Last discount day for my online genealogy course Government Records 101

Today, August 3d, is the last day to sign up for a while for my course: Researching U.S. Government Records 101. Save $10 using code Paula10. This is a four session course that is released to you one week at a time. An extensive handout is in session 2. This course won’t be offered for a while so register today. at Research Write Connect Academy.

Registrants will be added to a private Facebook group for only students who are or have taken the course. You’ll get to see some of the neat things found by previous students. You are able to revisit each session if need be or stop viewing if you need to make dinner! Homework is suggested in each session and it’s for your benefit and doesn’t need to be turned in.

MyHeritage improves the site’s search engine!

Received from MyHeritage: “We are pleased to announce that our search engine for historical records has been redesigned and improved. Searching our treasure trove of 12.5 billion historical records is now easier and more intuitive than ever before!

We are pleased to announce that our search engine for historical records has been redesigned and improved. Searching our treasure trove of 12.5 billion historical records is now easier and more intuitive than ever before!

We redesigned the search engine to improve the user experience. Our main goals in this initiative have been the following:

  • Provide faster performance to allow users to run more searches in less time
  • Allow users to edit the search while viewing the search results, and run it again, to make it easier for them to locate the records they need
  • Display more results on each page
  • Simplify the experience by unifying simple search and advanced search into one search form that is simple to use and powerful in capability

Additionally, our search engine will automatically suggest typical filters in global searches, and more relevant filters that will enable you to narrow down your searches within the current category or collection you are searching in. We’ve also added icons under the record name to clearly distinguish between a historical record and a family tree record. ?

I used it briefly tonight and it is a nice improvement!


It’s Baaack! Genealogists asked for it. U. S. Government Records 101 and a discounted fee.

Fellow genealogists have asked for it. Didn’t get into my virtual 4 session course “Researching U.S. Government Records 101” the last time? It’s being offered again. If you register no later than 3 August, you can save $10 by using code PAULA10. The lessons are released once a week after you register. There is suggested homework, of course! You can log back in at any time to view the lessons or review them.

You may also join us on a private Facebook page to share discoveries with other students and ask me questions. I love the interaction there. Discoveries made by previous students are still on that group page. I will invite you to that group with the email you use to register for the course. Some registrants may already be a Facebook friend of mine, and I will invite you directly after you register for the course.

From the course website: “Learn how to research the treasure trove of federal records of the U.S. government and mine the rich personal and other details they contain to compile a better picture of your ancestors and their families.” 

Learn more about this and other Research Write Connect Academy courses and register here.

Genealogy online: GRIP Digging Deeper course a smash hit!

I have been teaching at genealogical institutes since the early 1990s. These have included  in-person courses in Illinois, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Utah. I have presented in-person seminars in many states. In recent years, I have been presenting online webinars. This summer has included being part of 2 week-long online institute courses via Zoom. Would I do it this way again? Sign me up!!

I taught four sessions and helped answer questions during the week in Cari Taplin’s Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh’s course Following Your Ancestors in Time and Place.

This past week the course I coordinate, Digging Deeper: Records, Tools, and Skills, took place online. I had a few reservations about the effectiveness of a few portions of the hands-on work. Those reservations are long gone. From day 1, it went well. The tech people, the GRIP directors, the  other instructors, and the students rose to the occasion and went far beyond my dreams. When the course week ended yesterday, my adrenaline rush took several hours to come down. I enjoyed the week, the teaching, the interaction, and the way everyone worked together. I thought you might like to see the class photo that includes the instructors, one of the directors, and most of the students.



p.s. Yes, my course will be offered again — see you next June. The list of courses for GRIP 2021 is already available here. I will also be teaching in Cari Taplin’s Great Lakes research course.

Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) 2021 Courses

Just finishing up a week of being involved in teaching for Cari Taplin’s course Following Your Ancestors in Time and Place. The week after next is my course Digging Deeper: Records, Tools, and Skills in which I teach many of the session. The experience teaching and interacting via Zoom has been wonderful this week. I have no qualms about it!

Now is the time to get you thinking about GRIP in summer 2021. My course, Digging Deeper, is moving to the June week. I will also be teaching in the Great Lakes course that week. Will we be online or in-person? Time will tell.

thumbnail of 2021 GRIP Flyer-18 courses



Those funeral, baby, wedding, and other books: Who are those people? Connected genealogically?

Have you thoroughly checked through family baby books, wedding books, anniversary books, old address books, and funeral books. These are the books that list guests and sometimes in their own handwriting. I have several of these items.

If you are fortunate to have some of these books, do you know who each person is who attended an event or sent a gift or card? Have you abstracted any dates or middle names that might be in these?

I have my own two baby books and those of my three children. Why did I have two baby books? I don’t have a clue. Neither is totally filled in, but I did note some nice things. I have a couple names I previously overlooked and now need to investigate. I will be surprised if there is a blood connection rather than only being family acquaintances. I got my first tooth at 8 months, walked at 10 months, and had two first birthday parties!

My maternal grandma’s birthday book is one of my prize possessions. It’s filled with names, birth dates and birth weights, middle names, death dates, and even her own birth date in several places. I wish I had this little book when I began my family history research. Grandma was still with us until 17 years after I began my trek. One page has her maiden name Cook written several times in her own hand and probably that of one of the grandchildren or great grandchildren. One of those kids did some superb scribbling on the outside back cover. I see a couple nicknames I did not have in my notes.

Ask relatives if they have any such books in their possession and if you can borrow them to abstract information. I hope some surprises await, better than this one from one of my baby books that didn’t even have one spot filled in!

Freedom is valuable. Genealogy can connect us. Treat others well.

Note: this post is not all genealogical in nature, but yet, it is. My personal feelings are strong. This is long and I needed to get it written down and hopefully my family and future family heed my words and are proud of me and my words.

The Fourth of July. A day of much remembering for the United States. Please take a few steps back and think about what this day should fully mean and what it fails to mean in 2020.

My freedom is important. It should be the same for everyone under the flag of the United States. But, is it truly that for everyone? I honor my fellow human beings and wish we could say that all are treated equally and treated well. I will add that everyone should treat each other well and honorably.

Sadly, we still have children including babies in cages and not being treated as all children should be treated. We have children and adults across the nation that are not treated well by their own family members. We have citizens (and those who want to be citizens) who are Black children and adults afraid to go out of their homes. We have Indigenous citizens removed from their ancestral lands and not removed kindly. We have citizens who starve. We have citizens who injure and some who kill each other. In 2020.

Let’s not continue the failures. Let’s take care of each other. Let’s make sure we rally, speak, write, share, and solve issues. We need to do this well. We need to protect each other. We need to think about our words and action. We aren’t and won’t always be perfect but should do our best.  Support and  love each other, care about each other and less policing will be necessary. Let’s support law enforcement in their endeavors and train them well. Let’s provide support for those in need of physical or emotional assistance. Let’s educate our children and even adults on the truth of history and strive to provide a better history for the future.

Can we do this? Yes. Now, do it. It won’t be done overnight, but let’s start. I advocate tracing your family history and using actual records to learn about how our families interacted in the past. Don’t just take someone else’s online (or on paper) family tree as being fully accurate. Take classes, read guidebooks, check actual records online. Get educated about the aspects of searching. Eventually venture out to libraries, archives, historical societies, and courthouses to look at the many records not found online. Lean how many of us have connections that we didn’t know about. If an ancestor wronged someone, strive to do better yourself. Learn about the many religions that were part of your own family’s background. Tell their stories truthfully. Tell your nieces, grandnephews, grandchildren, children, and others the full story and how we can do better. My own ancestral research leads back to at least eight countries, at least five religions, and today our extended family includes those who are French, Black, Japanese, German, Irish, Polish, Hispanic, Swedish, and many others. My research endeavors and education has given me extended family also ancestrally from these and other places. My extended family is mostly taller than me, mostly thinner, many younger, some older, and a variety of skin colors that I had to stop and realize for this treatise of mine. Some are straight, some wavy, many LGBTQ, some extra serious, some wonderfully goofy, and yet we all care for each other.

My research and consulting business has many components and one big part is Native American research. Use whatever terminology you choose, but realize that it’s not always an easy route to trace the family histories. Family stories may go a bit off track over the years, but research pulls much of it back together. I’m proud of my involvement in researching the truth. Many records created by white men and some woman in regard to the indigenous individuals and families are not kind. They are painful to read and to have to share with the descendants. These tell the stories and we can’t change that in the past, but can do better today.

Be fair, be responsible, care for others, help others, strive to make everyone truly free and safe. Keep learning your history and the country’s history. Expand to world history.

Please wear face masks and keep a distance from each other to keep us healthy and able to take care of each other and fight for the eradication of injustice for many of your fellow human beings. We’ll all feel better.

2021 Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh lineup is here!

The 2021 GRIP lineup of courses has been released. Two weeks of excellent education. The weeks of June 20-25 and July 11-16 have much to offer next year. The virtual 2020 courses are a big hit. 

I bet you all have a question about where it will be held. The GRIP Directors, Deb and Elissa, eloquently and brilliantly stated: “So what about next year? Although we would like to be back on campus next year, at this time we can only make our plans to hold courses. The delivery method will be evaluated later this year and announced before registration opens. Stay tuned to this “channel” for any developing news.”  That statement and more is here.

I will be coordinating and teaching in my course “Digging Deeper: Records, Tools, and Skills” the June week. I will also be teaching a few sessions that week in Cari Taplin’s “Research in the Great Lakes Region.”

The full two weeks lineup is here.






So what about next year? Although we would like to be back on campus next year, at this time we can only make our plans to hold courses. The delivery method will be evaluated later this year and announced before registration opens. Stay tuned to this “channel” for any developing news.

It’s time to register for the 2020 Virtual Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference!

it was announced in a Press Release today that “Registration is now open for the Federation of Genealogical Societies’ Virtual Family History Conference! The virtual event will begin with FGS “Live!” on September 2, 2020, starting at 11:00 a.m. (EDT) and concluding at 7:00 p.m. (EDT). In addition to the Live! event, all conference registrations will include a collection of 16 society management sessions assembled by FGS and more than 30 sponsored sessions. The registration packages allow you to further select either 10, 20 or 45 sessions from the On-Demand content from leading genealogists (more than 80 sessions from which to choose). All registration packages include online access to our digital conference syllabus. A special commemorative goody bag is included with the 45-session package. If you had already registered for the FGS conference in Kansas City, your registration will convert to the 20-session conference package.” For more information, visit the conference website.

I’ll “see” you at the conference where I will be presenting 4 of those sessions. The entire conference will be filled with online education to enhance our family history knowledge!