Class in St. Paul: More than Pensions: 19th & 20th Century Military Records

Learning more about your family members who served in the U.S. military is helped by a wide variety of records. Some are created after the person is no longer serving and some involve survivors of those who died in the war effort.

In October, I am teaching a class on this topic: More than Pensions: 19th & 20th Century Military Records

Military personnel also received bonuses, tombstones, land, and other benefits. Applications, rejected files, correspondence, finding aids, indexes, organizational applications, and more at federal and state levels exist for them and for survivors. You will be surprised at what family details available in these records at state archives, historical societies, and other repositories from coast to coast.

Join me for this Minnesota Genealogical Society class on October 8th at the Minnesota Historical Society in Saint Paul. The class runs from 10:00-12:30 p.m and each registrant receives the extensive handout.

To register for this, visit the MHS website. MHS members receive a $4 discount. If you are a member of the Minnesota Genealogical Society, you may also receive this discount. Email MGS  to request the discount code.
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Hotel Reservations Now Open for the FGS 2017 Genealogy Conference in Pittsburgh

If you are on Facebook and other social media, you saw the great education and fun many genealogists had at the annual Federation of Genealogical Societies’ conference that was held last week in Springfield, Illinois. I attended the three evening events and three luncheons. It was a wonderful time and I heard many people saying they were planning ahead for the 2017 conference in Pittsburgh. If you weren’t there, have you thought about what you missed? You have almost a year to save up and to ask family and friends for gifts that will help you attend?

Book your room now for #FGS2017

FGS is pleased to announce that hotel reservations are now open for the 2017 Conference to be held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

Two Pittsburgh hotels are now taking reservations for the  FGS 2017 conference – “Building Bridges to the Past.” The conference will be held August 30-September 2 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

The Westin Convention Center and the Omni William Penn Hotel are offering reduced rates to FGS 2017 Conference attendees from Wednesday, August 23 to Friday, September 8 (subject to availability). Both hotels are conveniently located near the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

Westin Convention Center (Main Conference Hotel)
1000 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Omni William Penn Hotel
530 William Penn Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Full details and links for FGS discounted reservations can be found on the FGS website.

Conference hotels fill up quickly, so it is not too early to make reservations.  We look forward to seeing you in Pittsburgh!




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Remember that promised September 1st announcement? Here it is. Hint: railroad workers

Railroad engineI apologize for not fulfilling my promise. It’s not my fault. I searched and searched on Thursday and Friday for the link I needed to give you. Nowhere. Nada. I didn’t receive the email from Ancestry that would have given the link. It was also not on the Ancestry related FB pages then. Neither was it on the Ancestry Blog.

Now that others that did receive the email announcement have shared it, here it is, but with few hours left to take advantage of it.

My The Lure of the Train Whistle: Researching Railroad Workers course I did for Ancestry Academy is free until Midnight today, September 5th. It’s not exactly the same as the presentation I do at seminars and conferences.

The course is found here. 

FREE access ends 11:59pm ET Monday (registration for a free account is required). Use this link and once you do a basic name search, you can edit your search and add railroad as a keyword and look at the results list for a variety of railroad related databases and image sets on

Also included are census records and substitutes and related, Native American rolls, employment records, directories, and so much more!

Now, if you have continued to read this post to this point, Laura Prescott who is the real brains behind Ancestry Academy, told me that my railroad course will be free for ALL of September. She and I are trying to dig up more details from the marketing folks!

Stay tuned!


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My upcoming genealogy presentations: on land, at sea, and from my office

From now through the end of October I will be presenting classes and seminar in my home state of Minnesota, Illinois, on a cruise, in South Dakota, and in California. I hope to see many of my readers at these events. Let’s be sure to support our genealogical organizations as they word hard to provide education.

For registration details for any of these, click on the highlighted phrases. I am already receiving inquiries for 2017 and 2018 presentations so don’t delay asking for my seminar information packet.

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A few important basic genealogy guidebooks

I promised a couple groups of genealogists that I would repost a list of books. Genealogy guidebooks are an important part of our genealogical education.The list below is a sampling of basic genealogy guidebooks that are important to beginning and also for more advanced researchers.  If you are only checking online resources and yet wondering what other records there might be, these guides will fill you with tons of ideas and places to look. This is not a list of all that is available.

1.    Croom, Emily Anne. Unpuzzling Your Past. 4th Ed. “Expanded, Updated and Revised.” Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2010.

2.    Greenwood, Val D. The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy. 3d ed. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2000.

3.   Morgan, George. How to Do Everything Genealogy. 4th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2015.

4.  Rose, Christine and Kay Ingalls. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Genealogy. 3d ed. New York: Alpha Books, 2012.

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Federation of Genealogical Societies announces conference locations through 2020!

FGS is wowing everyone with this announcement!



August 16, 2016 – Austin, TX. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announces the FGS 2019 National Conference will be held August 21-24 in Washington, D.C., and the FGS 2020 National Conference will be held September 2-5 in Kansas City, Missouri.

“We are extremely excited for all our upcoming conferences and look forward to visiting Washington, D.C., and Kansas City in future years,” says FGS President D. Joshua Taylor. “From 2016 to 2020, our conference venues are steeped in both history and research resources and make perfect settings for genealogists and family historians.”

This announcement extends the upcoming FGS conferences schedule to the year 2020 and includes:

·       FGS 2016 National Conference and 40th Anniversary in Springfield, Illinois

·       FGS 2017 National Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

·       FGS 2018 National Conference in Ft. Wayne, Indiana

·       FGS 2019 National Conference in Washington, D.C.

·       FGS 2020 National Conference in Kansas City, Missouri

Each conference will be joined and hosted by a local genealogical organization. The Illinois State Genealogical Society will welcome FGS this year in Springfield and the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society in 2017. Local hosts for future conferences will be announced at a later date.

Currently, registration is still open for the FGS 2016 National Conference “Time Travel: Centuries of Memories” to be held August 31-September 3, 2016, in Springfield, Illinois. Register at and help celebrate our 40th Anniversary in the Land of Lincoln.


I am on the FGS Board of Directors and love this future planning! I hope to see you in less than 2 weeks in Springfield, Illinois!


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Old Car Show “in” a cemetery? Roselawn, I approve!

UPDATE  18 August: The car show has been cancelled. The pressure to not do other things like this got to the cemetery board. It makes me sad.

I love watching house buying shows on cable TV. I laugh every time the realtor or buyer mentions the negative feature of a house being across the street from a cemetery. I would definitely buy that house.

I have been to picnics in a cemetery, have driven through them with my children and grandchildren, and have growled at the ones with awful or non-existent records. I love cemeteries that have great upkeep, have a chapel, have ceremonies to honor military personnel and others buried there, and love creative cemeteries. They really aren’t as scary as they seem. Many are places of beauty. Some have concerts. Our ancestors (while they were still alive!) may have had picnics or family gatherings at the local cemetery. One here in Minnesota shows movies. Cemeteries are just one part of life (and dying?) and need to be utilized for more things.

Roselawn Cemetery (a mile from me) is hosting a car show. Not exactly in the cemetery, but on land adjacent. At first, I shook my head. Then I realized it would bring people to a place they usually don’t visit unless there is a funeral, would introduce children to a cemetery in a happier situation, and might even bring future business to the cemetery. I have ancestors and other relatives buried at Roselawn. I like to think that Great Grandpa Alexander Charles Stuart approves of this. After all, he spent much of his life associated with cemeteries. He carved many a cemetery headstone and created great cemetery stone sculptures in his profession. Those stones are in cemeteries in Wisconsin, Kansas, and Minnesota and maybe other states, too. [Side note that I have posted about before: Alex and his wife Emma do not have tombstones. They died quite poor.]

I bet there are many guys and some women buried in Roselawn that would love to inspect the old cars and trucks.

p.s. Roselawn is a beautiful cemetery, has a Cass Gilbert designed chapel, and the website is fantastic!

Roselawn car show



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