25 November 2019

Thanksgiving Treats and Traditions

Make the Most of Your Holiday Gathering

As families and friends gather to celebrate the holidays, genealogists have many opportunities to explore their families' heritage and traditions. It's a great time to teach the next generation the secrets to your family recipes or the meaning behind the special dishes, silverware, or serving pieces you inherited and hope to pass on.

You can share stories as you eat or as you create something delicious using Grandma's mixing bowls. Record your traditions—take photos or videos and write down how you came to be making the traditional foods your family enjoys at the holidays each year.

Make copies of the family recipes to send home with your cousins. Recall the foods you ate at holiday gatherings in the past. What was delicious? What do you wish you could recreate? What foods were awful experiments that you still laugh about today?

Food has always been the center of family gatherings. No matter what your ethnic or religious background is, preparing and serving special dishes for family and guests is universal. What is center stage for your Thanksgiving table?

  • Is it turkey? Do you serve it brined, roasted, deep-fried, stuffed, or unstuffed?
  • If not turkey, then ham? Prime rib? Goose or duck? Turducken or tofurkey?
  • What accompanies the main course? Stuffing (or dressing), mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, or sweet potatoes with marshmallows and pineapple?
  • What about cranberries . . . jellied from a can or homemade with orange and pecans? Or does your family just not like them at all?
  • Many a table is graced with that old standby green bean casserole this week. Is yours? Perhaps you prefer different veggies like Brussels sprouts or broccoli?
  • What's the grand finale to the meal? Pumpkin, sweet potato, or apple pie? Something with nuts or filled with chocolate?
After you've thought about (and/or consumed) all the food, why not turn to other topics? Have you ever broken from tradition and tried something new? Did your family rebel or consider it an adventure to try something different?

Are there activities you look forward to each Thanksgiving? Maybe your family plays board games, watches television, or goes to the park to play touch football. Some families put up their Christmas tree or sing around a piano or guitar. Maybe you like to watch a marathon of holiday movies. Whatever it is your family does each year, be sure to record those memories too.

Finally, whether your traditions are completely different from those mentioned above or waiting to be newly created, Thanksgiving is all about being grateful for the bounty of the harvest and the warmth of family and friends. If you are surrounded by people you care about, all that matters is the enjoyment of good company and the feast you or your hosts have prepared.

Whether you journal, blog, scrapbook, write stories, or take photos, your family will thank you for preserving the memories of what makes your Thanksgiving special. And all of us at St. Louis Genealogical Society hope you have the happiest of holidays!

18 November 2019

How StLGS Members Can Help the Society

Recently, StLGS members received a letter from our president asking for donations to the society. As we approach the holiday season, we hope you will find some space in your end-of-year planning to support StLGS.

Unlike some larger non-profits, StLGS is funded completely by donations, dues, and sales. We have no grants or benefactors. What we do is only possible because of your donations. Every dollar that comes into our office goes towards fulfilling our mission: "promoting family history research by providing educational and research opportunities, offering community services, and collecting, preserving, and publishing genealogical and historical records."

Our all-volunteer staff continues to work tirelessly:
  • Assisting researchers, answering questions, and greeting visitors
  • Offering members free classes and lecturing and teaching throughout the community
  • Scanning, indexing, and proofreading a wide assortment of original records
  • Posting new data to the website, creating new web pages and informational flyers, publishing our Quarterly journal, and curating this blog, and our Facebook and Twitter feeds 
  • Planning exciting programs and events for the coming year

Updated Technology

Because our website and our office computer network are so vital to our ability to communicate with the public, we must keep both entities protected and current. Website security is maintained by an off-site professional company, a fixed expense we willingly pay. Volunteers maintain the integrity of our office network. Next year, we will upgrade our office software and increase the level of security in our office network.

New Projects and Data

We also are actively exploring livestreaming, webinars, and other online options to expand our classes and meetings to out-of-town members. Our website continues to grow with the addition of more congregations, biographies, and other St. Louis-related material. You can always discover what is new by going to the New On This Site page.

How Can You Help?

Any amount you can send will be much appreciated, and we hope you will use the envelope you received to return a check or credit card donation. Your gift to StLGS is tax deductible to the extent allowed by current law.

Matching Donations, Amazon Smile, and Schnucks eScrip

Because StLGS is a not-for-profit 501(C)(3) organization, we qualify for matching donation funds from companies that offer them. In the past, we have received matching funds from AT&T, MasterCard, and Boeing. Does your employer support matching donations? If so, please think of earmarking your donation to StLGS that way.

For the past five years, we have also been a member of the smile.amazon.com donation program. If you are planning to shop online this holiday season, please log on to https://smile.amazon.com and choose St. Louis Genealogical Society as the recipient of your donation. It costs you nothing, but Amazon will donate a portion of every one of your purchases to the society.

In addition, Schnucks grocery stores still accept eScrip/Community cards. You cannot, however, use them with the current rewards program, but if you choose to forego your personal points, you can still designate rewards to go to the charity of your choice. If you have an eScrip/Community card, please select StLGS as the recipient of your points. They turn into dollars for us! You can learn more about the eScrip program on the eScrip website.

All of these programs are open to all. If you have friends or relatives who would like to join you in supporting the society, please encourage them to do so.

From the bottom of our hearts . . .

11 November 2019

Photographs and Memories: Two Special Upcoming Genealogy Events

The holiday season is a perfect time to share family treasures with relatives and recognize the importance of understanding and preserving fragile photographs and letters from the past. If you are lucky enough to have such unique documents from your family, perhaps you have wondered exactly what the letters say or how to identify and preserve those cracked, yellowing photos.

Two exciting genealogy events are on the horizon that can help you solve these dilemmas. Both are free but pre-registration is requested. We hope you will join us for one or both of these workshops.

Digitization Day: German Heritage in Letters

Saturday, 23 November 2019
1:00 p.m.–4:00 pm.
St. Louis Genealogical Society Office, 4 Sunnen Dr., Suite 140, St. Louis, MO 63143

If you have letters that were sent to your family from Germany before 1926, and you would like assistance with scanning and translating them, you are invited to participate in the German Heritage in Letters project under the auspices of the German Historical Institute of Washington, D.C. StLGS is partnering with St. Louis County Library's History and Genealogy Department and the German Historical Institute to sponsor this afternoon of scanning and translating at our office. StLGS volunteers will be on site to scan your letters and return them to you with a digital copy of each. Translators, library staff, and StLGS volunteers will be available to answer questions.

St. Louis County Library is handling registration. You can call 314-994-3300 or register on the event's registration page.

More information about the project is on the German Heritage in Letters website.

Kodak Moments and Technicolor Dreams:
Reading Immigrant Clues in 20th Century Photos

Featuring: Maureen Taylor, "The Photo Detective"
Sunday, 8 December 2019
10:00 a.m.–noon
Jewish Federation of St. Louis, 12 Millstone Campus Dr., St. Louis, MO 63146

This final Jewish Special Interest Group meeting of the year is free and open to everyone. Discover your family history one picture at a time. Maureen Taylor, internationally known for her expertise in historic photos and their preservation, will present tools and tips for photo identification, family history and research, and photo preservation. She will focus on twentieth-century photographs and immigrant ancestors in this special workshop co-sponsored by the Brodsky Library, the St. Louis Jewish Community Archives, and St. Louis Genealogical Society.

The Jewish Federation is handling registration for this event. 
You can contact Kathy Schmeltz at 314-442-3761 or at kschmeltz@jfedstl.org or register directly on the Center for Jewish Learning's website.  
  • On the website, scroll down to class number 1919, "Kodak Moments . . ." and click in the registration box.
  • Then continue scrolling down the page to the "Go to Checkout" button and click there.
  • On the page that opens, you will need to fill in the starred items (contact information) and then click the "Finish Registration" button. There is no cost to attend.
  • You will receive an email acknowledgment after you register.

04 November 2019

November Genealogy Meetings and Classes

StLGS 2019 Election Results

Thanks to those of you who took a minute to vote for the vice-president for programs and treasurer in this year's election of officers. Karen Goode and Viki Fagyal, who currently hold those positions, have been re-elected and are grateful for your support. Both are already hard at work in preparation for 2020. Karen has been planning speakers and special events and Viki is finalizing next year's budget. More to come on the exciting plans for 2020 very soon.

November StLGS Monthly Meeting

Saturday, 9 November 2019—10:00 a.m.
"Newspapers: Pages of Your History," by Patsy Luebbert, St. Louis County Library Headquarters Auditorium, free and open to all, no pre-registration needed.
More information on the StLGS website.

Other Upcoming Classes and Meetings

St. Louis County Library Classes 

Tuesday, 5 November 2019
"Finding Immigrant European Ancestors," by Larry Franke, Cliff Cave Branch, 10:00 a.m. till noon. Free, but registration is required.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019
"Reading Handwritten German Church Records," by Carol Whitton, CG; Cliff Cave Branch, 6:30 p.m. till 7:30 p.m. Free and open to all; no registration required.

Thursday, 7 November 2019
"Who Were My Ancestors? Beginning Genealogical Research," Headquarters Branch, 2:00 p.m. till 4:00 p.m. Free, but registration is required.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019
"Identifying Ancestral Military Veterans," Weber Road Branch, 6:30 p.m. till 8:30 p.m. Free, but registration is required.

 Missouri Historical Society Programs

Tuesday, 12 November 2019
"World War I Veterans of St. Louis," led by Bellefontaine Cemetery staff member, Richard Lay, Lee Auditorium, Missouri History Museum in Forest Park, 10:30 a.m. Free, but registration is required via St. Louis Community College. Call 314-984-7777.

"Early Patterns of Land Use and Building Traditions in St. Louis," by Andrew Weil, AT&T Foundation Multipurpose Room, Missouri History Museum in Forest Park, 7:00 p.m. Free, no registration is required.

Thursday, 21 November 2019
"Missouri's Statehood," by Dorris Keeven-Franke, Lee Auditorium, Missouri History Museum in Forest Park, 10:30 a.m. Free, but registration is required via St. Louis Community College. Call 314-984-7777.