Registration is now open for the June 22 St. Cloud Genealogy Conference, co-sponsored by MGS and the St. Cloud Area Genealogists. The conference will be held at Apollo High School, just off Minnesota Highway 15 on the west side of St. Cloud.
On-site registration begins at 8:30, and the conference program, including two plenary sessions and four break-out sessions, runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Exhibitors include MGS, St. Cloud Area Genealogists, and the Germanic Genealogy Society.
The opening plenary, “Finding Your Family History at the National Archives: What’s There and How to Get It,” will be delivered by J. H. Fonkert, CG. The first breakout round offers a choice of “Learning to Read German Church Records,” by GGS president Kim Ashford, or “Fundamentals of Scanning and Image Management,” by Tom Rice, CG.
After lunch (included for registrants), attendees can choose from two more breakouts: “German Research on the Web” by Kim Ashford or “Finding Your Ancestors’ European Origins: a Three-Step Strategy” by J. H. Fonkert. At the closing plenary session, Tom Rice’s talk, “Getting the Most out of FamilySearch.org,” will bring you up to date on FamilySearch’s latest website changes.
Cost for the conference is $35, including lunch and afternoon snacks. Registration is now open at www.mngs.org.
Come on over to MGS Saturday May 18!
Join us for Members Morning from 9:30 to 12:30, then stay from 1 to 4 for our afternoon class The “Big Two” Websites for Family History Research–Ancestry and FamilySearch.
Our free Members Morning starts at 9:30 with an update on MGS activities and coming attractions and continues with the Beginners Group from 10:00 to 11:00 and the Research Study Group from 11:30-12:30. The Beginners Group is open topic–bring your questions. Led by David Suddarth, the RSG will look at a selection of brick wall case studies. Cost: free! No registration required.
Our afternoon class on The “Big Two” starts at 1. Instructors Mary Wickersham, Sheila Northrop, and Tom Rice, CG, will give you a guided tour of the two largest and most widely used websites for family history research: Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org. Mary and Sheila will show you how to search, find databases related to the area you are researching, locate those hard-to-find family members (you know, the ones who changed their names through marriage and other reasons), and understand Ancestry.com membership features including the Shoebox, family trees, and connections.
FamilySearch.org has just received a complete facelift! Tom Rice will show how to use the completely revamped FamilySearch website to search digitized record images and databases, view digitized family and local history books, access the resources of the world’s largest genealogy library, and look for ancestors in online genealogies. But that’s not all: you’ll learn about FamilySearch’s research wiki, with information about records from around the world, and its outstanding collection of genealogy video classes.
Cost for The “Big Two”: $30 MGS members/$35 non-members
Click here to register.
This Saturday–May 4–Mike Brubaker, Executive Director of the Sherburne County Historical Society, presents a new MGS class, Using Oral History in Family History Research.
Collecting family stories and tales of our ancestors provides terrific material for family history. Mike says, “The trick to developing these oral histories is persuading our relatives to talk about their past and saving their reminiscences.” In this interactive session, Mike will offer suggestions and advice on collecting oral histories and preserving them for your research, and also discuss technologies and tools you can use.
Oral history doesn’t have to come from family elders–each of us has stories that deserve to be preserved. You can apply Mike’s ideas and approaches to recording your own personal history and memories. Your descendants will thank you.
Cost: $30 members/$35 non-members.
Register at http://www.mngs.org/blog/?page_id=97&action=evregister&event_id=34.
Next weekend, April 13 and 14, MGS offers two classes for your learning pleasure.
On Saturday, join instructor Linda Coffin at the Minnesota Historical Society from 10-12:30 for Adding Leaves to the Branches of Your Family Tree. If your family finds all the names, dates, and places you’ve painstakingly assembled boring, this is the class for you. Linda will give you ideas for adding background and context to your family tree. Add life to your family stories from community history, social context, family systems, and legal,religious, and ethnic values. Cost: $28 MGS/MHS members. Register at http://shop.mnhs.org/category.cfm?Category=114.
On Sunday join Bergetta F. Monroe from 2-4 at MGS for the first in the three-part series, Publishing Your Family History. Learn the best way to share with your family the facts and stories you’ve spent years gathering. Bergetta will show you how to publish an attractive, readable family history book. She’ll share tips for organizing stories of multiple family branches, inserting photos, and choosing between hard-copy, e-book, and print-on-demand options. You’ll also learn about creating indexes, tables of contents, chapter breaks, page numbering, ISBN and Library of Congress numbers, and much more. Cost: $50 for MGS members/$75 for non-members. Register at http://www.mngs.org/blog/?page_id=97&action=evregister&event_id=32.
Join Harold E. Hinds, Jr., Ph.D., Saturday March 23 from 10:30-12:30 for an informal, discussion-group-style session about how to go about researching family history in a new locale. The session is inspired by Harold’s experience in following the trail of his own family research into Kentucky and Virginia.
Harold is Distinguished Research Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Minnesota Morris. A past board member and committee chair at MGS, Harold is a columnist for NGS Magazine. His most recent book is Crafting a Personal Family History.
While the class is free, we request that you register here to ensure that we have enough space.
Don’t finish your St. Patrick’s Day festivities without registering for the Nordic Genealogy Conference. Click here for the pre-conference $55 Early Bird rate, which expires Sunday, March 17. Separate registration for Friday or Saturday is also available.
MGS is partnering with the National Danish-American Genealogical Society, the Finnish Genealogy Group of Minnesota, the Icelandic American Association of Minnesota, the Icelandic Hekla Club, the Norwegian-American Genealogical Association, the Sami Siida of North America, and the Swedish Genealogical Society of Minnesota to bring you the Nordic Genealogy Conference Friday/Saturday April 26 and 27 at Inver Hills Community College, Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota.
The conference starts Friday evening with a dessert social and talk by photographer Doug Ohman on “Minnesota Byways.” Fans of the Minnesota Historical Society’s Minnesota Byways series of books will recognize Doug’s stunning photo images and delightful stories of Minnesota barns, schoolhouses, cabins, courthouses, and churches. Honored guests include genealogists of all ages and honorary consuls from the Nordic nations.
Saturday’s conference begins with a plenary session “Pitfalls and Possibilities: Nordic Research at the Minnesota Historical Society” presented by MHS curator of manuscripts Duane Swanson. The day continues with eighteen breakout sessions in six tracks on Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Sami, Icelandic, Danish, and DNA topics, and concludes with a plenary session “Find Your Way Home: Using Maps and Gazetteers to Trace Nordic Genealogy” presented by Ryan Mattke, head of the University of Minnesota’s Borchert Map Library. In addition to the conference sessions, there will be vendors, exhibits, a Silent Auction, and door prizes. Consultants from the sponsoring organizations and the Northland chapter, Association of Professional Genealogists will provide consultations and translations for conference attendees during the day. Lunch is included with conference registration.
Once again, it’s time for Members Morning. Bring a friend or family member to the MGS Library and Research Center March 16 for the day. Gather with other MGS members at 9:30 to hear the latest MGS news from the Prez. Do some research or participate in the Beginners Group at 10:00 or the Research Study Group at 11:30. Make a day of it with our free afternoon class at 1:30–The Genealogical Photographer, led by Bergetta F. Monroe and Tom Peters.
The Beginners Group is a friendly, informal place to get help you get started on your research. Genealogy 101 instructors will be on hand to answer your questions, demonstrate how to use genealogy websites, or show you useful reference books–sessions are open topic.
This month’s Research Study Group will be led by Tom Rice, CG. The group will look at case studies illustrating how you can use indirect evidence to identify the father of William Erwin, and what kind of reasonably exhaustive search will help you find the origins of your immigrant ancestor.
In The Genealogical Photographer class, expert photographers Bergetta and Tom will show you tips and tricks for taking the best photos of your most-photographed genealogical subjects–gravestones, computer screens, microfilm readers, family homes and neighborhoods, reunion groups, family heirlooms, and old documents. Bring your questions, your old photos, and your camera.
No registration is required for Members Morning, but please click here to sign up for The Genealogical Photographer. We want to be sure to have enough seats!
It’s time to go beyond the basics! Learn how to use historic newspapers and maps in your family history research March 9 at the Minnesota History Center. Sponsored by MGS, these classes will be led by board-certified genealogist J. H. Fonkert.
10:00 a.m.–Beyond Obits: Finding Family History in Newspapers. Newspapers offer much more than obituaries. Especially in small towns, newspapers carried news of weddings, anniversaries, church events, business affairs, crops, weather, and more. Learn how to find newspapers in your ancestor’s community and discover news items about your family in newspapers using microfilm and Internet resources.
11:30 a.m.–Maps and Geography for Genealogists. Maps can help you understand why Grandpa settled where he did, how he made his living, and what the neighborhood was like. Learn to find and use plat maps, fire insurance maps, soil maps, topographic maps, and more in libraries and on the Internet. Also, learn tricks to finding obscure home places on maps in America and around the world.
“Jay” Fonkert is a nationally known genealogy speaker. He was on the faculty of the 2013 Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy.
Register online at www.mnhs.org. Click this link. NOTE: As this blog post is being published, the MHS site is experiencing problems. An alternate path to the registration page is, click the Library tab on the home page, then the Classes tab on the library page, then Attend a class (Library > Classes > Attend a class). Or call the MHS library at 651-259-3300 during open hours.
Cost for MGS/MHS members is $28, $32 for non-members. Price includes both classes.
The winter/spring series of Genealogy 101 starts Saturday, February 16. Classes will be held from 1 to 4 in the MGS library classroom.
The series consists of five three-hour sessions, with each session covering one of the Five Steps for beginning (and continuing) your genealogical research.
Session one on February 16 covers Step 1: Write Down and Organize What You Know. In this class we’ll talk about what you and your family members know about your family history, what information you can find at home, and how to create paper and/or digital systems to organize your materials. The class will also cover selection and use of genealogy databases is.
Session two on February 23 covers Step 2: Decide What You Want to Learn. Many genealogists spend lots of time searching for information but don’t make progress because they haven’t learned how to focus on a project and plan their research. This session shows how to identify the projects you can accomplish, teaches how to prepare a research plan, and provides a tour of the many places–online and off–you can find information, including the major genealogy websites. A tour of the MGS Library and Research Center is included.
Session three on March 2 covers Step 3: Locate a Useful Source. This session introduces the five foundational types of sources that every genealogist needs to master: census records, vital records, church and cemetery records, immigration records, and naturalization records. You will learn what information each type of source contains, as well as how to find these sources on- and offline and how to use them.
During the two-week gap between sessions three and four, students have the opportunity to work on their own genealogical project, with the help and support of course instructors. Sessions two and three include time for you to define your project and develop your research plan.
Session four on March 16 covers Step 4: Learn from the Source. Starting with a review of participants’ research projects, this session shows how to take useful notes, extract information from sources, capture the information you need to cite and return to the source, and identify the clues in what you find.
The final session on March 23 covers Step 5: Use What You Learned. This session shows how to integrate your discoveries into what you previously knew using timelines, tables, and other methods, explains how to evaluate your findings using the Genealogical Proof Standard, and describes opportunities to advance your genealogical education.
Genealogy 101 is team taught by Lois Abromitis Mackin, Ph.D., John Schade, David Suddarth, and Peggy Larson. Classes are informal, with a combination of mini-lectures and in-class exercises and plenty of time for questions and discussion.
You can sign up for the entire course, or for individual sessions. If you sign up for the entire course and miss a session or two, you are welcome to make up what you missed at no cost the next time the course is offered.
Textbook for the course is Christine Rose and Kay Germain Ingalls, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Genealogy (third edition). You can purchase the textbook from MGS, at cost, when you register.
Won’t you join us for this session? Register at http://www.mngs.org/blog/?page_id=97&action=evregister&event_id=29.