A vibrant community has an awareness of its history and works to enhance it—and the community benefits.

If we are going to restore this position in St. Louis County, our elected officials need to know how their constituents feel. You can help by going to  https://www.stlouisco.com/, and then clicking on "Your Government," and then on "County Council." If you know who your council member is, you can click on the district and find their email. If you don’t know who your council member is, scroll through the districts and select the map to find your district. Let your council member know you think it’s time to budget for the position and fill it for our future good.

20 May 2019

The War of 1812 in Missouri AND Fan Charts: New Products for Sale!

StLGS volunteers have been very busy this spring getting more new products ready for family history researchers. We now have two new books about the War of 1812 in Missouri and the formation of the Missouri Rangers.

The War of 1812 in Missouri, Volumes One and Two

Based on the work of noted genealogist, Robert Parkin, and edited by Ann Fleming, Ruth Ann Hager, and Ilene Murray, these volumes are rich with the history of the pioneers and Native Americans who were in the Mississippi and Missouri River Valleys during the early nineteenth century. The editors have added maps, glossaries, bibliographies, and indexes filling both books with valuable information for researchers of the time period.

Book One, called Tales of the Red Head, Black Hawk, and Missouri Rangers centers on the life and times of William Clark, Black Hawk, and the intrepid men and families who settled the frontier.

Book Two, called Profiles of Missouri Rangers, contains genealogical and biographical information on many of the people mentioned in the first volume. At the end of this volume is a section with rarely-seen early maps of the state and individual counties along the rivers.

If you had ancestors in the territory that became the state of Missouri, you will want to have these books in your library. You can buy them singly or in a set at the StLGS store. Much more information about the contents of the books is on our website. You can click on the button on the StLGS home page or go directly to the books' page. (Members: Remember to log in first to get your coupon code for the store.) Questions about the books? Send an email to publications@stlgs.org.

Fan Charts

The society is now offering family tree fan charts in two sizes: seven and nine generations. Both come in full-color, and the nine-generation chart also comes in black and white. You can get your chart with or without names and dates. They are printed in our office and can be ordered in person or via email. The charts are based on GEDCOM files, which must be submitted with your order.

Complete instructions for ordering a fan chart are on the StLGS website. You can download a booklet that contains an order form and explains how to create your GEDCOM on the Fan Charts page.

Questions about fan charts should be sent to fanchart@stlgs.org.

13 May 2019

Highlights of the NGS Conference

Thanks to all who helped to make this a wonderful conference week! What an exciting, albeit exhausting time it was for everyone who attended the National Genealogical Society's (NGS) 2019 Family History Conference in St. Charles! However, it would not have been a successful conference without the help of the experienced NGS staff and the more than one hundred StLGS volunteers who worked behind the scenes to keep things moving smoothly.

As the local host society, the week began for about seventy St. Louis Genealogical Society volunteers on Monday, 6 May with preliminary instructions, a tour around the St. Charles Convention Center, and then two hours of assembly line bag filling. Each of the 2,000+ conference bags needed to have copies of several bookmarks, flyers, booklets, and a conference program inserted. Then the bags needed to be boxed and toted to the registration area. By 1 p.m., all was ready for the following day, when pre-conference events began.

Tuesday was busy with Librarians' Day, African American and Irish workshops, and three different all-day trips. Registration opened for those already on site and continued all day and into the early evening. Volunteers were on hand to help participants download and understand how to use the conference app and to set up the society's sales area in the Exhibit Hall. The Society Showcase, featuring sixteen local genealogy and history groups, took place during the afternoon.

From Wednesday until Saturday, from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. (and later for those attending special events), days were filled with lectures, meals, shopping in the Exhibit Hall, meeting new friends, and re-acquainting with old ones. In spite of the cool, rainy weather that dominated the end of the week, people enjoyed the food trucks that arrived each day and the chance to ride the free shuttles into the city of St. Charles to take in the shops and restaurants on Main Street.
(Thanks to Marsha Clark and Laura Mackinson for the photos.)

Special Awards for our Volunteers

St. Louis Genealogical Society was acknowledged by NGS at the Opening Session on Wednesday with an Award of Honor "in recognition of the society's dedication and sustained service in support of the 2019 NGS conference." StLGS committee chairs received Certificates of Appreciation at that time as well. Those honorees were local host co-chairs, Viki Fagyal and Kay Weber; Exhibit Hall co-chairs, Bob Cejka and Bob Goode; hospitality co-chairs Karen Goode and Rich Stanton; local publicity chair, Ann Hodges; registration co-chairs Diane Broniec and Barbara Larson; social media chair, Laura Mackinson; and volunteer chair, Marilyn Brennan.

The chair of the entire conference was long-time StLGS volunteer and former president, Ann Carter Fleming, CG, CGL, FNGS, who, very deservedly, received a special award at the NGS banquet on Friday evening. Ann, who has chaired more than six conferences for NGS and numerous events for StLGS, is the 2019 recipient of the Shirley Langdon Wilcox Award for Exemplary Volunteerism, which "recognizes a volunteer whose generosity of spirit and time has greatly benefited the National Genealogical Society and the genealogical community in general over a period of years."

Congratulations and many thanks from all of us to our award winners for their dedication and hard work!

06 May 2019

May Genealogy Meetings and Special Events

Upcoming Special Event

National Genealogical Society (NGS) 2019 Family History Conference
Wednesday–Saturday, 8–11 May 2019
Journey of Discovery

St. Louis Genealogical Society volunteers have spent the past two years preparing to be the local hosts at the National Genealogical Society's 2019 Family History Conference and now the event is just days away! Volunteers will be at the St. Charles Convention Center on Monday morning, 6 May 2019, to be sure that all registrants have a goodie bag filled with information, and on Tuesday, 7 May, the pre-conference activities begin. The registration area opens at noon. Volunteers will be on hand to lead those who are interested on tours of the facility and help anyone who needs assistance with the conference app.

Also in the afternoon is the Society Showcase, from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. on the upper level of the Convention Center. Meet representatives from fifteen Missouri and Illinois genealogical and historical societies and learn more about how they might help you with your research.

The conference officially begins bright and early on Wednesday morning, 8 May, and we can't wait to meet and greet our friends, make new ones, and welcome everyone with our famous St. Louis hospitality. Be sure you stop by to say hello at the StLGS booth, 101, in the Exhibit Hall!

Upcoming StLGS Meeting

StLGS Monthly Meeting: No meeting in May; next meeting: Saturday, 8 June 2019
"Migration from the Eastern U.S. to Mid-America," by Carol Whitton, CG, St. Louis County Library Headquarters Auditorium, 10:00 a.m.; free, open to all, no pre-registration needed.
More information on the StLGS website.
Upcoming Jewish Special Interest Group (SIG) Meeting
  Wednesday, 29 May 2019
"Treasures Found in Legal Documents," by Mike Everman, archivist; St. Louis County Library Headquarters Auditorium, 7:00 p.m. Free, open to all, no pre-registration needed.
 More information on the Jewish SIG page on the StLGS website.

Upcoming Classes

Missouri History Museum: Wednesday, 15 May 2019
"Civil War Notables at Bellefontaine Cemetery," by Dan Fuller. Hear about those from both sides of the war who are buried at Bellefontaine Cemetery. Lee Auditorium, St. Louis History Museum in Forest Park, 10:30 a.m. Free but pre-registration required through St. Louis Community College at 314-984-7777.

Dan Fuller will also present this lecture at the St. Louis Public Library, 1301 Olive Street, on Wednesday, 29 May 2019 at 7:00 p.m. in the Training Room on the second floor. Free and open to the public; no registration required. More information on the library's website.

Missouri History Museum: Thursday, 16 May 2019
"Sage Chapel Cemetery," by Dorris Keeven-Franke. Learn about the history and the people buried in a small African American cemetery in O'Fallon, Missouri. Lee Auditorium, St. Louis History Museum in Forest Park, 10:30 a.m. Free but pre-registration required  through St. Louis Community College at 314-984-7777.

  More information on these events and more on the Missouri History Museum website.

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