Thursday, February 28, 2019

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

When I was meandering through some genealogy blogs recently, I found an interesting writing proposition on Amy Johnson Crow's blog. It is called "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks." She has evidently been making this suggestion for a few years. This is how she explains it on her blog:

"It's a series of weekly prompts to get you to think about an ancestor and share something about them. The guesswork of "who should I write about" is taken care of."

If you have been thinking about doing some writing about one or more of your ancestors, this might be the motivation that you need to get started.

You can read more about it and sign up to participate at the following link.

February 26 Workshop

The mini-topic focused on naturalization records. We learned about the process, what the records look like, and where to search for them. Many immigrants filed a declaration of intention but never followed through to become citizens. The records after 1906 are most useful because the forms asked for more information. FamilySearch is the go-to site for accessing the records.

***After this item was posted, Marcia contacted me to let me know she had located Michael Behnke's declaration of intent at the Wisconsin naturalization page on FamilySearch. Good for you, Marcia!

Laurie shared his summer success of finding vital records for his grandmother's large group of siblings. Since he lives in British Columbia and those records were in New Brunswick, it was a slow but sure process!

Marg told us about being able to locate a cousin after the families had lost touch over the years. She had tried all the usual suggestions and was about to give up. As a last resort she began looking for funeral records and obituaries of contemporaries of the cousin's mother. This eventually provided an answer when the cousin posted a comment on one of the obituaries. Marg was able to contact her as a result of that comment.

Congratulation to both for successful research!

Friday, February 22, 2019

Genealogy Club - February 19

Steve  Packer was our guest speaker Tuesday night. We learned a great deal about the history of Eastern Europe and what makes research in the area difficult. Steve made use of a large selection of maps to show how the boundaries of the region changed over the years and suggested several websites that might be helpful.

Steve Packer

Tuesday was also our annual cookie and door prize evening. Louise baked us a delicious selection of cookies that originated in Eastern Europe. Pryanik, or Russian honey gingerbread, represented Russia and the Ukraine and Gusinye Lapki, "geese feet," also originated in Russia. The Czech Republic was represented by Kolaches. Chrusciki or angel wings came from Poland. Louise also baked springerle, a German cookie, and a batch of sugar-free oatmeal cookies. Thanks, Louise!

A very small selection remained!

Door prizes were won by Diane Jalbert, Maureen Edwards, Bob Nale, Mary McCann and Nancy Archibald. Congratulations to all.

Door prize table

New officers to help with the club next year include Susan Mavor as vice president and Bob O'Donnell as treasurer. Thanks for "volunteering," you two.

Great attendance!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Field Trip #2

We took a second group to the Family History Center last week, and everyone seemed to have success working in FindMyPast, Scottish People, immigration records, etc. Nancy even located new birth records on a French website.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Workshop - February 12

We had a great crowd for Maureen's presentation about the Midwest Genealogy Center. Besides educating us about the center, she provided suggestions for preparing to visit any library or archive. We also learned about using a research log, one of many useful research tools any genealogist should use.

Whitey shared his family story about the results of the DNA tests taken by family members. Thanks to Whitey and Maureen for making the workshop extremely interesting.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


Lois recently brought us an interesting article that appeared in the Star Tribune (Minneapolis) about a new enterprise called MinnesotaSwede. The business is "designed to help people with genealogy research while also coordinating tours of places important to their ancestors."

Magnus Rydholm and Kris Overby have arranged for a group Americans to travel to Scandinavia in May, and an inaugural group of 30 Swedes will visit Minnesota in September. The couple has visited archives in both places to help plan genealogical tours. The idea is to be able to research in either direction and hopefully meet long lost cousins.

Visit to learn more about it.

Thanks to Lois for sharing this information!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Field Trip - February 6

Our first field trip this year to the local Family History Center was a success. Since we had a smaller group last week, everyone was able to spend the entire time searching the (free at the center) subscription sites available.

Sites mentioned and used by the group included Fold3, (military records), FindMyPast (British and U.S. records) and ArkivDigitalOnline (Swedish records). It seems there might have been some newspaper articles accessed, also.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

February 5 Genealogy Club

This week's presentation was titled "Immigration Research." Annie included ways to find clues for arrival dates, immigration regulations, port descriptions, and websites for locating both Canadian and U. S. passenger lists. We also had a look at the research process including checking the passenger list index, using film of ship arrivals and manifests and browsing lists online.

We had a good crowd again this week; it's great to see so many with an interest in researching their families.

Jim Shanahan reported on a successful Robert Burns celebration last month and suggested that everyone with Scots heritage plan for next year's gathering, which will be held around January 25, the poet's birthday.

Monday, February 4, 2019

January 29 Workshop

Maureen gave us an interesting new website to contemplate. She has been working with her family file on WikiTree for the past several months. Another site that hopes to create "one tree," WikiTree seems to have information on many ancestral lines from the 1700s.

One of Maureen's slides was a very clear comparison of ways to find your ancestors and what it means to have an offline or online family tree.

Thanks for the presentation, Maureen!

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Twins and DNA

Rick sent a link to an interesting article about identical twins who used the five well-known DNA tests for themselves with "mystifying" results.

Here's the link to the article if you are interested:

Friday, February 1, 2019

February's Legacy Webinars

Those members interested in DNA research: mark your calendars for February 13 (or for the following 7 days). Blaine Bettinger, one of the recognized experts in the field, will be presenting "Reconstructing Your Genetic Family Tree." Legacy's webinars are free to watch in real time or for the week following the presentation.  More info at

Tuesday, February 5 - "Six Feet Under Down Under: Cemetery Records in Australia" by Jill Ball.  Beginner

Wednesday, February 6 - "DNA and the GPS solves a mystery: Hamiltons in Colonial New England" by Shellee Morehead.  Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Wednesday, February 13 - "Reconstructing Your Genetic Family Tree" by Blaine Bettinger.  Intermediate

Tuesday, February 19 - "Applying Evidence to Genealogical Research Questions" by Melissa Johnson.  Intermediate

Wednesday, February 20 - "Online Resources for French Genealogy Part 1: Compiled Records, Church Records and Civil Registration" by Paul Woodbury.  Beginner, Intermediate

Friday, February 22 - "Using Timelines and Tables to Analyze Your Research" by Cari Taplin.  Beginner, Intermediate

Wednesday, February 27 - "Spreadsheets 401: Excel-lent Inspiration" by Mary Kircher Roddy.  Intermediate