New Details of the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh for 2022

The Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) will conduct eighteen courses next year live via Zoom. The live courses via Zoom have worked well in 2020 and 2021. The two weeks in June and July have some new courses as well as returning favorites. For details of each course, please visit the GRIP registration page which also includes any pre-requisites for each course. Registration will be 16 February 2022 with more details to come. The announcement flyer can be DOWNLOADED HERE.

Check the various scholarships that GRIP accepts and how to apply for them on the GRIP website’s Scholarship page.  Pay attention to the application deadlines! 

I will be teaching in June in the Following Ancestors in Place and Time course that is coordinated by Cari Taplin. Then I am the Coordinator and an instructor in Digging Deeper: Records, Tools, and Skills course in July. The June dates are Sunday, June 19 to Friday, June 24. The July dates are Sunday, July 10 to Friday, July 15. Each week begins at 7:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday and ends at 12:45 p.m. EDT on Friday. Monday – Thursday are full days of classes, discussion, hands-on work, breaks, and even some light moments. Friday is a half-day. 


Native American Heritage Month: Research Part 2

Discussing Native Americans and U.S. military service was not my original plan for Part 2. November 11 was Veterans Day and that changed my focus and thinking. I have spent many hours at the U.S. National Archives delving into military service, pension, and Indian Scout files for Native Americans. The family details in these records are phenomenal. If your ancestor didn’t serve, perhaps their sibling or uncle did. State archives and state historical societies are also treasure troves of military information for the many Native Americans who served.

It’s important to delve into the general military history of the U.S., the records created, and where they may be found. Learn what years and wars resulted in pension records. Learn where the indexes exist. Do some general Google searches, use the FamilySearch Wiki, Legacy Family Tree Webinars, and Ancestry Academy as some beginning steps for knowledge on military records. They are filled with general and war specific background information.

The U.S. National Archives website has articles and descriptions of other material about the federal level records, the content, and where to find them. State archives and historical societies often have such informative information for state level records. Vary your searches on the institutional websites by war, tribal name, and state or colony. Many military indexes, records, and general information details are found on the major genealogy free and subscription websites. (Ancestry, FamilySearch, Fold3, etc.) Yet, many more valuable records remain in original paper format in state and federal institutions.

A handful of links:

U.S. National Archives website:

FamilySearch Wiki:


Both online and off you’ll find books on the service of specific tribes and some individuals. Articles in general historical and state historical society publications share details specific to the state’s history.

  • Stenger, Dieter. “Guides to the West: Enlisted Native American United States Scouts.” Army History, no. 114 (2020): 20–21.
  • Hauptman, Laurence H. Between Two Fires: American Indians in the Civil War. New York: Free Press, 1995.

My Veterans Day 2021 Family History Tribute

During the Vietnam War era, I lived near and then on the base at Moffett Naval Air Station in Mountain View, California. My now ex-husband was stationed there and at the Naval Air Facility on Adak, one of the Aleutian Islands. Our oldest son was born in Mountain View during that time, and we later moved back to Minnesota . My father served in the Army Air Corps during WWII, and I have a scrapbook with many pictures. 

For Veterans’ Day 2021, I decided to start a listing of family members who have proudly served in the United States Military. I’m going to include those of my children, too. It’s the start of a list and I will add more to it for 2022 after additional research. I’m sure relatives will remind me of those I have missed.

  • Paternal Great Great Grandfather William Rudolph Slaker served in the Army in the Civil War from Wisconsin
  • Maternal Granduncle William G. Cook served in the Army during WWI from Minnesota
  • Maternal Granduncle Roy W. Hanley served in the Army during WWI from Minnesota
  • Maternal Granduncle Leon J. Hanley served in WWI from Minnesota
  • Paternal Granduncle Lamer F. Stuart served in the Army in WWI from Minnesota
  • Father William E. Stuart served in the Army Air Corps/Army Air Forces during WWII from Minnesota
  • Father-in-law James H. Warren served in the Army during World War II
  • Maternal 1st cousin, once removed Robert L. Hanley served in WWII from Minnesota and was a POW
  • Maternal Uncle by marriage Gerald J. Mueller served in the Korean War from Minnesota and was a POW who was murdered in the POW camp
  • Ex-husband James W. Warren served in the Navy from Minnesota during the Vietnam War era and was in the Naval Reserves both before and after the War.

Native American Heritage Month: Research Part I

Any month is important when learning more about personal Native American heritage. November is Native American Heritage Month. The National Congress of American Indians states it’s more commonly “referred to as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month.” The White House issued a proclamation about it, as have some states, like my own state of Minnesota. Governor Tim Walz issued a proclamation, and it has been shared on social media by him and by our Lieutenant Governor, Peggy Flanagan, a member of the White Earth Band of Ojibwe.

During this month, I will be posting some information on how to research Native American heritage. Neither my own paper trail or DNA ethnic estimates show a connection to this rich heritage. However, for the past 30+ years, I have been deeply involved in Native American research for individuals, Tribes, and law firms. The records I have uncovered have given me history, understanding, joy, and sadness. Various records and research steps will be discussed in upcoming posts.

Whether your favorite grandaunt shares that you have Native American ancestry because her grandmother was a full-blood Indian or that your own research or DNA results show this specific ancestry, it’s up to you to determine the specific connection. You may have knowledge of a possible tribal connection and the where and when, but it still needs to be researched. 

For some people, records are easily found and for others, it’s wide-reaching research to put together what will stand as your proof for the connection.

If you are new to family history (genealogy) research, obtaining some knowledge about the steps to take and the records that exist should be first on your task list. Books, webinars, websites, and other items are easily accessible for this education. Many are free. We all need to research in federal and state censuses, newspapers, and vital records (birth, marriage, death).

Genealogy Guidebooks: I’ve blogged a few times about some basic books. Click here for one of those posts. These tell about the basic starting steps and many records and where they might be located.

Webinars: Legacy Family Tree Webinars and Ancestry Academy are two online places to find some webinars about various aspects of Native American research. No fee is needed for Ancestry Academy and Legacy webinars are initially free for a week. A Legacy webinars member ship is only $49.95. Here is my affiliate link if you wish to sign up.

Websites: These three are examples of the many online websites that share the beginning steps

The next posts on this topic will include some organizing and keeping track of your findings, books, websites, and basic records, and then about venturing into more specific Native American records. First, take on the task to have your basic family history research underway and understood. Don’t forget to obtain family information from aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, grandparents and even that second cousin you haven’t been in contact with since 1999.

The Society of Descendants of Presidents of the U.S.

A new society based on genealogy: The Society of Descendants of Presidents. The members are descendants of Presidents of the United States, and some members are descendants of Presidential siblings. Roxanne Roberts produced an interesting newspaper article about the inaugural dinner of the new society and stories told by descendants. The article is in the 28 October 2021 issue and online at the Washington Post website 

Halloween is time for free death records at MyHeritage

A bit morbid, but exciting for family historians! Daniel Horowitz at MyHeritage sent a Press Release for Halloween. He shared that the site is “opening up all the death records added to MyHeritage before October 2021 for free access during the week of Halloween, from October 27–November 2, 2021!” He also shared that since last Halloween, they “have added more than 37 million records to an already enormous collection of death records, burial records, cemetery records, and obituaries — bringing the total to 586,664,785 records. 11 collections were added or updated, including collections from Brazil, New Zealand, the United States, Poland, France, and more.”

Read more details on the MyHeritage blog. 9335_Free Death records image_753_463


The 1921 census of England and Wales is coming to us on January 6, 2022!

20th Century family in England and Wales? The 1921 census for those places will be released online at Findmypast in cooperation with the UK National Archives on January 6, 2022. Said to show 8.5 million households and 38 million people, this means lots of good researching. I will have to delve into it for the families of my own Copping line and for the Tresise and related lines of my grandchildren. Read more and How valuable is this? The Press Release I received from Findmypast includes: “What makes the 1921 Census even more vital is that it will be the last census release for England and Wales for 30 years, with the 1931 Census lost in a fire and the 1941 Census never taken.”

My friend, Audrey Collins, a Research Specialist employed by the UK National Archives, says “A more accurate title would be ‘Census of England & Wales, Isle of Man, Channel Islands, merchant vessels in the vicinity of England, Wales, Isle of Man and Channel Islands, Royal Navy, ships worldwide, and British Army and RAF bases overseas’.” Any surprise why a shortened title is used!


The 2022 Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh

The Course Coordinators have signed their contracts and have been busy the last couple of weeks creating, updating, and finalizing our individual classes and courses for next June and July. The Instructors of the individual sessions have been working with us to be sure the titles and descriptions are accurate and, of course, tantalizing. For what? The 2022 virtual edition of the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP)! It will be GRIP’s eleventh year!

I will be teaching in June and coordinating and teaching in July. The June dates are Sunday, June 19 to Friday, June 24. The July dates are Sunday, July 10 to Friday, July 15. Each week begins at 7:00 p.m. EDT on Sunday and ends at 12:45 p.m. EDT on Friday. Monday – Thursday are full days of classes, discussion, hands-on work, breaks, and even some light moments. Friday is a half-day. 

What are the course titles and what is being offered each week? We all need to wait for the dedicated GRIP Directors to assemble, finalize, and release all the info for both weeks. Deborah Lichtner Deal & Elissa Scalise Powell are going to be extra busy working on all this. The final details will be posted on social media and the GRIP website.

For now, put the dates on your calendar. Avoid dental, hair, car repair, and other appointments for those weeks. Warn family and friends, that those are YOUR weeks! For some info on GRIP review the website

Smart moves in genealogy: join genealogical and historical societies

To help celebrate National Archives Month and Family History Month, I have renewed some memberships in societies. At the top of my list are the Minnesota Genealogical Society (MGS, member 39 years) and the Minnesota Historical Society (member for 36? years). I’m also a member of other such organizations. with membership renewals spread throughout the year. If they all came due at once, my budget would tip over.  If you haven’t joined or renewed your membership, do it now. Publications, education discounts, access to databases, and helpful fellow family historians. These organizations are full of people with tips and who won’t necessarily run away when you mention the word genealogy. I am still close friends with people I met when I joined MGS.