Join instructor Tom Rice, CG, this Saturday, November 23, for “Getting the Most out of Your Internet Research,” — this month’s offering in MGS’ series, Genealogy Topics at MHS. Tom’s two-hour workshop (10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.–includes break) combines lecture and demonstration to show you how to get the most out of your research time on the Internet. He will focus on five key questions:
- “How do I do effective searches on the Internet?”
- “What are the key genealogy websites?”
- “How do I get the most out of FamilySearch.org, Ancestry.com, HeritageQuest, and other Internet resources?”
- “What about the quality of information on the web?”
- “How do I keep track of all this?”
If you’re looking for answers to these questions, bring your laptop or mobile device to the Minnesota Historical Society Saturday and follow along.
Cost of the workshop is $28 for MGS and MHS members, $32 for non-members. Register at http://shop.mnhs.org/category.cfm?Category=114.
It’s no secret that MGS librarian John Schade is MGS’ go-to guy for Canadian, Canadian French, and fur trade genealogy. After a hiatus of several years, John is offering a class on Beginning Canadian French Genealogy Sunday November 3 from 1 to 4 in the MGS library classroom.
John’s class covers the basics of Canadian French genealogy, focusing on resources available in the MGS Library and Research Center. (Did you know that MGS has one of the best Canadian research collections in the U.S.?) Emphasis will be on Canadian French genealogy in Quebec.
Topics include the fur trade and its records, how French Canadians used dit-names or aliases (and how you can track your ancestors’ name changes), and the King’s Daughters (Filles de Roi). John will show you how to use the Drouin collection, the Loiselle and Rivest marriage indexes, and other marriage repertoires.
Cost for the class is $30 for MGS members/$35 for non-members. Register online through Friday November 1 at http://www.mngs.org/blog/?page_id=97&action=evregister&event_id=46. You’re also welcome to register Sunday on site, provided that there is space available.
For the fourth year in a row, MGS is collaborating with Hennepin County Library to bring you a Family History Fair! This year’s fair takes place Saturday October 26 at Minneapolis Central Library from 9:30 to 2 p.m and is a free event, open to the public.
This year’s fair features a keynote address from nationally known genealogist Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA. Paula’s topic is Check It Out? Public Library “Musts” for Genealogists. Paula says, “A public library may not be designated as a genealogy library or have a genealogy department, but the research tools it holds are too important to overlook.”
Paula’s keynote will be followed by six short workshops:
- Hello, My Name is FamilySearch.org, Have We Met?, by Germanic Genealogy Society President and FamilySearch Center Assistant Director Kim Ashford. “FamilySearch.org has had some serious work done, you may not recognize it. Familiarity with this ever-growing resource is a must for any budding genealogist,” says Kim.
- Faith of Our Fathers: Using Religious Records in Genealogical Research, by Hennepin County librarian Trudi Campbell. Trudi says, “Religious records can be a useful substitute for vital records and reveal hidden facets of an ancestor’s life.”
- Fun Ways to Share Family History, by personal historian Linda Coffin. Linda asks, “Do your grandchildren’s eyes glaze over when you start to talk about the good old days? We’ll explore how to get people of all ages excited about their family history.”
- Going Beyond Online Databases, by Ancestry’s Red Book editor Alice Eichholz, Ph.D., CG. Alice comments, “Long before there were online databases, family history researchers relied on local sources from the town, county, and state, many of which are not online.” Join her in learning how to find and use these important sources to unlock your family’s past.
- Finding Family in the Federal Census, by Lois Abromitis Mackin, Ph.D. Lois asks, “Do you know whether your family owned a radio in 1930? How many years of school had your ancestors completed in 1940? You can find answers to these questions and more in the records of the federal census.”
- Digging Up Clues in the Cemetery, by St. Paul genealogy educator David W. Suddarth. Just in time for Halloween, David’s talk will provide an overview of cemetery research, including what to look for when visiting the cemetery and ways to discover clues to help in your research.
Because the Family History Fair is a fair, the educational talks are just part of the activity. Over 25 genealogical, historical, and heritage groups, including MGS, will be at the fair to show and tell what they do. Groups exhibiting include African-American, Czechoslovak, Civil War, Finnish, cemetery, Germanic, Irish, Italian, Norwegian-American, Polish, Pommern, Welsh, Swedish, Slovenian, and West Indian/Caribbean, as well as several lineage societies. The MGS exhibits will include a selection of genealogy books for purchase, as well as copies of the brand-new Minnesota research QuickGuide.
In addition, Hennepin County and MGS volunteers will offer 20-minute genealogy consultations on a sign-up basis from noon to 2 p.m., and Hennepin County librarians will provide tours of the Minneapolis Central Library genealogy and government documents collections from 1:15 to 2.
The fair is a fun opportunity to connect with genealogical experts, learn, and mingle. Preregister at http://www.hclib.org/pub/events/Register.cfm?SessionNo=24857.
Newspapers and maps are key resources for learning about the events in their lives and the places they called home. Join J. H. Fonkert, CG, at the Minnesota History Center Saturday, October 19, for Finding Family History in Historic Newspapers and Maps and Geography for Genealogists.
Especially in rural communities, newspapers carried news of weddings, anniversaries, church events, business affairs, legal troubles, weather and more. Discover where to find historic newspapers on microfilm and on the Internet and learn how to search for news about your family.
Maps are snapshots of the human and physical landscape at points in time. Learn how you can use plat maps, fire insurance maps, railroad maps and more to better understand where your ancestors lived and why they settled where they did. This class will also demonstrate how to find obscure locales, both in the United States and abroad.
The newspaper class begins at 10:00 a.m. and the maps class starts at 11:30 a.m. in the classroom just outside the MHS Library on 2nd floor. Combined registration for both classes is $28 for MGS and MHS members, and $32 for non-members. Online registration is available at http://events.mnhs.org/calendar/Results.cfm?EventID=5769&CFID=34926098&CFTOKEN=da687f83cdd0dbfe-BE27F4FC-5056-9350-3AA67394B2241A9A.
MGS regrets to announce that this fall’s Genealogy 101 course has been cancelled due to insufficient enrollment. Those who pre-registered have been informed of the cancellation, and pre-payment refunds are being processed.
Genealogy 101 will be offered again as part of the winter/spring class schedule. In the meantime, we invite beginning genealogists to join us for the Beginners Groups that will be held during Members Mornings Saturday November 16 and Saturday January 18.
MGS recognized the recipients of its 2013 awards at the 6th Annual North Star Family History Conference in Edina, Minnesota this past weekend.
MGS presents three service awards, the Pat and Dorothy Chandler Award recognizing MGS members for exceptional and prolonged service to MGS, the Unsung Hero Award recognizing MGS members for behind-the-scenes work that contributed to the efficient management and operation of MGS, and the Founders Award recognizing MGS members for visionary organizational leadership that sustains MGS and advanced its mission. The 2013 recipients of these awards are:
- Pat and Dorothy Chandler Award: Bergetta F. Monroe. Bergetta has been active on the MGS Board of Directors for many years. She has helped with conference logistics, taught workshops, and organized cemetery tours. Bergetta’s devotion to family history and MGS has been exemplary. Previous recipients of the Pat and Dorothy Chandler Award are Kathy Lund, Dixie Hansen, Margie Deutsch, Beth Mullinax, and Sheila Northrop.
- Unsung Hero Award: Rick Rusinak. Rick has expertly managed the MGS membership database for years. This is truly an essential “behind-the-scenes” job. Rick’s work has been indispensable. Previous recipients of the Unsung Hero Award are Gerald Maher, Jim Robasse, the MGS Technology Committee, Sandy Stadtherr, and Val Morrison.
- Founders Award: Lois Mackin. Lois chairs the MGS Education Committee, but her work goes above and beyond the committee. She has modernized MGS operations, planned conferences, and reached out to partners such as Hennepin County Libraries and others. Lois has networked across the country to promote MGS. Previous recipients of the Founders Award are Robin Panlener, John Schade, Erv Chorn, Mary Wickersham, and Terry Kita.
In addition to the three service awards, MGS presents three achievement awards: the Minnesota Genealogy Pioneer Award recognizing contributions to the development of Minnesota resources for genealogy and family history research; the Minnesota Genealogy North Star Award recognizing outstanding contributions to genealogical writing, research, or education; and the Minnesota Genealogy Ambassador Award recognizing representation of Minnesota on the national genealogy scene and bringing honor to Minnesota genealogy. 2013 MGS achievement award recipients are:
- Minnesota Genealogy Pioneer Award: Duane Swanson. Duane is Curator of Manuscripts at the Minnesota Historical Society, where he has developed guides to Minnesota court records, as well as many other collections. MGS members appreciate Duane’s work on the Minnesota Death Records Index and his lectures at MGS conferences. Previous recipients of the Minnesota Genealogy Pioneer Award are Mary Bakeman, Kathryn Otto, John and Jan Dalby, Jennifer de Fiebre, and Debra Richards.
- Minnesota Genealogy North Star Award: Sue Kratsch. Sue has researched and written articles for The Septs and Minnesota Genealogist, as well as journals for societies in other states. She is coeditor of the Yankee Genealogical Society newsletter. Sue helped create the MGS Family History Writing Competition and has helped manage the competition for the past four years. Previous recipients of the Minnesota Genealogy North Star Sward are Darlene Joyce, Tom K. Rice, Cathi Weber, Lois Mackin, and J. H. Fonkert.
- Minnesota Genealogy Ambassador Award: Jen de Fiebre. Jen has worked tirelessly to bring Maia’s Books to MGS members and has done a great job of networking and spreading information about MGS at national and other state conferences for the past several years. Previous recipients of the Minnesota Genealogy Ambassador Award are Paula Stuart-Warren, Harold H. Hinds, Jr., Alice Eichholz, and J. H. Fonkert.
Last but not least are the MGS family history writing awards, recognizing excellence in research and writing which encourages others to preserve family history. Award-winning articles are published in Minnesota Genealogist.
- Problem-Solving Article, awarded for choice of a challenging topic, with evidence of research demonstrating analysis and citation of service: Leo J. Harris, for his article “Great Grandfather, Where Are You?” Previous recipients of the Problem-Solving Article Award are Ruth Gundale, Janet Savelkoul Mitchell, Georgetta Hickey, and Pat Snodgrass.
- Family Story or Memoir, awarded for choice of an appealing topic, compellingly told to maintain reader interest: William C. Holmquist, for his article “The Day Great-Grandmother Caught the Thief in Church.” The previous recipient of the Family Story or Memoir Award is Carol Doniere.
MGS thanks the members of the 2013 Awards Committee (Rosalie Eben Schack, chair, David W. Suddarth, and J. H. Fonkert) and the 2013 Family History Writing Competition Committee (Sue Kratsch, chair, and Kathy Deiss), along with our anonymous writing competition judges. Without these volunteers the MGS awards program and family history writing competition would not be possible.
Congratulations to the 2013 award recipients!
Next weekend MGS presents three classes, including the first session of Genealogy 101 and the new Advanced Research Seminar.
On Saturday October 12 from 1:30 to 2:30 technology guru Bob Rowe teaches about the popular cemetery research website FindaGrave.com. Bob says, “FindaGrave looks simple and easy to use on the surface, but there’s more to it than meets the eye.” In this class Bob will reveal the less well-known features of the website and show you how to correct problems or mistakes in the data, making the database better for those who follow us. Cost: $15 for MGS members/$20 for non-members. Register at http://www.mngs.org/blog/?page_id=97&action=evregister&event_id=44.
Sunday October 13 from 1 to 4 marks the start of the fall Genealogy 101 series–but only if four more people register! Genealogy 101 is a team-taught, five-session course that presents the basics of family history research in five steps, covering one step in each session. This Sunday’s session covers Step One: Write Down and Organize What You Know.
You (or your friends who’ve been meaning to work on their family history) can take course sessions individually or enroll in the entire course. If you take all five sessions, you can complete a research project with the guidance of the instructors during the two-week break between sessions 3 and 4. Christine Rose’s Complete Idiot’s Gide to Genealogy (third edition) is the textbook for the course. Y0u can purchase a copy for $16 when you register for the course. Cost: $15 per session, $70 for the course (same price for MGS members and non-members). Don’t wait–if we don’t have six people by Friday, we’ll have to cancel the class. Register now at http://www.mngs.org/blog/?page_id=97&action=evregister&event_id=45.
But that’s not all–experienced, intermediate-level researchers might be interested in MGS’ newest course, an Advanced Research Seminar: Tom Jones’ Mastering Genealogical Proof. The first of eight monthly, seminar-style sessions convenes Monday October 14 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Participants will read assigned material from Tom Jones’ new book, complete exercises between class sessions, and join in challenging but friendly and supportive discussions. Participants will also have the option of checking in to discuss assignments at mid-month using MGS’ electronic conferencing. The course is designed for researchers who are prepared to use evidence from original sources to solve genealogical problems with indirect evidence. Participants should be familiar with major record types and with the concepts of primary and secondary information. Cost: $125 for MGS members/$150 for non-members. There are still a few seats available; register at http://www.mngs.org/blog/?page_id=97&action=evregister&event_id=48.
October is Family History Month! To help you celebrate, MGS introduces its new QuickGuide for Minnesota Research.
Created in partnership with the makers of Legacy Family Tree software, the Minnesota QuickGuide is a listing of essential resources compiled by MGS volunteers. It includes a timeline of Minnesota history, Minnesota migration patterns, basic resources, and Minnesota research strategies, as well as dozens of links to online sources for vital records, church records, census records, and other Minnesota records. You’ll find everything you need to get started finding your Minnesota ancestors.
This convenient four-page laminated guide will be available for the first time at the 2013 North Star Family History Conference at Colonial Church in Edina October 4 and 5. After the conference, copies will be available for purchase in the MGS library in South St. Paul or online through the MGS website. In mid-October, downloadable PDF copies of the QuickGuide will be available for purchase from MGS’ partner Legacy Family Tree.
Laminated Format: $8.00 + $1.50 shipping & handling
PDF Format: $2.95
MGS thanks the following volunteers for their contributions to the QuickGuide: Linda Atkinson; Sherie Edwards; J. H. Fonkert, CG; Barbara Kirkpatrick; Cindy Lindau; Robin Macgregor; Lois Abromitis Mackin, Ph.D.; Sarah Martin; Tom Rice, CG; John Schade; Sandy Thalmann; and Mary Wickersham.
Family historians aspire to share what they learn with family members and other genealogists, but are often overwhelmed when they face that dreaded blank page. Many books and websites offer help for researchers getting ready to write. Books include Patricia Law Hatcher’s Producing a Quality Family History and Harold J. Hinds Jr.’s Crafting a Personal Family History. The FamilySearch wiki has a helpful article Writing Your Family and Personal History, and Cyndi’s List has a page of writing links. The MGS Writing Group provides a monthly opportunity to discuss ideas, problems, and articles in a friendly, supportive environment.
For an intensive dose of writing and publishing help, get to this year’s North Star Family “Discovering and Telling Family History!” — the North Star Family History Conference October 4-5. Investigative reporter and author Steve Luxenberg focus on several aspects of research and writing at three plenary sessions. In addition, aspiring writers can take advantage of an entire two-day track on Family History Writing and Publishing. Whether you’re just beginning to think about writing or publishing or are further down the road, you’ll leave with new ways to share your research.
On Friday, look for these sessions:
- Publishing Your Family Tree, Cathi Weber. This session is about putting it all together and sharing with family. Cathi will look at creating reports, charts, books, and posters, and will review publishing options.
- Writing Practicum/Workshop, Judy Budreau. This two-hour workshop focuses on accessing the stories in your photos, letters, and documents and making them appealing and readable through discussion and short, hands-on exercises.
On Saturday, the publishing track continues with:
- Adding Leaves and Flowers to the Branches of Your Family Tree, Linda Coffin. This session shows you how to turn research into an interesting narrative and make it come to life.
- Publishing Your Family History, Dorie McClelland. This session offers three options–from basic to fancy–for creating a book from your narratives and photos.
For the full conference schedule, go to www.mngs.org. You can register there until September 30. If you miss the advance registration deadline, we’ll be happy to register you on site at Colonial Church in Edina.
Steve Luxenberg, the featured speaker at the 6th Annual North Star Family History Conference, offers an unusual look at researching and writing family history. A Washington Post associate editor, he’s been a newspaper reporter and editor for 38 years. Post reporters working with Steve have won two Pulitzer prizes for explanatory journalism.
Steve’s award-winning book, Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret—part detective story, part social history, part memoir—revolves around his mother’s decision to hide the existence of a sister, Annie, who was institutionalized for 31 years in a Michigan asylum. The Michigan Humanities Council selected Annie’s Ghosts as “The Great Michigan Read” for 2013-2014; it is the focus of a year-long series of events and discussions throughout Michigan.
Annie’s Ghosts was named to The Washington Post’s Best Books of 2009 list, and honored as a 2010 Michigan Notable Book by the Library of Michigan. It has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered. Jan Alpert, reviewing the book in the National Genealogical Society newsletter, called the book “a great non-fiction read for genealogists.”
Steve also has a TV “credit”—he appeared as an extra in HBO’s dramatic series The Wire. (Look fast: Steve appears in a three-second shot in season five.)
Steve grew up in Detroit, where most events in Annie’s Ghosts took place. He and his wife, a former school librarian, live in Baltimore. They have two adult children.
For those who want a closer look at the world of investigative reporting, Luxenberg will speak at a free evening seminar Thursday, October 3, at the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He and other panelists will explore the changing nature of investigative journalism in a discussion co-sponsored by MGS and the SJMC. To register for this free event, go to https://luxenbergumn.eventbrite.com.
Steve Luxenberg will deliver three plenary session lectures at the North Star conference October 4 and 5. His Friday morning topic is “Lost in the Unknown: Tracing the Mysterious from a Single Clue” — a “how-to-think” talk drawing on the tricks of the investigative reporting trade to build a coherent paper trail and unearth what has been hidden.
Saturday morning, the conference day opens with “The Delicacy of Probing Family Secrets.” In this talk, Steve will explore the psychology of family secrets and make practical suggestions for treating secrets and secret-keepers with respect.
Steve’s second Saturday plenary session is titled “Privacy vs. History: The Unresolved Conflict and Why It Matters to Family Historians.” In this session, Steve will offer his thoughts about the evolving nature of privacy, hoping to provide a discussion of new ways for thinking about and researching sensitive family histories.
Copies of Annie’s Ghosts will be for sale at the conference. Steve will be available for a book signing on Saturday October 5 from 10:30 to 11 am.